Five Step Watercolor (aka “PWI”)

How to Paint a Watercolor in five easy steps:

Step One:  First, begin with a clean, blank cold-pressed watercolor pad.  Fill it with ice for added texture.   You must prepare the paper first by wetting it, a technique known as “wet-in-wet,” before you begin adding color. To do this, I recommend Tito’s Handmade Vodka, crafted in an old fashioned pot still, distilled six times at a distillery in Austin, Texas.    And as an added bonus for you gluten-free freaks out there…Titos is brewed from corn, so it is the only “Gluten-Free” vodka on the market!IMG_1420 Step Two:  Add some brilliant, fresh lime green to the wet paper.  I recommend two squeezes, which is equivalent to a half a lime, though you may prefer a more subtle green shade.IMG_1408 Step Three:  Once the lime green has begun to “mingle” with the Tito’s vodka, you can then begin adding your accent colors.   I use four to five shakes of Burnt Sienna, followed by three dashes of Flaming Red Hot, but you might adjust accordingly to your own palette.IMG_1412 Step Four:  Now that you have your accents blended onto the paper, it is time to add the filler.  For this, I suggest a deep, rich tomato red, such as “Clamato.”   It is not a pure tomato red, but rather has an added shade of pale opaque clam juice to tone down the tomato red intensity with a savory sea-infused hue.IMG_1423 Step Five:  Now, it is time to mix the colors all together quickly, before they begin to dry.   I cannot emphasize this part enough.  Do not allow the colors to dry on the pad.  GULP them rapidly if you have to, while they are still at their peak of intensity.IMG_1416 Finally, you are ready to sit back, feast your eyes and lips, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.   If you are not happy with the end result, then consume it anyway, all in the name of practice.   Then revert back to Step One.  Repeat over and over as often as necessary until you feel satisfied…IMG_1415

After a few encouraging blog posts over on the Box Canyon Blog demonstrating watercolor techniques, I decided to try my hand at finding my right brain.  Turns out, after 23 years of corporate suck, I no longer have one.   Years of spreadsheets, pivot tables, business reviews, and project plans have caused it to atrophy.  Below is living proof.

It’s okay to laugh.  I sure did! IMG_1259IMG_1261IMG_1262IMG_1263IMG_1264IMG_1266Okay, okay, so I won’t “quit my day job.”   Not yet, anyway….

10 thoughts on “Five Step Watercolor (aka “PWI”)

  1. Perhaps you just need to just add a little more vodka to the palette?!! Now, honestly, I think your right brain is not doing too bad for its first attempt at painting. Keep practicing that, and I’ll keep working on my hiking skills!

    • Lynne, yes, the vodka dries very quickly in the desert, I have found! Definitely needed to add more! My only regret is that there never was time to pull out the paints while you were there, since with painting, just as with hiking, “there is safety in numbers.” 😉

  2. Very cute! Passed it along to a friend who does actual water color painting – and loves wine – not sure about wotka! ;->

    Virtual hugs,


    • Hi, Judie, thanks for the nice comment and passing it along. Have you seen those classes where you come for a painting lesson and bring your own bottle of wine? My friend has done the same painting three times now! Someone had a good idea for a business model, it seems! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  3. Very clever. Being a bit of a minimalist, though, I recommend straight vodka applied to the interior of the artist; water or clamato directly to the paper. Vodkas made from potatoes, such as Blue Ice or Chopin are my preference. Mezcal in a pinch.

    • Funny, John! I learned to like Mezcal during a recent visit in Oaxaca. Maybe I will try that next time and see if it improves my technique any. haha! I had a look at your paintings on your website, by the way. Very nice! Thanks for the comment.

  4. What did you expect for the first time? Those are far better than my first attempts!
    Trying to paint from post cards seems like a good idea, but it’s not…at least for beginners; too complicated. Just play with sky, clouds, and horizon lines of distant mountains (jagged line) or sea (flat line). Don’t worry about colors yet…value is way more important.
    And one other thing, don’t paint under the influence 🙂
    Box Canyon

    • BC Mark — How else do you expect me to pick up a paintbrush for the first time in 50 years without a little “influence.” haha!! Very intimidating!! But I must admit, in the end I had fun and found it relaxing, which was my aim. I will try again. Maybe in early retirement. 😉

  5. I once took a course on left brain sketching. The concept is that you turn the subject photo upside down and sketch/paint it that way. It looked better than my right brain attempt. A passing phase at the time….

    • Contessa, this “left brain sketching” class makes me chuckle. Sounds like something I would have definitely signed up for! I suspect mine would turn out better too, as I try too hard to “over analyze.” Even my hobbies. haha!

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