- Watercolor Class with Douglas Williams, Package of 6 classes. Fridays 12 to 2 pm.
Watercolor Class with Douglas Williams, Package of 6 classes. Fridays 12 to 2 pm.
This is a special offer of 6 classes for only $80.
So, you want to learn to paint, huh? You think you can’t, huh? Don’t know where to start, huh? No problem. We’ll fix all that! This little white paper will outline what you need to get started in a hobby that will take you into a new world, a world of relaxation, fascination, meditation, and new friends.
So what do you need to get started? “Just three things,” he says, tongue in cheek and fingers crossed. “Paper, brushes, and paint,” he continues, fingers still crossed. “That sounds simple,” you think. But is it? Let’s find out. We’ll start with paper because you have to have something to put the paint on.
First of all, just any old paper won’t do. You must have watercolor paper, but just any old watercolor paper won’t do. So what shall we use? Does it matter that much? Firstly, the paper must be 100% cotton. Cheaper paper is made of wood pulp, just like newsprint, and you know what happens to a newspaper when it gets old: it turns brown, gets crumbly, and disintegrates. Further, sometimes the paint doesn’t handle well on it. On the other hand, cotton paper survives the effects of time and absorbs the paint well.
Secondly, watercolor paper comes in different weights. A good choice would be 140-pound (140#) paper (some brands are 200#, instead). 90# crinkles and warps when it gets wet, so requires special handling, and 300# is overkill and is too costly.
Finally, our paper comes with different finishes: hot-press, cold-press, and rough. Hot press has a very smooth surface; it is great for such things as portraits or where a lot of detail is required, can be tricky when a lot of water is used. Cold-press has a rougher surface: textured, one might say. The paint stays better where you put it, and it adds interest to landscapes. Lastly, there’s rough. Rough paper has a much more textured finish, as the name indicates. It is great for loosely-painted landscapes.
All of these types have their place, but we will use 140# cotton for our classes, since it is a good compromise regardless of what subjects you want to paint.
But which brand? I prefer Arches (correctly pronounced arsh, but most Americans say it like it’s spelled. Whatever.). The paint generally goes on well, and it holds up to vigorous scrubbing. Fabriano is a dream to paint on, but not as resistant to scrubbing out as is Arches. Windsor & Newton is a well-liked paper made by the biggest name in the painting industry. Well, maybe not really “made by”, because I think they have it made for them by a paper company. Strathmore 400 Series is the least expensive of these, but pretty good paper. Just be sure to use the 400 Series and not the 300 Series, which is not worth the paper it’s printed on. [sic]
I recently discovered the “end-all” bargain in brushes. Kolinsky sable brushes are the dream of every watercolorist, but they are horribly expensive, like choose to eat or choose Kolinsky. However, what I found is beyond belief. Google “Fuumuui” (I have no idea how you pronounce that; I call it “phooey mooey”) and you will find plenty of places to get them; I got mine on Amazon — $16.99 for a set of nine Kolinsky rounds, sizes 0 - 14. All you will need at first are round brushes, so that set is perfect.
Taklon brushes are also a good choice.
Now we get to the fun part: paints. I will tell you about my palette and then mention some other well-known brands. I use Daniel Smith colors. Why? Because they are of the highest quality, they are consistent, and they are made in America (Washington). Unfortunately, they are also expensive. Another famous brand is Windsor & Newton. I also like them, but what I dislike is their use of marketing names, which makes it difficult to compare their colors to other brands. Utrecht and M. Graham are two more good ones. Finally, Cotman is a student grade made by Windsor & Newton. You might want to consider these if you don’t want to invest a lot of money in getting started painting. But what colors?
You will need only three colors for our first class: cobalt blue, Hansa yellow medium, and quinacridone red. Just get the small tubes, usually 5 milliliters.
Here is my palette:
Hansa yellow light
Hansa yellow medium
Hansa yellow deep
You will also need something to use as a palette — a white ceramic saucer or plate will do nicely, a #2 or HB pencil, and a white eraser.