My Painting Supplies
The watercolour paper we use makes a huge difference to how we paint. There is a mind boggling range and choice on offer, from paper in pads to loose sheets. Understandably cost plays a big part, we are all on a budget. However don't underestimate the affect the paper you are using is having on your work!
My painting did not start to improve until I took a course with a teacher who insisted on the paper we would use. I had been struggling with the paint absorbing into the pulp too fast, drying much quicker than I wanted. I had no time in which to work and it made the painting process difficult. I purchased the paper stipulated and have not looked back.
There is an enormous difference between hobby papers and professional grade. Hobbyist paper is made from wood pulp and has a thin layer of gesso applied to the surface. Student grade is a mix of wood plup and cotton with a slightly better layer of gesso. Whereas professional grade is 100% cotton and has had many layers of gesso applied to the surface.
I use processional grade paper, either Saunders Rough or Archers Rough – yes they are an investment no doubt about that, however the difference is enormous.
Dry brush strokes being one of the essential techniques of ‘watercolour painting’, I always use Rough paper as it is next to impossible to produce that technique on other surfaces. Of course there are many different approaches for using watercolour paint where a rough surface is not required, ‘pen and wash’ is just one typical example.
Brushes – The clue is in the title ‘Water Colour’!
I do not use many brushes, and personally I am not keen on sable as I find them far too soft to draw with.
I am astounded by how many brushes watercolour painters use! Most often they have bags of brushes all with 3 hairs which hold no water, or the brushes are years old and have no shape anymore.
It’s the brush that makes the mark folks!
I limit what I use to a few good quality brushes, and replace them once the point is wearing out! Which in my case painting every day and treating them hard is within a few months! It might sound mad but because I use so few I get to know my brushes, I know exactly how much paint each one holds, and what each one will and will not do. This is a huge advantage.
Watercolour does require good sized brushes that hold plenty of water, again the clue is in the title 'water colour'. Everything relies on availability of enough water. I use the brushes below...
I use ‘professional artist quality watercolour paint, fresh paint in tubes not pans! There are very good reasons for this, which I list below.
I don't concern myself with the names of colours, I have learned to think in terms of the heat of colour. My palette consists two reds, two yellows and
two blues, one of each warm and cool tones from the Daniel Smith range of paint. I also like Raw Sienna but prefer Windsor & Newtons which is a prettier shade. From these I mix all my own colours'.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask.