The exercise sheet below is made with cold press 140lb. Arches watercolor paper and Winsor and Newton paint in phthalo (phthalocyanine) blue and Winsor red.
Top row left to right: layered colors (the first fully dry before the second color is applied),red and blue wet into wet, dry brush, brush playBottom row left to right: red and water wet into wet, wet paper and add drops of red apply red add drops of water, salt technique.
The ones below include a few that we didn’t practice in class, but you can watch but you see a demonstration here.The exercise sheet below is made with cold press 140lb. Arches watercolor paper and Winsor and Newton paint in phthalo (phthalocyanine) blue, Winsor red, and the last two examples are ultramarine blue.
Top left to right: red and water wet into wet is fully dry and wet paint is blown with a straw, wet blue and red paint are blended with a brush, red background is fully dry and paint is splattered with a brush, masking fluid and blue paint,
Bottom row left to right: wet red, water and blue paint, scratching paper before and after applying paint with a pin, scrubbing dry paint with a wet brush, rubbing alcohol.
I recommend trying some of these exercises with new colors of paint or paper to see how they behave. Below is a comparison of Sennelier bright red on the (left), Cotman cadmium red deep (center) and Academy cadmium red deep (right). You can see how the professional paint on the left makes the best gradations.
Better quality student grade and all professional grade paints provide information regarding the pigments contained in a paint, type of binder, lightfastness, toxicity, opacity, and sometimes whether a color is more granulating or staining. Common binders include honey (Sennelier), gum arabic (Winsor and Newton), and a synthetic binder called aquazol (Qor). More traditional companies also use ox gall to improve paint flow. The paint company’s website should provide all of this information. Below is a printed information sheet by Sennelier.
The same color may be made with different pigments depending on the company. All of these examples are of cerulean blue. Van Gogh’s on the left contains PB15 (phthalo blue) and PW6 (titanium white), Cotman’s contains only PB15 (phthalo blue) and Winsor and Newton’s contains PB35 (oxidized cobalt and tin.) The two colors on the left contain cheaper pigments than the one on the right, and they look and behave differently. You can look up pigment codes printed on your tube of paint on this website to learn more about them.
Below is an example of what can be done with wet into wet paint if you use good quality materials. The sky was painted very quickly in one layer. Happy painting!