The Magic & Myths of Watercolour Painting


Internationally acclaimed artist and writer of ‘Painting Expressive Watercolour‘ Bridget Woods, shares with us her passion for watercolour, dispels some myths involved with this medium and provides some practical guidance for portray on the go.

My enthusiasm for watercolour started out with Ralph Thompson portray on the television. A hand and brush would show up and with a number of tranquil strokes, magically depict a wild animal.  Mesmerised by the electric power of a single moist brush mark to express so significantly, I was, aged 8, driven to preserve my pocket funds and buy a bamboo-taken care of brush and simple e-book on Chinese brush portray. 

My good reasons for deciding on watercolour

Objectively and almost, watercolour is rapid to use in transforming climate ailments and to capture movement e.g. clouds, men and women, animals, h2o.  The paint (only a few colours are completely important), the palette, brushes, paper and water are compact and light-weight to have. No mess. No fumes. Very little cleansing up. 

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

Subjectively, I consider watercolour is an honest medium – each and every layer of paint has a semi-clear quality that reveals previous marks.  It is a time witness – its lucidity offers a notion of recording time.  It enables the velocity to specific a feeling, assumed, style and design, thought, ambiance, desire, invented tale in advance of it slips away.  For me watercolour can convey not just the challenging details but the understated nuances that contact the heart. 

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

Following 63 several years, I even now have the wish to even further examine the potential of watercolour. I like watching paints managing jointly in h2o and appreciate the visceral practical experience of making use of my fingers and nails instantly into soaked paint.

It is enjoyable enjoying with h2o – observing the h2o do what YOU want it to while it is doing what IT wants to do.

There are various myths about portray watercolour

“It’s quite difficult” however the temperature, environmental problems and the painter’s mood can unpredictably have an affect on the consequence, operating with earth – pigment, h2o – car or truck, air – drying, fire – evaporation, fuses the artist with the essential things of our existence. So, if the purely natural conduct of drinking water is highly regarded and noticed, it does not only do what you want, but will inevitably categorical these elements. ie the atmospheric situations of weather conditions and your mood!

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

“It’s wishy washy and a lot less powerful than other media” – expression is the option of the artist!

“It’s an effortless medium to learn” – any individual can do it, but only the powerful-minded do well with this satisfying pursuit!  If, like King Canute, you have an expectation of full manage, water will really encourage, even oblige, you to respectfully stroll alongside…

“It’s complicated due to the fact you just cannot paint white over the major of paint” – you never even have to paint the white areas because the white paper has already designed them! I have developed methods to paint all over ‘white, bright and pale’ subjects that can describe great depth and are enjoyment to use. For the image, under left, ‘Sparkling Nile’, I soaked the paper, leaving only the solar, making and drinking water-sparkle designs dry. Then, working wet into damp, the portray was finished in a couple minutes.

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

“It’s tricky due to the fact the water runs out of my control” – use this high quality for immediately covering huge regions with unique colors or  tones of paint and to study to stay in the minute and have enjoyment!

“It’s also weighty or large to carry” – a Winsor and Newton Subject box, 3 x most important colors, 2 x  filled aqua brush brushes and a compact watercolour guide or postcards in a sealable plastic bag is mild. Employing a homemade zigzag of Arches paper this package only weighs only 6ozs/175g and can in good shape in a jacket pocket or hold on a belt or coat button when I’m going for walks.

“My painting will fade, not like oil paint” – artist quality watercolour paints are created with a wide variety of normally developing or synthetic secure pigments. Artists in all media can easily choose a palette of very lightfast colours which will not fade more than time. 

My vital components for plein air

I never ever resist obtaining exciting various and new colours but, outside, I carry the minimum (sizing and excess weight) to accomplish the most. My kit is composed of

  • 6 x artist’s high quality watercolour paint colours: two blues, two yellows and two reds.
    • both Ultramarine (PB29), Cobalt Blue Deep (PB73) or Cobalt Blue (PB28)
    • possibly Winsor Blue (green shade) (PB15), Phthalo Blue (PB15) or Rigorous Blue (PB15)
    • possibly Clear Yellow (PY150), New Gamboge (PY153) or Winsor Yellow (PY154)
    • Winsor Lemon (PY175)
    • either Scarlet Lake (PR188) or Winsor Pink (PR254)
    • Everlasting Rose (PV19)
  • Watercolour Paper 
  • Watercolour Paintbox
  • Comfortable, pure hair brushes 
  • Lightweight board  
  • Two clips
  • Waterpot
  • H2o
  • Kitchen roll
  • Transformed picnic rucksack
  • Steel easel
Bridget Woods Plein Air Paintng with Watercolour Box

There are two standard methods of paint software

To stay away from the distraction of colour, I have utilized monochromatic illustrations.

Soaked on Dry layered washes.

JS Cotman was an exponent of this technique which is specifically suitable for controlled and in-depth painting e.g. structures, townscapes, botanical topics, demanding smoother paper for cleaner-edged marks. ‘Sultry Day’ down below still left, has experienced four apps (extensively dried concerning each) of the similar clean combination to step by step intensify the tone.

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

Textural combos of moist, damp and dry brush and paper. 

Historically, JMW Turner was a great exponent of this expressive and faster system. Employed, when driven by a sudden motivation to history gatherings on his travels or, like the Impressionists, a unique second of weather conditions, mild and time. Employing a rough, cotton rag paper extends the vary of texture. The picture on the proper above, ‘Snow in Graffham’ was painted 1st employing soaked on moist, then dry on wet for the sky, snow and distant trees. I included sharp damp on dry and speckled dry on dry trees to finish when the underpainting was dry.

The Rewards of ‘Playing attention’

Watercolour teaches me that – although I are not able to master it – I can, by looking at how water normally behaves, work with it as my respected friend. Experimental engage in is the only route to talent. Therefore, the open-minded artist develops a perception of acceptance and childlike joy. 

Dynamically describing sights, views and feelings with the insight that internal and outer observation nourishes, brings a perception of currently being in the instant – a component of the universe.


Watercolour is not only a medium of self-expression but, in my impression, THE medium of Self-Expression 

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

Bridget Woods, an internationally acclaimed artist, is regarded for her approachable educating type. Possessing taught herself both of those oil and watercolour portray, she selected to specialise in clear watercolour which, alongside one another with her passion for existence drawing, impressed her to write ‘Life drawing – a journey to Self-expression’ and ‘Painting Expressive Watercolour’ (The Crowood Press) believing that folks create mostly to convey their personal individual ‘voice’. Watercolour is now her trainer!

Obtain her new e-book ‘Painting Expressive Watercolour by Bridget Woods‘ on our website.

Painting Expressive Watercolour by Bridget Woods OUT NOW 192 pages of inspiring expressive watercolour paintings.


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