I have been wanting to paint a Blueberry Watercolor for the longest time. I know I just had a week in Tuscany, but I’ll be honest – it was a work-cation! I know, must be nice, right? Well, I wear two hats in this family – Paper Crafting artist and Travel marketing specialist. That means for our other business – Elite Travel Planners, I blog, design and maintain websites, socially engage through media and of course – Tech Support! So, since our week in Tuscany was rather heavy on the travel work…I took a day off when we came home. It’s rare actually, for me to totally take a day for myself. So I decided to dust off my watercolor paints and dive into a project I had been wanting to tackle for six months – a blueberry watercolor botanical.
I learned to paint botanicals with a multi layer method I learned from the watercolor artist Anna Mason. I adapted this style of painting for some of the projects in our online paper crafting class – Watercolor Techniques that Wow! But that’s cards, and this is full size painting. For me, I truly get elated seeing a watercolor painting come together. Keep in mind, I’ve only done four in my life! To say I’m new to the full sized art is an understatement. But what I have done is learned the skills and practiced more than you would believe.
Here are my various stages and final result of my blueberry watercolor. This painting was based off one of Anna’s. The blueberry measures 7 1/4” x 7 1/2”.
Three Key Things to Keep in Mind when Painting in Watercolor
Painting a large painting is VERY different than a 5 1/2” x 4 1/4” card. It can be a little intimidating. And the sheer time it takes is much more than card making – that’s for sure. Here are a few things I learned along the way:
1 – Paint – You get what you pay for
If you are just working on cards, many of the inexpensive sets are just fine. The size is key here – most cards are small. Of course, better quality paints are more vibrant and translucent. But if you’re going to take 1+ days to create a full sized painting – these two factors are key. You don’t want your painting to look dull, invest in a few artist quality paints. If cost is a huge factor – start out with student grade paints, but stay away from inexpensive sets. Basic rule in life applies here – if it looks too good to be true (set of 18 tubes of watercolor paints for $15), than it usually is!
You can find good quality student grade paints for a few dollars a tube. Artist grade will run you $5 – $20 per pan/tube. I have some links at the end for great shopping options.
2 – Paper – Block or not?
Paper is the foundation of your project. There are many options and types of paper out there – chose wisely. I suggest a block. Okay – Arches cold pressed artist block may not be in your budget – but there are all sorts of options. If you’re not sure, buy a few single sheets and cut them down to the size you need. You’ll need to stretch them first, and by the time you’ve gotten everything you need to do that and spent the time – you may as well have bought a block! The pluses here are too many. Time is everything in our lives these days. And what’s great about an block (four glued sides), beginners can really use too much water and be okay. But beware – if you are the impatient type and speed dry your work (which I don’t recommend), a block is not for you – tape your pieces down and stretch them instead.
3 – Education
No, you don’t have to go to art school. But take a class or two. You’ll be glad you did. There’s nothing better than being able to ask questions, have someone look at your work, or being able to back up an online video to really review each step. I’ve learned so much myself! And it’s all applicable – whether it’s a paper card making watercolor class (we have one right here) or a traditional watercolor class. Most classes are not that expensive, and it’s great to be able to have somewhere to learn!
Ultimately – watercolor painting is fun, just get started and have a good time. There are millions of watercolor artists around the world – jump in, the water is great and inspiration lies everywhere. Take a little time for yourself – I sure am glad I did for my Blueberry Watercolor!
Some great places to shop:
The USA –
My Blueberry Watercolor – an exercise learned from Anna Mason