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Watercolor Artist Tools - Watercolor Brushes

By Wayne Rasku

Do you happen to have any Russian sables chasing around your neighborhood? If so, you have got at your disposal the best possible material for producing your own watercolor brushes.

Any genuine artist or craftsman will agree that the equipment of the discipline is especially important. In this case we are referring to watercolor brushes. Quite simply, cheap brushes typically prove to be a misuse of cash, so when you require a brush, wait until you can acquire the very best. Outstanding brushes will turn out to be a smart investment. You will not likely need many, and, given sensible treatment, they will probably last an extended time.

The variety of watercolor brushes is what is in question. Here's a little suggestion. It never hurts to check out your nearby art vendor. You know the saying, "Iron sharpens iron...."? Clearly you will come across some very informed individuals at the neighborhood art store. Artists who are seeking to earn a living monetarily will choose to labor at an art retailer simply because they are surrounded by their craft and men and women of like passions. They love to chat regarding their work, and they can give you some very useful insights about your acquisitions. The art sales person can review for you the various types of brushes they have in stock.

Of the many varieties commonly supplied, painters differ as to inclination. As you will see before long, selection will differ with the type of watercolor painting you are doing. You might like to know that even in this time of computing devices, lasers, and mass production, the majority of watercolor brushes are nonetheless hand-crafted. This consists of even the less costly kinds. As a result, what you are spending money on for is traditional craftsmanship and a relatively labor-intensive production technique.

As noted, brushes differ in level of quality. There are natural hair brushes, the best being from a small critter know as a sable. And by comprehensive agreement it has been decided that the finest watercolor brushes are created from the hair found on the tips of the Russian male Kolinsky red sable's winter coat. This unique hair has become renown for it's capability to hold a load of paint and keep a resilient, sharp, and tough point, that always snaps back. Additional natural fiber brushes come from the likes of mink, ox, squirrel, and goat. Artificial fibers are another option that is usually less expensive than natural hair paint brushes.

Red Sable Brushes - Brushes of red sable are preferred for many kinds of work. Of these, the round, sharply pointed ones might possibly be the most beneficial. Some painters use almost nothing else but the Red Sables. A superior sable brush of the round type should, incidentally, be uniformly round, and should keep a sharp point at all instances. Unlike the less costly "other" animal hair brush, which is flabby and fails to hold a point effectively, the red sable brush should be springy and strong. Sable brushes come in a lot of sizes; companies vary in their practices of designating such sizes, but there is generally a number to show size. The watercolor artist really needs a minimum of three: small, medium and large. As a secure guideline, he will often use the biggest brush available for a specific portion of watercolor work.

Except for fine detail, the tiny brushes necessitate the watercolor painter to dip the brush much too often and are likely to cause the artist to employ perfectionist methods, which are not generally the desired technique for painting with watercolors. For all-around work, a reasonably large brush is good. For rapid, bold sketching, and for laying large washes (as on skies or backgrounds), a big brush is incredibly helpful, but they cost you so much in sable that one often feels compelled to choose something that is less expensive, like camel's hair or squirrel's hair, or perhaps a synthetic composition.

There are unique needs where flat, square-pointed sable brushes are even more effective than the round-pointed type. They are excellent timesavers, for instance, when it comes to the rendering of structures or comparable subject matter where squarish forms are necessary. A single stroke can symbolize a window shutter, the side of a chimney, or even a large roofing area. Three or four of these are, consequently, well worth having; they could vary from one-eighth inch to three-quarter inch in width.

Bristle Brushes - For a number of procedures, and specifically for scrubbing out highlights or fixing flawed watercolor painting techniques, bristle brushes can easily be used. These are much more commonly employed in oil painting, and they are significantly stiffer than sable brushes but often look quite comparable in form. They are perfect for repairing some mistakes. The flat ones have been commonly favored, though anything will depend on the end usage.

Care of Brushes - As already described, excellent brushes can offer many years of service but typically if they are given appropriate care. Rinse them frequently as you use them. For most efficient service, rinse them thoroughly with gentle detergent and warm water when you put them away. Shake each one out rather than squeeze it. By doing this it will probably keep a normal form. Do not let brushes to stand on their hairs for prolonged periods of time, and don't allow them to dry in cramped or abnormal positions. Don't try to soften hardened watercolor paint on your palette or color box by scrubbing it vigorously with your finest brush. Do yourself a favor and maintain different brushes for each medium you utilize as an artist. These tools are far too costly to use them improperly.

Finally, keep this in mind - moths are far too fond of costly sable brushes!

Make sure you don't cut corners on your watercolor brushes. It is absolutely essential that you purchase the very best brushes you can get, even if it means waiting and saving until you have enough cash to make that purchase. You will not be happy with inferior watercolor brushes.

Art Pencil Drawings - Adding Ink & Watercolor to Your Art

By Lori Lee

One of my favorite ways to make art is by using pen, ink and watercolor. I learned about this method from Claudia Nice, who holds workshops at her studio in Oregon. Claudia has a lot of animals at her place, and workshop participants are able to see exactly how a horse's fur should be drawn by looking right at the horse!

When starting your drawing, you will first choose a subject or scene that you want to draw. If you're new to drawing or to this form of art, choose something simple, such as a flower. The first step is to work up a pencil drawing sketch. You can use art pencils or just a regular pencil to do this.

If you are saying to yourself, "I can't draw so I'm not going to try this," please read on. Everyone can draw. You can put a piece of paper on top of a picture or photo and trace it; you can look at a photo or picture in a book and sketch it while you're looking at it; or you can create abstract art by making shapes on your paper using whatever comes to mind.

Supplies you will need include:

A pencil
Watercolor paints, watercolor sticks, or watercolor pencils
A small paint brush and some water
Ink pens -- the ink must be waterproof, smudge proof and archival
Watercolor paper - 130 lb is a good choice
A picture or an idea of what you'd like to draw

After you've completed the pencils drawing, the next step is to add the ink work. You will do this by simply tracing over the pencil lines with the ink pen. To add depth and dimension to your work, add extra ink in areas to darken. If your subject is an animal, add lines or strokes of ink to darken the fur around the eyes and other places.

Next, you will choose areas to add watercolor to. Use the watercolor pencils, sticks or paint with the brush and a little water. Be careful not to over saturate your paper by adding too much water as you don't want all the colors to run together -- or maybe you do! There's no such thing as bad art and you don't have to show your work to anyone if you don't want to! So have fun and experiment.

Watercolor Painting - How to Paint a Wash

By Marian Lishman

Washes are a key part of learning to paint with watercolors. You can use them for many parts of the painting but they are quite often used for backgrounds or for skies.

There are a few key things to remember when creating a wash as follows:

Before You Start

You have probably sketched out the outline of your painting. Once you have done this you can then use masking fluid to mask out any areas that you don't want to cover with the wash.

You will need to make up enough paint for your wash. Make up a really watered down version of the color(s) you want in your wash. One thing you must do is to make sure you have enough paint for the whole area that you wish to cover. If you don't have enough and you try and make some more during the painting of the wash then you will probably ruin the fluidity of the colors.

Test your wash on a spare piece of watercolor paper to see if it gives you the color that you are looking for - often the paint comes out darker that you have planned so if you test it first you won't have to mess around trying to dilute it later.

Once you have all the colours you need, apply water to the paper as if you are applying the wash. Make sure you cover the whole of the area with water so that the paper is wet when you apply the wash.

Painting the Wash

Try to paint the wash with reasonable speed. Paint in stripes starting from the top and with each stripe underneath make sure that you overlap with the previous one so that the colors run into each other. As long as you act quickly you will get a very even wash, otherwise you will just end up with stripes. Keep going until you have covered the whole area. If you want to blot out some of the wash then you can do that with a dry tissue - for example to add in some clouds in the sky.

Key Facts

So the key things are - preparation of paint and paper and to work quickly and you will get lovely even washes.

How to Paint Using Watercolor - Wet Into Wet Techniques

By Ellene Breedlove Davis

On a cold day in February several artist gathered to learn to paint with watercolors. The wet into wet technique. As they gathered, looking and commenting on the picture they were to paint, they were talking about how easy and simple the painting class would be on that day.

As with most people, these students thought all they would have to do was wet the paper and drop wet paint into it. Watch it move and mingle and the picture us be beautiful and complete. At first glance it does appear that to accomplish a beautiful painting by this method would be easy. What the students didn't realize is how much time the teacher had given to make this painting beautiful and to prepare a class for them.

The teacher had prepared for this class by charting pinks,reds, yellows and green. Determining if they were transparent by drawing a line down the middle of a piece of watercolor paper with a marker and then painting each color over that line to see if it was transparent. When the transparency was established, the Teacher wanted to know how each color would look when it was glazed. So she made another chart.

When the class settled down, the Teacher knew what colors to recommend and why she wanted to recommend them. Questions that she reminded her students to ask were have you decided which color of paints to use and why? Do these colors complement each other? When the colors come together on wet paper what color will they make? After guidance from the experienced teacher the students were able to take home a beautiful watercolor painting.


No architect troubled to design houses that suited people who were to live in them, because that would have meant building a whole range of different houses. It was far cheaper and, above all, timesaving to make them identical.
Michael Ende

Not many architects have the luxury to reject significant things.
Rem Koolhaas

Nothing requires the architect's care more than the due proportions of buildings.
Marcus V. Pollio

Proportions are what makes the old Greek temples classic in their beauty. They are like huge blocks, from which the air has been literally hewn out between the columns.
Arne Jacobsen

Rome has not seen a modern building in more than half a century. It is a city frozen in time.
Richard Meier

Space has always been the spiritual dimension of architecture. It is not the physical statement of the structure so much as what it contains that moves us.
Arthur Erickson

The bungalow had more to do with how Americans live today than any other building that has gone remotely by the name of architecture in our history.
Russell Lynes

The dialogue between client and architect is about as intimate as any conversation you can have, because when you're talking about building a house, you're talking about dreams.
Robert A. M. Stern

The frightening thought that what you draw may become a building makes for reasoned lines.
Saul Steinberg

The higher the building the lower the morals.
Noel Coward

The interior of the house personifies the private world; the exterior of it is part of the outside world.
Stephen Gardiner

The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid.
Thomas Kempis

The Romans were not inventors of the supporting arch, but its extended use in vaults and intersecting barrel shapes and domes is theirs.
Harry Seidler

The work of art shows people new directions and thinks of the future. The house thinks of the present.
Adolf Loos

Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator.
Antonio Gaudi


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