Dark Colors

I am doing a painting for  an art class, watercolour and landscape. the next piece I want to do is really dark, it has a mountain (full of trees) with some mist in it. I am trying to get away from light colours and into dark, big step, and am kind of worried. any ideas



The biggest problem most people encounter when trying to mix dark colours with watercolour is that of muddiness. If you use transparent colours you will avoid this problem. Opaque Yellows are the biggest cause of muddiness. Try using Winsor & Newton Quinacridone Gold or Rowney Indian Yellow. There are lots of Indian Yellows around but Rowney is the only real transparent one. For your dark green mountain try using either Prussian, Phthalo or Winsor Blue mixed with Burnt Sienna.


What to Paint?

John, How do you come up with the idea's for your paintings. I am fine until I set down to that blank sheet of paper and then I am blocked. I hope you can offer some good advise on this one.

Paul -Texas



... I find the best way to overcome the problem of what to paint when faced with a blank sheet of paper, is to think of your work more as a series of paintings rather than lots of individual pieces. This way one painting can lead you into the next one, triggering new ideas along the way.
Look at the last painting you did and were happy with.  Consider what it is you like about it (colours, composition, subject etc.) and see if you can take that a step further with the next one.
I find thinking this way seems to squeeze out new ideas, and the next painting starts to take shape before the blank sheet of paper appears!  It's a bit like any other technique in watercolour though, it requires practice.


Career in art

... I was  wondering  how did you make it in the art world getting your name and work known, and selling paintings? I was kind of struck by a violent realisation that I was quite naive and clueless of what to do when finishing my course. Seeing all these artists attempting to be able to support themselves like you do on their paintings or art work is quite a frightening sight. That is my reason for writing, for some advise. thanks for your time.

Jo - Australia


It's not an easy task to make a living from your art. The best advise I can give you is to put everything into producing the very best work you can. Have confidence in your work - accept that some people are going to love it and some are not. Try not to let either opinion sway you too much. Approach a few galleries that hang work you like. Try and find one that is enthusiastic about your work, but be wary of a gallery that wants to sign you up exclusively. As your work sells, galleries will put pressure on you to veer towards what is most saleable. This can be helpful as far as earning money is concerned, but don't let it stop you experimenting and trying new ideas. There are a lot of artists battling to make a living from their work. It is very competitive, and paintings are a luxury, under pressure from the ups and downs of the economy and a large and growing number of cheap good quality prints. Income as an artist is unpredictable - expect to go through some lean patches! ...but work hard, have confidence and be persistent - even through the leanest patches it is still a very satisfying life

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