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Watercolor 101

Lesson 4 of 28

Paint and Paint Properties

 

Watercolor 101

Lesson 4 of 28

Paint and Paint Properties

 

Lesson Info

Paint and Paint Properties

So these are just some of the paints that daniel smith and I said last time that that just looking at this slide makes me salivate well this week this time I'm going to say just looking at this slide makes my mouth water because it's it just I I don't know I had so much fun even just putting this one slide together but just looking at all those beautiful gorgeous colors and understanding what goes into making them in the warehouses at daniel smith and in their paint factories and everything like that it's an it's an amazing science and they do an amazing job so let's talk about some of some pigment characteristics now pigment is the ground up particles that's made from like medals or minerals or animals or plants or you know things like tree bark you know they are a natural or synthetic minerals and they're ground up and pigments are used across all the spectrum's I mean the pigment that's used in oil is the same pigment that's used in water color what distinguishes them is their bindi...

ng agent and the binding agent for watercolors has gum arabic that comes from the occasion tree and gum arabic is really nice because it binds the paint together but it when you wet it it re wits and you can you can use the paint's again and again with acrylics they have different binding agents and when they dry they dry you that's it you can't use them again so the thing about water colors is there reusability that's that's what I love about them so much oils the binding agent is linseed oil sometimes it can be poppier safflower oil oils dry slower they do have water miss a ble oils now that are that are dissolved in water and they're easier cleanup and a lot of artists used those but most from what I understand most professional artists stick with a sort of old fashioned oils a lot of them really do acrylics that by the binding agent is acrylic polymer emulsion which is it dries fast it forms a tough but flexible film so that you know you can paint on paper with acrylics and you khun bend that paper and it's still flexible enough that the paint won't crack and things like that and then there are different acrylic mediums that you often use with watercolor paints and they would be things like uh acrylic polymer emulsion opaque there are opaque, transparent, glossy matt even jail mediums and you can put like a an acrylic gloss medium on top of a piece of watercolor paper and paint on top of it and that creates a very interesting type of effect on your paper so a lot of people paint with acrylic mediums on watercolor paper with watercolor paints so I expect I encourage everybody to go out and really you know, practice experiment with that stuff light refraction is another characteristic of pigments and it's, one of the distinguishing characteristics light refractive index tells you how much light bends when you put the paint on the paper. Ah, higher index paint, uh, is less reflective and so it's less sort of luminous and creates a more opaque look. Uh, that's that's, the higher index, the lower index paints, or the ones that are they considered to be more transparent, and what happens is those who usually finer ground particles that soak down further into the into the papers, secular fibers, and when the water dries, more light reflects back from the paper through those particles than in the heavier, bigger, denser particles of the opaque paints. Eliza in crimson is on every palate and it's a fugitive paint, and that fugitive is a term that relates to light fastness, and I don't I don't think I've ever seen a palette that doesn't have a lizard and crimson on it, but eliza in crimson is a fugitive paint. Now they do have a permanent eliza in crimson it's, a very different color, though it's a very, very sort of bright pinky, eliza and crimson, as opposed to a deeper sort of maroon eliza in crimson, but fugitives paints will fade over time. You have to be pretty careful with those, but you know, I painted paintings ten years ago with eliza in crimson, and they still look great because paints air made ah lot better today, they're not. They're not made from natural elements the way they used to be as much because the natural elements would fade over time. They're just more light fast. But, uh, watch out for that term fugitive and daniel smith on their website, will, uh, tell you whether a painter's fugitive or not, they'll tell you it's transparency. They will tell you whether it granulated or not, they give you a lot of information in the list of their paints. You can go in and find out all of those things they tell you whether it's light fast or not. All of that stuff is on the daniel smith site, so you can get a lot of information about your pains. Just looking on the site. Okay, so let's talk a little bit about paints and paint properties. I mentioned trans parents now. The transparent air. Pretty pure pigments. They have a lower light refraction index so they don't bend the light so much in the water before they settle out on dry. They're great for depicting depth because you khun layer them one on top of each other, and as the pigment particles settle and dry, you can sort of see different layers through, you know, like a yellow pigment would settle over here in a blue pigment, but settle over here and then they kind of overlapped, and they show light differently to me. I find them easier to create sort of luminous paintings, as you can see from this rose. You know, I was really trying to keep the luminosity of the rose in there, and I think I think it was fairly successful. Thes were all transparent paints on the rose itself behind the rose. I used something called semi transparent and that it's coming up next, um, the refractive index, I said the number to measure by is one one point zero. So anything below that is really that's, transparent or below anything much higher than one point zero as soon as you get up into one point three five upto one point five, you're talking about more opaque paints transparent are great for layering and glazing. They're just great if you're going to do glazing on top of the painting, which last week, I explained was putting a thin film of paint on top of ah painting that you've already got started and you want to change the hue or change the temperature, or or you just want to make something move forward or pushed something back blazing is how you do it in the transparent, so the best to glaze with you, khun glaze with semi transparency is well, but you have to be careful. You don't want to be too heavy handed, so these are the semi transparent there's, some there somewhere between transparent and opaque ce there medium light refraction index is a little bit above zero, but it's not up near one point five, which would turn them into a pake. However, if you're not careful with these because they do have ah, bigger, heavier particles in him, you can produce mud if you used to many semi transparent on top of each other or mixed too many on your palette. So you want to be a little bit careful there, but they can't like you said before, they can be used for layering and glazing now the a paid paints or denser, heavier, often bigger particles. As I said they're light refractive index is up between like one three five one point five something like that they're pretty dull compared to the transparent because they cover up a lot of the surface of the paper so you're not seeing a lot of light reflecting back and it's the light reflecting back through the paint back to the viewer's eye that creates that feeling of transparency and a watercolor definitely with the opaque she want avoid mixing two of them together and you certainly don't want to mix more than two together unless you're specifically looking for that deep dense guy shot campaign on top of like paper if I want to look you know so if you're looking to create a really deep, dense black per se do you want to reach for the opaque you might want to put one opaque paint in there if you want to cover up what's behind it but I wouldn't put more than one like I often mix mix a reached did rich deep black using fellow which is a stainer and that's what we're going to talk about next they low blue, yellow, green and often I'll put burnt sienna in there and burnt sienna would be considered pretty opaque and you can get an amazing black putting those two together, their compliments and and another thing that you do with black as you mix compliments together you'll makes ah blue and a deep orange or uh like a green blue and burnt sienna you can use uh ah ultra marine and lizard in crimson and you can get pretty close to a nice rich black with that too. So stick with the compliments if you want a true black not yeah and I know some people use black paint some people use black paint I prefer not to use black paint I think black paint I like to build my blacks out of the colors that are already in the painting it's sort of floe even though you're I made you know an untrained eye may not be able to completely discern that you notice it anyway you don't you're not conscious of it but you see it and it weaves the colors through the painting. One of the biggest things about painting is making sure your colors are everywhere so that you lead the eye through the painting so I like to mix my blacks out of colors in the painting. Now these air the stayner's and these the stayner's have a very high tenting strength and they're very fine particles. And so what happens in there called stayner's is thies very fine particles soaked down into the paper survivors really easily they dropped down and they soak into the paper fibers and they sort of get trapped there, so when you go toe lift them they say that you can never really get backto white you could get pretty close and if you're doing a really deep dark color and you lift back to a very low very very light tend to that color that's probably all you want to do anyway, but they soak into the paper and there it they're not really lift a ble halos are they low sia nine colors they low blue, yellow, green uh there's a halo purple I believe they those air stayner's the windsor uh windsor colors wins or blue wins her read those air stayner's there several different versions out there and you can find those you know, in your art supply stores there like I say they're transparent because they're particles air so fine, but they do leave a tent I would suggest with your stayner's and we're going to be doing an exercise later using that they low blue, I would suggest with your stayner's making sure that you start with just a tiny little bit of paint and then I'm sorry to start with a tiny little bit of water and then start adding your paint to the water because it's much, much easier to add a little bit more paint to get the consistency that you're looking for it than to start with paint, have too much paint, then try to add enough water too to dilute that down to the dilution that you're looking for, because you could end up with, you know, a river on your palette, if you started out with too much of your stainer, so mix weaker, then add the pigment is needed and stayner's air, great for glazing. Great for claiming glazing now, most permanent stayner's are synthetic, they're they're actually most paints that most people use nowadays are synthetic. They're they're made in the factory rather than made from natural elements. Natural elements are hard to mind. They're just they're very costly to to to find and stuff like that most I would say, eighty, eighty five percent of almost all pain is synthetic of some kind does have the permanence and right qualities that modern painters really exactly, exactly, um, but that, but they have low light refraction so that's one of the reasons they can glow, they close so beautifully. Okay, then, are our next category it's, the sedimentary and granulated paints, and these can actually be transparent, semi transparent or opaque, paints it. The granule ation has to do with the heaviness of the particles, and how fast they sort of drop down in the water, and collect in the wells of the paper, because the paper is textured, and it has peaks and valleys and so the granulated pigments settle down into the valleys and I love granulated pigments I mean you can see in this painting of the top of my son's head when he was eight years old down in that lower left corner down here you can see the particles and all up through here I mean I just think it creates such a beautiful effect and it's wonderful when that's exactly what you're looking for because you know exactly what what paints to go and use for it now there some of these um let's see some of the colors are would be something like green earth ahe color name agonies blue is a granulated pigment cerulean on our pant palate is a granulated pigment of even uh ultra marine granulated ce to a certain degree uh and then there are others daniel smith has their primatech line that's made with minerals like lappas lazuli and turquoise and stuff like that those air granulated pigment so there's a there's a treasure trove of pigments out there and just going to your store and talking with a sales person and asking their opinion about it will help you determine you know which ones you want to buy okay so this is just a little test I did a while ago in order to figure out the transparency of your paint get a sheet of black paper now I I really loaded these brushes up with a lot of paint because I wanted to show you the difference, but get a black sheet of paper and paint on top of it, and you can see some of these paints up here like this windsor read over here clinic would own rose thie, eliza in crimson, up in the corner, they just there so transparent they soak into the paper. You can hardly even see them, but the more opaque paints the indian red here, the yellow poker, thes air paint on our palate and our, uh, opaque primary said, see how how opaque they are? They almost completely cover up the black, and even though yellow poker on daniel smith is listed, it is a transparent paint. If you get enough of it on your brush, you'll get those opaque effect, which is really quite nice, you know? So due to some tests go out when you start expanding your palate, uh, do some tests and see how these, how these different paints that you buy, react on top of the black paper and that will tell you their qualities and whether what they're good for. I have a question about using pains gray and white are those colors that you would normally recommend? Ah lot of people use pains gray, but again, if I'm going to use a gray, I've I mix it I just again I just try to mix a lighter version of black using the paints in the in the painting I mean, I can't tell you you know how many? How many shadows if you really take a good close look at the shadow it's blue or it's ah sort of ah maroon color but it's a shadow and it reads as a shadow and to me that creates a more lively painting so I do not have pains grey on my palate. Although it's a very popular color and a lot of people use it, I will use an opaque white uh I can't remember the name of the one that I have on my palate I have one on there, but you know, if I want to paint, find whiskers on the cats muzzle or or something like that or I forgot I painted over the glint in the person's eye that I wanted to be there, you know, I I would I would absolutely use it now I don't use it a lot. Some painters mixed huge amounts of the opaque white titanium white they used titanium white and they'll mix their watercolor painting with titanium white and almost turned it into like a wash yeah that's what a lot of painters do there's a wonderful painter named bert silverman and he paints like that he's amazing I mean and he paints on board he doesn't even paint on paper he'll paint on like a crescent watercolor board or something like that and that it's fabulous but to me what I love about water colors is the the the transparency as soon as you add on a pay quite to the paint it's not right for the paper your wife yeah it's not transparent anymore so these are our paints in our palace we have our cool primaries which are oriol and eliza in crimson and ultra marine blue and these are all classified as a transparent although I think ultra marine blue verges on semi transparent I would call it semi transparent in my book depending on how heavy you use it these air a warm primaries new gambo is transparent pira ll scarlett is classified a semi transparent and a local blue green shade is our transparent stainer that's the really dark color that I suggest you had have atleast one stainer on your palette to make your blacks and then our optional primaries not everybody needed to go out and buy these but that would be the yellow okker which in my in my opinion is slightly opaque indian red which is truly classified as an opaque paint and cerulean blue which is sort of semi opaque it's it's semi transparent but it's also verges on the a pake site and the reason I put this particular palate together was so that you could understand that they're really too big things about watercolor paints that you need to understand there's your warm temperature paints and your cool temperature paints and dip depending on what you're painting you go for one of the other and then I wanted you to have a paik's just so you could understand what they do and get a feel for when you might want to use him and I wanted youto absolutely have a good stainer on there and so that's where the halo blue comes from to me that sort of covered the bases so that you could experiment with your paints and get to learn a little bit about the various properties okay, so let's do an exercise here uh I gave thee in class participants and exercise she now take out this one so what we're going to do is we're going to do we're going to use our colors actually I don't need this music here and we're going to do our own paint transparency test on top of our black lines so that where this first area here is our cool plant primaries so go in to your oriole in and get a decent amount of paint I mean uh but those of you who just put your paint in your palate today you're probably going to need to be careful not to get too much paint otherwise things are going to be practically opaque how much water? Well that's good you know one of the things about watercolor is if you like I mentioned last week if you mix it on your palate and look what's right on your pal it's going to be wrong on your paper always use less water than you think you need well you need teo you have enough water to make sure you get enough paint up like my butt my paints or dry so I need probably more water than you do because you're paints are brand new and so they're already sort of wet uh use your use your scratch paper that I gave you and you khun you know do a little test on your stretch scratch paper and see how you're how your pick your pain is coming off and that will tell you whether you're right on target and not and one thing I will tell you paint's dry back forty to fifty percent lighter this is that I cannot stress this a month enough and I will tell you in every class I will say this remember that your paint's dry lighter then what they look like on the palate theyjust do so what you want to do is always go for darker than you think you really need so I just drew some little very very faint lines here to give you a you know a channel to paint over your brush is bigger than that so you'll go paint outside that channel but just run a beat of that paint over your black line now I put a lot of oriole and on there but I have a feeling it's still going toe dry back and you won't even be able to see it now rinse out your brush and I would suggest dipping it in your clean water container after that and go for your eliza in crimson is not true that when you paint a house the color is getting darker actually yes, but here the lighter they get here they get lighter yeah, I know you're using the daniel smith pain but I was curious to the er are there different luminosity ease and no passages from manufacturer to manufacturer? Yes, there are everything changes from manufacture to manufacture there's some general rules of thumb on how to make mix up various colors but you know each manufacturer wants to be different from every other one. Nobody wants to mix up the exact same formula or else that all be selling exactly the same paints. And so they mix up their own their own formulations and that's how they end up getting dedicated students. I mean, there are people who won't paint with anything but daniel smith and other people who won't paint with anything but divinci or coal mine or you know they just it's personal taste, everything is personal and every manufacturer has their own has their own style now we go down to our ultra marine down at the bottom amalia I'm I'm such a beginner that I really don't know the two waters and how I'm supposed to clean it in between paint well you only the reason you have two waters is that you have what I would call the dirty water and then the clean water the dirty water is because see we're doing a paint test and we want pure clean color on our paint test so we don't want the yellow on our brush when we go to pick up our lizard in crimson otherwise we're going to get a color that is more towards orange so clean your brush off first in your dirty water that'll take out ninety percent of the pigment and then clean it off in your clean water and that'll take out the rest and then by the time you get back to your palate you gotta clean brush and you don't contaminate your colors right a good expression sometimes what I'll do is I'll I'll run my brush over a paper towel yeah just before I put it in the clean I just see if I've got most of it out yeah now there will be times when you don't want to clean your brush it all and it's one of the reasons that sometimes you're you're you know you look down on your eliza and crimson well and it'll be completely blew on top and that's because you stuck your brush in there with the altar marine on it and you were looking for that blending of the paint on the paper you're looking for sort of a double load you want the color to be different without being diluted in between so that that is a you know again that just depends on what you're looking for when you look at your palate have some some people are in the chat room ir our talking back and forth about being able to distinguish a cool primary from a warm primary if you didn't know what was it your hell and you're just looking at the colors there how do you distinguish one from the well if you take a look at the thea the colors on the screen yeah, the ones on the left if you just look at those there they virg more towards what I would call the cooler side sort of like the purple side and I know they're a lot of people who disagree with me about this and I brought it up last week um to me warmer colors have a touch of yellow and them two other painters warmer colors have a touch of red in them but there are cool reds and warm reds and so a purple to some artists would be considered a warm color not me I don't consider purple a warm color unless it really really verges on being more red than blue but you know again that's just a matter of taste but if you take a look at the red in the middle of the pyros scarlet in the middle column and you compare that to the eliza and crimson right next to it you can clearly see the difference and looking up at the top I mean it's not quite so clear in the yellows but the yellow on the left doesn't have nearly as much red in it as thie yellow in the middle and so that's that's those of the warmers it's it's just visualize you and you'll get to know by the time you start painting paintings you'll be familiar enough with your paints to know what you're putting down all right let's go to our warms and so I'm going to pick up some new gambo sj can ask another question sure even as far as like how you're supposed to you know strokes I mean do you go back? Is there is there rules no no there are no no no you know it's not like painting a house be like well you don't you don't want to stroke six or eight times every time you stroke you'll lift sizing off the paper and you'll get closer and closer down to the part of the paper that that has no sizing and just starts to soak up your paint and the more you so more the paper soaks up the paint, the less glow you'll get on the painting. So it's always desirable to try as best as possible to put down one stroke, but if you put down one stroke and you look at it and you go there's just no way that's going to be dark enough while it's still wet, you can go in and lay more color on top of it pretty easily you can't you can't stay in the lines, so this brush michelle his brushes too big for the lines, but I don't know, just even as faras dipping the paint and you kind of just you skim this edge on the paint or are you just like dipping it in? Well used you can you see what I'm doing over here? You smoke, dip it in runner on top of your paint, get some on your brush if your if you don't know what you've got, you can but do a little test on your test cheap look at it and just drag it across. You'll start to see after a while it'll just become second nature when I first drag it across that looks like that you're not, you're not you're then you're using too much pigment and not enough water, so use your use your test paper first well when I use my test paper at oh well then go back and load with a little more water and pain because what you've done is you put most of your paint on your test paper and by the time you get to your real paper it's pretty much gone okay but imagine developing that feel for you know the water to paint ratio on your brush right something it's just time yeah, it does take time absolutely takes time that's a beautiful color though that's really intense cover that red eye no ok, now we're going with the halo blue get it now to me you can clearly see the difference between the halo blue and the ultra marine the ultra marine is a little bit more of a purple what I would call a cool color and the halo blue has is more towards an aqua side of blue and to me that awkward that's the color you see in the sky on a bright sunny day the color on the left is the color you might see in the sky on a cooler day when you know maybe some clouds might be rolling in so all right let's try roope aches and that would be our yellow okker linus awful dry way go down to our indian red indian red is thie on ly color in our palate that really is truly classified is in a paint paint and let me show you something on my palate. This is my indian red sample. When I drag my brush over this sample, you cannot see the palate at all. And yet if you look down here where I dragged the yellow oakar, even though I got a pretty thick concentration of it, you can still see the white streaks of the palate through the paint and that that is the difference. That's a pake versus something that's not quite as opaque. And when you put that over the black look at that, it just really completely covers it up just about I can't believe you just painted that, huh? That doesn't look like a paint trump to me. It looks just so perfect. I've been painting for twelve years, susan, you'll get there. If you keep on painting, you'll get there. Okay? Now we're going to go to our sorely in blue, which is our last close to a pain pain civilian is love. So really I'm not putting yeah, it's, believe me, that will be your biggest challenge. It's still my biggest challenge what's the percentage that colors would drive back when they when they drive forty to fifty percent lighter yeah, they drunk it's a lot it's very dramatic, ok? And in my first class, I you know, I started talking about that one painting, which, you know, I will get to later in this presentation, I believe that you know, you just if you don't get enough paint on your brush, call your pigment load on your brush and get it down right the first time, they'll have to paint over it again and again, and unless you're a really great technician and know how to do that, you can end up with very messy paintings that way. And in the beginning, when I first started painting, I did some paintings that I, you know, had four, five, six layers of paint on it because I didn't have any idea how intense I needed to put the colors down, and they look it, you'll see. So for the beginner, you safe, really little brush, and you want to put too much paint down, is it easier to go in and pull the paint off the paper as opposed to possibly overworking by putting layer? Well, you can certainly go in and pull paint off of paper when it's still went. Absolutely, I mean, you can put something down and go, oh, boy, I don't like that and go in immediately with a piece of paper towel on blood, it right up and usually if it if it's leaves too much of a residue or it doesn't look good and you, you're not happy with the way it looks. If you let it dry, you can go back in and lightly scrub it with a scrubber brush or a very, very fine, very soft toothbrush, and you can scrub it back and then paint on it again. Uh, the more you scrub your paper, though, the more you get rid of the sizing. The more you work up the fibers, the more the fibers get so loose that the paint drops down and traps in them and then the dollar you're painting gets the more you work, the paper, the dollar the painting gets like you're saying last week is what you want to let your paper get a driver for you if you're going to scrub it, yeah, if you're gonna literally scrub it with a scrubber or a a, uh a tooth brush or something like that. Absolutely get letter, get bone dry, bone dry, but you can lift paint out when it's still wet with a paper towel or even just a thirsty brush. You can run a dry brush over because that's soft, and hopefully it won't hurt the paper that much, so that's our transparency test. And if you take a look like I can see the yellow okker I didn't put very much concentration of yellow ochre down but I can still see it sitting on top of the black line here the new gambo she's completely transparent you can't see it at all the oriole and I put a lot of oriole in in there and it's you can see it a little bit but it's still very transparent these two very transparent you can see the pyro lt's scarlett how you can see that it covers up the black more than these other transparent paints do so that's our semi transparent they low very transparent and then we come down here to our takes now the theo paid blue will not look so opaque because it's blue it's closer to the color of black so you won't see it so much but that's that's a fairly opaque blue okay, so there's that exercise well, you can always print these out again and do him again. Michelle well, I learned something that's what it's about a question real quick about transparency. If you load up uh your paintbrush with so much transparent paint and you put it on your paper really thick does transfer paint technically lose its transparent quality? Yes, it does uh it the more pigment particles you put on the paper and the more those particles cover up the paper underneath, the less light will be reflected back off the paper. So, yes, it. If it's really, really, really loaded up with lots of pigment particles now, the transparent, the pigment particles are very, very fine. Um, but you'll still get a glow that you don't get. If you do that with the opaque ce. I mean, you'll still get a vibrancy in the painting simply because you've done it with transparent colors.

Class Description

Learn about color, papers, brushes, drawing and composition in this complete guide to watercolor. Molly Murrah teaches painting techniques that will help you create your own special works of art.

Reviews

user-9ba4d8
 

I would also recommend this class with some hesitation. This course is a broad and sweeping overview of watercolor painting. It is a good reference course and I will probably be treated like a reference book for watercolors. The skills we covered were valuable. It was beneficial to hear about the watercolor artists that Molly enjoyed and to have a list. The exercises were appropriate. I would recommend this course to someone who likes to know all the details of things before getting started. If you are someone that wants to jump right in this may be frustrating. Obviously, I am the latter. A few suggestions from my perspective....limit the product pushing. The references to Daniel Smith were off putting. I will try to avoid purchasing their products at all costs even if they are the best. It was very difficult to get access to the paint colors that she wanted us to have as some of the names are slightly different than what is available to me locally. I have already taken a beginner color watercolor course which I loved!! If I had not taken that course I probably would have been lost here. In that course(also online) we finished a project for every 10 minute lesson. I learned the basic technique's and it was FUN! I wish this class had more projects to practice that can be completed by a beginner and intermediate. Portraits seem like a large undertaking and it would be helpful to build confidence with smaller and simpler projects. I just felt a little discouraged. Molly is very talented and the work she shared was very thoughtful and showed incredible skill! I am very thankful that she took the time to teach the class and share her knowledge.

a Creativelive Student
 

This course was fabulous. Molly is a great artist/teacher. Her instruction has really unleashed my creativity and given me confidence to create.

jennymak
 

Looks like a really fun class! I'll take it soon!