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This post is designed to demonstrate both the tools and I use, and some points about why I choose them.  There is a video below that shows you my “everyday” tools, and I’ll elaborate more here.

Let’s start with the brushes.  I have one or two that I go to when I need a broad wash, or even a broad dry brush.  First is my Richeson 1 1/2″ flat. I use it for both large wet washes, and large area’s that need some dry brush effect.  The other one is my Isabey (Squirrel, if I recall correctly).  It is the most expensive brush I own.  I use it for wet, loose washes, but honestly, my “do everything” brush was not expensive.  It is still, by far, my favorite.  It is a Cheap Joe’s branded brush, the line was called “Water Hawk”  and I don’t think you can buy them anymore.  I bought my first set maybe 15 years ago, and I really only have the size 14 left, so I went to order more and couldn’t find them.  I asked customer service and they sent me to the “Dream Catcher” series.  I ordered them, and they are very similar, but not as great as the “Water Hawk” series was.  Even so, they are (in my opinion) the best water color brush value on the market.  I still pull out that #14 Water Hawk first, but if I need to go in tighter, I use the Dream Catcher #10 to do that work.  It doesn’t hold quite as much water and it comes to a beautiful point…who needs a 6 when a well made 10 can do the job!?!  I have a lot of brushes, and quite a few that I purchased for watercolor, made their way into my acrylic work, because they just didn’t have the flexibility, water retention and movement that I wanted with a watercolor brush.

Now lets talk about what I paint ON.  I actually am pretty adventurous when it comes to painting surfaces, but I have found that some are just better for what they designed for.  So, canvas, for example.  I enjoy painting watercolor on canvas, but I generally find I want to pop the color more and end up going with acrylic, though I use acrylic very much like I use watercolor in glazes (that is another topic!).

Here is a watercolor on canvas painting I did.  It is actually 3 canvases, done one at at time, then screwed together and framed together.  Honestly, I did the center section first.  When I really looked at it, I thought, “I think it needs more sky”.  So, I did the top panel, making sure I used the same colors as in the sky in the middle panel, and here is another reason to love watercolor.  Look how the sky moves down.  My painting table is on a slight slant, and that happened naturally.  I love that!  Any way, then I looked at the two together and thought, “hmm. now the bottom needs more.  I need to add the lake!”  So, out came another canvas the same size (12 x 36) and I painted the bottom part.  Finally, I felt that it was done.  All together it is 36 x 36, I called “Serenity” and it is all watercolor on canvas.



I have done a good bit of work on claybord.  Specifically, Ampersand claybord and Ampersand Aquabord.  The regular textured claybord works well with Watercolor, and if you want to do alot of lifting, it is definitely the way to do.  The added benefit is that it does not have to go behind glass, BUT it must be sprayed with a fixative to protect the surface from moisture.  I don’t find that it makes any changes in color or value. (Note, the same is not true if you are using a varnish/fixative on a soft pastel.  It will darken the values and alter the color…but again, that is another topic!)

So, here is one I did on Claybord (textured). The beauty of working on the claybord, as I mentioned, is the lifting ability you have.  All those highlights were lifted, and after the painting was completely dry.  This is also why it is imperative to seal it.  It doesn’t take alot of moisture, to lift it away!

Budding Beautywm

I also really enjoy painting watercolor on Yupo paper (there are several videos of that here on this site and on my YouTube channel.  (search for Gallerygerl).  It is dangerously fun!  Yupo is a “slick” surface and the watercolor sits on top of it.  That means it moves everywhere, or you move it anywhere until it dries, which takes a while, even in New Mexico.  I have a full length video to finish editing on that topic.  It’s also good to start your painting session with a small painting on Yupo.  It will help you loosen up! :)

Here are two different examples of watercolor on Yupo paper.  The first one is a simple floral, and it literally took 30 seconds or so to do.  I’m not kidding.


The next example, is a layered watercolor on Yupo.  There are more than 30 various layers here.  It was totally an experiment and I didn’t know if it would work.  Normally, going back with new watercolor on top of dried watercolor, on Yupo, would literally remove what was there before and blend that hue with whatever hue is on your brush.  What I did to solve that is the basis of another full length video that is in the edit stage.  It is called, “The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends”

The Road Goes on Forever and Party Nevr Ends.

My ultimate favorite though, the surface I go back to when I’m really feeling “watercolory” is Arches 140lb Cold Press paper.  I generally buy 10 packs of 10 full sheets.  Yes, that is 100 full sheets.  That should tell you for sure, it is my go to for watercolor.  And here is the truth, no I don’t stretch it.  and I don’t even tape it down to a board, unless I’m really going wet, and sometimes not even then! So, in keeping with the above, here is a good example of true form, watercolor on 140Lb Arches Cold Press Watercolor Paper. This painting is on a a 1/2 sheet (22 x 15 1/2). “Golden Light, Night Drama”

Night Dramawm


So,  there are some great examples of watercolor used on various painting surfaces. I hope you can see the varying effects of how what you paint on, can alter how the watercolor behaves and what the overall effect is, in the end piece.  And below is  the video about those tools that I discussed in this post.  Happy painting!

So many people have said to me, “I could never paint watercolor! It is so hard to work with.”  I couldn’t disagree more.  While I understand that there is a delicate balance between water and color, or pigment, I absolutely love the way it moves, the surprises and elements of happy accidents can give you a new direction or even an end result that is absolutely delightful.  While I also paint with acrylic and pastel (I love those too), watercolor came  first for me once I transitioned from pencil to paint!

Some qualities I particularly enjoy are watching how different pigments work together..or don’t. Learning that balance between  water and pigment, and how to manipulate it is a forever learning experience.  How the pigment suspends, or breaks down it water.  Some pigments, like Antwerp Blue, actually seem to run to the water, seeking it out.  I love the transparent colors and demonstrating the differences between transparent and opaque colors.  It’s a dance.

When I’m working with acrylic, I actually use it in very much the same methods as I do with watercolor…in layered glazes. I use water with the acrylic to help it move (mostly because I’m addicted to the movement of watercolor) but have to be careful not to use too much water or it breaks down the color too much.

But this is a discussion of watercolor.  It’s really important to know your colors.  Know what they are like full strength and how they “grade” down to their lightest light.  Know what colors mix well and what shades result.  What colors are complementary?  Your color wheel can help with that, and I use other tools too.  Check out the video below and I’ll show you some very handy tools you can use to really get familiar with the colors in your palette.  There is more to read after the video, so don’t go away just yet!

So, now that you’ve seen the video, here is the secret.  Creating those charts was not my idea.  It came from the most valuable book I ever purchased on the topic of Watercolor: “The Watercolor Painter’s Pocket Palette” by Moira Clinch.  Click on the ad to buy it from Amazon sellers. And, till next time, happy painting!

Starting Over

After 3 years of fighting with my membership package, I threw it away.  So I’m starting over.  Money and time and time and time lost, but now feeling so relieved to be unburdened by the drama and frustration of package I just could not understand no matter what I did.  I even hired people to do for me and they couldn’t figure it out either!

So, here’s to new beginnings.  Most the links don’t work right yet so don’t try to register just yet.  After only 8 hours I’m closer than I ever have been. I can’t tell you how that feels!  In the meantime I’m back to editing videos too (which got put on hold while I tried to make the plugin work).  And the excitement in me I can taste.

So, once again, stay tuned, and get ready.  I’ll do my best to keep you posted!  Thanks for hanging in there!

Wow, I can’t believe how long this has taken, and FLASH in a few days a friend with know-how made tons of improvements that had been holding me back.  In the meantime, I’ve changed the overall idea from a 26 week course, to full length videos and particular topics.   So, what will change is that there will not a monthly fee, but you’ll be able to join for an annual fee of  only $29.97 and then be able to buy whatever video you need for where you’re at.  Note, you will need  high speed internet access (DSL or faster) to see the videos without interruption.  If you don’t have high speed internet, I’ll put the video on a DVD for you for an small fee.

Your annual membership will also give you access to live streaming instruction that I will offer via ustream once I have at least 10 people signed up.  So, stay tuned, it really is coming SOON!  Thank you, Donna!!!  Keep up and Follow me on Facebook and/or catch me on Twitter!

I’m making headway….but before I go on, I want to welcome you to this new site! Together we will explore the wonderful world of Art…and how to create it for yourself! All of the videos here right now are FREE for your perusal and growth. Spend a few minutes, read the posts, watch the videos…and please, let me hear from you.  Post a comment, say hello, and let me know what you’d like to see in a video, are you skeptical?  A beginner, or have you been painting/drawing for a while but find you’re stuck somewhere, or just need a new way to do something!   Let me know!

Coming soon, will be a full 26 week (or more ) course. Videos in learning to Draw, learning toPaint with watercolor or…both! Be sure to fill in your email to get first notice when we go live!

It’s finished! and Thanks!

Thanks to those of you who took the survey!  Daisies won:  paint the stems and centers….so I did, and here it is:

Connections 20 x 16 Scratchboard

Connections 20 x 16 Scratchboard

I called it “Connections” for all the crossing of stems and yet one or two not quite connected, kind of “hanging out” in space.  It struck me as I was working on it.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this one. I video recorded alot of it, but not all…it took 117 hours, after all.  Anyway, I’m editing the video now and hope to get this all figured out really soon.

I’m sorry it’s taken so long.  I’m just as subject to the distractions that keep me from the studio as anyone who is struggling to learn to paint.  It’s life.  But when painting is integrally related to the blood that courses through my veins (or at least it seems that way) I have to get back to it, or go nuts.  Figuring out the online part is intimidating, but I’m working on it…so hang in there!  I’ll get it done yet!

And, while I’m thinking about it, perhaps it was kismet that I finished on the Friday of Memorial Weekend.  May we all remember our Connections to all those who serve and have served and have given their lives and limbs for our Freedom.

hi friends,

I know, it’s been a long time.  My deepest apologies.  From computer problems to time issues and of course, the non-stop flow of bad new from the talking heads on TV.  Enough! I said, and headed into the studio.  Camera, on.  So, a series of new videos is coming, and fast.  First on youtube, but I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I posted a survey on my personal blog.  But I’d love you to take it from here too.  So, here’s the scoop.

I’ve been working on a 16 x 20 scratchboard piece.  To see the progression, for now, check out my blog.

So, this piece that you see is the topic of the survey…and where would you like me to go from here?  here’s the pic:

new scratchboard

new scratchboard

so, I’d like to know where you’d like me to go….Click Here to take survey

It’s taking longer than I hoped, but I’m working to make the videos and the site just what you want. On that score, I created a survey that I’d sure be grateful if you’d fill out. I really would like to hear from you what you want in the way videos, how long they should be and what you consider the right price.

So, if you would, please click here to take the survey…it’s short, it won’t take more than a few minutes, I promise!  And….thank you!

THE place to Learn ART!

It’s taken me longer than I thought, but I’m pouring all my best into it!  There’s nothing more exciting to me than when a student says, “WOW! I actually DID IT!’  When a student brings me work to evaluate and I see growth and development it puts a smile on my face!

We are made creative.  It’s in you, but perhaps you haven’t found it.  Maybe you find your creative genius in music, or dance.  Don’t think you can “do it all”!  You may always excel at one more than another, but the satisfaction of releasing that timeless flow is immense.

So… join me and explore all the ways to find your creative spark here.  The site will go live soon….Everything you find here right now is FREE.  Put your email in here and you’ll get advance notice of the full opening of Katherine’s Art TV!

Pouring Watercolor

Pouring watercolor can be vastly differing experiences depending on the choice of medium.  Working on traditional watercolor paper, such as Arches 140 pound Cold Press gives one result, which we’ll explore later, but for real vibrant color, give it shot on Yupo.  You may get the idea that I like working on Yupo…and you’d be correct!

My friend and fellow artist, Jacqui Binford-Bell has a unique take on pouring.  Since it’s so different from what I do, I’d like to share her perspective with you.

Click the link below and you can follow Jacqui in the exploration of pouring watercolor….on canvas!  (Note, the video is 16 minutes long so it takes a bit to load.)

Pouring Watercolor with Jacqui Binford-Bell