Maine Watercolors Color

Watercolor Color - Blowin
Watercolor Color – Blowin

Maine Watercolors Color

How to use water when painting in watercolor is what I must study again everytime I have taken a break from this medium. Water — how much water and how much pigment, when to add some water, when to take out water, when to add more pigment to watered pigment on the paper, when to use gravity when to use a brush.

A big benefit of water is th edges it creates or miimalizes. As the water dries, edges can be minimalized so that no hard ones remain. This look of softness engendered works for clouds, rain waves .. for edges are so varied around water.

April Showers
April Showers

The edges in this painting needed to be as varied as possible the harder ones of rain and tops of waves the softer at puddles and of course, the water laden clouds.



Watercolor Process

Watercolor Palette
Watercolor Palette

I am returning to watercolor and so must refocus on watercolor process.

Watercolor seems to drip spring. The colors, the water the immediacy the newness. Why do I turn to this medium every spring? I wonder.

Here is my palette. I have duplicate colors for mixing in order to keep my pigments pure. As soon as a touch of blue twinges the yellow it can not make a beautiful orange.

Watercolor Purity
Watercolor Purity

Along with extra splotches of colors for mixing I use multiple pots of water. Here I have made the big mistake of my green brush in the yellow water ending up with two bowls of cleansing liquide for green and none for yellow. This will really screw up yellow for the daffodils!

Watercolor Purity
Watercolor  1
Watercolor 2
Watercolor 2


First  is blocking in colors keeping it liquid and very pure hues.

The daffodils must be a warm yellow. The greens of hte leaves more olive while the bottle and orb are human made greens

My palette is kept very clean and I change the pots of water every few minutes. Purity of color is critical.


Next step is with some moisture begin adding more intense colors keeping the  edges soft. I do not want any hard edges at this stage in the painting. I messed up with the daff stems as I drew them linerally which creates hard edges on both sides.

Watercolor - 3
Watercolor – 3

More building of colors and depth. Again the purer the color the more depth can be gained. As soon as lots of pigments are mixed together, a dullness will set in to a watercolor that cant be undone.

So often it is the development of the darks in relation to the color devlepment which deadens watercolor paintings.

Pigments in watercolor do not mix the same as any other medium and so they go dead very fast.









Mixing Spring Greens

Whether one mixes greens from blues and yellows or uses greens from the tube, greens need to be warmed. Mixing greens for Eastern spring is fun. But I just figured out, not so much a formula but a Guiding Principal. I am a bit embarrassed it has taken me this long to articulate it. To determine which warm color to use to warm a green consider the color of the blossom of the plant. This is crystal clear in irises. The green beneath the very pale yellow under the blossom is a purplish color the hue of which looks to have dripped down from the blossom. I have 5 different irises in my garden and each of them a different variation of purple. Each color is part of the green make especially under the blossom.

While I am sure this is not Gospel truth that there will be times to change the warming hue, but it can be a start to create subtle shifts of spring greens.

garden oil painting
Into The Sun

Watercolor Palette

Watercolor Palette

How to set up  palette is a very personal choice. One must ask several questions before squeezing out the precious (expensive)colors into the wells of the palette.

1. Do I use hard tablets or tube pigment?

2. Do I want intense colors?

3. Do I want to know mineral contents of pigments

4. How large a palette am I willing to lug around?

Once one answers these questions then decisions can be made. Above is a picture of how I lay out my colors. Intense colors are important to me so I decided to have separate wells for yellows and the same yellows that would be used to make greens. So I created extra wells for all the colors -one well is kept pristine the other is used when mixing.