Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Four

The first four weeks of our Winter term have become a mini-workshop on  the value/glazing approach to watercolour painting. The approach has it’s restrictions but there have been many benefits. The most important have been the observation of light and shadow, the simplification of form and the development of brush-handling skills.

The soft, almost organic forms of hats are a good challenge. Above, are two of my demonstrations of individual hats. In general, I worked from light to dark. I started with the larger shapes and smaller shapes and details were done last. It was important to simplify the core shadows. The hats were analyzed in terms of their component shapes such as the crown, brim and band. Painting these shapes one at a time allowed me to create the soft edges with some control. I had a container of clean water. My palette was prepared with two pools of grey; a lighter and a darker value. Also, I had a small pool of very dark grey, almost black.

Some papers are not absorbent enough to create the soft edges. All of my demonstrations so far have been done on Curry’s, 140 lb., cold press watercolour paper. It is economically priced and compares very favorably with Arches and Winsor & Newton papers.

My demonstration on the left shows the relationships between the three hats and their surroundings. The darks are fully developed.

It’s easy to be intimidated by details like the bow on the hatband. However, careful drawing is the first step followed by a thoughtful analysis of the shapes and values. Again, I worked from light to dark and, gradually, the bow emerged from the process. We have to remember that our study is an arrangement of shapes on a two-dimensional surface. We observe the actual hats and translate the visual information into the language of art.

The grey values were a mix of cobalt blue and burnt sienna. The darkest greys, almost black, are the same colours mixed with very little water. Even careful application of the glazes can, sometimes, disturb the grey paint underneath or make it appear ‘milky’. After glazing my pile of hats, I mixed more of the darkest grey and strengthened some areas.

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2 Responses to “Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Four”

  1. Erin Hill Says:

    Most interesting Barry. It is reminding me of Art School and I’m hearing you as my tutor. It’s making me think and observe. Good work and thank you.

  2. Chiquita Phillips Says:

    Hi Barry, I want to thank you for posting these items on your blog – I feel I can in some sense follow along with the classes even when I’m not there, Chiquita

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