Watercolor Lesson

Original Art

Rinsing off all that beach sand after a day at the shore can be a chore. But this boy is not just rinsing off the sand, he is completely soaking himself as he reaches for the spraying water at the shower. Today I will show you the steps to complete a watercolor painting of figures at a beach shower.

Below is a pencil sketch of the father holding the shower on as his son delights in the water cascading down on him.
Pencil drawing of the planned watercolor painting.

Tracing paper on the left with the drawing, starting the watercolor painting in the middle with a palette and tools.

With the drawing on tracing paper, use a 2B or softer lead to cover the back side of the drawing. Take a look at the photo and you can see the graphite on the back side of the drawing. Position the drawing on the watercolor paper with artists tape. Using a harder lead pencil like a HB or 2H and trace over the drawing. This leaves a copy of the drawing on the watercolor paper. Peek every once and a while to see if the line is appearing on the paper.

Watercolors I used are listed below.

  • Raw Sienna
  • New Gamboge
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Permanent Alizarin
  • Quinacridone Red

I started with the figures and worked my way around the painting. Use a large brush for the figures. I used that mop brush seen in the image, it holds a lot of water and paint. Using a larger brush prevents small dabbing strokes.

Paint around some of the water spraying out of the shower. After the paint is dry use a 1″ flat to pull out some of the colors with a damp brush. Repeating process until it looks like water.

“Washing Off”, 13×10 watercolor on Arches paper. 2016 PJ Cook.

Keep the light source on your mind as you continuing painting. I used the knife seen in the previous image to scrape blades of grass into the wet green paint. While the foreground is still damp add reflections of the figures and shower. When the paper is dry add the shadows in a cool dark.

Spatter paint for texture on dry paper.