Many learners are quite surprised when I tell them that you can get by with just three paint colours. These paints, the primary colours are red, blue and yellow and in theory you can mix any colour from them. Is it true? Can you have too many paint colours?
The Importance of Colour Mixing
When you are learning to paint it is important to learn how colours are created. You can only really gain a knowledge of colours by mixing them and for this you need to just work with the primaries. I recommend that all beginners work with primary colours and mix all the colours themselves.
Watercolour is a type of paint that is used with water, traditionally applied in washes. The paints themselves are made from powder pigments that are mixed with a water-soluble binding materials such as gum arabic.
Washes are very diluted watery paint layers which give paintings a transparent or light look, often using layers to build up colour. Typically watercolours are used in washes and the white of the paper is used for highlights.
Watercolour paints can come in blocks or tubes (as above). There isn’t one format for watercolour that is better, blocks are perhaps more practical if you are painting outside. Natural bristled brushes are best for watercolour because they tend to be softer, sable is well known to be the most popular choice for watercolour painting. Synthetic stable brushes are now available and these are a good, slightly less expensive alternative to sable.
Like any type of painting having a variety of different brushes will be useful for your watercolour painting. I recommend having at least five different brushes, see my post on the The 4 Most Useful Brushesfor more advice.