Thursday, October 30, 2014

Beginning Watercolor 10/29/14: Refining the Translation

Painting a new subject can be a steep uphill climb. It usually takes more than one piece of paper before I begin to know what is essential and what is optional. Understanding a subject in terms of washes and strokes requires knowing it intimately –memorizing it, in a way.
This exercise is designed to bring you to the place where you know your subject well enough not to need to even look at it.
Choose a simple subject. I recommend something shiny,  like a persimmon, or a tea kettle, and not too elaborate.
Take all the time you want on the first version. Go ahead and paint LOTS of information. Then paint it again. And again. And so on, until you know what needs to be in the painting and what you can let go of. You're discovering the guidelines that inform your translation. They should be relatively few. Remember the stack of posts in Maurice Logan's painting of the chicken house?

The strokes needed to be horizontal, some soft along the top, and warm middle value. That's about it.

Once your versions become guided mostly by the requirements you've revealed, put the object out of sight, and paint one from memory.

Lars Lerin

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou for your exercise in 'practice'. We novices are told to 'practice' but not always what 'practice' involves. I am gradually collecting 'practice' exercises. Most involve doing the same subject over and over in different ways. For a beginner it is heartening to know that we can learn to do art. As long as we 'practice'! Sandi (in Australia)