Coping with Depression, My Life in Watercolor

My Watercolor Journey: How I Started and Where to Get Supplies and Free Tutorials

Have you ever just accepted a criticism from a person and convinced yourself that she or he is probably right? The first time this happened to me where art is concerned was when a classmate in high school watched me sketch and told me that my hands are too heavy, that I can never be an artist. I vividly recall shrugging and telling him, “Yeah, I know that. But this is homework and I’m supposed to do it.” I don’t remember getting hurt. I just totally accepted that I could never be an artist.

My belief that I could never paint nor draw cut deep in my subconscious and started way back. Some of my siblings can draw really nice sketches, I was (still is) so proud of them. I tried my hands on sketching back then, one was a Disney poster of “Beauty and the Beast” and Beauty turned out more beastly than the Beast himself. LOL. After several disappointing pieces, I just resigned myself to the fact that art is just simply something that I can’t do and for years, I’ve believed that.

When this pandemic hit, the first thing I did to pass the time and keep me distracted from all the deaths and sad happenings in my country is by planting vegetables using hydroponics technique. If you’ve been hanging around my blog so long, you’d know that this was something pretty new to me as well. I then moved on to looking at art works at Pinterest because they are simply nice to look at. I also liked the idea of designing branding logos using watercolor after I was requested to do so at my social media management business. One of my dreams is to have a house large enough to accommodate paintings I bought from local artists – I truly want to support them someday!

Last June, I sent a message to a fellow homeschooling mom who was posting about her watercolor compositions. I asked if she could teach me how to get started and where I could possibly get the materials needed. She invited me to join fellow mommies who do watercolor painting via Facebook Messenger group.

I learn so much from that group. First thing I learned was that there are two types of watercolor paints – student grade and artist grade. The mommies recommended I start with student grade but to also consider buying artist paints to quickly assess the difference and decide which ones I can work with. The first watercolor palette I worked with is a Simbarillon kiddie palette. Soon after, I bought my first Prang watercolor palette at National Book Store. Painting with Prang and the Simbarillon palette has been fun for my first florals. My first few pieces were well-received by friends. Encouraged, I tried a few artist grade paints as well. At that moment, I also realized that if I’m going to be serious with this form of art, I have to really go for the latter. Artist grade paints are so expensive though and not all the good ones are readily available in the country.

The mommy friend who got me into watercolor has been helpful. She customized a watercolor palette for me based on the niche I had decided to start with which were landscapes and florals. She assembled my palette out of her artist grade paints by pouring the paints in a plastic mixing palette based on her recommended color choices. She then sent it to me along with artist grade water color paper samples so I could really compare them to the Canson 200 GSM practice papers I have.

My Painting Materials

I have compiled pictures of my painting materials and the links to where I got them. Most of my paints were bought for me by mommies in my watercolor group. Since I don’t own a car, it’s so hard for me to go places to buy painting stuff.

I use cheap brushes such as Scrivo sizes 12, 8, 6, and 4 for my floral and food compositions. I joined a Facebook group, Watercolor Afficionados last July and they had this monthly contest where you’re supposed to paint certain theme weekly. They then do a random picking of art work posted by members and the ones picked win prizes. For July, I participated by painting different fruits in combination with roses. The winners won brushes and mixing palettes.

For this month – the theme is desserts + fruits. Below is a gallery of my entries. I wasn’t lucky to win anything last month but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this month because one of the prizes is a 16-color Sonnet watercolor palette. Want!

I used Prang student watercolor for my first practice pieces.
Our dining table can get this messy when I’m working on a piece. This piece I made last week of August for my mom who had her birthday the next week.
Painted this cup of latte using the artist grade watercolor palette customized by a friend for me. 🙂

In case you’re wondering, I learned how to paint some of them from the live classes at Watercolor Afficionados, I’ve added the hyperlink the the Facebook group in case you are interested to join.

Now for my other art materials, my watercolor group mommies sold me palettes, as mentioned. The palettes are a mix of Sennelier, Mijello, Daniel Smith and M Graham in half pans. I also have a few tubes of Winston Newton Cotman and Van Gogh bought from Deovir. So far, I’m loving all of them. For cheaper paints, I’ve tried Aquarelle Louvre, Prang, and Simbarillon which my kids use now for their art projects. I still use them from time to time when practicing on pieces just to save my artist paints for final iterations. I honestly can’t afford to buy artist grade paints in tubes and sets yet because they tend to be pricey. As I don’t have a regular income yet, I am just thankful for friends who bought some of my paintings (they offered to buy them off my hands!) and handmade jewelries so I could buy painting supplies. I’m also thankful for the mommies who prepared my color palettes in half pans so I could experience using artist grade paints at a fraction of the cost of the sets. Below are some photos of my customized artist grade palettes for your reference:

Just for comparison, the artist grade palettes are called artist grades for a reason – the colors are rich; can be transparent when used for glazing, and not chalky – my first observations when I compared to cheap paints.

These are my filbert brushes which I used for painting landscapes. I’m happy with the stiffness of the nylon hair and the set is only about 3 USD or 149 pesos at Shopee, name of store is Tita Crafterian, the link is posted below.

As you can see from the gallery above, I’m using different types of papers to practice but the ones I currently love to paint on are Potentate and Baohong cotton papers because they’re cheap compared to Arches – the most preferred medium by professional watercolorists. I’ve also tried Arches from the stash my friend sent me but I can’t afford to buy full sheets yet because they’re just so pricey.

Here are some of the links to the shops where I got my watercolor supplies. Please take note that these are NOT affiliate links (I wish!).

Places to Get Watercolor Art Supplies Locally

Van Gogh and White Nights paint tubes from Deovir.

For artist grade paints and brushes, you can get them from these stores I’ve posted below:

The oldest art store I know of and have been to many times in the past for my crafting needs is Deovir. I’m not sure if all of their physical stores are open but you may order through their website in case you don’t like to go out:

http://www.deovirarts.com

I used Baohong block, 100% cotton watercolor paper for this painting. I got this block at Giftbox, Inc. store at Lazada.

For Baohong cotton watercolor papers (photo above), I got my block from Giftbox, Inc. in Lazada. Watercolor blocks are watercolor papers that are glued on all sides to ensure these papers don’t warp up because of water. I love painting on blocks! If you don’t have one, you can also use loose sheets but you need to tape them down an a flat surface on all sides to avoid warping. You don’t want your paper to warp on you because it will make the watercolors pool in places.

I got my Princeton Neptune round brushes from the Yellow Violet House at Shopee. This store also offers other brands of watercolor palette and brushes.

For affordable brushes, watercolor papers, and paints, you can get them at Tita Crafterina at Shopee.

For Scrivo brushes, Prang student grade watercolor palette, and Canson watercolor paper pads, you can get them at any National Book Store branches or at their flagship store in Lazada.

Scrivo brushes from National Book Store. These are affordable multipurpose round brushes that I used a lot prior to getting the Princeton Neptune brushes. I now use my Princeton more often for my artist grade watercolor but use Scrivo for when adding gouache paints on my pieces.
Here’s my second iteration of Sabtang, Batanes, referenced from a photo I found on internet. I got this potentate watercolor sketch notebook at Semiart in Shopee, link below.

For Potentate watercolor notebook and sheets, I got mine at Semiart in Shopee:

This rock formation and river scene was painted on a loose sheet of Potentate that I also got from Semiart. I love the roughness that this paper offers. I will be posting a review about this type of paper on my Youtube channel within the month. 🙂

Here are just some of my favorite Youtube channels for those who want to try their hands on watercolor painting:

Nianiani – where I learned how to paint the reflective ocean. I also like her sketches and tutorials on flowers, desserts, and fruits.

Arleebean – where I get insights on how to earn as an artist. She also reviews different types of paints for beginners.

Maria Raczynska – I love her works on landscapes.

Jenna Rainey – Jenna is my go-to channel for florals, digitization, and marketing tips for art works. She is on podcast too! You gotta follow her if you are serious about selling your art pieces in the future. She has great advice for that.

The Frugal Crafter – I love this channel because she teaches hacks on how to paint on a budget such as upcyling materials you have at home and all sorts of tips for beginners.

Makoccino – I follow her channel because she has posted comparisons of different brands of paints and other watercolor tips for beginners too.

I follow the following IG accounts of local artists for inspiration:

Kaliwete Creatives

Tita Crafterina

Nina Hidalgo

Play Crafts PH

Brush Strokes by Michelle

Watercolor Afficionados

Scientist Grass – my account where I am posting my art works too. Haha! (Follow me please! 😀 )

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