Water Color Papers and Sizing

sizing does matter

Troubleshooting Paper Problems: When The Sizing Goes Bad.

Karen Sioson

I found this blog from Karen Sioson a few years ago. She explains wonderfully why it is you have sometimes trouble with your watercolour paper.

Karen is a very good artist and her specialty is flowers.
Her website you can find here https://karensioson.com/

I will attempt to share with you a simplified explanation of what sizing is, just enough to give you an idea why it is important to learn of it and how sizing can affect your preference for wetting your paper for stretching.  We do not need to go too deep into it for our purpose.  But should you wish for a more comprehensive explanation, you’ll find a lot of more technical information available online. 
So what is sizing?  Sizing is another term for the addition of gelatine to water color paper.  Gelatine makes the paper less absorbent and this is what prevents paint from just spreading on the paper uncontrollably.  Picture what happens when you dab your brush loaded with water and paint on rag or tissue paper.  It spreads, right?  Well, the same thing would happen to paper, if it is not sized.  This would help explain why there are some papers that look very nice, like handmade paper, but you can’t seem to gain any control when you try painting watercolor on them.  Handmade papers for crafting projects are often unsized. 
Different paper manufacturers and brands offer different sizing options but generally, you can say that some gelatine sizing is incorporated into the paper pulp or mixture before it gets pressed.  Additional sizing is applied as coats on the paper’s outside layers (front and back surfaces).  
Now why should this knowledge affect how you would wet your paper?  Just this.  We know sizing makes the paper less absorbent.  The more sizing, the less running of paint.  If you want more absorbency, you lessen the sizing.  Conversely, if you want less absorbency, you keep the sizing.  The presence of sizing also makes your watercolor pigments look more brilliant or intense as it keeps most of your paint on the paper’s surface.  You lessen the surface sizing, you increase the permeability of the paper.  With less or absent surface sizing, your colors will sink deeper into the paper and will bond more with the paper’s fibers.  Some mistake this for paint disappearing or pigment bleaching (colors not so lightfast) but the paint is not really gone, it has just gone into hiding deeper among the paper fibers hence the lightening of paint applications as it dries.  
We wet the paper to expand the fibers and then staple or tape it while in this expanded state so the paper will have an anchor at its edges to pull on as it dries.  This is what allows it to shrink flat (when you do it right) hence the term stretching your watercolor paper.  
Some soak the paper completely for several minutes, not just to ensure all of the fibers get wet in preparation for stretching, but also to lessen the sizing of the paper.  The correct timing for the soaking takes practice.  You will not want to soak it too long because sometimes the sizing have a tendency to coagulate in spots if the paper is left too long by itself.  This is the reason why some may find those irregular and slightly yellowish spots on their stretched paper that do not go away when the paper dries.  For some reason, these spots also wouldn’t take in color as well as the other clear areas which is why I surmised, it must be sizing.  These spots will resist any color placed on it.  They may ruin your painting.  The too long soaking is one explanation for it. Another is that the spots may be the result of accidental drops of pure sizing as the manufacturer applies surface sizing on the paper.  Accidents can happen, right?  Or, you may have gotten an old stock paper with the sizing already going stale.  Whatever the reason, I find that spots are less likely to happen when I wet by running water than by soaking.
For the running water method, you can just put the paper under tap or running water.  Make sure all surfaces get wet (front and back) and continually move the paper around.  Don’t just point the water jet on one area as this may also produce the same sizing spots on your stretched paper.  For bigger paper sizes, use the shower for more maneuverability.  This takes less of the sizing off than what complete submersion does.  Again, more sizing present, the less tendency for paint to spread uncontrollably.  Your colors also will tend to be more brilliant per application as you will have most of the pigments sitting on or closer to the surface of the paper because of the sizing’s effect on permeability.  
But my personal choice is putting the paper under tap water and removing most of the sizing by mechanically running my hands over the surfaces of the paper.  Your preference would depend on how you want your paper to behave.  I like letting more pigments sink into the paper fibers.  It allows me to play or take advantage of transparent watercolor layering.  It also seems to add brilliance to layered colors (in my opinion and observation only), when you have more it sunk into the fibers. This method also offers the least chance for the sizing to coagulate as you let it run off the paper when you do the sweeping motion.  No chance for displaced sizing to stay in  one place and make spots.  You have to develop a gentle touch though when you run your hand over the surfaces or you could end up agitating and damaging the top fibers.  Lessening the sizing works for me because I like to blend a lot for the first part of my painting process.  For detail work, which I prefer to do on the last stages of my painting, I mostly use dry brush so even with less sizing, I still maintain enough control over my paint application.  By this method also, I remove mostly just the outside sizing.  Remember, there is still sizing mixed in with the paper pulp or mixture itself so the sizing is not gone completely.  It is possible to maintain still a lot of control with your paint application.  
If you want the sizing to be intact, you can always just staple the dry paper onto a board (for 140lb) or use a heavier paper to do away with stretching altogether.  If you want to staple or tape in place, you can just wet the paper on top of the board with a wet sponge prior to anchoring.  Take care not to agitate the surface too much with the sponge.  An alternative is to use a water spritzer or mister to wet the paper so you don’t touch the surface of the paper with anything.  When the paper dries, the sizing would still be there.  
I wish to include here a contribution by Stan Hughes regarding additional paper options.  “There is a 200 lb cold press paper produced by Saunders Waterford. I have used it for years. Easy to work with and does not need stretching. Not as expensive as 300 lb but more durable than 140 lb. ” 
200 lb paper seems to be a good option to try for when you like to work on paper with intact surface sizing.  Thank you very much Stan for the info.   

Was rummaging through my old stuff and saw this discarded painting.  Perfect illustration for explaining stale sizing.

I have this habit of setting aside half-finished paintings when I get that feeling that something about it is off.  “Aha!” moments sometimes come when you’ve stopped obsessing over something.  Sometimes it would take me days or weeks before I would get back to a particular painting.  This one somehow worked its way to the bottom of my pile and I forgot all about it.  Almost a year has passed since I last touched it.  When I tried working on it again to finish it, spots started appearing wherever I wet the paper.

Reminded me of salt effects.  This one however, is caused by sizing gone bad.  We have touched a bit on sizing above.  But basically, the idea behind sizing or the addition of gelatine to watercolor paper during its production is to make the paper more workable with watercolor.  Sizing allows you better control over your watercolor as it decreases the tendency of the paper to absorb liquids and paints like tissue paper.  Between the paper pulp and the gelatine, the gelatine would be the first to go stale with old stock paper.  Signs of this would be the appearance of spots that don’t go away after a wash or after an application dries.  Another would be when you discover areas that resist any application of paint you put down on it. 

There are several ways to hasten the deterioration of the sizing.  As demonstrated in this ruined painting, one way is by wetting a painted watercolor that has lain undisturbed for months.  You can also hasten the deterioration of new paper using the same principle.  The moment you wet a watercolor paper, its sizing gets disturbed. Maybe water acts as a catalyst.  This is the reason why you are advised not to stretch paper in big batches.  Stretch only what you think you will be able to use within 2 or 3 months.  That’s just my estimate.  In our weather where heat can be more than the usual, it is always more prudent to stretch only what you think you will use.  The window of usability may be different in your environment and you should let experience guide you.  

A sign that this was not bad paper to begin with is how the undisturbed, previously painted part is free of spots.  Check the picture.  You wouldn’t know that the paper’s sizing has gone bad if you do not re-wet the paper.  When you find yourself itching to touch up a painting years after it is finished, remember what happened here.  Not all old stock paper go bad.  I use Arches cold pressed watercolor paper in rolls.  One of the most economical way of buying paper is by buying it in rolls.  Because you cut to size, you minimize wastage of excess paper.  As long as you do not get the roll wet and observe proper storage, the paper stays usable for years.  Proper storage includes storing it in its original wrapping and in the box it came in and with the crumpled paper fillers still inside.  Do not put this container/box in an area prone to dampness such as near windows, bathrooms, basements. Also keep it away from direct heat or sun exposure so the paper inside does not get heat-baked. 

You do need to recognize what stale sizing on paper looks like, specially when you like to take advantage of art supplies on sale.  Some stores put their older stocks on sale just to move the items and to make way for newer supplies. Some of these discounted paper will still be good for use but many might have sustained handling or storing damage.  For this reason I prefer to spend on paper and get new stocks.  You’re not really saving on money if you get bad paper.  But sometimes good bargains are hard to resist so if you must, at least learn to discern the appearance of stale sizing to help you shop wiser.

I wonder if you can see the very pale yellow spots.  That is how spoiled sizing looks on paper that has never gotten wet.  Just turned bad over time.  (I keep samples of everything.)  But don’t go hunting for spots where there are none. Even new paper looks a bit uneven because of how the lighting plays off against the hills and valleys of the paper.  The surest way to check is to wet the paper. 

This is the same paper, now wet.  Some new paper may have this tendency but on a very mild scale and if the paper dries without any marks, your paper is still good.  

There are times when you would come upon a defective batch of paper.  The best way is to contact the seller and if no action there, the manufacturer to see if you can get a replacement.  Might be wise for you to do a little sleuthing online to see if other buyers have been complaining about certain batches.  You will have a stronger claim if your paper is from the same batch.  But do not be too quick to blame the suppliers.  Sometimes we may be unaware that we are doing something that harms the paper.

You can artificially ruin the sizing of the paper by soaking it too long under water.  Prolonged immersion may be the culprit why some sizing coagulate in spots.  This used to happen to me when I was a beginner.  Thinking more is always better, I would leave watercolor paper soaking for as long as 20 or 30 minutes before stretching it.  The suggested submerging time is only a few minutes.  Only long enough for the paper fibers to get wet.  If you soak it too long, even before you staple it down, you can tell you’ve ruined the sizing by the appearance of slightly darker spots on your paper like in the sample above. 

Also, not all paper that develop slight spotting when wet are damaged paper.  Even new and undamaged paper may develop these slightly darker spot discoloration when wet.  But these would tend to disappear as the paper dries.  If you can’t tell any spotting on the dried, stretched paper, your paper is good to paint on. 

That’s it.  Thank you for reading.  Karen Sioson

A Loose Watercolor

I am often asked how do you make those loose watercolors, do you have any tips how to make them? Can I learn that too?

A few colors and a lot of suggestion to make a steel factory

Of course you can, but painting loose is not as easy as it looks or appear.
Painting Loose is planning your brushstrokes, and plan them in the most minimal way.
When you have a minimal amount of strokes you are half there.
The trick is to see your painting in your mind, and know how to get there. I know it is complicated, but starting somewhere to paint without a plan is like going on a roadtrip without directions where to go, but you want to get there in the best time possible!

When we begin with watercolor we buy some colors, brushes and paper. We carefully make our cubes wet, and mix a bit of that wet paint on our palette.
We got a big brush round nr.8, and for the fine details a nr.6 we got a small jar filled with water and a little watercolor-block.
We look around what and how we like to paint and our eye is very attracted to the loose painting style of a well known artist.
( I deliberately exaggerating a bit)


Well, if you are a experienced painter you can probably make a loose painting with this equipment, but it is not likely when you are a beginner in watercolor painting.

For one, cubes are great for sketches outdoor, or when you are a painter that makes delicate washes and have enough time to mix from dry paint.
Two, the brushes are way to small for watercolor, these are detail brushes and not suitable for painters with a loose approach. For a loose style you are better of with larger brushes, the flow of the water and pigment is much better.
Three, any paper is good to paint in loose style, on some papers it seems that you style is improving because it is easier to paint on.
If your paper is soft and absorbent, you get fluint washes and nice gradations, if you don’t want that, but like the more stained spots of color you need a harder paper. For example Saunders Waterford rough is a soft paper, and very absorbent, but Fabriano rough is much harder, so you need to find out what you like.

Tips to paint in a loose style
And they are just tips, and not scientific proof that it works!
When you are fine with the way you make art, that is absolutely great!

Your pencil, (again, when you are experienced you are fine with this pencil) but to force you in a looser style you probably better use the bigger one from cretacolor! Or use charcoal great to get instant shadows on your painting!

With the pencil you can make fine lines, so you could end up with to much details.

You can make bigger lines with this big graphite pencil without to much details.

Paints, any tube color is okay, tubes are fresh and give color in a quick way.
Make sure you don’t have to many colors on your palette, painting loose and to much (opaque) colors can ruin a watercolor in a mud festivity!

Brushes, we like the nice ones with a sharp point, how sharper the point the nicer we think it is! Well if you try to paint loose you are better of with a brush with little control when you paint. Cheap Chinese brushes* give you instant less control over your washes.

First wash you make with the biggest brush you have a flat Hake or spalter is okay, or a big mop! Even the two house painters brushes give you less control!


You paint as long as you can with the big brushes, before you go further on a smaller size.
But don’t paint with a smaller then a nr.12 round!
Carefully rethink your brushstrokes before making them, and when you know, try it to do in one stroke!

For details at the end we need a brush that can make fine lines, but also give us some freedom in our work, I use often a sword for this work. I dont have the control I would have with a normal brush, but with all things you have to get used to this. And when you do you have a good friend in your paintbox!


Make one like this, I am sure you won’t paint details with it!!

Another tip I learned from my teacher Kees van Aalst, known from the book Realistic Abstracts. www.keesvanaalst.nl

Take a photo, make from that photo a black and white copy, or make it B&W in a photo program, after this you make a sketch from it.
Now you don’t look to the copy or photo anymore, while making your watercolor but only work from the sketch as a guide.
This trick makes a distance from your subject and you probably end up with a looser and more balanced watercolor.
You choose your favorite colors to work with, and you are on your way!
Otherwise we are trying to get that green lawn in the photo, or just that purple glow on that dark roof and we never reach a balance because we can simply not make every color in nature with our paintbox, and certainly not the harmony the light outdoors is making our subject appear!
Off course there are a lot of artist that don’t need these tricks, but they already have been there. Watercolor is a slow learning process, but it is highly satisfying when you reach a certain level. But you never know it all!

Another trick is looking at your subject true your eyelashes, you see only shapes and tones. Also you can blur your photo in a photo program.
In photoshop the “paint Daubs” filter is very useful

1) Use less information about your subject
2) Use Bigger Brushes
3) Use less colors
4) The most important color on your paper is the paper!!

Edo Hannema

If you have a style that works for you, don’t change it!
see also my other article about watercolor here.

  • there are very good Chinese brushes too, Wolfhair or Orchid brushes  are well known. read a blog about them here.





Lighthouse on Millford paper

I just love to paint lighthouses, living in a fishing town I could chose which one to paint! I have six in the near neighborhood! but I have my favourites here too!
I am always attracted to the two green ones.
So I decided to get my sketch from the sketchbook, and make a proper watercolor from it.


I want it to have a rough look, with lots of broken edges, so I decided to use Millford paper for this. Due the special sizing you make wonderful washes and broken brushstrokes on this paper.
Colours are my regulars, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt and Raw Sienna, and for the tower a bit of yellow to make green!

First stage

A simple sketch, just to give the lighthouse a place on the right spot.
I blocked in a abstract way a few colors, not really making shapes, only a few shadow sides for the rocks, and the lighthouse. leaving a lot of whites!

Second Stage

After drying I paint the background in with Ultramarine and Burnt sienna, with this I give the tower more shape. its always nice when you do this, than only paint positive shapes!
Also the rocks are painted with these two colours, only a heavier mixture!

Third Stage

After drying again I put on the local colour from the lighthouse and add more shadows to the rocks! the reflections gets a bit of green to, and a few vertical brushstrokes to give it a more reflected look.


Last stage, the details on the tower, and here and there i washed away some colour to make it lighter.
On the right side of the tower I added a light wash of dirty ultramarine to make the lighthouse more coming forward.

Millford paper from St Cuthberts Mill
Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Aurolien Yellow from Rembrandt
Brushes, A variety of squirrel and synthetics.

© Edo Hannema

Aubrey Phillips

Back in 1987 I began my journey in watercolor, eager to learn paint watercolors.
In those days I saw a great future in front of me. John Pike was my hero, he was the absolute top in watercolor. And also the first book I bought about watercolor was from John Pike!
Joseph Zbukvic and Alvaro Castagnet were not known yet these days. No books no videos, the dvd didn’t exists, and the founder from Facebook was still walking around in diapers!

Kees van Aalst

Zoltan Szabo and John Blockley filled up the numerous watercolor books, and in the Dutch magazines like Palet en Tekenstift you saw articles of Ron Ranson, Tony van Hasselt and the Dutch artist Kees van Aalst. later I found out that Tony is also a Dutch born artist!

Szabo was also a painter that I liked, only his techniques seemed so difficult to me! And of course Jan Groenhart a Dutch watercolor artist with wonderful Dutch landscapes and a master of how the North of Holland must look!

In those days you saw also watercolor books that were not so good, (in my eyes back then) I saw them in the bookstore and convinced myself that this was just very bad quality in watercolor. Just not my taste and not attractive. No… this is not what I want for my road to become a watercolor painter. That book was from Aubrey Phillips.


Oh boy what was I wrong there!
I was a novice in watercolor, and I didn’t recognized the sublimity of this painter!

It was in the year 2014, I was looking for John Pike photo’s I found a site from the Dutch artist Arie Jekel and when I saw the page from his inspiration I found John Pike, Edward Wesson, Edward Seago and Aubrey Phillips!

The first few artist were my heros too, but Aubrey Phillips I remembered, was that painter I disliked.
But curious why Arie did have Aubrey as his inspiration I looked up Aubrey’s paintings on Google to refresh my memory and instantly fell in love with the style and simple elegance of the brushstrokes. Apparently my mindset how watercolor must look was 180 degrees turned!

Aubrey Phillips  photo apvfilms

Aubrey Phillips caught me, and I want his book!!! And believe me nowhere in the Netherlands I found it, back in 1987 it was in every bookstore, and now nowhere!!

aubrey phillips 2
The texture of the paper helps to create the atmosphere. Warm colours in the front cooler colours in the background

I found the book in the UK and it was in excellent condition, the only minor thing is that it smells a bit (worse) after a moist basement. I tried the freezer, Microwave, Cat Grits. It’s already better than it was, but okay I have the book!

The warm sky in contrast with the cool snow!

The lesson learned is that you have to look further and longer to a artist art. To understand and value it. Dont think its rubbish (like me back in 1987) but study how its done.

The Cotswolds on september evening
The Cotswolds on a September evening

Most of the time when it looks simple it is really hard to make! When something is wrong in a minimalistic watercolor, it stands out like a red flag, therefore everything have to be in the right place. When you see watercolors of the “cracks” among us you will notice the economy of brushstrokes, there is no clutter or mud, just well placed brushstrokes in just the right amount of pigment and water quantity.
“When you can do it in less than one brushstroke you are on the right way!” (J. Zbukvic)

A warm watercolor, and still its a winterscene! It breaths “keep it simple”

Aubrey Phillips have a minimalistic approach to watercolor, he use heavy paper from the Mill Richard de Bas about 400 grams
Colours : Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Monestial Blue*, Cadmium Red, Alizarine Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Raw Sienna, Light Red, Lemon Yellow, and Viridian, nothing more fitted in his paintbox
Brushes; A Hake 2,5 Inch and a 1 Inch flat, Nr 14 Sable round, nr 11 and 8 Sable round and a rigger nr 4

Another winterscene.  The vertical strokes of the brush are ideal to suggest water.

Aubrey Phillips is a member of the Pastel Society and the Royal West of England Academy and was a Gold Medallist at the Paris Salon. He is a regular exhibitor in London and the provinces and runs his own art courses.

Aubrey R Phillips RWA. Renowned for his pastel paintings of the Malverns and the Black Mountains areas. Born 1920, Astley, Worcestershire. Aubrey Phillips studied at Stourbridge School of Art and at Kidderminster. Phillips lectured at Malvern Hills College and Bournville School of Art, and has had exhibitions at the Timaeus Gallery, Birmingham ( 1981) and at the Patricia Wells Gallery, Thornbury (1988). He is  also the author of books on the use of pastels and watercolours. Member of the RWA, PS,WSW and the Armed Forces Art Society. Solo exhibition at the National Library of Wales. Aberystwyth. Gained a Gold Medal at the Paris Salon in 1966. Phillips worked in and around the Midlands for a number of years in the 1970s, He has been called one of the leading landscape painters of the Midlands. his expansive changing skies are captured by strong strokes and his use of atmospheric colours. Lived in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Arie Jekel
Joseph Zbukvic
Tony van Hasselt
Alvaro Castagnet
Kees van Aalst
Jan Groenhart

  • Monestial Blue is Phtalo Blue, Rembrandt Blue or Winsor Blue

If you like this article, you can read the sequel a friend of my made on his blog after reading this post about Aubrey Phillips.
Click the link below
“brushes with watercolour”

© Edo Hannema

Direk Kingnok

Watercolour-Master uit Thailand

Direk Kingnok
is geboren in het noordoosten van Thailand en groeide op in de stad Nakonratchasima.
Waar Direk woonde was hij omringd door de natuur en dat is goed te zien in zijn werk.


Als kind was Direk al een kleine artiest, hij blonk uit in tekenen en schilderen en won dan ook vele kunstprijzen in zijn jeugd.
Hij wist dus al jong dat hij schilder wilde worden. Na zijn hoge school opleiding ging hij studeren aan de Khon Kaen universiteit, een academie in schone en beeldende kunst.

tn_Temple of Literature,Hanoi

Op de academie ontdekte Direk de aquareltechniek, hij was op slag verliefd op dit medium en deed er alles voor om deze moeilijke techniek onder de knie te krijgen.
Het kostte hem veel moeite, andere technieken gingen hem zoveel makkelijker af, maar Direk was vastberaden om de schoonheid die aquarel kan bieden te leren..
Vooral de effecten die je met aquarel kunt maken vond Direk het best bij hem passen en wat hij wilde laten zien. De landschappen van Thailand.

tn_Farmers in the field

Toen Direk begin 30 was vroegen een paar in Nederland wonende Thaise vrienden of het hem niet leuk leek om een paar weken in Amsterdam te komen werken. Hij had daar wel oren naar. Zo kon hij gelijk Nederland een beetje ontdekken en schilderen. Terwijl hij ook werk deed in de winkel van zijn vrienden.
In zijn vrije tijd ging hij dan vaak op pad met zijn schilder-spullen.
De aquarellen van Amsterdam zijn dus ter plaatse gemaakt in onze hoofdstad, degene die wel eens buiten heeft geschilderd, weet hoe lastig dit is. toch zijn de plekken die hij geschilderd heeft (voor een Amsterdammer) makkelijk te herkennen.

tn_Amsterdam 1 tn_Amsterdam 2

Direk startte zijn professionele carrière in 2001, vanaf die tijd kon hij zich volledig op zijn kunst richten. Hij hield exposities en kreeg meer bekendheid in Thailand.
Na het maken van een Facebook pagina, werd zijn talent al gauw door de rest van de wereld ontdekt, hij kreeg uitnodigingen om te gaan exposeren in Bangkok en Hanoi, later werd Direk door de International Watercolor Society (IWS) als kunstenaar gevraagd naar Vietnam te komen waar hij samen met een aantal grote namen uit de aquarelwereld demonstraties gaf.

tn_Hang Ma Street,Hanoi 1

Inmiddels op de leeftijd van 39 is hij een graag geziene artiest wereldwijd. En heeft zijn Facebook pagina meer dan 73.000 volgers.


Direk gebruikt vooral de papiersoorten die katoen bevatten zoals Arches en Saunders Waterford 300 grams. Deze papiersoorten staan erom bekend dat ze na het maken van de aquarel, een mooie matte uitstraling geven aan het schilderij, en uitermate geschikt zijn voor de techniek waar Direk zijn aquarellen in maakt. namelijk de nat in nat techniek, deze techniek kan in principe op alle papieren gedaan worden, maar het beste resultaat ontstaat op de 100% cotton based papiersoorten. Ook heeft Direk een bepaalde structuur nodig om op te schilderen omdat hij meestal in de latere fase van het schilderij droge kwast streken aan de aquarel toevoegt. Dus een zekere ruwheid van het papier helpt hem daarbij.
Direk is niet zo merk gebonden wat zijn verf betreft, als het maar van een goede kwaliteit is.
Opmerkelijk is het wel dat hij naast Holbein pigmenten, ook twee Nederlandse merken gebruikt, Rembrandt en Old Holland.

Werkwijze van Direk
Direk begint op droog papier, zijn tekenbord staat hierbij vrij schuin, zo een 35° hij wast vanaf de top van zijn papier met sterk verdunde pigmenten in verschillende tinten naar beneden, waarbij hij de witten zorgvuldig uitspaart die hij wil behouden of niet meteen af wil dekken.
Hij heeft dus al bedacht waar de aandacht heen moet!
Hij begint met bijvoorbeeld Ruwe Siena in de lucht, die hij opwarmt met wat oranje tinten, de groene kleur van de bomen wordt meteen in de reeds natte luchtpartij gezet. Oker-tinten wisselt hij vaak af met paars-tinten en alles loopt nat in nat vloeiend in elkaar over.
Omdat het papier niet wordt nat gemaakt van te voren vereist het wel enige vaardigheid en snelheid van de schilder. Je moet weten wat je gaat doen en hoe de verf zich gedraagt.
In deze fase zet je dus de toon van het schilderij.
Nadat de verf droog is brengt hij een tweede laag aan, ook weer nat in nat, maar nu over een gedeelte van het papier, deze kleuren zijn een krachtiger mengsel. En waar de eerst laag voor de sfeer zorgde is deze tweede laag er een die de structuur in het schilderij brengt.
Bomen en struiken worden langs dakranden en muren geschilderd, en schaduwen krijgen al een plaats op de huizen. en eventuele reflecties waar het water betreft. Hierna worden de details aangebracht, en de donkerste partijen rond het focal point, vaak met een droge kwast techniek.
Tenslotte wordt op sommige plekken de highlights geplaatst met Chinees wit.


Er bestaan puristen die geen wit willen gebruiken en het bovendien geen aquarel meer vinden, maar deze club bestaat nog niet zo lang. William Turner en John Singer Sargent gebruikte al zwart en wit in hun aquarellen lang voordat deze Pure Watercolour Society werd opgericht. Je zou van te voren met maskervloeistof het zelfde effect kunnen bereiken, ware het niet dat dan een groot deel van de spontaniteit verloren gaat, omdat je dan al rekening moet gaan houden met al die witte puntjes.


Ikzelf vind meestal dat je na verwijdering van de maskervloeistof een soort onnatuurlijke witte gaten in je aquarel overhoudt, waarvan je de randen dan moet verzachten, en die dan vaak net op een verkeerde plek staan ook. Hoe moeilijk ook, om een plek heen schilderen die je wit wil houden is in mijn ogen nog steeds het mooiste en komt beter over. en mocht je net dat ene lichtpuntje kwijt geraakt zijn, zet hem er dan maar in met Chinees wit!
Net als Direk.

tn_Direk 2

Edo Hannema

Vind u dit soort artikelen leuk om te lezen dan kunt u zich op mijn blog abonneren, u vult uw email adres hieronder in, en u ontvangt iedere update.

If you like these sort of articles you can subscribe to my blog.
In the form below you can fill in your email address for a subscribtion.

Alvaro Castagnet

Alvaro Castagnet,alvaro (2)

Every watercolor artist knows him, well I think you should know him if you are interested in watercolor. He is quite a phenomenon in watercolor. His work is very recognizable and full of rich washes with pigment. But behind all that color is a artist mind, that unconscious makes designs and layout in his painting. Well unconscious…., he just paints a lot, and gives many workshops. And its weird but true, from teaching people that can’t paint so well as yourself, you learn a lot too.

How many do not stare at their watercolor on a certain stage, and say to them self’s how must I do that foreground without ruining the rest of my careful brushed painting. Or they are finished and ask them self what is missing. What part can I add to my watercolor that it becomes better and more of a eye-catcher. Well you are to late! The design must be done before you start, the design and layout must be ready before the first brushstrokes.
But..watercolor is unpredictable and just going a other way then you want it to go, then you must have enough skills to follow your watercolor. its got no use to going against it!!

Keep the design intact, cause that is a part that works, its also why many artist make little thumbnail sketches, or a more worked out watercolor-sketch.

Design is something you can learn, to study paintings, what are the lines, why is it work, why is it I keep looking, why does this painting attract me so much?

This week my eye fell on a painting from Alvaro Castagnet, it is a very clever one made.
His brilliant design works here on his best!

Alvaro Castagnet Watercolor (1.20 x 0.65 meters)
Paris  Alvaro Castagnet Watercolor (1.20 x 0.65 meters)

The feature that stands out obviously  is of course the turquoise roof, from there you are follow the only sharp object on that height, and you land on the second turquoise roof, much smaller but it stands out well, nothing more to see there then blurry shapes but then the light building on the left catch your attention, and the shadow helps you to travel to the street below with zebra-paths and a few cars, people and a red traffic-sign, the small green dots of color leads you to a lighter big green shape that you follow to the other corner, very clever, in that corner is completely nothing. Only shade and darkness. He don’t want you to look there!! He made it easy, there is a sort of stairs of windows you climb to the light above, you jump over to the roof on the right, and that roof is directing you exactly where he wants you to look, the green round roof again! Full circle and you stay focused in the painting.

This is  how I see it, there are many ways, and maybe Alvaro thought about it, but I think its more the talent and instinct of Alvaro self. He just paint, and brush down what is necessary to make it work and with a beautiful design! All on his own feeling!

Learn to look at a painting, and your solution what must or what can I do will improve your own work too.

This is one way to look on a painting, and why the painting is working, there are a lot of methods, Edgar A Whitney, Tony Couch and Tony van Hasselt have created systems to value your watercolor on what is missing and what you could do to improve it.

I never did have the pleasure to follow a workshop with Alvaro, but I have his books and a few of his dvd’s to get a glimpse of his magic!

website Alvaro: http://www.alvarocastagnet.net/

Can you see it in this one?

I wished I did have half of his talent, I am still learning, and maybe I never learn.
But I enjoy what I do, as long as you have fun, your on the right way!
Regards Edo