Effective December 13, 2020 the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery is closed until further notice due to the current public health restrictions in Alberta. Check out our blog for art activities and up to date news.

Museum Blog

Welcome to our first art instruction video! Lynn LeCorre, Education Coordinator at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery, will show you how watercolours can be playful and fun. She will show you how to paint an ammonite. This watercolour project is suitable for beginners 8 years old and up.


Tips from the video:

  • To draw the ammonite, start with a spiral line from the center outwards.  Add curved lines to create cells within the spiral. 
  • Watercolour paints come in tubes and cakes.
  • Use medium grade watercolour brushes in a few sizes of flat and round to start.  No need to invest in expensive brushes, but don’t buy the cheapest as it will affect your painting experience.
  • Include neutral colours (browns or greys) into your colour palette to make the bright colours pop. 
  • Add cool and warm colours for contrast.
  • ART THEORY TIP:  repeat colours throughout your painting to create colour harmony.
  • Wet-on-dry painting = apply wet paint onto dry paper.
  • wet-on-wet painting = apply wet paint onto wet paper, paint clean water onto area, when you apply wet paint it mixes, and blends and creates bleeding effects.
  • You control the paint by controlling where you apply water to.  Water attracts water and will flow on wet areas but stop where the paper is dry.
  • You don’t need to use white paint in watercolour painting, just leave the white of the paper for white areas.
  • Lift excess water when it puddles with a dry brush.
  • Hard edge vs. soft edges – help create form.  Leave edges hard along pencil lines to define the shape, soft edges blend.
  • You can go back into painted areas and add more layers of paint.
  • If you drop water onto areas and lift paint with a dry brush, it will lighten the colour.
  • Change water often so you have clean water to work with.
  • Paint over pencil lines to hide them and keep pencil lines light.
  • Prevent paint from running or flowing into other wet areas by letting an area dry before painting beside it with wet paint.
  • Happy accident= creating an unplanned colour or effect that you like.
  • Drop colour onto wet paint for effects, pick up board to let colours flow and mix.
  • Keep white edge between painted cells to represent the membrane on the ammonite.  It also separates each cell as a mini-abstract painting.
  • To fix mistakes, either lift colour while it’s wet until the colour is erased or paint a darker colour over top to hide the colour stain.
  • Be gentle with watercolour paper and using your brush, wet paper can disintegrate easily.
  • By watercolour paper that is 140 lb vs. 90 lb weight as it holds water better.
  • Tape paper to watercolour board to prevent it buckling while wet.  It will dry flat and when you remove the tape you have a finished border.

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