Words of advice – what watercolour tutors say

I belong to a watercolour group on Facebook called Watercolour Techniques and Tips (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1726005714353976).

Someone asked about the best watercolour advice they’d ever been given and it resulted in a long and varied discussion. I laughed, as I reckon I’ve said every single one of the phrases.

So, for a bit of fun, here they are (and I left out the ones I don’t say). Are there any you would add? Or any you disagree with? What was the best piece of watercolour advice you have ever been given?:


When you know better, you do better

Look at where you are going, not where you have been

Know where is your light coming from

Work in the direction of form

It’s your first, not your only

Mix thick and plenty

About tone

Tone does all the work and colour gets all the glory

Don’t be afraid of the dark


About water

Hands in pockets until it is dry

Control the water not the paint

About looking

Paint what you see, not what you know

Paint shapes not things

Squint at it

Stand back

The further away the better it looks

About doing

Just try

It’s only paper

Done is better than perfect

Don’t be afraid to waste paint

Patience makes progress

Put miles on your brush

A painting a day

About mistakes

I meant to do that

Mistakes are happy accidents

Oh oh, oh no, oh well

About stopping

Less is more

Don’t fiddle

Stop too soon, not too late

Easier to do too much than too little

Know when to stop

Don’t overwork it

When you are finished, stop

Watercolour is like golf; the less strokes you do the better you are

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