The challenge of learning how to paint with watercolors is controlling the water and paint.
I enjoy a challenge that is what makes painting with watercolors enjoyable.
- Transfer your Koi drawing to the painting surface with "Ad" graphite paper.
The painting is on a "Ad" 11x14 Aquabord. The aquabord does not bend. That makes it easy to pick it up and tilt it to move the poured paints where you want them.
- Mask the highlight areas on the water with "Ad" masking fluid. Let the masking fluid (also called frisket) dry completely before proceeding.
Learn more about how to preserve the whites in watercolor paintings.
This painting uses the rule of thirds for the composition.
how to paint with watercolors
- Start the painting with yellow Koi who is the focal point of the painting.
We bring attention to a focal point by using warm verses cool colors.
We also use contrasting values.
He is painted with New Gamboge. Add a bit of blue to grey down his fins.
The eyes and mouth are a combination of red and blue that makes a black.
Start painting the focal fish.
- Next is the side-kick of the yellow Koi.
This koi is a bit smaller so it would look deeper in the water. We'll see how it works when we get farther into the painting.
Paint yellow on what will be the orange parts.
While it was still wet, drop in some Quinacridone Red. They mingled together to create orange.
Lightly used some yellow to indicated warmth on the white areas of the fish.
The colors flow to make orange.
- Next is the body guard for the yellow fish. He looks tough, don't you think?
Wet the colored areas of the fish with clear water and leave the white areas dry.
Paint the red areas with Winsor Red. Quinacridone Red didn't give a very bright red. Use whatever red you prefer. The cadmium reds or their replacement (Winsor Red) give the most saturated red colors.
While the red was still wet, add some black spots. The colors softly mingle together. (Mix the red and blue for the black.)
Paint the red and black,
leave the white dry.
Oh, the beauty of learning how to paint with watercolor.
- You may practice pouring this fish. (How to pour is in the next section.)
Pour yellow on one side. Pour red on the opposite side of the fish. Let the two colors to mingle together.
They mingled, but they ran outside of the small area of the fish because the mix had too much water.
The dark background will cover the runs outside of the fish's body.
That's part of the challenge of how to paint with watercolors.
Experiment with the top fish.
pouring the background
- Pouring is a fun part of learning how to paint with watercolors
The major painting is done on the Koi.
We will detail them after the background is finished.
When the background is done, we will be better able to see the colors and values.
Then we can use them to our advantage.
Ready to do the background
prepare your paint
- Put about a quarter inch of each color into separate containers, red, yellow and blue.
- Add about a tablespoon of water.
- Stir them thoroughly to dissolve all the paint.
Mix the paints in cups with water.
start pouring the colors
The background is dry.
- Keep the painting support level. You will be better able to control the colors and keep them out of the Koi on a level surface.
I started with the blue in the upper right. Then I put some red on the left.
I spritzed the top edges of the blue and red to make them softly move out into the white.
- Keep pouring the three colors around the koi. Use your artistic license and choose what looks good to your preferences.
Start pouring the watercolor paint
The unpredictable movement of the colors is a joy of learning how to paint with watercolors!
let the paint dry
- When you are satisfied with the results, let it dry overnight.
The colors between the lower left Koi look brown.
Oh-oh, I realize what I did. I broke one of my own rules.
I mixed Winsor Red. It is not a transparent color. It doesn't mix well with other colors. So I got brown instead of a purple.
But actually it makes a warm background for the warm fish.
The background around the yellow focal fish is cool. The contrast brings attention to the focal fish.
The pouring is finished. Let it dry.
detailing the koi
Soften the edges between the Koi and the water.
The hard edges are left on the focal Koi to make him stand out.
Apply a thin wash of blue around the edges of each koi to give them form and set them into the water.
If the poured watercolor went over the fins, pull out the fins with a stiff damp brush.
When I was first learning how to paint with watercolors, I made the mistake of removing masking from damp paint.
What a mess! The masking picked up paint. I got paint on my fingers and touched it into areas where it didn't belong. A lesson well learned.
- Make sure the painting is dry, then remove the masking.
- Soften the water swirls with a damp brush. Shadow them to give them form.
- Make any corrections that catch your eye.
The top left fish was competing with the focal fish. The swirl across its head was removed.
Adjustments were made to the background so he didn't draw so much attention.
The dark on the right of its body was removed by spritzing water on the color and blotting it up with a paper towel. Red was poured to replace the dark color.
now you know how to paint with watercolors by pouring - have fun!
Get Ready to Paint