This future site will include many of Ann's favorite painting tricks and tips,
so keep an eye on this page! Here's just a beginning:
ERASERS The best eraser to use on watercolor paper is the tan-colored gum eraser. So
many paintings are ruined by rougher erasers which mar the surface, often not even evident
until paint is applied and bruises show up. Even kneaded erasers can be damaging. When
finished with a painting, the gum eraser can be rubbed vigorously over the surface to lift some
of the remaining pencil lines. It will not lift the dry watercolor. I've even found the "crumbs" of
a gum eraser make interesting texture when stirred into a wet wash--try it!
MIXING BLACKS Blacks are so much more interesting and beautiful mixed than when
taken straight from a tube. If your painting includes cool blues (leaning towards green), try a
black made from Prussian Blue (Antwerp) and Cadmium Red. If your painting includes warm
blues (leaning towards violet), try combining French Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna. Tube
blacks can be useful when a quick dark is needed, but always add some of the local colors of
your painting in with it.
I often work on a painting with a limited palette, favoring one red, one yellow and one blue.
Mixing all of these together in full strength with more blue than the red and yellow will also
give you a great dark neutral that can be used instead of black. This neutral will really
harmonize with your painting, especially if you let some of the triad's colors be discernable
in the dark areas.
GREAT BRUSH FOR PAINTING GRASSES In the paint department at the hardware store
you can often find an inexpensive brush called a "Chip Brush". Buy the cheapest, scruffiest
one they have. I keep both a 1/2" and a 1" version of these in my supplies. When wet, the
coarse hairs split apart naturally and create great, varied streaks for grasses in a painting.