With all those branches, leaves and bark, painting a robust pine tree can be a fun experience to dive into. Whether you're painting one from your own backyard or painting a Christmas tree to get in the holiday spirit, the whole process is simple to follow and a blast to explore.
Gouache is a hybrid of watercolor and acrylic paint, and while it's not as well-known as its fellow water-soluble paints, it's definitely worth experimenting with. After all, painting with gouache can produce incredibly versatile results, depending on how much water you use and the tools you implement.
In the world of water-based paint, watercolor and acrylic tend to be more well-known than gouache. But that doesn't mean gouache isn't worth working with. An in-between of watercolor and acrylic, its properties act more like watercolor while giving an opaqueness that's akin to acrylic. The chalkiness in gouache also can't be found in any other type of paint, and the hues are more concentrated to give you brighter, crisper washes.
If you typically dabble in watercolor but also happen to love acrylic, don't choose between the two. Instead, opt for painting with gouache. It's the best of both worlds — depending on how much water you use with it, gouache can have a matte-like acrylic effect or look more like an opaque version of watercolor.
So you've found the perfect watercolor paper for your next project. Before you prep your palette and grab your brush, you may have to stretch it. Most watercolorists do so before painting, especially when using a thinner variety, as the process expands the fibers of the paper so it doesn't buckle or warp. After all, it's much more enjoyable to paint on a flat surface and be able to use as much water as you want.
Fact: no one wants a dull painting. But that doesn't mean you should overlook the power of mixing muted and dull colors. These seemingly drab tones will help your paintings reach a whole new level of depth and realism, and it's all done with an understanding of color intensity.
Not all watercolors look the same. In fact, each color is one of three qualities when put to paper: transparent, semi-transparent and opaque. Each cover the surface of your watercolor paper to a different degree, letting more or less of the light reflected from the paper show through the pigment.
When it comes to value, watercolors are incredibly versatile. Color value simply refers to the levels of darkness and lightness of any particular color, and depending on the amount of water you use to pick up a hue, your brushstroke can be bright and saturated, incredibly sheer or somewhere in between.
Using the right (or wrong) type of paper can truly make or break your painting, and there's no better feeling than finding the perfect one for your project. If you're just getting started in the realm of watercolor — or you've just never tried different varieties — there are a few things to consider before picking up your paint brush.
Got more canvas tote bags than you know what to do with? Rather than let them pile up in the closet, give 'em new life with a stencil and paint.
This Easter basket is filled with brightly-colored eggs, pink chicks, jewel-like jelly beans and a big chocolate bunny. What could be sweeter? With this simple tutorial, you can dream up your perfect basket, then bring it to life with watercolor.
Real talk: you can never have too many adorable bunnies in your life. And in just a few steps, you can capture the twitching noses, gazing eyes and long, floppy ears in watercolor. Hop to it!
Fact: you can never go wrong with a handmade gift. But if your recipient lives far away, navigating how to ship your homemade goods can be totally stress-inducing, especially a painting. What if it's too big for an envelope? Or it gets wet in transit?
There's more to painting clouds than loading your brush with white paint and making big blobs in the sky. Remember, there are different types of clouds — throwback to grade school science class! — and each has its own opacity, shape and way to paint it. So whether you want to paint a landscape en plein air or work from a photo, these are the four cloud types to know — and the tricks to keep in mind when making 'em.
Sometimes you've gotta mix it up — especially when it comes to making art. If you're itching to experiment with abstract painting, you've hit the inspiration jackpot.
Watercolor sketching refers to any watercolor work that's completed quickly, with a loose, informal style. It's often used as a "warm up" for a bigger, more detailed painting, but it's also a great practice for any on-the-go artist.
Blue summer skies and starry watercolor night scenes are fun to paint, but dreary days deserve some love, too. Think of a snowy day, the pearly light of a cloud-covered sun illuminating the horizon. How about a November morning with drizzle so fine it tints the air with silver mist?
Whether you're a watercolorist, acrylic maven or colored pencil crazy, there's a flower-fabulous project for you to tackle. Don't sweat it if you've got a black thumb — these blooms will never wilt and will always brighten your day.
If one art medium is good, two or more is even better, right? Mixing up your materials is a great way to open up new creative territory with your artwork. Give it a try and if you're lucky, you'll surprise yourself!
As if acrylic paint isn't cool enough already, modifying it with different mediums makes it positively magic. Just by mixing your medium of choice into your base paint, you can make your paint thicker, thinner, shinier, textured and even change how long it takes to dry. The first step: understanding the basic types.
Let it snow and let the paint flow! Freezing temps are the perfect excuse to cozy up with your brushes and create a few wintry works of art. Cocoa optional.
Whether you're painting from a reference photo or working en plein air at your favorite park, creating landscapes has got to be one of the most relaxing and inspiring forms of painting. And the more different subjects you tackle, the more your skill set will grow.
Outdoor watercolor painting is something I recommend to all of my students. When you're out in nature feeling the air and watching the light change right in front of your eyes, you can bring more than just an image of a landscape to your paintings; you can bring a sense of atmosphere and emotion.
If you already know your way around the basics of brush and palette, it's time to let your skills set sail!
So many acrylic paints, so little time! If you ever wandered the aisles of an art-supply store feeling half-excited, half-overwhelmed, we feel you. You just need a little guidance. So here's a quick lesson on the main types of acrylics out there and what each can do for you.
A pet portrait is an excellent way to honor your fur baby, BFF (best feathered friend) or other beloved critter. Painting one is easier than it may look; in fact, you might be surprised to learn that capturing a pet’s likeness on canvas actually uses many of the same techniques as painting any portrait.
There’s an old saying in my family that the best way to ruin an adventure is to bring too much stuff. I have found that to be true for en plein air watercolor painting, too.
At first glance, making green paint is easy: Just mix yellow and blue. Done!
Too big! Too small! Just right!? Picking the right art-canvas size can be tricky — and highly subjective.
You thought you'd mastered the tree back in preschool — a brown rectangle topped with a big blob of green. But once you traded in those tubs of tempura for tubes of acrylic, you learned the humbling truth: Trees are actually pretty tricky to paint well, especially if you're going for a bit more realism.
If you've got a disposable plastic dinner plate, you have a painting palette. Just saying: Many artists, myself included, started out with one of those.
You were in kindergarten when you learned to mix blue and yellow to make green — and you nailed it! Yet somehow mixing watercolors to create just the right shade still seems hard. How exactly do you get the right color and consistency and not end up with a big puddle of mud?
Stocking up on paint brushes can put a serious dent in your art budget, especially if you're buying high-quality ones. You want to protect that investment, don't you?
Let's be honest: You don't need to stretch your own canvas anymore. You don't need to prime your own canvas. You don't even need to paint your own painting.
Splatter painting, the technique made famous by Jackson Pollock, is energetic, unpredictable and a whole lot of fun. There are three common methods used to add abstract expressionist style to art, and each can be done with either acrylics or watercolors. Just be ready: things are about to get messy!
It's pretty much impossible to paint animals without knowing how to paint fur. True, not every species has fur, but if you want to paint animals that look real, at some point you'll need to deal with the fur factor.
Acrylic and watercolor might seem to live in two completely different universes. After all, the two mediums result in dramatically different looks. Acrylics deliver a flat, opaque, almost plastic-like finish. Watercolors, on the other hand, create a luminous look, full of tonal variations, depending on the amount of water used.
When you're painting a landscape or a seascape, keep your eye on the sky. Sunny, stormy, cloudless or hazy, the sky can play a supporting role in your composition, or it can be the most riveting element.
This Valentine's Day, give a piece of your heart with a cool mashup of collage and watercolor. Not a watercolor fan? No sweat — you can reinterpret this design using markers, colored pencils or even glitter. Whatever medium you choose, your boo will heart it.
We get it: Painting with watercolors can be challenging, especially if you're a newbie. Who out there can create a killer artwork the first time they try a new medium? Yeah, no one.
Taking a journey to anywhere can jump-start your creativity. But that's not all a trip can do. It can also help you edit your watercolor supplies as you pack. The payoff: a lightweight, portable kit that lets you paint as well on the go as you do at home.
You've made up your mind to finally take a crack at knitting, cake decorating, paper crafting … whatever. But how to make it happen when there are so many options? The truth: Just. Go. Start.
One of the best parts of winter is watching falling snow. (Sorry California, you're stuck with this all year round.) So wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to capture that magic in watercolors? Of course it would. Here's how to do it.
Water is endlessly inspiring to artists. There's something deeply compelling about its ever-changing nature, whether in a still, reflective pond or a rushing stream. But water is also one of the most difficult things to paint realistically in acrylic.
Sometimes when you're working with acrylic, you want your paint to have a more liquid effect (like if you're painting a water scene). Diluting acrylic paint in water isn't necessarily the path: if you dilute beyond 50 percent, the paint won't cover your substrate evenly or adhere well. That's just frustration waiting to happen.
We all know that painting a portrait is a challenge, and painting a portrait in watercolor is even more so. But if you do it right, a watercolor portrait can be an incredibly satisfying project.