Have you ever wanted to learn to paint with watercolor? Try these easy watercolor lessons and be amazed at what you can do!

Watercolor painting is a beautiful art medium.I have been doing watercolor painting for about 2 years now. It's an art medium that definitely takes patients and practice. No one just jumps into watercolor and turns out a perfectly beautiful painting the first time around. It's really all about finding your own style along the journey. If you are nervous about picking up a paint brush all by yourself check out some of your local art museums to see if there are any watercolor lessons or classes being taught. Always remember, it's only paint! A watercolor painting that you paint yourself makes an excellent and impressive homemade gift. All it takes is some practice to find your own style! Below you will find some watercolor tutorials you can try yourself.

Some people paint very loosely. Others are very "tight". It just depends on who you are and how you feel comfortable painting. I myself am a "tight" painter. I like realism and try to get things very exact.

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Stargazer Lily Watercolor
Michael Cox
The lily painting is a lot like my style. I like this painitng a lot.

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Watercolor Provence Lands...
This painting is done in a much looser style. Nicely done, just in a very different style.

Watercolor Supplies You Will Need To Begin

It's important to have the right supplies when you take watercolor lessons or just want to play around on your own.

Watercolor Paper Watercolor papers come in different surfaces and weights. The paper you need depends on the type of painting watercolour painting you want to do.

Machine-made watercolor papers come in three surfaces: rough, hot-pressed, and cold-pressed.

Rough watercolor paper has a textured surface which is also called the paper's tooth. Water collects in the texture of the paper giving the painting somewhat of a grainy appearance.

Hot-pressed watercolor paper has a smooth surface with almost no tooth. Paint dries very quickly on it. washes are easier to do on this paper because they come go on more evenly.

Cold-pressed watercolor paper has a slightly textured surface, somewhere in between rough and hot-pressed paper. cold pressed paper can be used for painting many different types of subject matter and therefore is the most popular type for artists to use.

Finding the right paper for yourself takes a little "playing" to see what you like the best. There are also many different manufacturers of watercolour paper so experiment until you find the brand you like best. Personally I like Richeson's art papers the best. I like to paint large. So usually I use a whole sheet of watercolor paper. I always buy the 22"x30" 140 lb. Cold Press.

You you plan on taking watercolor lessons make sure to ask the instructor what type of paper they suggest you purchase. They may want you to buy a certain kind that works better for the lesson or class they are planning to teach.

The painting you see here is one I did of my daughter. For portraits I like a smooth texture to the paper. The thickness of watercolor paper is indicated by its weight, measured either in grams per square metre(gsm)or pounds per ream(lb).

The standard machine weights are 190 gsm (90 lb), 300 gsm (140 lb), 356 gsm (260 lb), and 638 gsm (300 lb). I wouldn't recommend paper with a weight of less than 356 gsm (260 lb) because it is likely to warp. Lighter paper needs to be stretched before it is used and I don't have the time or patients for that. When I want to paint, I just want to get too it.

TIP Use acid-free paper for paintings you wish to keep as this will yellow less with age.

Watercolor paper can mostly be found in white, but there are other colors it does come in.

Drawing Before You Begin Painting

Some people shy away from trying watercolor painting or don't even try to take watercolor lessons because they don't feel they can draw well enough. If you are one of these people have no fear. I you feel that your drawing skills are lacking try projecting an image onto paper with an overhead projector or try tracing an already drawn picture onto your watercolor paper with a light board or simply using a window. The light coming through the window will act as a light box.

Painting Supplies

Watercolor Paint

Paints come in tubes or pans (small blocks). Pans are cheaper and but tend to dry out. I don't care much for the pans because I just don't get the vibrant colors like I do from tubes of water colors. Water color paint in tubes has to be squeezed onto a palette; it's easier to use for large areas of color. There's a big difference between student and professional paints; rather buy a few quality paints than many cheap colors. Half the fun of water color is mixing your colors as you go. You will find that you will hardly ever use the color of paint right out of the tube.

Watercolor Brushes I have a few water color brushes I use all the time. Personally I like flat brushes better than the round and I also tend to lean more toward a stiffer brush. Sable brushes are considered the ultimate in watercolor brushes because of the fine point the hairs reach, their ability to spring back into shape, and the amount of paint they hold. Less expensive options are brushes with a mixture of sable and synthetic hairs or 100% synthetic brushes. My suggestion is to start with cheaper brushes until you find the type you like and then spend the money on more expensive ones. Most of my brushes are 100% synthetic and I have been painting with watercolor for quite a long time.

You will need at least one watercolor "round" brush. I suggest a size 8, and if you plan to do larger paintings, a size 10 or 12. When purchasing brushes know that a natural hair brush will wear out faster than a synthetic one. Yes, your brushes do wear out and will eventually have to be replaced!

You will also need a flat wash brush, 1/2" or larger. I use a 1" and a 1/2". They are a synthetic fibre brush, with a longer handle.

Just like the papers, if you are planning on taking watercolor lessons with an instructor, check to see if there are specific paint colors you will need for the watercolor workshop or class.

Framing your painting

Picture matting and framing can get very expensive. This is what I do. I go to my local thrift shop to find frames. You would be amazed at what you find for super cheap prices. I simply take the picture that is currently in the fram out and replace it with a new matt and the painting I did. I put the frame back together again and wha la..... A master piece!

Watercolor Tutorials and Lessons:

Winter barn scene

Watercolor Portrait Lesson

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