Watercolours are often the first choice of painting method for beginners.
Many beginners think that a photo realistic likeness is the objective of painting but this is not the only goal.
Painting goes beyond a laboured attempt at a facsimile of the scene in front of you.Capturing the essence of a subject is about colour,light and shadow, shapes, patterns and mood.
Looking at examples of work by well known masters of water colour will give you inspiration and help you focus your first attempts on what inspires you.It may be landscapes, portraits, flowers, animals or still life.Maybe you want to start a journal like Edith Holden the Edwardian Lady who kept an illustrated diary of the countryside around her. Her journal was found in a dining room cupboard years after she was dead and became a best seller.
One of my favourite landscape water colour artists is Rowland Hilder,known for his paintings of the English Countryside.
The choice of materials available can be overwhelming.
The essentials are
- A box of paints, these are easier for the beginner than tubes but no more that 15 colours. Windsor and Newton Artist quality if that is affordable otherwise Cotman are a good second choice.
- Brushes, 3 in size 5,7,12. Sable are lovely but 3 of these need a mortgage so a cheaper version will do to start with.
- Paper. I like gummed blocks which do not need stretching.
- A water container--a plastic bottle will do.
- Kitchen roll for blotting up
- A board on flat table if you are working at home or a board and some clips if you plan to work outside.
- Water colour pencils are valuable for drawing a faint outline at the planning stage (use very pale blue or yellow then the line will dissolve into the painting)I like very good quality pencils which can be used with the paints for details.Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle are superb, I find that I do not need to take anything else except for paper and a water brush for sketching on vacation.
There are dozens of instruction books on the market .
My personal choice of books for beginners are Learn to Paint Watercolour Quickly by Hazel Soan,and almost anything from the instruction books of Terry Harrison and Barry Herniman.Shirley Trevenna's DVD are very instructive
There is no magic formula to painting. Visit exhibitions held by water colour societies for inspiration.There are many societies around the world,they hold exhibitions and run courses.This society exhibits in London but their work can be seen online
Click on my selection from Amazon below to see what is available