Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Five – Veggie Stew!

Still Life - WinterTuesWk5

We’re halfway through winter term and just past Groundhog Day. Apparently, the groundhogs have decided that we’re getting six more weeks of cold weather but isn’t that what they always say?

Everybody knows what I’m making for dinner tomorrow night. I wanted familiar shapes, colour and a strong range of value in our still-life. These veggies fit the bill with the almost white of the turnips and the dark squash and jalapenos.

We’ve spent a lot of time on soft edge techniques and related brush-handling skills. It’s time for some new ideas and I’m going to concentrate on two in particular for the next several weeks. I’ll focus on a crisp-edge approach and I’ll be using flat and flat angled brushes.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs - WinterTuesWk5I stuck with a traditional round watercolour brush for this week’s Tuesday classes. I did some preliminary pencil drawing but it was very general and broad, barely indicating where the objects would be placed.

It’s difficult to describe every step of the two demonstrations to the left. The most obvious characteristic of these paintings is the crisp or sharp delineation between the shapes, even shapes on the same object. Generally, I worked light to dark. I painted light areas first and allowed them to dry before adding the darker shapes. I left more paper white than I usually do.

Many watercolour artists rely on crisp edges in their work but, if you’re doing it for the first time, it can be quite a challenge. Especially, if you’ve become more comfortable and fluent with the gentle transitions of soft edges. The strong, distinct changes of a crisp edge process are very powerful. Your eye needs to adjust to the new look.  A few simple things can help. Standing up to paint gets your eye farther away from the image and makes the crisp edges seem less daunting. Stepping back frequently to assess your work from a distance of six to eight feet is essential.

Many of the students gave it a shot. We’ll try it again next week with the flat and flat angled brushes. Eventually, each individual will find a balance between crisp and soft edge that suits their artistic temperament. That’s it for now. I have to look for an onion.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique



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