Art might not seem like a typical next step following a career in accountancy, but once artist Cindy Scheule discovered a passion for watercolour painting during the first lockdown in 2020, it was a natural progression. “In those days, we’d go out and walk a lot,” she reflects. “I’d walk in my neighbourhood [in Sydney’s Balmain], and I saw this beautiful house, so I painted it with watercolours. Afterwards, I thought, ‘Why don’t I give this to the house owner?’ So I put it in an envelope and pushed it under the door. 

“Later, there was this Facebook post in my local group. It was [the house owner’s] friend, saying they’d been to their friend’s house and seen this beautiful house painting, [asking if] anyone knew who the artist was because [they] wanted her to paint [their] house, too. And there were many positive comments – [lots of] people wanted the same thing. That's the first time I realised I can create something for people, to give back, to make other people happy. Since then, I haven’t stopped painting watercolour houses. Now I dream about my art day and night, and I'm really happy with how things turned out.” 

Here, she shares a fun watercolour painting idea: creating an artwork of your own house.

SEE ALSO: How to Draw Flowers: A Step By Step Guide

Getting to Know Watercolour Painting

Now she’s discovered her passion, Cindy is sharing her tips and tricks so everybody can get involved. “The best thing about using watercolours is convenience. You can do it anywhere, and all you need is water, the colours and a paintbrush,” she says. And, just like Cindy, you don’t need any formal art training.

“There’s no age limit,” she adds. “Art is for everyone. You don’t need any previous skills or experience.” However, before you put brush to paper, Cindy suggests you might like to get used to the artform and learn basic painting techniques by watching YouTube videos. “There are tons of tutorials and different projects,” she says. “Search ‘watercolours for beginners’ to practise something fun.”

How to Get Started 

Take a good photograph of your house before transferring it to paper.

“The first step is to take a photo of your house,” says Cindy, who used her smartphone for this project. “You’ll need a good light and good composition.” For example, remove any unwanted items, such as cars or garbage bins, before you get your shot.

Next, print your house photo onto transfer paper. This special paper makes it easy and efficient to transfer your image, with no sketching from scratch involved.

Transferring Your Photo on to the Paper

Transferring the house print onto watercolour paper means you can have an outline of all the details.

Lay the transfer paper on top of your watercolour paper, positioning the house where you want it to end up. Next, trace around the house using a hard lead pencil. “I use a 2H pencil. As it's harder, it is much easier to draw on the paper,” says Cindy. Draw over your printout by outlining the different shapes such as the door, windows and roof. As you trace, your sketch will transfer, creating your paintable template. 

Hot Tip: It’s important that you work with watercolour paper as it’s been specifically designed for this purpose. Typical cellulose paper will go soggy and deteriorate once any liquid is added to it, spoiling your beautiful design. 

SEE ALSO: How to Create Wall Murals for a Kid’s Bedroom

Test Your Watercolour Paints

 Try out your watercolour paints first to see how they work with the watercolour paper.

You’ll be itching to get started with your painting, but there’s a crucial first step. “What you see in the watercolour pan is very different from how the colour will turn out on paper, so test every colour with a different amount of water, and maybe mix them a little to see how they end up,” says Cindy. “For example, a colour may look dark brown in the pan, but when you put it to paper, it could actually look orange or pinkish in colour.”

Painting Your House 

Work with light colours first, then add in layers of watercolour paint.

Once you have a feel for your colours, it’s time to start on your house. Cindy advises working with lighter colours first. “Watercolour paint is transparent; it's not like acrylic or oil – you can’t go over it,” she says. “For example, if I paint something black, I can’t later add something white or yellow [on top]; you will not cover it. So you need to start from light to dark.” 

To add shading and different tones of colour, Cindy advises working in layers. “My first step is to lay a foundation and put down a layer of lighter colour,” she says. “At the very start, it’s just a very plain, basic layer so I have an idea where things are, then I start to add in things.

“I started from the roof, adding shadows and the lines. Then I added different shades of the brick colour to show the layers are different, then different layers of green for the trees and flowers.” The less water you use, the darker your paint will be on the page. Remember: you can always build the watercolour on the page, layer by layer – but you can’t take it away.

Hot Tip: Work from top to bottom, and from left to right, if you’re right-handed. “It's like when you write, because you don't want to smudge anything or get your hands dirty,” says Cindy. 

Highlight the Finer Details

Add the fine details with fine-tipped paintbrushes, pens or thin paint markers.

Once your watercolour painting is dry, add finer details and highlights to make certain elements stand out. You can do this with fine-tipped paintbrushes for small pops of colour (such as the flowers in this image), fine-tipped pens or even thin paint markers

Once you’re happy with your artwork, frame and hang it up inside the home that inspired it, or gift it to a loved one as a homemade present.

What You'll Need: 

To get started with watercolour painting for beginners, you need paint, paper and brushes.

SEE ALSO: Find Your Calm With Mindful Colouring