Sustained Saturday – Brass, Kiwis and More!

Still Life - WinterSat1/2013

Yesterday, it was a full house at my studio for our first Sustained Saturday class of 2013. Last Tuesday, I inflicted a still-life of old shoes and boots on the classes. The subject matter may have been prosaic, to say the least, but there were some lovely results.

I tried to make our new still-life attractive in a more traditional fashion. It was complex with a lot of elements so the students were compelled to select an interesting area and create a composition.

Our still-life was lit by a lamp which hangs above it. It illuminates our subject quite well but it doesn’t benefit from the overhead fluorescent lights and even the north light from the window. I wanted to discuss value and the importance of a single light source. So, I painted my demonstration in the dark. As a rule, I don’t recommend painting in the dark but it allowed us all to see and record the most important areas of light.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs - WinterSat1/2013

My demonstration was done in four values. My blue/grey washes were mixed from Cobalt Blue and Raw Sienna. I wasn’t concerned about neatness or subtle soft-edge transitions. This is very much a working study.

1) Paper-white was reserved for the strongest light.

2) My first wash was a middle value and it was painted everywhere except for the lightest areas. The study looked very flat at that point but the light had been revealed.

3) The second wash was a darker middle value and it added structure and definition.

4)The final wash was very dark.

During the class, I frequently turned off the fluorescent lights for a few minutes at a time. I adjusted the window blinds to minimize the impact of exterior light. Most of the students tried a value study before embarking on a more sustained watercolour.

The beauty of a 7 1/2 hour class is the extra time and I was pleased to see much of that time devoted to a sound process involving sketches, studies and colour testing. We included our value studies in our Critique because we wanted to share them as well as the sustained work.

Sustained Saturday Critique

Sustained Saturday Critique


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3 Responses to “Sustained Saturday – Brass, Kiwis and More!”

  1. Scott Cooper Says:

    Sounds like a long, intense day, but it yeilded some lovely results. I’m guessing everyone was pretty bushed by the time you were done…

  2. yousra Says:

    hi, i don’t know if this is possible or not…………but can you send the messages on Face Book instead of the hot mail as i don’t open it so often………..:) thanks in advance !

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