Mastering the Big Four in Watercolor Painting; Elevate Your Art to New Heights

Get ready to embark on a transformative journey, where you'll refine your skills, discover your artistic voice, and breathe life into your watercolor paintings like never before.

Embracing Watercolor Mistakes and Mastering the Big Four
Harbor view (detail) by Robert Joyner

Welcome to an artistic journey that will transform your watercolor paintings from good to extraordinary! In the world of watercolor art, there are four essential pillars that form the foundation of every breathtaking masterpiece: Area of Interest, Design & Composition, Value Hierarchy, and Color Harmony.

Just like a symphony conductor brings together different musical elements to create a harmonious melody, mastering these "Big Four" ideas will empower you to orchestrate your watercolor paintings with finesse and confidence.

In this blog post, I have prepared a video tutorial (only visible for paid-members) that will walk you through my thought process as I undertake the redo of a loose watercolor landscape. Watch as I apply the big four principles to identify areas of improvement and then bring the painting to life with renewed vitality.

Materials Used in the Video Tutorial

  • Holbein paints: Cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, Cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow lemon, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, neutral tint.
  • Brushes: Princeton Neptune pointed round #12, #6, Rigger #3/4″, Silver brush black velvet jumbo (medium).
  • Paper: Fabriano Artistico, bright white, 140 lb. cold press 11″ x 14″.

Here is an in-depth article that covers the best watercolor materials I use and recommend for all levels!

Top 10 Watercolor Supplies for Beginners and Professionals
Have you ever wondered what supplies are necessary to paint with watercolor?

Here are a few reference images for this tutorial. Below is the finished art along with the inspiration image that inspired it.

Embracing Watercolor Mistakes and Mastering the Big Four
Finished painting

Finding Inspiration: The Maine Coast

The landscape featured in this tutorial is inspired by the breathtaking scenery of Maine, one of my favorite US States to vacation in. Maine's coastal beauty and picturesque fishing harbors provide endless inspiration for watercolor artists. As we repaint the landscape, you'll experience the joy of bringing this stunning scene to life on paper.

Reference Image
Reference Image