Friday, February 8, 2013

Beginning Watercolor 2/8/13 Master Copies

The first watercolor painting I ever made that was worth looking at was a copy of this Winslow Homer beauty:

Homer found an elegant way to simplify this very specific moment of light and air and movement. There are, really very few shapes, and not too much texture. The wash of muted turquoise, for example, is not as complicated as it may seem, at first. Carl Schmalz suggested it as a good subject  to copy. He also proposed this Edward Hopper:

Mister Hopper fine-tuned the value and color temperature of every shape, relative to all the others. The pattern of dark and light forms makes a satisfying abstract arrangement of shapes on the page, at the same time that it reveals the orientation of the planes of the structures toward the sun.

 You might give one of these a try. Most of you found something in a book that stirred you. There are images everywhere, so please do spend time browsing the vastness of Google image.
Copying a painting you admire is as close to guaranteed learning as i can imagine. You will be a better painter on the other side of the exercise. Take your time. Se if you get any clues about how the "master" was thinking. Enjoy the ride.

The feeling of the painting is more important than the exact look. 

What you see when you squint is what has to be in the painting.

How dark is the shape I'm about to paint? It is darker than _____, but lighter than _____.

Over-compensate for the lightening of the color as it dries.

Make it as simple as possible; make it too simple. In fact, a (virtual) prize will go to the simplest interpretation.

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