Cool Art Studio

What Is Normally Painted First on a Watercolor?

Understanding the Starting Point in Watercolor Painting

The Paper Sets the Canvas

In watercolor painting, the first stroke often falls upon the paper. The blank canvas of paper serves as the foundation for the entire artwork. Artists carefully choose the type of paper, considering factors like texture and thickness. This initial decision shapes how colors blend and absorb into the surface.

Sketching the Blueprint

Before diving into colors, artists often sketch a rough outline of their subject matter. This sketch acts as a blueprint, guiding the flow of the painting. Artists use light pencil strokes to map out shapes and proportions, ensuring a solid structure for the upcoming layers of color. This step helps maintain clarity and balance in the final piece.

Laying Down the Base Wash

Once the sketch is complete, artists apply a base wash to the paper. This transparent layer of diluted paint establishes the overall tone of the painting. Artists use broad brushstrokes to cover large areas, gradually building up depth and intensity. The base wash sets the mood and provides a unified background for subsequent layers of color.

Establishing Light and Shadow

After the base wash dries, artists focus on establishing light and shadow. They carefully layer transparent washes of color to create depth and dimension. By strategically leaving areas untouched, artists allow the white of the paper to shine through, enhancing the luminosity of the painting. This stage requires precision and patience to achieve the desired balance of light and shadow.

Adding Details and Finishing Touches

With the foundation laid and the basic structure in place, artists add finer details and finishing touches to their watercolor paintings. They use smaller brushes and bolder pigments to enhance textures and highlights. Every stroke contributes to the overall composition, bringing the artwork to life with intricate details and vibrant colors.


In watercolor painting, the process begins with careful consideration of the paper and a well-executed sketch. From there, artists gradually build up layers of color, focusing on light, shadow, and intricate details. By following this sequential approach, artists create captivating watercolor artworks that evoke emotion and capture the beauty of the world around them.

Painting Classes in West Vancouver

If you are looking for in-person painting classes in Vancouver, West Vancouver, or North Vancouver, try our painting lessons at Cool Art Studio. We are a painting studio in West Vancouver that has been offering in-person art classes for many years. Our experienced instructor provides tailored guidance to meet individual needs. Our art classes cater to all levels and ages, including beginners, adults, and kids.

We teach acrylic painting, watercolor painting, oil painting, sketching, drawing, and traditional Chinese painting. Additionally, we have art therapy for individuals seeking therapeutic expression.

We offer group lessons for those who prefer a collaborative learning environment. Additionally, we provide one-on-one private lessons for those seeking a more personalized experience. If you’d like to try out a lesson, consider joining us for a single drop-in session. Feel free to get in touch with us via the form here to explore and express your creativity.

Interested in Music Lessons?

If you’re interested in music lessons, consider trying a drop-in session at Music Academy. Located in West Vancouver, Music Academy offers lessons for a variety of instruments, including piano, voice, guitar, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, violin, cello, flute, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, alto/tenor saxophone, and music theory.

Painting Classes in West Vancouver

Cool Art Studio offers in-person painting classes suitable for all ages and skill levels, from beginners to advanced, catering to both adults and children. If you're searching for art classes in Vancouver, West Vancouver, or North Vancouver, try our painting lessons. Private classes and group sessions are available. Our team of skilled and experienced painting teachers is here to guide you through the creative process.

Music Gallery & Academy / Cool Art Studio: 1468 Marine Dr, West Vancouver, BC V7T 1B7


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