Sustained Saturday – Watercolour Plus!

Everyone enjoyed the old box last Tuesday so I kept it as the base for today’s still-life. This was the first day of painting in 2011 for some of the Saturday group so I continued with my back to basics theme. We discussed ‘wire frame’ drawing and some perspective fundamentals.

My demo is a very traditional value study in sepia; watercolour over pencil. I mixed my own version of sepia using Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna.

It’s intended to be only two values. The paper-white areas show the direct light . Everything else is simplified with one value of sepia (although a few areas are slightly darker). You can see my pencil drawing coming through the washes.

There are many benefits to this kind of study. I’ve resolved a workable composition. A strong pattern is revealed. Interestingly, we can understand the objects and the space without darker values, detail, or colour. Highly prized by the Old Masters, simplification works.

Most of the students do a thumbnail study, similar to this but in pencil, prior to starting their watercolour. Still, a little review doesn’t hurt once in a while.

Check out the day’s work below. Note the sepia study in the upper left corner. About five values have been employed in a very bold crisp-edge approach. The whole group admired it. The piece directly below was done by the same artist; both completed today! By the way, that’s a pen and ink drawing on the lower right.

Sustained Saturday Critique

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4 Responses to “Sustained Saturday – Watercolour Plus!”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Nice work by your students. I really like the detailed sepia study. It almost looks like an old, old photo. I really enjoy seeing the class photo each week. They look similar but under scrutiny are all so different.

    • Barry Coombs Says:

      Sometimes, I don’t post the class work. If we have several absentees I feel it might put too bright a spotlight on the few so I may abstain from posting. The issue of similarity faces every art instructor. I try to teach sound process and fundamentals and not just my style. Still, similar processes will produce similar looks. I know the students reading your comment will be appreciative of your eye for the differences in the work. Your insights are always welcome.

  2. Carol King Says:

    I love reading your lesson and then seeing what your students do.

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