How Watercolor Works: 4 Quick Tips for Beginners

If you’ve been a part of the ArtistsNetwork community for even a short while, you’ve probably seen the watercolor paintings of Birgit O’Connor, demonstrated by the artist herself. O’Connor has been featured in Watercolor Artist and The Artist’s Magazine, and continues to be a great resource for those learning how to master the medium. Scroll down for some of her quick tips on watercolor painting for beginners, and take advantage of these five step-by-steps as well (bookmark this link for future reference).

watercolor painting still life by Birgit OConnor

From the Garden (watercolor, 22×30) by Birgit O’Connor, featured in Watercolor in Motion

“Watercolor has always been perceived as a very unforgiving medium that offers very little control,” says O’Connor. “This can cause a lot of frustration. But the effects and luminous washes possible with watercolor are unrivaled. In order to take advantage of the way watercolor works, there are some basic things you need to know.”

Find the Proper Materials
Using brushes that are too small or a poor grade of paper are paths to frustration.

Think Backward
Instead of beginning with the darks and then adding the lighter colors, begin with the lighter areas and then move toward the darker colors.

As a self-taught artist with years of experience, I have found that it is most important to simplify. I have tried to convey this through my articles, books and DVDs. You’ll get a feel for my techniques with the very simple step-by-step demonstrations included in Watercolor in Motion.

Use Enough Water
Once you have an understanding of how to really use water and color to your advantage, the rest is up to you. The world is wide open. ~B.O.

Learn watercolor painting tips

Summer Rain (watercolor, 22×40) by Birgit O’Connor, is featured in her lesson on how to paint a water drop.

O’Connor’s popular book, Watercolor in Motion, is newly available in paperback. Click here to get your copy, and don’t miss these bonus step-by-step demonstrations that she gives on how to paint with watercolor.

Happy painting,

Cherie Haas, online editor**Free download! Learn How to Draw Flowers Today
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