Watercolor Painting with a Crayola Set (Part 2) – More Info

Welcome to Rainey Dewey’s Art Spot Blog.  In this post I wanted to expand a little more about my recently posted YouTube video entitled “How to:  Watercolor Painting with a Crayola Set – Part 2.”  The purpose of these how-to paint using a Crayola set videos is to encourage aspiring artists by providing a relatively inexpensive way to start.  By investing in a few supplies you can see if watercolor painting is something you might like to do.  In this Part 2 video I use the Crayola watercolors on good paper – Arches 140 lb. cold press.  Arches paper is of good quality, provides consistent results and is durable should you need to scrub, blot or rework.  Click here to watch both Part 1 and Part 2.

Step 2 – Graded Wash

I typically buy my watercolor paper by the sheet and tear it down to my preferred size.  If you decide to do this, you will need to affix your paper to a rigid board or piece of plexiglass using masking tape.  An alternative is to purchase Arches paper in a block but that is a pricey proposition and I seldom use Arches in block form.

This painting is inspired by the view from my Art Room/Studio window.  Earlier in the week the sun was shining brightly and I was taken with the dramatic shadows being cast across the  snow.  I didn’t snap a photo but decided to use my memory of the scene for this Crayola painting.

I began by doing a quick color study in my sketchbook and then adding swatches of the Crayola palette in order to illustrate what the colors actually look like (see above).  I noticed that these paints contain some kind of binder that is very different from the both the student and professional grade tube watercolor paints that I use.  I looked online but couldn’t find out what it is.  If you decide that you like watercolor after experimenting with the Crayola set I would encourage you to invest in higher grade paints.  I recommend this essentially because I don’t know if these paints will fade over time and in the event that you end with a really great painting you don’t want it compromised or lost over time.

Step 3 – Wet paper apply mixed green to create evergreen shapes

The next step is to apply a graded wash.  A graded wash is a wash that is darker on top and becomes gradually lighter (Step 2).  The first brush across the paper includes more pigment and less water and after each pass you will dip your brush into the water thereby diluting each successive pass.  The result is a wash that is darker on the top and lighter on the bottom… like the sky!  While you still have the blue of the sky on your brush lay in the shadows in the snow.  I used the side of my brush and gently dragged it across the surface of the paper.  This technique enables you to use the texture of the paper to leave that “sparkle” in the snow.

In Step 3 I began applying a green mixture that was mixed in advance into the sky area.  The paper was still wet when I began painting in the evergreens.  I am using the wet paper and the thicker green paint mixture to make my tree shapes.  This is a great way to experiment and discover what watercolor is capable of and to find out what happens when I do this or that!

For the tree trunks and branches that are not evergreens I used a lifting technique.  After gently applying water in a specific area where I wanted the tree and branches I then gently blotted with a paper towel thereby lifting the paint off of the paper.  There are other ways to accomplish this, i.e., masking fluid or taping off the area, but for the purposes of this video I simply lifted the paint off.

Finally, once the paper was dry I went back in to do the final details.  This final step was done with the paper completely dry.  You will know that your paper is dry when it is flat – without any bulge, buckle or ripple.  Further, if your paper is cool to the touch it is still wet.  Wait until you are sure your paper is dry before doing your final details.

Step 4 – Final details on dry paper

And that is it… did you enjoy yourself?  Did you learn something?  Those are important questions to answer.  Even if this piece of artwork isn’t what you had hoped… did you have fun!?

I surely hope so!