Friday, June 5, 2020

Freeform Friday: Watercolor the Easy Way - Sara Berrenson + A GIVEAWAY

Psssst .... I genuinely love this book!  Read my review below to find out why and don't miss the GIVEAWAY at the bottom! (Expired 6/12/2020)

Summary:  Love the look of watercolors but think you lack the skill?  Think again!

With Watercolor the Easy Way, you will learn all about color mixing, brushstrokes, and more.  Then, you will find a vast selection of 50 stunning pictures to paint.  Each of the 50 tutorials is broken down into key steps so you can clearly see how to begin your painting layer color, and add detail.  Also included are hand drawn patters that can be traced onto your water color pad, brush recommendations, helpful tips, and color palettes.  Best of all the projects can be completed in 30 minutes!

Experience the magic of watercolor, spark your creativity, and discover your inner artist with this book.  (Summary from back of book - Book Images from Sarah Berrenson & Better Day Books - This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review)

My Review:  I know what you're thinking...

How can a BOOK teach you to watercolor?!  
Don't you need a class for that?!

I thought exactly the same thing when I first saw Watercolor the Easy Way.  I have always assumed that real watercolors were way out-of-my-league as an art medium, but this book and its "made easy" claims tempted me.  After all, what better way to try something new than in the comfort of my own home (that I can't leave anyway #thanksCOVID19), where I can fail spectacularly without fear of public ridicule?  I took the plunge and accepted this book for review deciding that if I was awful at it I could quietly slink away from the easel and no one would be the wiser.   It took a few weeks after the book's arrival for me to 'gather supplies' (translation: work up the courage), but I finally picked up a brush and got to work.

In a world where book blurbs often exaggerate their awesomeness, Watercolor the Easy Way delivers on its promises with stunning tutorials that incorporate basic watercolor techniques in a simple, easy-to-follow format.  Before jumping into the tutorials, the book offers fourteen pages of instruction that covers watercolor basics like mixing colors, layering, blending, detail work, lifting color, washes, and the difference between 'wet on wet' and 'wet on dry' painting.  I was skeptical before I got started, but the artist/author does a fantastic job of breaking it all down into easy to follow steps and which techniques to use to achieve the desired effect.  She also gives color suggestions, brush recommendations, and even when it is time to walk away and let things dry for a bit.

While I suspect that all the tutorials are beginning level, some did look more slightly complex than others, which leaves room for growth and new challenges as your skills and confidence improve.  For the purpose of this review, I selected several projects that appealed to me aesthetically and that I thought might be the easiest for me to recreate without embarrassing myself (too much).  I expected to be stressed out, but the experience was surprisingly relaxing and strangely cathartic!  I enjoyed watching the things blend and loved learning how to make the colors go where I wanted them. And do you know what?  I think I did rather well for a straight up novice.  (See photos below)


I have gained enough confidence in the basics that I have even started passing along what I've learned to my eldest daughter.  We started doing the hummingbird tutorial using the book and she was so encouraged by her finished product that she rubbed her hands together, grabbed the book, and said "What else is in this magic little book of yours?!" Now, she is working on the lemon and the watermelon with very little input on my part. Apparently, the book is a better teacher than I am, which is fine by me.

Now, for those who become utterly skeptical in the face of a glowing review, I do have one criticism....or at least a clarification.  The estimated project time frame of 30 minutes is actual painting time and does not include drying time.  Most of the tutorials include steps that require you to walk away for a bit to let the project dry.  Depending on how much water you use, dry time can be as little as ten minutes or more than an hour.  The concept of walking away from a drying project can be rather terrifying for a mother with four feral children roaming the home, but I worked through it (read: threatened them with chores).  Other than that small detail, I have zero complaints.

I had a great time learning how to paint with Watercolor the Easy Way and I came away with a new skill that I wouldn't mind pursuing further, which is a total win in my book!

My Rating:  5 Stars
For the sensitive reader:  You're all clear.


It is ridiculously easy to enter to win 
Watercolor The Easy Way

Simply answer the question: 
Which of my watercolor projects do you like best?  

Comment with your answer 
on our FB giveaway post 
(This is best if you don’t want to
 leave your email)
leave a comment* on this post 
(*comments are moderated, and you will need to leave your email so we can contact you if you win.)

Optional extra entry: Like and share our giveaway on FB.

Good luck!

Giveaway is open to US residents only.  
Giveaway ends June 12, 2020 at 11:59pm.


Watercolor the Easy Way by Sara Berrenson, Better Day Books, 
128 pages, $24.99, available at


Mel McCurdy said...

I have always wanted to learn to use watercolors.
Watermelon. I want to paint a watermelon.

Unknown said...

The jellyfish is my favorite! I always thought just floating my life away would be so peaceful. You captured the magic!

MisteeM said...

They all look like professionals painted them, however the jellyfish stands out to me the most! Great job!

Unknown said...

Being able to do a hummingbird watercolor would be awesome. I love those little creatures . I have 5 feeders for them.

cindy whipple said...

I like the crescent moon in the night sky thanks for the opportunity.

Melissa S said...

I absolutely LOVE watercolor paintings! Especially your jellyfish!

Unknown said...

I love the hummingbird! I could see this being SO therapeutic during quarantine.

Natosha M said...

I love the humming bird. It's so beautiful and makes me think of nature and the outdoors.

Thomas Gibson said...

I really like the hummingbird the best. R=They are all very good though.

Anonymous said...

They are all very good, but I love the jellyfish the most.

Gina Marie Pettitt said...

I love the hummingbird and the jelly fish

rajee said...

love to learn to use it for summer fun

Anonymous said...

I love hummingbirds and jellyfish watercolor paintings. Love to lean to use it over this summer.

Pumpysmom said...

Watercolor is so much fun! I would love to learn new techniques!
Liked and shared on facebook!

Andrea Engelhardt said...

I'm a self-taught artist, so I could really use some instructions and this book!

Megan Jevne said...

I love the jellyfish. It is beautiful. Megan Jevne


My daughter is always experimenting with watercolor. She would love this book.

Tara Richardson said...

I really love the jellyfish, brings back memories of growing up on the Jersey Shore.

Edye Nicole said...

I love the jellyfish!

email: mia2009(at)comcast(dot)net

Daniel M said...

i like the hummingbird

maryjaco1 said...

I really like your lemon watercolor.

Rose Santuci-Sofranko said...

I actually am really drawn to the watermelon picture (even tho I won't eat watermelon, lol). Nice work! Thanks and God Bless! ILuvTheEucharist @ aol dot com

Laura Lee said...

I love the lemon. It looks so real that you can almost taste the tartness of it. So beautiful!
lauraemerson17 at yahoo dot com

Theresa Norris said...

The cactus is beautiful.
Theresa Norris
weceno at yahoo dot com

dvice12 said...

I love the blue bird.

Pooch said...

The hummingbird project chases my eye the most.

MindySue said...



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