September saw the beginning of term for all classes, new and old students have been welcomed and we have started to paint. Key aims, this term, are to introduce and recap essential techniques through painterly skills to include washes, wet in wet, wet on dry, dry brush and many more. So with plenty of demonstrations in the first week, we touched base to our ‘essential’ rather than ‘expansive’ palette, and set about recapping Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 wetness to sustain best results technique. As usual we had a good old chinwag about watercolour paper and materials.
On pages 2 – 3, you will be able to see where we dabbled in weeks 1 and 2. During the summer, I hosted several watercolour SeaScape workshops at West Bexington, you can find out what we did on page 4.
Autumn Term 2017
Variegated Wash Back-lit Techniques
Our ‘Provence Ravine’ gave a chance to work a clearer grasp for dilutions and tonal colour values.
The challenge was to paint before drawing, gradually developing increasing definition and edge to bring the image together.
This was a successful subject, harnessing a summer feel and atmospheric September light.
We combined a range of techniques to learn more about planning a painting in stages rather than engaging in an all out watercolour muddy battle!
Working in stages gave clear and luminous colour washes.
We set about a central variegated wash using, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Red Light, Alizarin Crimson and Cerulean Blue, working with stage 1 wetness to allow for around 10minutes of diffuse atmospheric back lit colour and light.
The painting was worked in a series of episodes to build up a planned image of watercolour line and brush mark for landscape.
The image above shows a mid stage of the painting process, the full work would take around 2 hours to complete. You can see the rigger brush being used to give fluidity to trees and water in particular as overlays. As the painting develops, a B pencil is used to map greater detail, particularly for the buildings and the central bridge. Retaining reserved dry white paper remained a vital skill, this was achieved using brush rather than masking fluids. An additional luxury from the ‘Expansive’ palette was to allow the use of Viridian Green.
For the central variegated wash, start work in order through the lightest colours of the palette. This is Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Red Light, Alizarin Crimson and then Cerulean Blue.
Check your colour dilutions before you start, it is so easy to go extra strong with your favourite colour, if Lemon Yellow, when the blue goes in, you will be forever spring green, whatever the season.
We went for underwater wet in wet for week 2. Making use of a full 4 blue colour palette, we used 2 reds and 2 yellows to break into chromatic greys. This was a true contemporary session, giving tips to control the break away water wash ‘cauliflowers’, whilst strengthening vibrant colour. We had an illuminating exercise in mixing wet colour and merged tones. We used both staining and granulating colour to balance the feel of pure wash and sedimented surface granulations.
Technical, but fun, the session gave everyone a chance to get to understand paper drying times and pre water wash. At the end of the session everyone was talking in capillary action terms, but really they had been splashing about with fat over lean colour.
The all important types and stages of wetness of the paper are a fundamental structure for achieving good wet in wet technique. Remember to bear in mind, the 3 stages of paper wetness for wet in wet is shiny wet wash, so the paper stays wet for as long as possible. Use your biggest flat brush for putting water onto the paper, a 4cm Motler Brush is an item for Santa.
To achieve that desired, fresh quality, full of vibrancy, don’t over brush blend the wet colours on the paper, instead, let the capillary action do the merging, the quality of your watercolour paper will do the rest.
All content and images Copyright © 2019 Lynda Connolly