How to Mix Acrylic Paint

Hi friends! In this video I’m sharing the basics of mixing acrylic paint, demonstrating the two ways you can mix acrylic paint (on the canvas or on your palettes), how to blend your colours together on the canvas, how to tone down a colour that’s too vibrant, and how to avoid mixing mud while you’re mixing your paint!

I hope this video is helpful to you, please subscribe if you’re new, and leave me a comment if you enjoyed, thanks!

Resources mentioned in the video:

My Color Bias Video
How to Mix Grey Video
Acrylic Painting for Absolute Beginners Ebook

Thanks for watching!

-Ashley <3

6 Basic Watercolor Techniques for Beginners

Hello friends! Today I wanted to share 6 basic watercolor techniques every beginner needs to know. They’re quite simple, but they’re the basis to every watercolor painting (not necessarily all of them are in a single painting, but at least a couple will be!). Today I’ll demonstrate what they are and explain how they’re created!

basic watercolor techniques for beginners

Wet on Wet

wet on wet watercolor techniques for beginners

Wet on wet is the process of laying down a wash of watercolor, then before it’s fully dry, adding another layer of paint.  This allows the paint to really blend together and create soft edges.  You can see in the above photo that my little dot is spreading out and the edges are feathering into a blended look with no sharp edges.

Here’s how it looks after it dried:

wet on wet watercolor technique for beginners

Cauliflowers

cauliflowers watercolor techniques

Cauliflowers are created the same way as the wet on wet technique, but when it’s taken a little too far.  When adding more paint to a still wet surface, cauliflowers, or blooms, occur when the new layer of paint contains more water than the layer it’s applied to.  So if you saturate your brush in too much water before picking up your paint, that’s when cauliflowers bloom. The above photo is just after I’ve touched the brush to the surface of the paper.

Here’s how it looks after it’s sat for a couple seconds:

watercolor blooms

You can see that the original little splash has really spread out.  Cauliflowers are normally classified as mistakes in watercolor, but they can be quite beautiful if they’re intended.  The key is to know what causes them and how to avoid them if you don’t want them, and create them if you do.

Wet on Dry

wet on dry watercolor techniques for beginners

Wet on dry is the process of laying down a wash of paint, then letting it dry fully before adding another layer.  You can see the difference in the above photo compared to the wet on wet technique.  Wet on dry creates crisp, sharp, saturated layers of paint.  Combine wet on wet and wet on dry techniques to really create a finished looking painting.  Wet on wet is great for blends and base layers, while wet on dry is perfect for details and anything your want to draw attention to.

Dry Brush on Dry

watercolor techniques for beginners

The dry brush on dry technique is a variation of the wet on dry method, but instead of a normal application of watercolor on dried paper, the brush is just barely wet.  It’s just wet enough to activate and pick up the watercolor, then dragged along the dry paper.  This creates skips and streaks in the paint, showing the texture of the paper underneath.  This method is great for painting grass or adding that sparkle to water’s surface.

Pen and Ink

pen and ink watercolor techniques for beginners

Pen and ink is a classic art technique, quite similar to the wet on dry watercolor method, but using a pen instead of more watercolor. All you do is paint your watercolor painting the way you want – this could be using wet on wet or both wet on wet and wet on dry, then letting it completely dry, and coming back to it with a pen.  Use the pen to create sharp outlines and transform your image from a watercolor painting to a crisp illustration. You can outline the entire image or just certain parts, and you can even add stippling and any other ink/drawing techniques on top of the dried paint. This is very popular in mixed media and art journaling works.

Masking Fluid Resist

masking fluid watercolor techniques for beginners

A masking fluid resist is simply using masking fluid to block off areas you don’t want to paint over.  Do it on dry paper, then paint your watercolor overtop.  Once it’s all dry, peel off the masking fluid to reveal what you had covered up.  This is a great way to preserve white areas of your paper, but just know that the masking fluid creates a very sharp line, so make sure that’s the look you’re going for.  You can soften it up a bit afterwards by using some clean water and lightly brushing over the edges, but it will always be somewhat sharp.

So that’s it for this tutorial! If you’re looking for more great watercolor painting techniques, Craftsy has an awesome watercolor video course called Simple and Stunning Watercolor Techniques that builds on the techniques I’ve shown you here, incorporating more techniques and showing how they can all come together to create a bright, beautiful watercolor painting.

watercolor techniques for beginners

The instructor, Mary, walks you through the process of creating an underpainting (something I believe firmly in) and using contrasting colors for vibrancy, then demonstrates different watercolor texture techniques to add visual interest, then demonstrates adding other painting media to watercolor like acrylics and gouache to really make your painting pop!

It’s a great course, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about or improve their watercolor painting skills.  So let me know in a comment below if you’re given the course a try, and how you liked it!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

***Full disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link to Craftsy and I will be compensated with a small commission from any sale resulting from clicking that link.  This is no extra cost to you, and it helps me afford to keep this site running and the free tutorials coming, so thank you for your support! I only recommend things I fully endorse and believe that my readers will gain real value from, so your support is greatly appreciated <3

 

A Watercolor for Beginners Tutorial Round-Up!

watercolor techniques for beginners

Hello friends! Happy Monday! Today I wanted to share a list of some of my older posts on using watercolors, in the hopes of helping out some of the newer readers to this blog that may not have seen some of these posts that are buried in my archives.

Every now and then, I’ll be making a new one of these types of lists to resurface some helpful older posts that may be harder to find.  This blog is quite a bit larger than it used to be, so I think it’s a good idea to do a round-up post like this once in a while! Let me know if you guys like this idea, and I might even turn these big lists into a page in the main menu so anyone new to the blog can instantly get to the good stuff!

Ok, on to the tutorials! Here’s my favorite watercolor tutorials from my archives:

Watercolor Tutorials List for Beginners:

11 Masking Fluid Tips masking fluid is used frequently with watercolours, here’s some mistakes to avoid!

Watercolor for Beginners a video all about the basics: what watercolours are, and what are your options of how to use them.

My Watercolor Suppliesa video where I share some of my favorite watercolor tools

Beginner’s Guide to Watercolor Paperhot press, cold press, 300 lb, 140 lb, what is the difference!? Don’t get overwhelmed by your watercolor paper options, I’ll explain all the differences in this video!

Flat vs Gradient WashWashes are a core component of watercolor painting. This quick video demonstrates the differences in how to create the two types.

3 Watercolor Mistakes & How to Fix Themsometimes it all goes wrong. Here’s how to make it right again!

Watercolor Paper Alternative: Aquaboard! – beginners immediately think watercolor paper is the only painting surface option, but something like Aquaboard is much more forgiving than paper. Here’s the details on this cool painting surface!

Watercolor Alcohol Technique Tutorial –  a quick tutorial on how to create this signature watercolor effect.


So there they are, guys! My most popular watercolor tutorials on this site! I hope they’re useful to you if you haven’t seen them before. Thanks so much for stopping by, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

Going Through Old Paintings!

Hi friends! In this video I’m going through some old paintings of mine to share some of the things I’ve learned through the frustrations and failures of painting them. I hope you find them helpful and inspiring in your own artistic journeys!

Leave me a comment below, and thanks for watching!
My old sketchbook video is here.
Tim Gagnon’s channel

-Ashley <3

The Illusion of Time in Painting

Hi friends! So today I wanted to write a little tutorial-style blog post about the illusion of time in painting. A lot of beginners to painting and those unfamiliar with painting or art in general tend to think that a work of art is created in one long painting session.  We like to picture the artist infront of the canvas, painting for hours on end.  Letting all of the colours and textures come together in a fluid, magical rhapsody that results in a beautiful work of art. And while this may be true for some artists, for many it is far from the truth.

You don't have to dedicate hours of uninterrupted time to finish a painting!
You don’t have to dedicate hours of uninterrupted time to finish a painting!

In most cases, art is created in short, frequent bursts of work as opposed to a long unbroken painting session.  More like a cluster of sprints instead of one long marathon. We start a painting, go so far, then usually come to a point where we have to stop.  It could be that we need to wait for certain layer of paint to dry before we can progress, or maybe we need to stop and regroup because the painting is going in a different direction than we would like.  Or maybe we need to pause and find a new reference image for something we’ve forgotten the details of.  Or maybe we need to rest our eyes because we’ve stopped being able to see our mistakes or forms properly due to eye tiredness. Or maybe we need to pee.

A coffee break is sometimes just the break we need to continue our painting session.
A coffee break is sometimes just the break we need to continue our painting session.

The point of the matter is, one work of art is not created from start to finish without at least a few breaks somewhere in the midst.  A break could be as simple as pouring yourself a cup of coffee and returning with fresh eyes to your canvas, or it could be as long as a few days.

So don’t be discouraged if you feel your painting is “going nowhere”.  It actually takes many layers of paint (specifically with acrylics) before any real form starts to show.  So if you’ve invested a couple hours into a painting one afternoon and then need to stop to make dinner, don’t feel discouraged.  Your painting may not look very different than it did when you started working on it, but keep repeating that little painting session over the period of a week or two, and you’ll be surprised at the change that can happen.

Like many things in life, changes and progressions in paintings happen gradually, so gradually that at the time we may not notice too much of an improvement.  But after a while of continuous effort, a painting will gradually emerge, and you’ll be proud of yourself when you look back on how far you’ve come.

So paint whenever you can, even if it’s just a little 30 minute session here and there.  It will all add up, and eventually your painting will be finished, and you’ll be happy you stuck with it instead of scrapping it because you felt that it was “going nowhere”.

Have you ever struggled with this feeling? I know I have! Let me know in a comment below what you did to push through and finish your painting, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3