How To Get Started Painting with Watercolor

Brian from Williams Lake, B.C. Canada, a collector who recently purchased a watercolor pear painting, wrote to ask advise on how to get started painting in watercolors. Thought there may be others who may be interested in getting started, also. The following is my response:
Hello Brian,The very best way to learn how to paint watercolor is to join a class. There you'll be around like minded, creative people and you can see first hand how an artist applies paint to paper. The other benefit to a classroom situation is the support and encouragement you receive from other the other in your group.The second best thing if a class doesn't work with your schedule, is to read and study books on the subject. The library is crammed with watercolor how to books, to get you started, one I really liked when I first started, and it's been out for a long time is "Making Color Sing" by Jeanne Dobie. Check out a bunch from the library until you find one you like well enough to purchase. Each instructor or artist has his or her own ideas on what colors to purchase. Winsor Newton paints are great and so are the Daniel Smith Brand. Most of the professional grade paints are fine.If you can't join a class, here's what I have my class get for a starter set. All you need are 6 colors at first, a warm and a cool of each of the primaries. A very reasonable source is and their own brand of Daniel Smith WC paints are of excellent quality and priced right too. Also Winsor & Newton paints are great too. (Stay away from student grade as the paints are of low quality) To start get Quinacridone Rose, Permanent Red, New Gamboge, Hansa Yellow Lt. Pthalo(or Winsor) Blue (green shade), and Ultramarine Blue. Also to start, Daniel Smith has a round palette that makes color mixing easy. Lay out the colors like you would on the color wheel. A good brush is a #10 or #12 round, which you can get an OK one for around $6-8. You'll have the best success using #140 WC paper cold press Arches, Lana and I think Winsor Newton has one. Try different kinds until you find one you like. Hot or Cold press and the different brands. Make sure you use a quality brand of WC paper, it can make a big difference in the out come of your painting.At first just practice mixing colors. And if you can't join a class, read, read, read and learn from books. I grew up loving art, took my first watercolor class in 1989, liked the whole art thing so well that I went on to get a degree and have been painting ever since. Now I find myself studying art and art history for hours every day, when I'm not painting---always have a stack of art books from the library beside my bed and it's like the more I learn the more I know I don't know. Wow, I sound a little obsessed don't I.Well, good luck on your artistic journey and most important, don't take yourself too seriously and have fun with it. There's really no right or wrong way to do art. It all comes down to self expression. Best Regards,BlendaPS It's wonderful to hear that those little pears have a spot in your dining room!PSS also has great supplies at great prices