Watercolour Myths & Fixes

The cool thing about Watercolour is that it is mostly not too difficult to fix.

Amanda Brett artist, singer_vogue detail
detail from Singer: Vogue

The main issue most beginners in watercolour painting have is determining what the problem actually is!!

Sometimes there actually isn’t a problem but we’ve got to that dreadful middle stage and don’t know what to do next. If you definitely have an issue to solve, read on McDuff!!

If you decide the composition or design is a problem, redraw the corrected composition on spare paper and re-work the improved version into the painting.

Could you draw/paint it better? Practice drawing the shape you require on spare paper, then practice painting the shape/colours etc on some spare watercolour paper. Wet the offending area, sponge out problem shape/area carefully and re-draw and paint.

A shape is not quite right – I’ve solved this problem in my paintings in 6 or 7 different ways. Here’s a couple you can try (a) wedge a dark tone next to the problem area correcting the shape, (b) stencil lift to correct the shape or (c) soften an offending edge with a damp sponge.

What watercolour problems cannot be fixed? The most difficult actual watercolour problem I have found is too much opaque pigment mixed too much on the palette and then stirred up too much on the paper – too dead!

Sometimes a stencil-lifted highlight will work or you could try adding more detail to another part of the painting to draw attention away from the offending area or carefully glaze a complementary colour over problem area to knock it back.

Always try to push yourself to finish every painting whether you’ve decided it will be a ‘good’ painting or not. The truth is, you might not be able to fix a work you’ve deemed irretrievable but the effort of trying will teach you more about watercolour than starting yet another painting that you’ll struggle to complete. Further, if you’ve already deemed the painting a failure, you really can’t make it any worse – keep at it!!

happy painting!!


Subscribe to my email newsletter for students


find me on facebook

Copyright 2009-2015 All images and text on Amanda’s blog and website are the legal property of Amanda Brett and may not be reproduced without express permission, thanks for respecting my art and creativity.


6 thoughts on “Watercolour Myths & Fixes

  1. Love the painting!

    However, I have found the opposite to be true when working with watercolor. I find it extremely easy to make a mistake, which is then difficult to correct. So I proceed with caution when using watercolor.

    Acrylics, on the other hand – well, you can do anything with acrylics. When I painted with acrylics each canvas had – at least – three other paintings beneath the final one, and I often preferred one that was buried below the canvas to the final expression.

    Watercolor has taught me to proceed with caution – even though I still change my mind a lot while painting, and the final product never resembles the initials strokes!


  2. Nice advice Amanda! I go through at least 3 stages in a painting: initial excitement, a middle stage when I think the painting is just awful, then a finishing stage when it all seems to come together. I’ve never abandoned a painting, although I will put it aside and work on another one if it’s really bugging me. And if it’s really looking bad, I take out the big brushes and work some loose, colorful washes into the work. It all helps.


i love to hear from you so leave a Reply!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s