I often get asked by my students, "Which side is the right side and which is the wrong side of the watercolor paper?"
If you are very particular and only want to paint on the top side of the paper, here's a tip for you. Do you purchase your paper in full sheets, then trim them down to quarter sheets to paint?
1. Look for the watermark
2. Using a pencil, lightly mark each corner with a small T.
3. Trim down your paper to quarter sheets.
4. You will now know which side is the top.
Having said all of that, if you're just starting out in watercolor buy high quality 140 lb. 100% cotton rag acid free watercolor paper and use both sides to practice on. The quality of the paper is the most important thing.
Many different brands of watercolor paper have a slightly different finish on both sides. Some manufacturers purposely make one side rougher than the other. Most of the time you can tell the difference between the top and the bottom, because the pulp is spread out onto a screen to dry. But there really isn't a right side and a wrong side to the paper.
My Painting A Day Challenge dew drops from the past three days seem to be inspired by current events and things happening around me. The Cucumber Dill Drop inspired by cucumbers growing in my garden, I cannot wait until they're pickable. I love slicing them thin and marinating them with dill. Sapphire Dew Drop inspired by my gorgeous sapphire ring. Droplets on Oil Spill inspired by news of the oil spill in the Gulf, the well finally being capped.
These dew drops and more from my Painting A Day Challenge can be found for sale in my Squier Etsy Shop.
Spending a few lovely days in the Adirondacks to escape the heat and humidity was fun. No electricity, no hum of the air conditioner, no humidity. Crystal clear water at 74 degrees and nothing but gorgeous sunshine.
Not ready to add people to your watercolor landscapes? Instead of going for the full details, practice making silhouette shapes of people. A tiny little silhouette of a person can add a little life to your landscapes.
Start by making a simple practice background. I chose a sunset on the beach. When the background is completely dry, add the people. Don't forget about scale and depth. People far off in the distance will be smaller than those closer to the viewer.
Create your people in a variety of stances, different poses. Make some people standing still. Some can be walking. Pair an adult with a child. Give them a simple activity. Here I had two of the people flying kites. Ladies can wear skirts.
Practice and have fun with it. When you get the hang of it, don't be afraid to add a little silhouette of a person to one of your landscapes.
On the back of your watercolor paintings, it's a good idea to write little notes. Keep track of what is important to you.
The title you gave the painting, maybe the date or at least the year you painted it.
Do you keep track of your paintings in a notebook with cataloged numbers? Add the number to the back.
Are you new to painting or have trouble remembering what colors you used? Write the names of colors on the reverse. Maybe you have a favorite color combination that shows up in a lot of your paintings. Or you look at one of your paintings and think wow those colors look great, now which ones did I use?
On the back of all my little ACEOs with an india ink pen, I write the title, the year, my name, my websites. Since they're part of my Painting A Day Challenge I add that too, plus the day I painted the little painting.
I have done all of the above from time to time. My larger paintings get pencilled in catalog numbers on the back and sometimes the title too. Before I really learned my palette, I kept track of the colors I used on the backs of paintings.
I use either 140 lb. or 300 lb. watercolor paper when I paint. I have never had any trouble keeping notes on the backs of my paintings in either pencil or india ink pen. The paper is thick enough pen and pencil lines do not show through to the top side. If you're heavy handed and are afraid, lighten up! It's good to keep little notes.
These two paintings were done by 8:30 this morning. I painted Robin's Egg Blue Drop first and still felt like painting more. So I started working on Drops of Water and I am so happy with it. I love it! They look so real and three dimensional, dripping down the paper.
This little floral painting starts off my Painting A Day Challenge for the month of July, which actually began on February 1, 2010. I am so happy I have decided to keep the Painting A Day Challenge paintings this small miniature size. I do paint larger at times. But this is a nice little size to store and display.