Thursday, April 10, 2014

Beginning Watercolor: Who's in charge?

Our first session felt very good to me. It is exciting to see that everyone is focused and willing to take risks.
For homework, start by reading the post below, for the Monday night class. You'll see the similarities to what we discussed in class.
I'll add some comments about the specific image you brought home, although, I'm sorry to say, I can't find the original to post here.

Start by standing back a few feet from the photo. Look for places where the illusion of space becomes ambiguous. See if you can identify the source of the confusion. It is most likely because adjacent shapes don't separate sufficiently. If so, what accounts for that? Which variables are too similar?

The list is short: color, value, edge quality (or, wetness), and composition. One of those, or a combination, is the culprit. How can you adjust the relationship between the shapes to increase the difference?

It can be tricky to stay aware of how your changes will affect to overall image. Fixing something over here may create confusion over there. Yesterday, while we were assigning values to each of the shapes, someone noticed that solving one problem created another by making two adjacent shapes the same. This gave rise to the question of whether turning up the color difference would take care of that. As painters, we need to cultivate a blend of engagement and detachment.

Remember that you want to enhance the illusion of depth, so one shape should look farther away than its neighbors. In terms of value, for example, would making the darks lighter and the lights darker bring a shape forward or push it back?
Regarding color, what would using more intense (purer) colors do to a shape? How about introducing a color that hasn't been used elsewhere on the page?

Dark/light, warm/cool, hard/soft. simple/complex. Twist those dials.

YOU are in charge of the illusion. The photo is just a starting place. There is no obligation to duplicate reality, and no guilt associated with lying.  Enjoy the freedom.

For this first exercise, let's give more attention to shapes and less to texture. Play up the walls, and play down the bricks. Have fun!

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