Sustained Saturday – Watercolour Plus

Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving and we enjoyed a few days in the country. Every fall, a local farm sets up a stand of pumpkins, squash and gourds at a rural crossroads. Payment is made on the honour system and a percentage is donated to local charities. It’s a great place to pick up some still-life material and I took my time selecting and arranging things on the grass (below left). I also scavenged straw and corn husks and created an attractive and challenging still-life for the Saturday class. And you’re right, Tuesday painters, you’ll be seeing it next week.

I started off with the value/glazing approach we’ve been exploring lately. Here’s a bit of today’s demonstration. I did a few other studies but I want to save some for Tuesday.

Most of the group followed the value/glazing process. I was able to photograph three works with values resolved and before local colour was added. Check them out.

J. Rawlin

P. MacCulloch

K. Waite

Each artist has selected an area of the still-life to focus on. A thumbnail sketch is usually done first to refine the composition.

The values have been resolved very carefully with cool or neutral greys. The whole image is considered and not just the objects.

Some people find still-life to be boring. I believe that working from still-life is a great way to develop observation skills and that is not an easy task. It can be demanding and involves the discipline part of art. We have to learn to look and to understand and utilize concepts like ‘simplification of form’ and ‘light and shadow’.

Still-life tends to be a studio activity and allows the practise of brush-handling skills and various techniques in a comfortable environment. The still-life can be lit to advantage and the light won’t move like the sun insists upon doing outdoors.

Occasionally, I use photo reference for a particular exercise in a class or workshop. However, direct observation of the still-life has always been the mainstay of my studio classes. It’s more work for me. Sometimes, I envy the instructors who pass photos or diagrams around or ask the students to paint from their imagination when I’m trudging through Kensington Market in the middle of winter trying to find some good stuff. Anyway, it’s worth it when I see the new watercolours at the end of each class. Look for the work shown above in the next image. Hey, who put that pen drawing up there?

Sustained Saturday Critique


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2 Responses to “Sustained Saturday – Watercolour Plus”

  1. Susan power Says:

    Great work Saturday painters! I can see why the Teacher is so proud of these paintings. We Tuesday folks have our work and fading pumpkins and gourds cut out for us. There is something about pen work isn’t there?


  2. Elizabeth Towsley Says:

    All works are fabulous, but one stands out to me – Joan Rawlin’s. I’m a bit biased I admit. Great job, Joan. You rock!

    Your loving sister, Elizabeth

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