All I need for watercolor happiness is three paintbrushes, one small, one medium, and one large. This is the whopper:
Size 10. This big guy is great for those times when you need a lot of paint and/or a lot of water on your brush, for dabbing in lots of different colors for this kind of effect (this is foliage in a flower bed, for example):
First, use clear water to wet the surface:
Then start dropping in your colors:
I don’t make any brushstrokes with this brush, I just let the paint and the water and the paper do their thing:
Although I do have to control where the dark and light colors go:
You have to be careful to STOP adding color so as to not make the whole thing a muddy mess, tho.
This is my medium paintbrush:
Size 4. I probably use this one the least often. Here, I’m using it to lay down color for the foliage of a palm tree, over masking fluid that will reserve the details of the leaves (masking fluid…I’ll have to talk about that later).
Ater I peel off the masking fluid, I used my medium brush fill in the reserved details:
Now, this here is my FAVORITE brush, the one I use all the time:
It’s a Size Zero, but it’s still too thick for my purposes, so I take my sharpest scissors and I carefully cut off half the bristles:
And I end up with the tiniest, thinest, most useful brush that I LOVE.
Here, I am using it to paint in teeny tiny areas (I am, as you all know, a miniaturist, so I always have teeny tiny spaces in my illustrations):
I’m hard on this brush, as you can see, so I buy three or four at a time because I know they are going to wear out fast.
Outlines! this brush is fabulous for outlines!
And I just love love love doing brickwork with my wonder-brush. For my non-American readers, this a quarter dollar coin that is approx. 25mm in diameter:
Oh…and lastly, the other thing that my medium sized brush is good for is picking up paint:
Just use clean water to go back over dried watercolor in areas, in effect “erasing” the pigment:
By the way, I got a call from the curator of European art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, regarding my query about their Monet:
She told me that the reason it is catalogued as an 1895 work even though it’s clearly signed and dated 1892…
…is because there is a whole lot of research that dates this painting as having been done in 1895, when it was left in the possession of Monet’s art dealer for years and years until about 1920, when Monet signed a bunch of his old canvases and for some reason he dated this one incorrectly as 1892. The clincher is that Monet did not even have his bridge at Giverny built until 1895. Still. Seems very slap-dash to me. Do you think his dealer was just trying to unload some old inventory when he had Monet sign canvases in 1920, when he was very famous but also very old and blind and sick? Because honestly…this picture is not up to Monet’s usual standards, don’t you think?
If you, dear readers, have found this post to be of any use to you, please let me know so that I can plan to go ahead with next week’s post about paints and paper … or I can just put up some cute cat photos (my herd has been very photogenic lately).