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Required Materials for Remaining Lessons:

  • A box of watercolors containing the six standard colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple), gray, brown, and black
  • A watercolor pad or watercolor paper of around 5" x 7" is best for practice, but larger is fine too.
  • A large, low cup to hold water that is not easily upset.
  • A piece of scrap cloth or paper towels to dry the brush and to clean the color box.

What is a Watercolor Wash?

  • A watercolor "wash" is water tinted with color and then, by means of a brush, spread more or less evenly over the surface to be painted.
  • A watercolor drawing or painting is a number of superimposed washes representing a definite idea.

How to Prepare the Wash:

  1. Dip the brush in water and press it into one of the empty compartments in the cover of the watercolor box.
  2. Repeat this until there is water enough in the compartment for the wash.
  3. Rub off a little color with the brush, and mix it with the water in the compartment. It is now ready to apply to the paper.

How to Apply the Wash:

  1. Grasp the watercolor pad with the hand not holding the paintbrush and incline it at an angle of about forty-five degrees.
  2. Dip the brush in the wash, and apply the color with a full brush, working from the top downward.
  3. Keep the brush full of the color wash.
  4. The superfluous color that is left at the bottom may be removed by drying the brush on the cloth and then taking up the extra color by touching it with the dried brush.
  5. A wash dries in a few minutes, and then another wash may be placed over the whole or part of the design at pleasure.
  6. These superimposed washes constitute the watercolor picture.

Watercolor Tips:

  • Arrange the color box, the water cup and the cloth pad as shown in the top image (A).
  • Water makes the wash lighter and color makes it stronger, or darker.
  • Incline the tablet at about a forty-five-degree angle so the wash will flow down ward and leave a smooth wash.
  • Do not "Scrub" with the brush. Keep the brush full of the color wash.
  • Do not retouch a wet wash.
  • Form the habit of stirring the wash with the brush each time new color is taken.
  • Allow each wash to dry before applying another over it.
  • Clean both box and brush before putting away.

Drill Work Preparation:

  • By freehand (without a ruler), use the margins to divide the watercolor tablet into two parts (see bottom image).
  • Label the left side 'Light' and the right side 'Dark.'
  • Prepare a page like this for each of the 8 drill exercises.

Drill Work: Place a light wash in the left box and a heavy wash in the right box.

  1. Paint a light and heavy wash of red.
  2. Paint a light and heavy wash of orange.
  3. Paint a light and heavy wash of yellow.
  4. Paint a light and heavy wash of green.
  5. Paint a light and heavy wash of blue.
  6. Paint a light and heavy wash of violet.
  7. Paint a light and heavy wash of warm gray or brown.
  8. Paint a light and heavy wash of cold gray or black.

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