Saturday, 20 February 2016

Watercolour Study: Black and white, as well as colour

This week it was watercolour in my studio, with students attempting to complete two small paintings of the same subject, in just a couple of hours. This is a tall order, but time limits are an excellent way to speed up our decision-making - often we will be much braver and just cut out the worry-time, and get on with the painting.

This is my demonstration painting - both artworks were side by side in an A4 sized Moleskine sketchbook. I did the drawing first, and then drew the 'frame' around it, and not the other way around.

I did the 'Black and White' using Payne's Gray only, diluting it with water to get the lightest tones, and never using white paint. It is possible to use white paint in water colour, but it gives all the colours  a horrible greyishness, and stops it beging transparent. The transparency is one of the most delightful features of watercolour painting, so I don't use white. I started at the aubergine stalk, in a pale tone. It is nearly imposssible to judge the first tones correctly as so much of the paper is still white - white is a loud and dominant tone, which fools our eye! So choose a tone to get going, and remember to keep going back to check the relative tones, all through the course of the painting and altering where necessary. 

The advantage of drawing the 'frame' is that it neatly encloses the image. This is a tonal study, rather than a finished artwork, and I prefer drawing a freehand line, no matter how wobbly, rather than using a ruler. The second painting, in colour, was much quicker, seeing as I'd done all the tonal working-out already!

The whole lot took a couple of hours. Below are some lovely student examples of their work in progress.

Susan C, student
Trevor, student
Carolyn, Student

Next up - Colour Pencil weekend workshop, Life Drawing workshop, OIls weekend and Watercolour Landscape workshop.
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