Watercolors will set you free!

Don’t be intimidated by watercolor painting. Yes, it’s more difficult in many ways because it’s not as forgiving as a medium that you can just paint over and cover, but a watercolor painting will do a lot of the work for you if you just take a deep breath and rejoice in the “happy mistakes”.

Do a light drawing where you need to, as I did of the cottage in this painting. I knew I wanted to save most of the whites of the paper here, so was careful not to use uncontrolled water in that area.

The rest, however, began with wet-into-wet washes of bright Florida colors which ran together to make interesting shapes and soft edges. After the first wash dried I had only to paint in some positive shapes of palms and foliage and some negative shapes around other areas to give an unexpected change between the positive and negative shapes. Positive painting is when you paint the actual object or shape. Negative painting is when you paint all around the object or shape you are highlighting to make it come out of the back ground.

Cottage at Egmont Key

You can see in “Cottage at Egmont Key” that the distant palms to the left are a pale blue that then becomes the negative color surrounding the lighter tree underneath. The rickety fence posts are indicated in the foreground in the same way.

And the small pink palm behind the cottage is probably the first thing that drew your eye. That’s why it’s pink…to surprise and direct you to the center of interest.

Have fun with watercolors. They’ll work with you if you give them some room to explore.

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