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What's the actual reason behind swatching watercolor paint (aside from the satisfaction of laying pretty colors down on paper)? What specific things should we be looking for when testing out a new watercolor paint set, besides differences in color? What are the different variables that may affect watercolors' behavior and their final appearance?
In this blog post, I'm going to explain the most important characteristics that you should start taking note of when it comes to watercolor paint.
By understanding these different aspects and how they vary from pigment to pigment, you'll be able to make more informed choices when it comes to picking your color palettes/schemes for your paintings, which will make everything go a lot smoother.
I'll also walk you through my own personal method for swatching out a new paint set and share why I like testing my paints on two different types of paper.
It's very useful to explore a new paint set before actually attempting to create a painting with it. This is especially the case when it comes to watercolors, as this painting medium's inherent characteristics make it tricky to use.
For one, watercolors are translucent, which means we can't simply cover up our mistakes like we can when working with acrylics or oils. Secondly, due to their water-soluble properties, they tend to have a mind of their own.
Finally (and something that was very hard for me to wrap my head around in the beginning), behaviors and effects can vary greatly from pigment to pigment, even within a set manufactured by the same company.
There are also many external factors that can affect our watercolor painting process and the final outcome of a piece, such as how clean our water is, what kind of paper is used, and even the temperature of the room we're working in!
Always remember that, as artists, we have to learn to embrace the exploration process. It may seem like a waste of time and resources when we're just starting out, but these smaller studies give us confidence and allow us to find ourselves as artists, so that we're then able to create more effective finalized works.
If you're a beginner just starting out with watercolors, I highly recommend checking out my blog post titled 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting With Watercolors.
By understanding these ten ideas and applying them in your painting, you'll be able to progress your watercolor skills much quicker and waste less supplies in the process.
Let's get to the swatching!
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There is no right or wrong way to test out a new watercolor paint set. The whole point of swatching and testing out colors is for you, the artist, to have a better understanding of different color behaviors.
This way, you'll be able to select the colors you like best depending on the particular subject you paint, your personal techniques and the overall effects you're going for.
If you're just starting out and haven't found your style, no problem! As your artistic journey progresses, you'll discover your own way of working and the specific paint qualities that are important for you.
Later on, you'll be able to modify your swatching process to whatever fits you best and perhaps leave out aspects that aren't as important.
Check out my FREE Patreon-exclusive tutorial and class samples here.
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new, or got inspired to go and create something for yourself. I wish you tons of progress and enjoyment in your artistic journey! :)
Thanks so much for popping by today!
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