We have been looking forward to the Watercolor Summit for months, and last week the first classes went up. Jenna Rainey (@jennarainey) is an watercolor artist that we’ve been following along with in the months leading up to the Watercolor Summit so we were very excited to see what she would be teaching the first set of lessons.
While each of the artists that will be teaching at the Watercolor Summit have a specific kind of watercolor paint, brushes etc they like to use, we decided to go with a set of 24 Reeves Watercolor Paints in student grade to see how we like painting with watercolor before going up to the more expensive professional grade paints. (For those who are curious, Jenna uses Winsor & Newton Professional.)
Setting Up Your Palette | From Warm to Cool
The most important thing to do before you start your watercolor journey, is setting up your palette. While you can set it up however you’d like, we set it up in the categories of Warm, Neutral and Cool. Also, when you start painting, it’s a good idea to have a separate cup for warm and cool colors, because otherwise you’ll turn your water brown.
For the Summit we picked up a Arches Watercolor Block of cold pressed watercolor paper and our Alvin Heritage Paint Palette (with has spaces for all 24 of our paints and plenty of space for mixing) from our local Cheap Joes Art Supply. Even as a novice when it comes to shopping for supplies, seeing all of the tubes of paints, and brushes is so exhilarating. For our brushes we went with exact brand that Jenna uses and sells on her online shop, Princeton Heritage 4050 series.
Let the paint in your palette dry overnight
According to Jenna this is very important to do each and every time you refill your palette. If you use the paint you’ve added right away you’re going to end up picking up too much of the paint on your brush and you’ll not only waste paint but you won’t have the desired color value you’re going for with your piece. So resist the urge to get painting right away. It’s worth the wait.
Create a color key
We decided to create a color key before we started with the color mixing part of the class. Since we hope to continue creating watercolor (if we turn out to be any good at it, that is!) so in effort to make things easier when its time to re-order a particular color, the key will come in handy.
To create the key we went with the same grid that Jenna showed us how to create in our classes, and you can either fill in the entire square with color, or just do a ‘swatch’ of color like I did.
Pick your favorite color and do a values scale
Using the ‘pulling’ technique we learned from our lesson we picked out one of our favorite colors from our watercolor palette and created a values scale. We started with a brush fully loaded with paint and then started swashing our brushes in our water to gradually go from dark to light. (For reference I used Rose Madder from the Reeves 24pc set.)
I’m looking forward to sharing more snippets of what we’re learning at this years Watercolor Summit, and I hope you’ll follow along!