Stretching Watercolor Paper by stapling sides down

In my quest to get better at watercolors, I was having a difficult time with the paper buckling because of my aggressiveness with the water and loose expressive style, in other words, not being neat and tidy.

So I tried soaking the paper and then stapling it down to a wood board. It works pretty good and the paper stayed flat, but the paper tore at the bottom through the staples and started to buckle down there.

Lesson learned:
1) make sure you leave plenty of extra room around your eventual picture plane. You can see I can no longer use this painting as a 11×14″ because of the torn parts and when you take the staples out. With this extra paper, I will not put the staples so close to the edges.

desert mirage watercolor painting

desert mirage painting paper


Purple Rocks Watercolor Seascape

Another attempt at a half sheet. I use a 2″ flat wash brush for most of the layout. A #6 round for the finer lines and #12 red sable round for medium strokes.

A full sheet of watercolor paper is 22×30″, half 15×22″, quarter 11×15″. Alizarin crimson and prussian blue make the purple rocks.


Lake Mead and Colorado River Paintings

These two expression watercolor paintings reminded me of when I lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was a professor of graphic arts at the local community college for six years. I had a boat and traveled around Lake Mead, up and down the Colorado river to the entrance to the Grand Canyon.

Lake Mead
lake mead expression watercolor

Colorado River
colorado river watercolor