Painting for the Absolute and Utter Beginner by C Watson Garcia: Review

Based on the author's successful courses and workshops, this title helps new painters find 'what works' while providing information on the necessary tools, tips and techniques they need to create a representational painting.

Looking to delve into the world of watercolor painting? Then look no further than Cathy Johnson’s ‘Painting Watercolors (First Steps)’! This book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn the basics of watercolor painting and take their first steps towards creating beautiful, vibrant artwork.

With its clear and concise instructions, ‘Painting Watercolors (First Steps)’ is perfect for beginners. Whether you’ve never picked up a paintbrush before or you’re just looking to refine your skills, this book has everything you need to get started. From materials and techniques to color theory and step-by-step instructions for painting a watercolor, Cathy Johnson covers it all in an engaging and accessible style that will leave you feeling liberated and inspired to create your own unique works of art. So what are you waiting for? Grab some paper, brushes, and paints, and let’s get started on our journey into the world of watercolor painting with Cathy Johnson as our guide!

Overview of Cathy Johnson’s ‘Painting Watercolors (First Steps)’

If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to get started with watercolor painting, Cathy Johnson’s ‘Painting Watercolors (First Steps)’ is an excellent resource! Her teaching style is approachable and beginner-friendly, making it easy for anyone to follow along. Throughout the book, Johnson provides tips on everything from choosing the right materials to creating beautiful washes.

One of the things that sets this book apart is its focus on simplicity. Johnson encourages readers to start with basic techniques before moving onto more advanced ones. This means that even if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush before, you’ll be able to create stunning watercolor paintings with her guidance. Her step-by-step instructions are clear and concise, making it easy to understand each technique.

Overall, ‘Painting Watercolors (First Steps)’ is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn how to paint with watercolors. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some experience under your belt, Johnson’s teaching style and beginner-friendly tips will help you take your skills to the next level. So now that you know why this book is such a great choice, let’s talk about what materials you’ll need for watercolor painting!

Materials Needed for Watercolor Painting

When it comes to watercolor painting, selecting the right materials can make all the difference in achieving a successful outcome. You’ll want to consider two essential components: paper and brushes. The type of paper you choose will affect the texture and absorption of your paint, while different brushes will create varying brushstrokes and effects. Additionally, choosing high-quality paints that suit your style and preferences is crucial for achieving vibrant colors and a desired level of transparency.

Types of Paper and Brushes

Choosing the right paper and brushes can greatly impact the outcome of your watercolor paintings. When it comes to paper, you have many options to choose from, but it’s important to select one that is suitable for watercolor painting techniques. Watercolor paper comes in different textures such as hot-pressed, cold-pressed, and rough. Hot-pressed paper has a smooth surface and is ideal for fine details and delicate washes. Cold-pressed paper has a slightly textured surface that provides a good balance between detail work and texture. Rough paper has the most texture and is great for creating loose, expressive paintings.

In addition to selecting the right type of paper, choosing appropriate watercolor brush types is also crucial. The two main types of brushes are natural hair brushes made from animal hair or synthetic fiber brushes made from nylon or polyester. Natural hair brushes are more expensive but they hold more water and paint which allows for easier blending and smoother washes. Synthetic fiber brushes are cheaper but they don’t hold as much water as natural hair brushes do, making them better suited for precise details rather than large areas of color. Keep these factors in mind when selecting your materials so that you can achieve the desired effect in your artwork without compromising on quality.

When it comes to choosing the right paint, there are many factors to consider beyond just color selection.

Choosing the Right Paint

To get the most out of your artwork, it’s important to know that 95% of professional watercolor artists use artist-grade paint. This type of paint has a higher pigment concentration and produces richer colors compared to student-grade paints. One thing to consider when choosing the right paint is its consistency. Some paints are thicker than others, which can affect the way they blend with water on paper. However, this also means that they may require more water to achieve the desired effect.

Another factor to consider is pigment quality. Artist-grade paints usually have higher-quality pigments that are more lightfast and less likely to fade over time. This ensures that your artwork will maintain its vibrancy for years to come. With these factors in mind, it’s important to do some research and experimentation when choosing the right paint for your needs. Once you’ve found a brand and consistency that works well for you, you can start exploring different techniques for watercolor painting without feeling limited by your materials.

In the next section about techniques for watercolor painting, we’ll explore ways to create texture and depth within your paintings using various brush strokes and washes.

Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Now, let’s talk about the different techniques you can use for watercolor painting. First up is the wet-on-wet and dry brush techniques which are great for creating smooth washes or sharp edges respectively. Then, we have creating texture and shadow to add depth and interest to your work. And of course, color mixing is a crucial aspect that allows you to achieve a wide range of hues and tones in your paintings. By mastering these techniques, you’ll be able to create stunning works of art that showcase the unique beauty of watercolors.

Wet-on-Wet and Dry Brush Techniques

The magical blending of colors in wet-on-wet and the delicate texture of dry brush techniques can bring your watercolor paintings to life. Wet-on-wet allows for soft edges and spontaneous color mixing, while dry brush creates a scratchy texture that can mimic the look of fur or feathers. Here are some tips for incorporating these techniques into your painting:

  • Wet-on-Wet: Wet your paper with clean water before applying paint, then drop in colors and watch them blend together on their own. For more control, add a second layer once the first is dry.
  • Dry Brush: Load your brush with pigment, then remove most of it by wiping it on a paper towel or palette. Use quick strokes to add texture or detail to specific areas.
  • Wet-on-Wet: Wet your paper with clean water before applying paint, then drop in colors and watch them blend together on their own. For more control, add a second layer once the first is dry.
  • Dry Brush: Load your brush with pigment, then remove most of it by wiping it on a paper towel or palette. Use quick strokes to add texture or detail to specific areas.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with blending techniques and color layering until you find what works best for you. Remember that brush control is key – practice using different brushes and pressure levels to achieve different effects. As you become comfortable with these techniques, you can start thinking about creating texture and shadow in your paintings without relying solely on color transition.”

    Creating Texture and Shadow

    You can add depth and dimension to your artwork by experimenting with various techniques for creating texture and shadow. One technique is called dry brush, which involves using a dry brush with little to no water on it to create rough and textured strokes on the paper. This method works well when you want to create the illusion of rough surfaces like tree bark or rocks. Another technique that can be used to create texture is salt sprinkling. Sprinkling salt on wet paint creates a unique pattern that adds interest and visual appeal to your painting.

    When it comes to adding shadows, one useful watercolor technique is called layering washes. By layering thin washes of darker colors over lighter ones, you can gradually build up the intensity of the shadow without making it too dark or overwhelming. Another way to add shadows is by using contrasting colors. For example, if you have a yellow object in your painting, you can use purple for the shadow as these are complementary colors that work well together. Experimenting with different watercolor techniques and brush strokes will help you discover new ways of creating texture and shadow in your artwork.

    As you move onto the next section about color mixing, remember that these techniques we’ve just discussed will come into play when trying out new color combinations on your palette.

    Color Mixing

    Let’s dive into the art of color mixing and see how we can make our paintings pop with a little bit of pizzazz! Color mixing is an essential part of watercolor painting, and understanding it can help you create beautiful compositions that are pleasing to the eye. By combining colors in different ways, you can achieve a wide range of hues and shades that add depth and dimension to your artwork.

    Color theory is the foundation of color mixing. It helps us understand how colors interact with each other, creating either a harmonious or discordant effect on our paintings. To achieve color harmony, it’s important to start with a limited palette and gradually add more colors as you become more comfortable with mixing them. Experiment with different combinations until you find what works best for your painting style. Understanding color theory will not only improve your use of color but also enhance your overall artistic skills. With this knowledge under your belt, let’s move on to exploring the fascinating world of color theory!

    Color Theory

    So you want to dive deeper into the world of watercolor painting? Well, let’s talk about color theory! Understanding the color wheel is essential when it comes to mixing and choosing colors that work well together. Color harmony is all about creating a pleasing composition through the use of complementary colors, analogous colors, or monochromatic schemes. On the other hand, contrast involves using colors that are opposite on the color wheel to create visual interest and make certain elements pop. Knowing these key points will help you elevate your watercolor game!

    Understanding the Color Wheel

    Exploring the color wheel can help deepen your understanding of how colors work together in watercolor painting. Color psychology plays a role in how we perceive different combinations of hues, and complementary colors are particularly effective at creating visual interest. Complementary colors sit opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green or blue and orange. Using these pairs in your watercolor paintings can create vibrant contrast while also conveying a sense of harmony.

    In addition to complementary colors, there are many other ways to use the color wheel to achieve balance and contrast in your watercolor paintings. Analogous colors sit next to each other on the wheel and can create a more subtle effect when used together. Triadic colors involve three hues that are equally spaced apart from each other on the wheel, such as red, yellow, and blue. Experimenting with different combinations of these color schemes can help you achieve a unique look for your artwork while also building your knowledge of color theory. Moving onto the next section about ‘color harmony and contrast’, consider using monochromatic schemes or exploring different temperatures of color to add even more depth to your paintings.

    Color Harmony and Contrast

    To achieve a dynamic and eye-catching watercolor painting, you’ll want to focus on creating color harmony and contrast. Color blending is an essential technique that can help you create depth and complexity in your work. By mixing colors together, you can create new shades and tones that add interest to your piece. Experiment with different combinations of colors to see what works best for your subject matter.

    Color psychology also plays an important role in creating a visually appealing watercolor painting. Consider the emotions that certain colors evoke and how they relate to your subject matter. For example, blues and greens are often associated with calmness and nature, while reds and oranges represent energy and passion. Contrasting warm colors against cool ones can create a striking effect that draws the viewer’s eye. Ultimately, the key is to find a balance between color harmony and contrast that best represents your artistic vision.

    As you move forward with painting your watercolor masterpiece, it’s important to keep these principles of color harmony and contrast in mind. But first, let’s dive into some step-by-step instructions for bringing your vision to life on paper.

    Step-by-Step Instructions for Painting a Watercolor

    You’ll love how Cathy Johnson’s step-by-step instructions for painting a watercolor flow as smoothly as a river, guiding you through each brushstroke with ease. She starts off by introducing basic watercolor techniques that are essential for any beginner to master before diving into more complex compositions. With her guidance, you’ll learn how to properly mix and blend colors, control the amount of water on your brush, and use different brushes to create various textures.

    One of the great things about Johnson’s approach is that she also highlights common mistakes to avoid. For example, she cautions against using too much water or paint in one area, which can lead to bleeding and unwanted streaks. By following her tips and tricks, you’ll be able to achieve crisp lines and vibrant colors without sacrificing spontaneity or creativity.

    Overall, Johnson’s step-by-step instructions are perfect for anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of watercolor painting. Her clear explanations and easy-to-follow demonstrations make this book a valuable resource for both beginners and seasoned artists alike. So why not give it a try? You might just discover a new passion that brings joy and liberation into your life!


    Congratulations, you’ve finished reading Cathy Johnson’s ‘Painting Watercolors (First Steps)’! By now, you should have a good understanding of the materials needed for watercolor painting and the techniques involved. You may also have learned about color theory and how to use it in your paintings.

    Overall, this book is a great starting point for anyone interested in watercolor painting. The step-by-step instructions provided make it easy to follow along and create your own masterpiece. Plus, Johnson’s writing style is engaging and informative.

    But don’t just take my word for it – give it a read yourself! Whether you’re an experienced artist or just starting out, ‘Painting Watercolors (First Steps)’ is sure to provide valuable insights and tips on creating beautiful watercolor paintings that will stand the test of time. So grab your brushes and paint away – who knows what masterpieces you’ll create with the knowledge gained from this fantastic resource! And remember, as they say in the 21st century: YOLO – so why not try something new today?

    Share This Article