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Getting Started with Watercolor & Gouache Paints

Lesson 4 of 13

Natural Man Made Synthetic Sponges

 

Getting Started with Watercolor & Gouache Paints

Lesson 4 of 13

Natural Man Made Synthetic Sponges

 

Lesson Info

Natural Man Made Synthetic Sponges

There are a couple of other tools you can use, you've got the kosher salt, but we also have these things, I'll pull them up here. These are called sponges, and these are natural sponges, and these are unnatural sponges. This is just a man-made synthetic. So they react a little differently, this has a softer kind of texture, and this is a little more rough, but what I'll do is, actually I'll just do the edges here. You know, actually I'm gonna try to do this without tape, I'm gonna wing it. I know! It's a risk, but I'm going to use this beautiful square brush, and this is actually one of the things about the square brushes, that it allows you to control your edges. If I were using the brush I used before here to try to pain this whole surface, it would make no sense at all because you'd be working so much harder than you need to. The square tip allows you to make clean edges. I'm gonna see how much control I really have with this color, and I'm going to do a deep tonality, but I'm going...

to wet it first, get a little green off there. So this is what's called wet into wet, and that simply means you're wetting the surface entirely first before you put any pigment down. I can also demonstrate dry brush, which is where you use no water, or very little water and it creates a very different look. With this I'm going to do wet into wet, and I'm going to create a tone that's pretty deep so you can see the action of the sponges. Let's see I will use something I haven't used, and what you'll see here is I lay down the color, but these pigments are actually dry to the touch. You can create your own little mini cake setup, this has actually got a cover on it, right here, that you can pop on top, and you can travel with that, and it's just the same as using the cakes here. So I pre-did that so you can see how I laid out the colors. Again, I try to organize my colors in terms of put the yellows together, all the reds together, all the blues together, just to be organized. I think it helps visually to see the things that way when you're painting. Alright, so let me pull from a really yummy, deep, rich tone, we'll do ultramarine right here, and you can see, imagining that I'm using this surface as my palette, but I'm gonna run out of room pretty quickly. So you might be able to see here, it's hard to see on screen, but it's a piece of glass, it's literally a piece of glass with little rubber edges. We got this from Blick, I also make my own palettes out of glass, and I just tape the edges, it's an inexpensive way to go, but both ways are fine. I don't use just one palette, I try to use, I sometimes have five or six palettes going, I save my colors. So a lot of people, they run out of room, and then they're trying to mix their colors and they have no room left, and then they're wondering why all their colors are turning neutral or brown, it's because they have no room. So have 10 palettes if you need to. It's not expensive to get a palette, give yourself some room. So this is ultramarine, a really delicious blue, and I'm putting it, look at even how the color's blooming. The water is literally moving that across the surface. I could just let that be. If that's what I was looking to make, done. The water has done so much of the work for me, but we're actually gonna make a deep tonality, and we're working right now, just so you know, and we'll talk more about papers after, but this is a cold press paper, which means it's a little more textured. Now you can probably see there's a little dot of color right there, that's the reason why I put tape down. Brushes have hair on them, and the hair can create a splatter. So I like to have a clean edge. If you're not fussy about it, and I wasn't when I was painting Mr. Fish over here, I let the splatter be a part of the picture. But I'm just gonna lay down a nice, deep, rich tone, and again, there's not a lot of streak of the brush, mostly because the water is moving that color around quite beautifully. I'll just pull this off. And I'm using the squareness of the brush to try to create the edge of this picture, well it's not a picture, it's just a patch of color, and I'm gonna reactivate the blue, and when I say reactivate that just means I'm adding water and waking up the color. If you're using a cake or dry pigment, you reactivate it by adding water. That is not true of every medium, but it's true of watercolor. Okay, so I'm gonna go a little bit deeper because I really want you to see what these sponges do when they're dry, and what they do when they're wet, two different things. You can also use paper toweling to do similar things. One of the things I'm not very good at is putting caps back on my tubes, it's not a good habit, I don't recommend it, but when you're trying to work, I go at the end and I put my caps back on, but I recommend at the end of your session, put your caps back on because the watercolor will dry out. Okay, so we'll make this a little bit deeper tone, and you'll also notice that the watercolor is pretty rich right now, but when it dries, it dries lighter. So you can never fully anticipate exactly what color you'll have, you only, you sort of gain that the more experience that you have. Okay, so you can also see, this color is starting to dry on the surface, and the more that it dries, it's moving, the water is moving the color less across the surface, and it's leaving a little bit of pooling of color. Thank you. Okay, so, let's just take a look at what happens when you use just a sponge with no water in it. It sort of picks up the pigment pretty well actually. And if I use this kind of brush, it's picking up the pigment surprisingly well, and it creates a kind of a texture. If I wet it, you're actually picking up more color because the water is moving that color right off the surface, and you can see it on the end of the sponge. So if it's dry, it's gonna pick up less color. If it's wet, it's gonna pick up a lot of color, and you can see that. And why would you use a sponge? Just like with the kosher salt, it makes it for a really interesting texture. I would use it maybe if I were doing something under the sea and I wanted all these undulating textures, I would use sponges, I would use salts, and it's kind of fun to do. It's especially good on a large surface. If you're working in a tiny space, you have to control it a little bit more. But that's the texture from a sponge, and any of these sponges, which are all natural, will do that similar thing. The unnatural, synthetic sponge pulls up sort of a more regular, I'll wet it, spot, it doesn't quite create the bloom. So you can sort of pull color, I'll just pull it right off, off the surface, it's not gonna give you this beautiful texture. That happens 'cause this is a textured surface.

Class Description

Are you interested in working with watercolor and/or gouache paints but not sure how to get started? In this course artist and illustrator, Mary Jane Begin will introduce you to the world of watercolor and gouache paints. This class is perfect for beginners looking to learn the basics of the medium in order to begin a painting practice. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the know-how to pick up a brush and start experimenting with watercolors and gouache!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • All about the different types of watercolor and gouache paints available on the market and how they work
  • Which brushes and papers to use with those paints
  • How to begin making simple marks and shapes to familiarize yourself with the medium



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Reviews

shoney
 

I really enjoy Mary Jane Begin's style of teaching--I have a degree in Fine Art and have been painting for years, but think she does such a good job of building on the basics and encouraging play. Get your supplies ready ahead of time, if like me you want to play along. Thank you!

user-b0a82a
 

Fantastic class - so informative and inspiring. After watching the lessons, I picked up my watercolors and started playing around with some of the covered techniques. Highly recommended!

a Creativelive Student
 

The watercolor class was fantastic! MJ is a great instructor!