Worst Mistake in a Watercolor Painting

I made the worst mistake in a watercolor painting one can make, and it was all captured in this video.

Sometimes a painting can be saved, but in this video I decided it would be best to scrap my 1st attempt and start all over again! Watch to see the moment when I decided the painting was not worth saving because I overworked it, and what I did to fix my mistake in the second painting.

Overworking a Watercolor Painting

Overworking a painting is the worst mistake you can make when creating a watercolor.

That’s because anytime you destroy the fibers of the watercolor paper it deadens the glow to your colors and your only source of white in your painting. In the video you saw how I was on my way to loosing the contrast between the birds and the tree, and the only way to get it back was to lift a tremendous amount of paint from the tree which would destroy the paper. I didn’t even bother to try because I knew what was going to happen. So, instead I started again.

Here are some tips to help you from overworking a watercolor:

  • Plan your painting by drawing it out first.
  • Use a kneaded eraser on your watercolor paper to prevent damaging the paper. (Watch this video tutorial to learn more)
  • Paint on professional watercolor paper and not student grade. Especially if you plan to use masking fluid!
  • When lifting out color don’t scrub back and forth with a brush on the paper. Instead gently rub the paper in the same direction with lots of water to lift the color out of the paper.
  • If you’re not sure what to do take a break. Then prop you paint up, stand 10-12 feet away, and critique it.
  • Remember painting a watercolor is all about the strategy. It’s good to visually what order to paint your layer to achieve you final end masterpiece!

If you do end up overworking your watercolor don’t stress. It’s good to start over sometimes, and you can take all the knowledge you learned from your 1st attempt and use it to paint your 2nd to make it even better then you originally imagined!

Apposing Opinion

My two oldest daughters didn’t share my opinion of my 1st painting. They both liked my first tree, and you know what they are right. I like the first tree too. What I didn’t like was how the watercolor was developing. I could see as I deepen the colors of the Hummingbirds they were going to end up the same value, and almost the same color of the tree! They would have disappeared if I continued on the path I was on.

I thought about lifting color from the tree and tried a little but could see I was going to make a really big mess, loose the vibrancy of the paper, and blurring all my lines and textures. I would end up destroying everything we liked about the tree in hopes of making the Hummingbirds stand out more. So, I made the hard call to quit.

I also had to walk away from this painting for a bit. I completed all 8 of the other watercolors in this collection before returning to this one with fresh eyes to restart it again.

In the end I was happy, and if I never shared this video, no one would have been the wiser:)

I decided to share it though, to help encourage others not to give up, and do what it take to achieve fruition with their own art.

How About You?

Let me know in the comment section below if you have ever had to re-do a painting and how it turn out?

Thank you for watching!

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