Monday, April 18, 2011

MY COLORING BOOK WATERCOLORS

Or...how I learned to paint with watercolors.

My first attempts with watercolor were disastrous; I tried working wet in wet and ended up with mud, sludge, and things that you would rather not look at. Being the eternal optimist…I concluded that pencil, pen, and ink were all that I really needed anyway and the watercolors ended up somewhere in the bowels of the closet. When I was struggling with the momentous decision to pursue art professionally I knew that it would be necessary for me to move beyond the world of black and white, into the world of color. I could have turned to oil or acrylics, but being in Wilmington Delaware, watercolor was the predominant medium, reflecting the influence of the Weyth family in nearby Chadds Ford. So the challenge before me was to become a watercolorist, and I went about it in my own way, utilizing what I call the coloring book method. Let me explain.

Since I had so much trouble with working wet in wet and controlling the medium I chose to avoid that altogether. I would start with a clean drawing, either in pencil or with permanent ink and then fill in with the wc, just as one would do in a coloring book. I made no attempt at producing gradients in the washes, and simply applied a flat color. For shadows I would go back and use ink.




It was very simple but effective, and as I worked in this manner I gained confidence and facility with the medium, and soon began to expand on my work, gradually working some areas wet in wet.




Over time I learned how to render skies, trees, water, and all the elements you would expect from a watercolorist.


1 comment:

Villager said...

Great "flashback". A real pleasure.
Always soothing to come by here.