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Winslow Homer watercolors

Learn watercolor painting in a painterly way, without copying on top of your reference photo.

Allowing your inner artist develop.

You cannot go wrong if you want to both learn the techniques AND learn to become a "painterly" painter.

Richard McKinley

Start with Richard McKinley!

Richard McKinley explain what art is all about : "we are not photograhers", "an artist is like a poet", "play!", "Experiment!"

I just watched his DVD which I highly recommend, it's not important about the technique (pastel), the DVD is full of wisdom and insights! Moreover, he uses watercolor as underpainting in this DVD.

This is the webinar recording about it: webinar recording.There is a wealth oh know-how and insight which make Richard's lesson invaluable!

(The webinar content is here)

richard mckinley

Here some of his saying in building up a painting following three stages:

  • Sensitivity (planning your work! Sketching from life, composition)
  • Serendipity (underpainting, experiment, have fun)
  • Solve (Response and Resolution)

He then explain the very well known theory of Simultaneous Contrast where you see that warm colors come forward while cold colors recide but you will this applied in practice.


And here are some of his saying in the video:

Simultaneous contrast: "what is highlight in one area is shadow in another or what is warmer in one area is cooler in another area"

"Think of the temperature and less of the color"

"The secret to green is orange and purpor is green's friend"

"Play! Have fun! get out of your comfort zone!"

"Less is more"

"Work in a higher value scale for landscapes"

"..this is NOT a tree. It's an illusion of a tree!.."

He also gives nice tips for the composition. In one word, his two DVD are really mucg more worth the money you will spend!



Video Download: Bold Underpaintings for Lively Pastel Landscapes with Richard McKinley | NorthLightShop.com


Here is Richard McKinley's Book :
Pastel Pointers: Top 100 Secrets
for Beautiful Paintings

"Use the Three S's for successful paintings! Break up your painting into three stages: sensitivity (concept), serendipity (underpainting) and solve (response and resolution) to focus your painting process for beautiful results. After a review of materials, Richard takes you step by step through the three stages as he paints a lush canal scene. Helpful charts and gorgeous finished examples are shown throughout for added instruction and inspiration."


Usually in watercolor you paint from light to dark, meaning you first uses color which are light and then you end up with the darker colors (see video below)


However, this is not an exact rule and great watercolor artists such as the following ones often do the oppposite, working with darks to light and mixing colors on the paper directly....

Learn watercolor painting with Charles Reid


I spoke about Charles Reid in this article with an illustration of how he mixes colors and the watercolor palette he uses (in the example, for skin tone)

Here is his palette

Charles Reids Watercolor Palette

Yellow Ochre
Raw Sienna
Cobalt Blue
Dark Green
Payne’s Gray
Cerulean Blue
Cadmium Red
Burnt Sienna
Ultramarine Blue
Burnt Umber
Sap Green
Cadmium Yellow
Cadmium Yellow Pale
Cadmium Orange
Lemon Yellow
Permanent Rose


Watercolor Lanscape Masterclass

Learn watercolor painting with Stephen Quiller


See how he paints paying attention to warm and cool, texture and not much about photographic rendering...


His book Painter's Guide to Color where he explains how to limit your color palette and choose a color scheme right for your intentions...Stephen Quiller is famous for having developed in the late '1980s his Color Wheel: system to work with lightfast colors- in all medium for best color results.

quiller color wheel


Learn watercolor painting with more good teachers

There are other DVD I watched which can help you start on the right track.

For instance, Sue Archer's DVD is an excellent way to learn how to PLAN your watercolor, your palette and how to mix watercolors. Unfortunately, she is not resulting in a painterly way but rather copying the drawing on top of a reference photo. The first part, the technical preparation is however excellent!

sue archer paintingSue Archer watercolor.
The word "art" comes from the latin "ars" which means "skill". Sue archer is an "artist" in the most literal meaning. She is a good artist, she knows watercolor, she plans her work. But she doesn't draw from life and uses to exactly copy higlights and shapes from photographs ( I know this because I watched her -excellent- DVD)

Creative Catalyst Productions

The Creative Catalyst Production(CCP) is a great way to find lessons online to immediately start to learn watercolor painting.

Examples and suggestions

Watercolor from Within with Barbara Nechis


Watercolor - Carl Dalio on Color Power:
The Path to Visualizing Energetic Color


A long list of lessons is offered.

watercolor lessons by ccp videos


And you can also rent these videos!

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