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Watercolor 101

Lesson 15 of 28

Watercolor Brushes

Molly Murrah

Watercolor 101

Molly Murrah

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Lesson Info

15. Watercolor Brushes


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Duration:1:11:27
2 Q&A Duration:35:31
  Class Trailer
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1 Basic Introduction Duration:04:30
2 Paint and Paint Properties Duration:35:33
3 Understanding Color Duration:08:06
4 Hue: The Color Wheel Duration:14:16
5 Mixing Colors Duration:15:56
6 Other Color Terms Duration:17:07
7 Light and Shadows Duration:03:14
8 Layering and Glazing Duration:06:19
9 Homework Duration:07:47
10 Q&A Duration:08:15
  Class Trailer
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1 Watercolor Papers Duration:23:36
2 Paper Characteristics Duration:34:12
3 Watercolor Brushes Duration:19:15
4 Basic Brush Techniques Duration:32:32
5 Putting It All Together Duration:09:28
6 Q&A Duration:07:08
  Class Trailer
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1 Drawing for Painting Duration:1:03:45
2 Proportion and Perspective Duration:06:41
3 Good Composition Duration:29:16
4 Last Class Preparation Duration:05:40
5 Q&A Duration:09:10
  Class Trailer
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1 Introduction Duration:06:29
2 Creating Textures Duration:19:45
3 Other Fun Techniques Duration:33:13
4 Reserving Whites and Lifting Duration:53:13
5 Things to Remember Duration:21:54

Lesson Info

Watercolor Brushes

Let's move on to watercolor brush is then this is a another thing that's really all about creating your favorite tool it's about having your favorite tool. So I found this great quote by greg allen he's, an australian watercolor artist. I tried to remain cognizant of the potential beauty of a single mark of the brush as an element in itself. So what he's saying is, focus on your brush strokes and realize that everyone is important somehow. Now you could get lost in your painting and forget about that after you get to where you know what you're doing, but every brush stroke can be a a separate individual important element on your painting. Think of sumi brushes. Think of sumi paintings, one breast joke. I mean, some of the most successful sumi paintings were just almost one brush stroke, maybe two it's important. So our basic brushes thes air the brushes that came in our kid and I we went over this in the first week. Um, there are additional brushes out there. They're soft and hard bris...

tles, natural and synthetic flats rounds and specialty brushes. And one thing you ought it always sort of remembers. Try to clean your bush brushes in very luke warm, soapy water if you have it, if you don't have soapy water available just used good clean water try to get us much of the pigment out of the brush as he possibly can because then you'll have a better brush to paint with next time again never use hot water because hot water can get down into the for rule of the brush. The fur rule is this part down here, the part that actually holds the brush fibers in place and it can soften the glue in there and the brush fibers khun start to come out of your brush so you don't want to use hot water ever now these are some of the larger washed brushes one on the left uh, is a brush called it quill mop this one happens to be synthetic, but they have natural and synthetic fibers you'd get them either way, uh, they're big, they're for large washes, bigger painted areas and and all of these larger brushes air will give you more efficient painting if you follow the rule of thumb that I mentioned the other day, which is used the largest area that you use the largest brush you can for the area that you're painting so you'll paint faster, you'll paint more efficiently, you'll have a tendency to stay looser rather than zeroing in on one tiny little microscopic piece of your painting um it's just a good rule of thumb to try to remember uh mobster for soft applications and for glazing they hold lots of paint and you can see how they come to an amazing point so let me show you real quick what you could do with this big mob brush I'm actually sorry I got this particular brush it's too big for me it's very heavy and it's just too big for me I wish I'd gotten a smaller one but look at this area that you can paint with one load of the brush and then you can get a real variety of brush stroke out of that totally you can see I've got some dry brush in there can you see the dry brush along the edge of that and then you can really get to this fine point there's dry brush again and this brush is too had really too big for me to handle so I get some sort of interesting squirrely kind of yeah but if I'm looking for a read next to a beach it's perfect so brushes earth can be a downfall for I mean you know they just get you know I'm always looking for new brushes and yet you know I pretty much used the same ones every time you get your favorites and you kind of just you know it's like anything if you could just kind of stick with them you know oh now oh this is a good time to show a bloom I just dropped see that that's the blue sea that you you made your own huh why have you put a color in there than it could be a ten metal glove yeah well not will not really wet he doesn't paint quite this wit let's put yellow in and see if it now it may not work because this is thiss oye look at that this is the stainer paint now it's intentional yeah, but look at that you meant to do that oh yeah now can you see doing an underwater scene and having some likened or something on a rock or god that was beautiful now this is actually a little bit to wit if I waited for it to dry just a little bit and then dropped the paint and you'd get a more distinguishable bloom if it gets really dry you won't get a bloom you know it can't be too dry so when you use the term dry brush is that because your brushes has less water in it than when yeah I mean if you have to if you have too much water in your brush you won't be able to get a bribe dry brush technique uh but up here along the top I had more water and then as I was going down the paint was leaving the brush and so I got the very distinguishable dry brush so when you're looking for dry brush you probably you try to blood as much water out you load brush with pigment and then what you might do is take your um the thing that you're gonna blot and try to soak up is much water out of the bottom of the brush see what I'm doing there I'm soaking the water out of the bottom of the brush that leaves the pigment up on the end and then you scum ball across the paper and you could get it why bush now we're going to we're going to do dr rush here so uh that's coming up so these air just all the various brushes their washed brushes hog hairbrushes er the one on the right the two inch squirrel that's my you can see how warned that brushes that's the brush I used all the time it is so soft that you made the statement michelle, you can hardly feel it this is the squirrel brush that you can hardly feel they're very soft and they're perfect for glazing these air some other specialty brushes michelle you have a fan uh the angle brush the fans were good for a blending and special and they're good for textures you khun do leaves and rocks and trees the angle brushes next to it I like theater this particular angle brush they paint like flat brushes but I use this strictly for lifting it's a synthetic brush so it has some tensile strength to it and it just lifts a nice fine line because I'd rather use up a flat if you paint with that like a flat you have tto angle your hand in order to make that flat edge of the brush hit the paper just right and I'm just used to going like this rather than going like that, but I it's a fabulous for lifting the brush right next to it is called a dagger brush because it looked like a dagger this very interesting brush I I I bought it because I really wanted to try it I saw somebody using one I couldn't get used to using it um but I'm sure if I paid him with it more I would not learn to love it and then it may become my new favorite brush uh next to that is a needy water brush, which is a great little brush but it's a great travel brush because you khun it has a hollow handle and you khun soak clear water up into the handle and then as you paint you just squeeze the handle in the water drops down into the brush from the inside out so you don't have to go dipping in water it's fun it's a fun little brush uh especially for people who paint outside and paint on planes and you know teo take up time that those air fun little brushes to use the two on the right of the scrubbers and these air much bigger scrubbers than the one that we got in our kids uh they come in all different so isis well I can ask a question sure so it seems like when you put your brush in water and then paint there so many variables on how much water and wouldn't you prefer one of those pressures the needy just because you it seems like you would have more control well if you well yeah, but it it doesn't paint like like a beautiful sable bush you know, it's a synthetic brush and it just doesn't paint the same you could see the tip there's not as much hair on the tip it's it's just a different you'd have to try it if you if you were a master of it absolutely but you know you're not always going to squeeze the handle the right amount either yeah listen, he has a phone tip actually no it's its hair, its bristle it's white synthetic bristle here I don't know what what it's made out of do you know some filament of some kind? I don't I'm not sure on the needy one it's a fairly stiff so it doesn't do washes very well, you know it does really a lot of water color pencil artists use that is all about the water color pencil lines with them that's a good that's, a good, good idea. I never thought of that that's a good suggestion, I mean, to bring that water colored pencils never got, but we brought water color sticks, so we're going to try that before the end of the class. Um then there's hockey brushes. Now, some people just love hockey brushes. You know, those of those big fat japanese brushes with wooden handles in the short white fibres, and I meant to bring mine, and I don't think I did know I didn't, but, uh, some people use them almost exclusively and because they're reasonable and not very expensive when they start to bend over and they don't retain their shape anymore. Although I know some painters who love the fact that they get all weird bent over and they love to paint with him that way, you just toss them to get another because they're not very expensive. Precious sumi brushes. We talked about that before I did bring a sumi brush these air, the sumi brushes. I lost my protector on the end of it, so I had to get a bigger one and tape it down. Uh sumi brushes when you paint with those when you're done with them, you want to turn them this way you never want the water to go down inside the handle this way I have a friend who's, a wonderful sumi painter and she she puts a row of chopsticks on the shelf and waits him down with something and hangs all over sumi brushes yeah on the chopsticks to hang him upside down. So that's a that's a natural hair brush? Yes, yeah, this is natural now sumi brushes will eventually get to the place mine doesn't yet because I haven't used it enough, but they'll eventually get to the place where when you, uh, ben the point over like this it stays bent, you know you'll go like this and then it'll just stay bent in that shape and I don't like that very much. I'd rather have a brush that bounces back and you said that that's that's a result of ah, of a synthetic hair brush that does it after no it's it's the sumi brushes do that and these I don't know what I think they're called ox hair locks here it's a different kind of hair it's a different kind of hair and it just but see sumi is they hold the brush like this and it's most you know they do flowing strokes but it's a lot of dabbing and they don't want it to bounce back you know they're looking for that so if you're doing oriental painting these air the brushes so you want to use because you'll get that characteristic look to it that they managed to get telegraphic yes yes rafiq strokes yes staff yes so do you recommend people use um natural hair brushes as opposed to tear disappearance? You know it's about the only thing I'm really going to go out on a limb and say do is get good paper you know? And if you want a really good wash, brush your probably until they get to the place where synthetic brushes khun b a soft is purists able or pure squirrel brushes mainly squirrel those two things I would say you'd probably do well to get a really good squirrel brush for doing light glazes and washes and get really good paper everything else is just personal choice it really is so some people love to paint with sumi brushes I don't I don't I don't like how they handle some people love mops this big this is too big for me it doesn't work for me you know if I were six feet tall and weighs one hundred ninety five pounds it might be different my hand were twice the size so it you know you it's just about experimenting that's why it's good to go into art supply stores they almost always have brushes that you can try they almost always have papers out if you go into any daniel smith story you'll always be able to try these water color sticks you know try it that's how you're going to learn about it if you see a special and something that you wanted to try forever is now all of a sudden it's only thirty percent what it was two weeks ago by it if you can if you can afford it get it then even if you don't try it for a year then you'll have it for later what do you what do you consider it? Oh and inexpensive brush as faras cost oh just a few dollars but I mean like this brush my squirrel brush my wash brush that's you know on it's oh I don't know what I'm going to do when this one goes that paid almost forty bucks for this brush this number sixteen kolinsky sable is one hundred twenty dollars brush now this was a gift to me thank you very much I appreciate it I don't know that I would ever have bought it but it's a wonderful brush this is the only brush that ted not all uses this one brush that's it no other brush so he you know, I've probably spent four hundred dollars on brushes he's spent a hundred twenty he probably spent a lot more initially trying to figure out what that was that was that was the brushy one, right? Probably with a drawer full of brushes and me and I know who knows how many of these he's got. I'm sure he has more than one of them, but just, you know, it's all about experimentation because and and this is what I love about art in general, everybody does something different every body's know one painter looks like any other painter and this is something I want to tell you about brushes. Also, brush strokes can be the characteristic that distinguishes one painter from another, but it can be the one characteristic that gives you your style. So, uh I mean, when I try to paint like dan lynley, I mean, she just she paints so fast when I try to paint like that, it looks like a six year old did it? I mean, I just go ok there's a piece of scrap paper so she's like, almost like he's conducting yeah, exactly. She stands back, she moves forward, she leans over, she almost always paint standing up, she would be horrified sitting down in the chair and, you know, everybody's got their own way that's a really good point to standing versus city oh, yeah, I always stand when I pay. Yeah, because it helps when you're standing much more freedom of movement and your arm when I was in your wrist. You exactly, exactly when you paint sitting down, you're going like this, but, you know, for this class and for the video and for these eighth sheets and for what we're doing if I were trying to paint a real painting like the painting that I started in the in the banter and the first couple of classes not real happy with that painting, and I think it's because my mobility is different, you know, because I'm painting it sitting down and up close, but when I paint in my studio always standing, always standing and you, you get a more fluid line. Now I read somewhere that somebody, when he gives a workshop, he won't let you, you know how he makes everybody paint, he makes them put their they sit on a chair, he makes them put their paintings on the floor so that they have to so that they have to stretch their arm completely out and that way, he said, you can't get lost in the details, you can only pay attention to the shapes and the colors because some of us can't see that far yeah, I just bought a new pair of glasses. So one of these days and proud and about another week, I'm going to be able to finally see you so and wonder that one of the thing I want to tell you about your brushes is never if your if you want to paint in acrylics and you want to paint in watercolors and and you wouldn't use oil painting brushes for these these mediums anyway. But some people can use the same brushes for a quick lick and that they do for water color, but try not to mix him up. If you have a brush that use for acrylic, keep itfor acrylic, and especially with acrylic, you need to clean those brushes really well, because acrylic drives and once it dries, doesn't wet and soften and come out quite the same way that watercolor does. One thing you really need to do is get a good brush holder for your brushes. The one on the left came with a very large portfolio that I bought for transferring my watercolor paper in supplies back and forth, and the one on the right is made from those like bamboo sticks that they roll ups sushi in, but you could get this is called a food of maki brush holder. And, uh, you can see it's got little stitched, ah, fabric for you sticking up, brushes down, and then you roll it up and you seal it over with that little thing, a little plastic, uh, thing on the end, and it protects your brushes. And because it's hard, and then the other one that I uses this one here, and I use this one all the time, especially if I don't think I'm going to be using lots and lots of brushes. I'll bring in this one, and it holds what? Maybe a dozen brushes, something like that, and it folds like this and has a velcro, and I use this all the time. This one also, you can stand up and you, khun. Yeah, this is very nice. This this just put your brushes right in front of you and stand him up and use him that way. It's, a great holder.

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.



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.


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