Many beginning artists have trouble with one of the small techniques used widely in water painting called the wrist flick. This is the ending position of the brush stroke. Now pivot from your wrist push the brush tip up and away in a "flicking" motion. The last part of the stroke flicks out in a feathery point. Practice several times in each color you have. As you hit each stroke, vary the thickness of the strokes trying to imitate grasses, branches, or even feathers.
I, sometimes, rest my brush hand on top of my other hand for some of the brush strokes. Try this technique for stability and control of detailed flick strokes. Continue practicing the stroke on your paper. Be aware that a spectacular scene may grow naturally as you practice.
Along with suggesting grasses, branches, and feathers effortlessly, the Wrist Flick and variants are handy when rendering hair in portraiture or wildlife painting. A little Wrist Flicking can go a long way to finishing off a landscape painting. Too much can do a painting in before you know you've gone too far.
Masking is one of the most important techniques that you should master as you improve your water paintings skill. Masking fluid is the most common masking agent. It comes in colorless and in colors. Most artists use the colored so they can see where it has been applied. Others say the colored fluid is distracting or can cause them to alter the color of paints they use.
We know that the "white of the paper" is important. It creates the very light in the painting. White can easily get lost and once it is lost, it is hard to get back. Watercolor paints and paper have minds of their own - that quality of "happy accidents" is what makes this medium so much fun! (But also so difficult, some say the hardest, to master.)
A lot of artists will never use masking and others swear by it. Anything goes and whatever works for you to create the painting you want is okay. Experiment with all sorts of masking aids to find what works best for you.
What to buy: Masquepen Artist's Masking Fluid (has a nib); W&N MASKING FLUID (colorless); Daler Rowney Art Masking Fluid (colorless); SAA Blue Mask Masking Fluid; Miskit; Cheap Joe's Masking Fluid (very reasonably price!); Art Maskoid; Graphix Prepared Friskit Film; Pebeo Drawing Gum; Water Media Polyester Film Overlay; Incredible White Mask
Most of these and other masking aids can be found at the major online art suppliers.
We want you to have fun working on your watercolor paintings.
About the author:
The author, Mike Dodd, knows a great deal about watercolor paintings.
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