Painting Tutorial: Watercolor Painting with Annie Strack

Annie Strack is still one of the busiest artists I have ever met, and yet she has taken some time out to share with us some helpful tips on watercolor painting. 

Here’s a little beach painting that I did today, using only one brush – my #20 Faux Squirrel from Dynasty. That might sound like a big brush to use on a painting that is only 8x10, but this brush holds a fine point which enables me to paint small details while it holds lots of water and pigment.

The first step of this painting was to sketch in the horizon line and the water lines, and apply masking fluid to the area that I wanted to preserve white for the surf. Then I painted the sky wet into wet, using indigo and Payne’s grey to depict a stormy sky.
While it was still wet, I used a paper towel to blot out some clouds and then used my finger to drag some of the paint between the horizon and the clouds at a slight angle, to give the impression of wind-blown rain.

After the sky is dry, I began to paint the water using the same colors as I used for the sky. To help give it the look of stormy weather, I apply the paint unevenly to give the water a choppy effect.

In some areas I added even more indigo, especially around the masking fluid so that I would have strong contrasts of values that would direct the focus of the composition through the painting.

While the water area is still damp, I paint the beach area with sepia and yellow ochre, and distant hill with hookers green, ochre, sepia, and indigo. I let the colors mix and mingle on the wet paper to create the grayed-down impression of a distant green hill, and let a little of the color run and blend into the water and sand area to soften the edges.

When the entire painting has dried I removed the masking fluid to reveal the white surf of the waves, and I use a little indigo to soften and break up a few of the spots that are too starkly white.

And finally, here is my finished painting of a beach in the rain. Any day at the beach is a good day. Even if it’s raining.

To learn more about watercolor painting, you can take a workshop with Annie or find her teaching online classes with Artists Network.  Here is just a sample of Annie's teaching, from her most recent DVD, "Painting Seascapes in Watercolor".

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.


  1. very nice.. I love working with the largest brush I got..

  2. So great to hear! Feel free to share your art with us here in a link or on our Facebook page! We love to see the work from happy artists using our brushes!


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