Thursday, April 19, 2012

Intermediate watercolor 4/19/12 Unanswered Questions

During our critique, it came up that it's not always obvious what the questions are that need to be addressed. To practice identifying the work that needs to be done before diving into a new subject, try the following exercise:

1) Ask yourself what attracted you to the image or scene that you have chosen. It may be a feeling, such as serenity, or it may be a challenge, such as describing vast space while celebrating the patterns the land forms make on the picture plane. Whatever it is, write it down, or say it out loud, to make sure you have it up front in your thinking.

2) What looks tricky? With a little detachment, you can tell at a glance what will be difficult to translate into the language of watercolor. Take a good look at those aspects of the scene, and see if the uncertainty is a function of color, value, wetness or composition. Address the variables one at a time, and be sure to cover them all. The approach you devise to interpreting these slippery parts may involve more than one variable. Take your time, and see if you can envision an approach that will leave you plenty of room to adjust to surprises. General to specific, light to dark.

3) When you see the nature of a tricky part, make a study that will answer your questions. For example, if you determine that the issue is about how to keep a hard edge for most of the profile of a mountain, but to have a soft edge where it goes behind a cloud, your challenge is all about wetness. You can most efficiently address this by limiting the variables in your study. To give all your attention to the unanswered questions, eliminate the distractions the other variables might present. Your study does not need color. Make it monochrome. You don't need to paint the whole picture. just practice the edge you are unsure of.

4) Take notes. for the benefit of the rest of us in the room, please be prepared to tell us what you zeroed in on, and what you learned.

Sound of Sleat          Piet Lap

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