Jenna Rainey


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hey friend!

I’m Jenna Rainey. 

I'm an artist, self-taught designer, and multi-faceted creative entrepreneur who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to find their inner creative voice.



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A highly creative nerd with a unique breed of humor and the proud earner of a self-bestowed award for being the world’s most curious and driven human.

Hey I'm Jenna!

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It’s like Netflix-binging Bob Ross videos, but with a dose of dry + quirky humor and fewer happy little tree references. 

Wanna Learn Watercolor?

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get started with watercolor painting

How to Get Started with Watercolor

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If you are looking for how to get started with watercolor, you’re in the right place. Watercolor painting captured my heart YEARS ago and I can’t even begin to tell you how many canvases I’ve painted since (it’s in the hundreds). I really believe that art can both be calming and bring you joy, and don’t we all want a little more of that in our life? If you’re nodding along then keep reading friend!

First, Use the Right Watercolor Tools

When you're just starting out with watercolors, it can be tempting to skimp on supplies and make do with whatever's on hand. I get it—I’ve been there! But let me tell you, investing in the right tools can truly transform your painting experience (and make it a lot more enjoyable!). The wrong tools can make the process of learning more frustrating, which is the last thing you want when you’re trying something new!

Using the right brushes, paper, and paints can make a world of difference. High-quality brushes will give you better control and allow you to achieve different effects more easily. Good watercolor paper will handle water and pigment in a way that’s more forgiving and less frustrating, helping you to create smoother washes and more vibrant colors. And speaking of paint, artist-grade watercolors are more concentrated and blend more easily, so while I might be biased I do feel it’s well worth the investment. 

Not sure where to start when it comes to tools? Head here to shop my favorites! I personally feel like I use tools that are high-quality, but still relatively budget-friendly. I don’t believe that you need to choose the most expensive brush in order to have it be a good investment.

watercolor painting to get started with watercolor

Learn the Basics (My Favorite Watercolor Techniques)

Before I tell you about techniques, I also want to say that as you get started with watercolor,  give yourself permission to play and explore. As a watercolor artist myself, I can tell you that you’ll enjoy this medium more if you focus on letting go and enjoying the process, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and get a little messy. Experiment with different colors, strokes, and styles to see what you actually like. It sounds kind of cheesy, but the joy of watercolor lies in its unpredictability and happy surprises it brings.

With that said, I also think that taking some time to learn fundamental techniques will also enhance your watercolor journey. It’s actually easier to “play” once you get a few of the basics down. 

I go deeper into two watercolor techniques you must know here, but here’s a quick summary

  • Wet-on-wet: like the name suggests, this means applying wet paint onto a wet surface, creating dreamy, fluid blends and soft edges. It’s perfect for painting skies, water, and any subject where you want a smooth transition of colors. 
  • Wet-on-dry: this technique involves applying wet paint onto a dry surface, which gives you more control and allowing for sharper lines and details. 

You’ll want to practice both as you get started with watercolor!

Set up a space to practice

If you’re excited to start your watercolor journey (YAY!), one of the best things you can do is set up a dedicated space for your practice. Now, I know not everyone has a spare room to transform into an art studio, but even a small, well-organized corner can make a huge difference. The key is to create a space that invites you to paint and doesn’t feel like a huge hassle to set up at the end of a work day. Plus, when your workspace and materials are out of sight, they can easily slip out of your mind, making it harder to remember and find the motivation to practice regularly.

Speaking of motivation, especially when you're just starting out, consistency is key. Try to carve out a little time each day to practice, even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes. This daily habit can lead to fast improvements, which will boost your confidence and give you the momentum to keep going. 

As someone who has been a watercolor artist for a long time now, you’ll find that with regular practice, not only will your skills grow, but so will your love for watercolor. Committing to do a little bit daily will make you better, which will boost your motivation, and before you know it this practice will become one of your favorite parts of your daily routine.

Watch YouTube for Beginner Watercolor Tutorials 

Next, when you’re just starting to learn watercolor, or even if you’re more advanced, I highly recommend finding video tutorials you enjoy. While I told you above that I believe that there needs to be time for free play, I also think especially in the beginning it’s nice to have some structure. Video tutorials provide step-by-step guidance, allowing you to see techniques in action and follow along at your own pace. Nobody wants to spend hours staring at a blank canvas. Plus, watching an experienced artist can give you insights into their process, helping you pick up tips and tricks that you might not find in books (or might have glossed over).

There are so many talented watercolor artists out there, but if you feel like you are resonating with me so far and want to try out one of my Youtube tutorials, below are a few of my favorites!
  1. The Complete Beginner's Guide to Watercolor

This one is less of a tutorial and more of a free 2-hour watercolor painting workshop. I talk a little bit about my equipment and tools, color theory, different brush strokes, fun exercises like painting leaves, and so much more. If you are more of an analytical thinker especially, you’ll appreciate starting with this one!

  1. The Easiest Way to Paint TEN Watercolor Flowers

If you want to practice watercolor flowers more abstractly (instead of following a full canvas design), this is one of my favorite tutorials for watercolor flowers. In this tutorial, we cover painting lavender, black-eyed susan, rose, cherry blossom, tulip, anemone, poppy, zinnia, delphinium, and a sunflower! Flowers are definitely one of my favorite things to paint with watercolor so I highly recommend this as a place to start!

  1. Painting an Ocean Landscape

If you want to create full canvas artwork, this ocean landscape tutorial is one of my favorite beginner tutorials. Plus, you’ll watch me make a couple of mistakes (and practice patience myself!) and watch how to correct them. 

a watercolor painting for beginners

Remember to Have Fun With It!  

Getting started with watercolor is EXCITING, so don’t let the first steps overwhelm you. Getting better at watercolor is all about balancing practice with play. If you’re looking for even more guidance, I highly recommend my Everyday Watercolor Companion Course. I’ve designed it to help you build a strong foundation (while still encouraging you to enjoy every moment of your creative process). So, gather your supplies, set up your cozy art corner, and dive into the wonderful world of watercolor. Happy painting!

by Jenna Rainey 

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The Complete Beginner's Guide to Watercolor

Get a rundown of all my recommended supplies, learn fundamental techniques and tips including color theory and composition, and walk away feeling super confident with your new love of watercolor!

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The Complete Beginner's Guide to Watercolor

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