For the last two weeks I have been busy conducting a workshop looking at selecting, manipulating and extracting the most from a painting subject. It was a lot of fun, but we worked hard – doing a couple of paintings each day and squeezing in a few critique sessions, where we examined everybodys work and discussed various problems and solutions.
It is always a pleasure meeting new students and catching up with students from previous workshops. One of our new students for the second week was Carol and her assistant, Kim. What an inspiring lady – taking up watercolor a couple of years ago after a severe car accident ended her career as a lawyer and left her a quadriplegic. Forgetting about her disability, the standard of her paintings is excellent, but to see how she has overcome so many physical hurdles to produce the work she does is just amazing. On top of this, she is determined to keep on improving and works hard to that end.
Thumbnail sketches and simple monochrome collages were used to simplify and rearrange our subjects.
The demonstration paintings below illustrate some of the techniques we explored.
Manipulating a large foreground to lead up to a focal point while not causing a distraction.
Creating depth with hard and soft edges
Flat Ultramarine gouache used to squeeze more vibrancy from the warm, transparent watercolor.
Confining detail and using empty space as an element in the painting.
Practicing the random placement of suggestive abstract marks
Sometimes an unusual subject will free you up to try new techniques.
Making a strong focal point in what was a flat uniform facade.
Starting loosly with a big brush and no preliminary drawing, then adding detail as the painting progresses.
Experimenting with techniques to break up a symetrical subject.