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Art Questions And Answers

Sometimes students write in and ask questions regarding how to paint with watercolors

The answers might be helpful to others, so here they are.


Art Questions And Answers

Please describe for me what you mean by ' sedimentary color '?

Sure John

Pigments are either significantly heavier than water or not. The heavier ones sediment out very quickly, pooling in the valleys of watercolor paper. This makes for a lovely shimmer in the final painting. BUT. It only works if you let the wash settle, and then DO NOT MESS WITH IT. This is covered in the video lesson about watercolor paint.

Hello.  What do you use for your palette?  Also, do you squeeze fresh paint every time you sit to paint?  Your paints look fresh out of the tube.  By the way, you're really, really good!

Thanks for the question Vanie

Palette is a piece of white plastic. Paints are in a ice cube tray. Between sessions I keep the tray in a baggie along with a wet sponge.


I am wondering how long watercolor paint lasts after being put into palate wells.

Forever. If you keep it wet, say by putting the palette inside a sealed plastic bag, poorer quality paints will mildew in anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If you let them dry, they are good forever.

Here is what I do with my travel palette: Let it dry thoroughly at the end of a trip.

A few days before the next trip, I spray water on the paint. Then I seal the palette in a
plastic bag with a wet sponge. This works too well sometimes. If the paint becomes too
soft, it will run around inside the palette. So when someone else is going to handle my
bags ( Like flying ) I take care to get it just a little soft before the day of travel. When I get to my destination I seal it up with the very wet sponge again. In the morning its good to go.


Chris Crossen asks:

message: Hi, just watched your video on wetting paper. Thanks... very informative. I have a question: I am painting a large watercolor (lanaquarelle cold press 40x60") that
will take a number of days if not weeks to complete. My general thought is to clamp the paper down to the table using large clamps and 1" thin wooden frame over the paper to provide fixation. I plan on wetting the paper while it's clamped, letting it dry, and
then proceed to paint over the ensuing weeks... keeping the paper clamped down to the table. Do you think this will work to prevent warping, etc.? Any other ideas for such a large piece of paper?

I let it warp. Once done I put it face down on a flat surface. Then wet it pretty liberally on the back to within a few mm if the edge. Lay some cloth (a towel ) over the back, put a piece board over the sandwich and add some weights. The whole thing will dry flat as new.

Bonnie is having problems with the coloring book and asks about blending:

I've done your first lesson on values and I'm doing mine on 140Lb watercolor paper.  I can do the value scales on the right side of the page fine. However, I'm having a little difficulty with the blending in the scales on the left side of the print out. Do you have any further tips you can give me? I'll put down the darkest value just fine, but when I wet my brush, wipe it a little and come back to blend, it's like my brush cuts into the dark value and takes away some of it without blending it. Then, if I leave it too long, the paint is set and I can�t change the value line without a tad of scrubbing, if you know what I mean.  The scrubbing then lifts up paper crumbs a little (or appears to until it's dry). But when I have too much water it bleeds everywhere. Help! I'd really like to know how to blend well.

Draw the boxes onto watercolor paper. It will not dissolve like copy paper.   The reason I called the exeresis "Neurotics Coloring Book" is to imply that its difficult. Its the primary skill.


Cheryl asks the truth about the following sayings:

First you need to paint an acre of paper.
The first thousand don't count.

That's nonsense. The problem is that nobody thinks to teach paint handling.

Watercolor can be tricky. That is why I created the "Coloring Book" lesson. All I can say is, watch what I do in the video and fiddle with it until you have it.


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