Have you been thinking about getting into watercolour painting? You’re in luck! We spoke to our wonderful recurring guest and watercolour genius, Matthew Palmer, and he gave us his top tips for absolute beginners. Read on!

1. Just use three colours

Using primary colours: red, yellow and blue, makes starting out easy. You can mix dozens of colours from just those three. I recommend my natural paints: Natural Blue, Natural Red and Natural Yellow Light.
Watercolour Top Tips for Absolute Beginners with Matthew Palmer

2. Four brushes is all you need!

Four brushes will get you more than started. Try a large round brush (size 14-20), a medium round brush (size 10-12), a small round brush (size 5-6) and a detail brush (also know as a Matthew Palmer branch & detail brush).

3. Creating my first painting

A good starting scene is a simple blue sky, and distant mountains. Wet the entire watercolour paper, apply a pale watered down blue with the large brush to the top, work in horizontal brush strokes, gradually working down – darker at the top, lighter at the bottom. Allow to dry then mix a grey for the misty mountains (see the next tip for how to create the perfect grey). Next you should add the mountains, add layers to these once one is dry, paint a second over the top.

 

Watercolour painting tips

4. Mixing the perfect shadow colour

Grey is so important as the shadow colour and using Haynes grey or black & white doesn’t work, they are too dark, too opaque and contain black pigment. Not good. A shadow needs to be transparent and mixed from the three primary colours. Mix 70% blue, 10% red, 20% yellow until it goes grey. Practice this as it’s the most used colour. I do have a ready made grey called Matthew Palmers Natural Grey, it’s my most popular colour.

5. What paper should I use?

You need watercolour paper, designed for allowing the paint to flow and not bleed. My own paper is called Matthew Palmer Watercolour Paper and I made it from 100% cotton. A good weight is 140lb or 300gsm. A ‘NOT’ surface is best. This is ‘NOT’ rough or ‘NOT’ smooth… it’s perfectly textured.

6. How much water do I add?

This takes a bit of time to master as too much water makes the paint flow too much. My tip is to load the brush and wipe off the excess water on the side of the water pot.

 

That’s everything you need to know to get you started. Take a look at the video tutorial from Matthew below for more inspiration!

 

Would you like to give it a try? Click here to get your first watercolour paint kit.

 

We’d love to see what you come up with. Join our Facebook Community, Crafting With Hochanda and post your works of art – it’s a wonderful place to interact with fellow crafters!

Leave a Reply