Watercolor Videos: The Best YouTube Channels for Watercolor Painting

Benefits of Watercolor Paints vs. Oils or Acrylics
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Back in the “olden days”, if you wanted to learn to how to paint you either had to buy a book, order an expensive DVD or sign up for a  local class with a real-life instructor. These days, though, learning to paint is as easy as firing up a browser and watching one of countless different watercolor videos online.

Videos are amazing for learning. They allow you to go at your own pace, to pause and rewind whenever you miss anything and to see the technique demonstrated visually…often in high definition.

I was actually inspired to start learning watercolors because of a video I watched on YouTube. The way the paint flowed and the colors blended was almost magical. As soon as I saw that video, I knew I wanted to learn more.

If you love watercolor videos as much as I do, I hope you’ll find this post useful. These are some of my personal favorite watercolor-related YouTube channels that I’ve gone back to again and again. I’ll keep adding to this list as I find more, so be sure to bookmark it and check back often.

Kelly Eddington

Although Kelly Eddington’s YouTube channel has been around for quite awhile, she just recently started uploading regularly to it. Her channel combines instructional painting videos geared toward beginners with inspiring videos showing her paint some amazing watercolors from start to finish. Not only is she an excellent artist, but her videos are really well made and provide a ton of information.  Here’s more info about her channel and website, along with a sample video so you can see what she’s all about:

 

Agnes Cecile

Whenever I tell people about Agnes Cecile’s videos, I always say that she turns watercolor painting into performance art. Although her videos are technically not instructional, you can still learn a lot from watching them. The majority of her videos are of her painting portraits. She also has some amazing non-watercolor paintings on her channel. Her videos are a pleasure to watch, and I always look forward to her new uploads.

 

Anna Mason

Anna Mason creates incredibly life-like botanical paintings. Although she only has a handful of videos up right now, they give you a glimpse into how she layers the paint to achieve so much depth and dimension. The videos that she has up on YouTube are short segments taken from longer instructional videos that she has on her website. If you want to access the full videos on her site, you have to pay a small membership fee. However, there is plenty of excellent content in her free videos to make them worth watching.

 

Grahame Booth

I just recently happened upon Grahame Booth, and really enjoyed his watercolor videos. He doesn’t have many up right now, but the ones he does have listed are really well made. He paints with a loose, easy style that allows the paint to do what it was meant to do. The results are really beautiful.

 

Steven Cronin

Steven Cronin is another painter that I just recently found on YouTube. He paints landscapes using an extremely limited palette. He has a loose style that is well-suited to watercolors. One of the things that I admire most about his paintings is that he can take a complicated scene with tons of tangled foliage and distill it down to its most basic parts, resulting in a painting that captures the essence of the scene without being fussy or overworked.

That’s it for now. Remember to check back, though, since I plan to update this list regularly as I find new channels. By the way, if you know of any other YouTube watercolor channels that you think are worth sharing, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks!

 





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The Advantages of Watercolor Paints vs. Oils or Acrylics

watercolortube
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When it comes to paints, watercolors sometimes get a bad rap. They have the reputation of being unforgiving and unpredictable.

It’s true that it can be difficult to correct mistakes with watercolors, and you sometimes have to be willing to go with the flow and let the paints do their own thing. However, the results of these “happy accidents” (to quote Bob Ross) are often breathtaking.

When I decided to find a new creative outlet, I spent a lot of time considering which type of paint I wanted to use. After weighing the pros and cons of each, I decided on watercolors. There were several key advantages that swayed my decision. Here are few of the biggest benefits of watercolors versus oils or acrylics.

  • Easy Clean Up It is practically impossible to ruin your brushes with watercolor paints. If you forget to wash them, it is not a big deal. You can just rinse them out before you start painting the next time. There is no need to worry about dried paint hardening and ruining your brush. Also, if you get paint on your clothes, furniture or skin, it is easy to clean up with water.
  • Less Wasted Paint If you are using watercolor in tubes and squeeze out too much paint, you don’t have to worry about the excess going to waste. Instead, just let the leftover paint dry on your palette and add water to it the next time you paint.
  • No Harsh Chemicals One of my favorite things about watercolors is that they are completely odor-free and they don’t involve the use of any harsh chemicals. You don’t have to worry about filling your house with toxic solvents or chemicals.Granted, watercolor paints aren’t completely without danger since some pigments can pose health risks (namely cadmium, cobalt and several others) but for the most part they are non-toxic. They don’t give off any fumes and don’t require ventilation. If you get them on your skin or in your eyes, you generally don’t have to worry about any harmful side effects.
  • Relatively Inexpensive For budding artists, one of the biggest advantages of watercolors is that they don’t require a lot of expensive equipment or supplies to get started. All you need is a good set of brushes, a set of watercolor paints and some watercolor paper. There is no need for expensive paint mediums, cleaning tools, solvents, canvases or other painting surfaces.In terms of the paints themselves, student grade watercolors can give excellent results when you are just beginning. This makes it really low risk to experiment while you are learning. You can try out lots of new ideas without wasting a lot of money. Later, as you get more advanced, you can buy more expensive artist grade paints.
  • Transparency From a purely visual standpoint, watercolor paint has an inner brilliance and clarity of color that is often lacking in other types of paint. This is largely due to the fact that it is transparent. Most paints reflect color directly off the surface of the paint.Watercolors, on the other hand, get their color as a result of light bouncing off the white paper and reflecting back up through the paint. As a result, the paintings almost look as if they are lit from within.This transparency also makes watercolors extremely versatile. A single tube or pan of watercolor paint can give you countless different shades of the same color simply by adding more or less water. You can build colors to add richness, or mix colors on the paper by layering one color over another.

Hopefully this gives you a few good reasons to try your hand at watercolors. Although they can be difficult to master, they are a lot of fun to work with.





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Make a Simple Plein Air Kit for Watercolors

Simple Plein Air Watercolor Kit
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diy plein air watercolor kit

Just to give you an idea of where we are heading with this, here’s a picture of what the kit looks like when it is all put together.

Today my boyfriend and I went for a bike ride and I decided to take my watercolors along. I have never painted “en plein air” before, but have always wanted to try. In case you don’t know, en plein air is a French expression that means “in the open air.” In art, the expression is used to refer to the act of painting outdoors.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to bring everything I needed with me — especially water. After a little bit of trial and error, I put together this simple kit.

I’m really happy with how it came out. It is extremely compact, and stayed together nicely in the backpack even after miles of riding. Here’s a quick breakdown of the things you’ll need if you want to make your own:

  • A small set of watercolors. I’m using the Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketchers’ Pocket Box. I got it on Amazon for about $15.00. The paints are surprisingly good for how cheap they are, and the box is so tiny and cute that it is easy to use on the go.
  • A few paper towels
  • Several sheets of your favorite watercolor paper, cut to a size of 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • An empty yogurt cup
  • A bottle of water
  • A mechanical pencil with a good eraser. You can use a regular pencil, but I decided to go with a mechanical one for my kit so I wouldn’t have to worry about sharpening it if the tip broke.
  • A couple of your favorite brushes. You can bring as many or as few as you’d like. I decided to keep my kit simple by just taking a medium sized round brush and a tiny liner brush.
  • A thin piece of masonite cut to approximately 6″ x 8″. You can find masonite in the lumber section of most home improvement stores. It’s thin enough that you can cut it down to size with a utility knife – no power tools needed. To help protect mine from water, I painted it with several coats of cream colored house paint.
  • A piece of cardboard cut to approximately 6″ x 8″
  • A sturdy, flat piece of sewing elastic or a large rubber band

Once you gather your supplies, it’s time to get started! :)

The most complicated part of this whole process is making your board that you will use to hold your paper. I don’t know about you, but when I am in the mood to paint, I don’t like to spend a lot of time taping down my paper.

To get around this problem, I came up with the idea of putting tape on my board, sticky side out, then just sticking each sheet of paper to it. When I am done with a painting, I pull it off the board, but leave the tape behind so it’s ready for the next piece.

The tape I used is some kind of art tape that is designed not to stick to paper. However, it works just as well with plain old masking tape. Here are some instructions for folding the tape:

Start by tearing off a piece of tape the same length as one of the sides of your board. Place it sticky side down on the table in front of you. Fold it in thirds by folding the far side toward yourself, approximately to the center of the piece of tape. Crease it with your fingernail. Lift the tape up and turn it around so the non-folded side is facing away from you. Fold that side toward yourself, over the top of the previously folded section. When you are done, you should have a flat "tube" of tape that has the sticky side out the whole way around.

Start by tearing off a piece of tape the same length as one of the sides of your board. Place it sticky side down on the table in front of you. Fold it in thirds by folding the far side toward yourself, approximately to the center of the piece of tape. Crease it with your fingernail. Lift the tape up and turn it around so the non-folded side is facing away from you. Fold that side toward yourself, over the top of the previously folded section. When you are done, you should have a flat “tube” of tape that has the sticky side out the whole way around.

watercolorboard

Repeat this process for each side of the board, sticking the pieces of tape to the board as you go. When you are done, there should be a piece of tape around each side of the board. Leave a border of about 1/2 inch on each side since your paper is smaller than the board. Ideally, the outside edges of the tape should be the exact size of your paper to keep water from seeping under the edges of your piece while you are working on it.

watercolorboardcloseup

Here’s a closeup of the tape on the board. Notice how the edges are covered with watercolor, but the center of the board is relatively clean? That’s because the tape helps create a barrier that prevents water from running under your paper.

Once you are done creating your board, stick a single sheet of watercolor paper to the front of it so it is ready to go when you pull it out of your kit. Stack your other sheets of paper on top of that, then cover the whole thing with the piece of cardboard.

Roll your brushes and pencil up tightly in the paper towels, and set them on top of the cardboard/paper/masonite stack. Finally, add your water bottle (filled with water) and your empty yogurt cup. Secure the whole thing together with elastic. When you are done, it should look like this:

diy plein air watercolor kit

Here’s the finished product. It’s cute, compact and extremely functional! Best of all, though, it’s sturdy and you don’t have to worry about your brushes taking a beating while you travel to your destination.

I hope that gives you some ideas for your own kit! If you have any tips you’d like to add, or if you’d like to share a photo of your kit, please feel free to do so below. I’d love to see what you use when painting with watercolors outdoors!





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