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Watercolor Techniques Using Color & Light For Ultra-Dramatic Paintings

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Painting with color means the imaginative and personal use of a favorite palette of colors. If you are not already a colorist painter, try to create a colorful palette of your choices and give it a try for this tutorial. Below is a picture of Virgil’s personal palette:

Upper row (L to R): Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Phathlo Blue, Manganese Blue (mixture), Andrew’s Turquoise, Phathlo Green, Spring Green, Payne’s Gray. Lower row (L to R): Hansa Yellow Light, Indian Yellow, Cadmium Scarlet, Naples Yellow, Peachy Keen, Quinacridone Gold, Cadmium Orange, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Permanent Rose Quinacridone, Cobalt Violet

Your Approach to Making a Painting

There are as many different approaches as there are painters. Regardless of your method, try your best to develop your personal approach for this painting by first exploring composition and values with some thumbnail pencil sketches in a sketchbook.

Sketchbooks are wonderful tools for becoming familiar with subjects before picking up a brush. Gaining knowledge of and confidence in a subject — any subject — allows for much looser painting, which means less worry and more fun! Using a sketchbook is also a great method for exploring alternatives to value and composition. These small studies will help get you past the first ten minutes of painting and guide you to a strong completed painting.

When you have selected a sketch to be the basis of your painting, all that remains is to make your painting look like your sketch. Develop your personal color scheme to express the feelings and emotions that you wish to convey about the subject, and remember the 80/20 Rule: Make at least 80% of the painting about your idea.