Watercolor Painting in a Studio with no running water.

Updated: Jul 26

Can it be done? Anything is possible if you think outside the box...or outside the watercolor studio.




I have a studio that was a lanai, and it doesn't have any running water. Do you think that will stop me?

Heck no!.


Get 2 smaller jars and one Large one, and a jug of clean water.


It is preferable to have clear containers. But any containers will do.


The first smaller jar is for cleaning brushes. The second is for adding clean water to watercolor paints.


Here are two kinds I frequently use. The glass jars I only use at home, but the bottom two are plastic and have tops that I like to use when out and about...teaching or at the beach.


While you are painting with watercolors you use a lot of water...seriously, you really do. If you don't, you need to try it as it makes the watercolor painting so much more transparent and luminous. So when each jar gets dirty you will need to refill them with clean water....unless you use huge containers. Without running water in the studio that would mean running to the kitchen or bathroom to refill.


So...what is a watercolor artist to do? This is where the LARGE container of water comes in.

As you clean your brushes and don't forget to swirl those brushes in an "8" motion (like when stirring pudding so it doesn't burn) works excellent to get brushes clean. You can pour the dirty water into the large container. Then you can refill the two small containers with fresh water from the jug.


It's not very pretty, but it is useful. (I painted it so I don't have to see the dirty water...hahaha)




Here are the big Jugs...well at least the milk one is big, I usually have two filled, and I keep the other two smaller ones filled for easy pouring into my smaller containers. The big jug is a little heavy for pouring....at least into small containers.


If I am doing a lot of watercolor paintings in a large format, I occasionally will use a bucket for the dirty water and larger containers for the brush cleaning and fresh water. ( I find them in my kitchen cabinet as having such a big family I have extra. Since it's watercolor paint, it rinses right out. This would also mean you need to have more than one jug.


This doesn't mean you can't use the kitchen and bathroom faucets, but when I do, other things will always distract me....emptying the dishwasher, starting a load of laundry...or whatever. So that is why I use the contains and the jugs. To keep my focus on the painting!





Remember the bigger you paint the bigger the water containers.


When my dirty water container gets full, I pour it into the grass outside, It is so diluted it doesn't hurt the grass. I have a lovely door out the back of the Lanai, so it is easy.


For many years my studio was in an extra bedroom, which of course didn't have running water, and that is where I came up with my container usage. So it can be used anywhere you are painting.

If you are painting at the beach, you always need to be careful where you pour your dirty water.

So this is where the old tee shirt rags come in handy. I use them to soak up the dirty water.


I have an antique candy dish that has a separation in it and it also has scalloped edges. I have been using it for years, it was my grandmother's and I just love it.



See how pretty, even the shadow is pretty. The green water container is new and was recommended by a student. I love it as I can put the brushes on the side to drip dry. Unfortunately, I am a creature of habit and mostly use my candy dish.


Another thing about water in the studio is my spray bottles. I have little ones, medium ones, and a very fine misting one. I use mostly the cheap spray bottles, some are actually from other products.

The white one is my favorite, it is a mister, it is actually used by hairdressers, can be found online.




Do you find this tip useful? I have many more in my online classes. I have Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Classes. Each class has 8 lessons, with numerous videos in each. Lessons 4 & 8 both have additional Zoom classes. Also available is a private Facebook group for class members to show off their work and ask questions.




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