children's book Maria's Loose Tooth illustrations by Yong Chen

watercolor painting by Rita Murphy, a proud student of Yong Chen

Watercolor painting by
Rita Murphy

Rita Murphy's watercolor learning experience:
These past few classes have exposed me to the medium of watercolor painting. I have learned the importance of the basic three colors (pure red, blue, and yellow) and how combining these colors produce shades of orange (red + yellow), green (blue + yellow) and purple (red + blue). The color brown is created when red, yellow and blue are mixed together. Black/gray color is achieved through mixing more blue into the purple mixture. These paints need to be non-toxic. Materials used are important. A good sable hair brush number 16 along with a smaller brush under under number 5 and a flat brush 1 1/2 inches serve this medium well. Quality paper (Strathmore) is desirable to assure durablity for the life of the painting. One also needs a watercolor palette or plate for mixing colors.

There are different techniques used in watercolor painting to assist the artist in producing shadows and light on the paper. The washes are: Flat (left to right), Radiant (light to dark), and Variegated (three colors). Other methods are Lift-Off (removing paint by wetting the area and removing with a dry brush), layers of paint (letting one layer dry before adding another), glaze (wet on dry wash), and drop-in (little drops of paint applied to a dry surface).

I have learned that by practicing one does improve. By my third try at a fall landscape scene, the picture began to look like something. Attempts are not futile because they serve as a learning experience.

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