Virtual Art Academy

Watercolor Painting Techniques

These are the most commonly used watercolor painting techniques. These are the basic techniques for painting in watercolors that have been used throughout the history of watercolor painting. We also include some more recent expressionist watercolor techniques using modern materials. See also acrylic painting techniques, oil painting techniques.

Basic Watercolor Techniques

Many students who are new to painting think that they should begin with watercolor paints for either ease of use, that fact that you don’t need many materials and supplies to get started, or because they...

flat wash

Basic Watercolor Technique: The Flat Wash

Table of Contents What is a flat wash?How do you create a flat wash? What is a flat wash? A flat wash is a basic watercolor technique that you will use nearly every time you start a new painting. You usually use it when...

Basic Watercolor Technique: Using Masking Fluid

Table of Contents What can you do with masking fluid?Tips What can you do with masking fluid? Masking fluid is a rubber cement that you can use to mask out areas of your paper in order to preserve the underlying color...

Basic Watercolor Technique: Texture – Grasses

Now you have the basics for a landscape, you can start to build it up. A feature that appears a lot in landscapes are grasses. Table of Contents How do you make grasses look real without painting every blade?Tips How do...

graded wash

Basic Watercolor Technique: The Variegated Wash

Table of Contents What is a variegated wash?How do you create a variegated wash?Tips What is a variegated wash? A variegated wash is similar to the graded wash watercolor technique. The difference is this time you are...

graded wash

Basic Watercolor Technique: The Graded Wash

Table of Contents What is a graded wash?How do you create a graded wash?Tips What is a graded wash? A graded wash is another basic watercolor technique that you can use to represent the sky from top to bottom, a...

colored blocks high saturation primary colors

A Guide To Block Studies

Learning color is one of the basic skills an artist needs and is often one that is the most neglected. Many beginners use either too much garish color, or go too far the other way and do not use enough color in their...

How To Paint Water So It Doesn’t Look Like A Wall

When you are painting a body of water there is one thing that most beginners miss. The end result is a lake or ocean that just doesn’t look right. It looks more like a vertical wall than a flat body of water. The...

contrast of temperature war cool

Contrast of Temperature

There are several ways to emphasize the focal point or focal area in your painting. This key discovery shows you how to use contrast of temperature to focus the eye. In this painting the flower head, which is the focal...

Notan Design

The impact a painting has on the viewer often does not depend on how much detail you put in, but on how much you simplify the scene in front of you. This painting is a good example of that principle. In this article I...

J.M.W. Turner Neapolitan Fisher Girls Surprised Bathing by Moonlight

Gradations And Edge Notans Assignment

Here is an assignment from one of our more advanced lessons in Workshop J, submitted by Luz. The assignment is designed to help you understand an important aspect of notan: gradations. Comment from Luz: I found this...

Secondary Color Harmony

Table of Contents What is Color Harmony?When is Secondary Color Harmony used?Secondary Color Harmony in practice What is Color Harmony? Much of the pleasure from viewing a painting is derived to a large extent from the...

Space Division- Interlocking Shapes

What are Interlocking Shapes? Space division in a painting is more interesting when you create two shapes that interlock, as in a puzzle or jigsaw puzzle. Example You can see the negative sky shape formed by the top...

color hue saturation value

Three Components of Color: Hue, Value, and Saturation

The 3 Key Components of Color: Hue, Value, and Saturation Understanding hue, value, and saturation is critical for creating beautiful color harmonies. These are the basic three key characteristics of color. Hue Hue is...

Creating Color Maps

Table of Contents Why Create a Color Map?What is a Color Map?How To Create A Color MapKey Discoveries In Practice – After the Party Why Create a Color Map? There is one technique that will help you learn more...