Preparing Your Painting Area

You need certain things in your painting area: a table and comfortable chair for starters. Most watercolorists paint flat on a table, though you can place a small box or a deck of cards under your paper to give it a slight incline so that the water flows down and doesn’t create puddles. Even a card table you can leave up lets you have a place to paint without having to put everything away after each painting session.

Lighting is a consideration. Daylight is best but not always available, so take advantage of the excellent daylight lamps on the market that help you evaluate color correctly. Place the light above your work space so it won’t cast shadows that interfere with your painting.

Place your palette of paint, water container, and sponge together in a triangular arrangement on the table within easy reach of your dominant hand. Put your paper in a clean area next to your palette.

Don’t put water on the left side of your paper and paint on the right because you’ll drip in the middle -on your painting. Keep all the dripping in one area and then you’ll only drip where you want to drip. Of course, you can fix accidents, but the easiest thing is to avoid them in the first place.

You may be a messy painter. If so, wear a painting shirt, which can just be a shirt you don’t mind getting dirty, to protect your clothes. Watercolor doesn’t stain as badly as other paints, but it still may remain on a white shirt. Save your best clothes for a different day than paint day. If you get paint on the table, just wipe it up with water and a sponge.

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