Though my wardrobe might tell you that my favorite colors are shades of green, when it comes to watercolor, you’ll find me going back to certain colors all of the time. Perhaps my most often used colors are the two used for this quick little doodlewash – Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue. Of course, I would be remiss not to give a shout out to Cobalt Teal as well, since it’s definitely at the top of my list. But in combination, the two colors I used tonight can produce a myriad of shades that I find fascinating. Perhaps most thrilling is the ability to get to a near black color, when very little water is used, for a bit of extra contrast when needed. Beyond these more earthy colors, however, I tend to grab for a lot of fruity colors that consist of cherry reds, bright oranges and yellows, and an impossibly spring green. This works well when painting food, which I love, and I just sort of run with it for other objects as well. I am more into ‘sketching stuff’ than making full scenes, so these sometimes odd color choices have a way of working themselves out in the end.
Playing with color is a really fun thing to do while painting, but I think what I love more is examining an object to find the hidden colors that appear there. Before I started painting I would look at the world much differently. It was like I was seeing less color. After I picked up a paint brush, my eyes began to change. I would suddenly begin to see all of the colors in each little shadow and reflection that I would see. Cooler still, I had names for many of these colors that I had overlooked before and this transition was so incredible. This, more than anything, was the transformative event that made me fall in love with watercolor. When combined with a new fascination of looking for areas of light and dark, the world quickly became a rather magical place indeed. One’s personal color choices and who they are used go a long way to determining a certain “style” for an artist. My sketches tend to be realistic while the colors make them a bit surreal. For me, the best thing about art is that there really is no right or wrong. You get to choose what you want the world to look like, and that’s the most rewarding thing of all.
And if you’re looking for rewards of another sort, you’ve come to right place once more. Tonight, I’m giving away 5 Hahnemühle Leonardo, 600gsm, 9.4″x12.5″, 10 sheet blocks! These will go to the first five artists who have never yet gotten anything from Hahnemühle and comment below with “Paint Life In Color!” while also telling me what style of paper you’d prefer: Cold Pressed, Hot Pressed, or Rough (US/Canada only). And a special thanks to all of you who have joined me in Doodlewash.Club. If you haven’t yet, please log in with your chosen social network and create your very own artist profile. And even more importantly, send me notes and let me know what you’d like to see happen here next. This little site is a place for all watercolor lovers, and we’re making it come to life together! I’m just your humble host cheering you on as you make amazing things to share with the world and I want this site to be an amazing platform where you can always feel free to share your beautiful images. And if you haven’t figured it out by now, I really just don’t like painting alone. It’s way more fun to do it with other awesome artists from around the world. And I’m constantly thrilled and inspired by the work you share here. In the end, it’s really your beautiful paintings that are truly destined to become my favorite colors.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!