Watercolor Wisdom – 6 Techniques that You Need to Try Before Giving Up!

Painting with watercolor. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her tips for watercolors in the blog post called Watercolor Wisdom!

This week I am writing to you who have always liked the idea of using more watercolors but whose experiments don’t often last long. Try these techniques to keep going and not giving up!

1) Doodle with a Brush

Dip a thin brush into the paint and start doodling! Add more paint to some areas so that the thickness of the line varies and evokes new shapes.

Netfishing, a mixed media watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I have also used acrylic paints for finishing this piece called “Netfishing.”

2) Doodle with Masking Fluid

I don’t often recommend purchasing more art supplies to boost the motivation, but with watercolors, I highly recommend buying masking fluid. For example, Daniel Smith has a masking fluid that comes with handy applicators. You can just pick the bottle and start doodling. And while you are doing that why not fill the whole paper with them! Then add several layers of paint and remove the fluid gradually.

Three Churches of St. Petersburg, Russia. Mixed media watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I have also used golden acrylic paint and colored pencils in this piece, called “Three Churches of St. Petersburg”.

3) Add Geometric Shapes to a Scenery

If all the elements are realistic, defined and “make sense,” you are underestimating the potential of watercolors. An easy way to push beyond the conventional is to add geometric shapes to a realistic theme, for example, to a scenery.

The Resort of Imagination. A watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

You can also paint vice versa: start with the geometry and then make it look like scenery.

An abstract watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

4) Leave Blank Spots to Express the Light

Think about your painting as a collection of layers. Paint 6-10 layers so that every layer is a bit smaller than the previous one. Leave blank spots when painting the first layer. Focus on tiny details in the last layers. Let every layer dry before adding a new one.

Two Seasons II. A watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

5) Add Muddy Colors to Make the Brights Shine

Don’t be afraid of dark areas. If your work looks unfinished or the colors don’t shine no matter how much you add them, the solution is to add more really dark areas.

"I left my heart in Florence", a watercolor journal spread by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

There are a lot of browns, greys, and blacks in these two small sceneries which make the color glow!

"Hanko", a watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

6) Pick One Dominating Color, but Use Many Tones of It

When applying paint on paper, add small drops of other colors too. Use the transparency of watercolors to get new tones: add watery paint, let dry, repeat!

"Oban". A watercolor painting of a small town in Scotland. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

“Oban,” a small town in Scotland that left an impact on me. I could have painted the sky solid blue, as well as the water, but adding more variation of the color makes this painting.

Watercolor Journey – More Watercolor Wisdom for Self-Study!

The pictures and tips of this blog post are picked from my class Watercolor Journey. In this class, you will learn how to use the techniques and the imagination to express energizing sceneries. The fun thing is that these sceneries can be either realistic, or imaginative, or anything between. Sometimes the scenery is born with the technique. Other times painting is more about reconnecting with a happy memory. I have tried to make the videos as inspiring as possible so that you and your watercolors become a better match after each one.
>> Buy Watercolor Journey!

 

Recent News and a Sketchbook Tour Full of Ideas!

Curiosity by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. A painting from Paivi's sketchbook.

My short blogging break is over and to celebrate that I have a full sketchbook to show you!

The Last Page of the Sketchbook

This morning, there was one page in my big A3-sized sketchbook that wasn’t finished. It was a very ugly one! Even if I covered it with a layer of dark colors, it didn’t please my eye at all.

Sketchbook page in progress. The background before adding elements to it. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

But then I got an idea to highlight just some of the elements and paint a young woman on it. At the same time, I had the opportunity to play with the ideas that I am gathering for the new class.

A painting on a Pink Big sketchbook by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I am often fighting against time when I am creating. When I make videos for the classes, I have only 1-3 hours for each project. My principle is that class videos are for guidance and inspiration and nobody wants to watch me paint for a day or two. Even if I speed up most parts, I usually include so much background information and art theory that I have to limit the time that I spend with painting or drawing. And often for blog posts, I have the same couple of hours even if it’s a bit easier if I don’t record the process or try to build a pedagogical package. So when painting this one, I would have liked to continue for a longer time, but I kept telling myself that the sketchbook is not where you make a detailed painting! Anyway, it’s detailed enough to get the idea.

Foxes and Inspiration from Natural Science

During the summer, foxes seem to have appeared in my art. This one is just a quick graphite drawing, but it’s something that really speaks to me: making new creatures and celebrating the potential and diversity of nature.

Best in Show, a whimsical graphite pencil sketch by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s another one with a fox:

Flora and Fauna , an illustration by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her full sketchbook on a video!

This sketchbook page is inspired by the microscopic world, and even if it’s a loose portrait, it also has a fox ear!

An illustration by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Inspired by microscope images. See her sketchbook tour on a video!

I also have a tiny painting in progress that has a fox, but I will show that later in the fall.

Ready for a Sketchbook Tour? – Here We Go!

I have made a quick flip-through video of the full sketchbook. The sketchbook is from Pink Pig. There’s also a glance of the summer’s big project on the video – our Japanese garden!

Plans for the Fall

Here’s what will happen here at Peony and Parakeet during the fall – come along!

1) July-September: Watercolor Journey, you can still sign up, and if you love watercolors this really is the class to take! (When you sign up you will get immediate access to the material provided so far.)
2) Sept 10 – Nov 30: The Exploring Artist – a soul-searching coaching program for any artist who wants to get clear where to head next! There are only 12 seats available so sign up fast!
3) Oct-Dec: a new class with a working title “Portrait Revolution” as a part of my art community Bloom and Fly.

I hope that you have reserved some time for creating and will join me! And as always, the best way to stay up to date is to subscribe to my weekly emails!

Facebook Live Watercolor Painting

Watercolor journal page by Paivi Eerola. You can see her painting this one in a live session that's on Peony and Parakeet's Facebook page.

Here’s the watercolor painting that I painted yesterday on Facebook Live while chatting away. You can find the recording on Peony and Parakeet’s Facebook page, go to Live Videos!

I had a wonderful audience, and many have posted their versions too in the thread, so it’s definitely worth checking out!

Watercolor Journey begins on July 1st!

Watercolor Journey - an online art class by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

My online class Watercolor Journey will begin on Sunday, July 1st. If you want to fall in love with watercolors, you don’t want to miss this class! Sign up here!

Come Paint Live with Me!

Facebook live on watercolors tomorrow June 28, 2018, 5 PM BST (London), 9 AM PDT (San Francisco)

To celebrate the new upcoming class Watercolor Journey, I am going to do one of the scariest things I know: painting live online! Is it even possible for a human being?! Well, I have to try that!

Watercolor art journal by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Join me for a Facebook live session on Thursday, June 28, 5 PM BST (London), 9 AM PDT (San Francisco). I am planning to record a brief session where you see my scary face first and then another session where the camera shows my hand. I will paint with watercolors, maybe bring your set and paint along with me?

Here’s what to do:

1) Like my Facebook page.
2) Pick a small piece of watercolor paper, your watercolor set, some brushes, and water.
3) Go to the Facebook page once the session begins!

Hoping to see you there!