Watercolor Painting Ideas

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Watercolors are a type of paint that is mixed with water instead of oil and is thinner and more transparent than acrylic paint. Watercolor paintings are usually done on paper instead of canvas and the process of using both wet paint and wet paper can sometimes seem a bit daunting. Once you get the hang of it, however, there are some great watercolor painting ideas you can try.


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Abstract paintings involve the use of color and shapes to form an image or series of images that represent an idea in the mind of the painter. The idea is not necessarily presented as a representational image. Since this type of painting is initially visualized only in the mind of the painter, it is a perfect for the beginner, granting the freedom to experiment with a variety of colors, shapes and lines as the idea takes form.

Animal Portraits

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Animal portraits are usually for the more advanced painter, since they require a little more knowledge of how to blend colors and capture shadows correctly, but they can be a great means of immortalizing the beloved family pet or a favorite wildlife scene. Take a photo of your subject before you begin to help with details. This makes it easier to remember color and shade differences later on.

Flowers and Gardens

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The ability to blend and bleed watercolors makes them the perfect choice for painting flowers and gardens. Use a wet brush and wet paper (a technique called wet on wet) for a softer, more romantic look, or use wet paint and dry paper (wet on dry) for a darker, bolder feel.


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Painting landscapes is one of the simpler ways to learn how to use watercolors. Most beginners enjoy landscapes because the paintbrush strokes do not have to be rigidly controlled. This can create a calm feel for the scene and allows the painter to work with an easy grip on the paintbrush. Landscape paintings are also more forgiving when mistakes occur, since adding more water to the paper or brush will allow the paint to bleed or blend and give the painter a chance to fix the mistake.


About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Casey Kennedy has been writing online content since 2009. She specializes in writing about small business, careers, real estate, and ecommerce. She also enjoys writing about a variety of other subjects, including home improvement, gardening, and pet care. She attended the Academy of Art online, studying interior architecture and design while pursuing commercial flight training at Aviation Atlanta in Georgia.

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