Friday, September 27, 2019

Intermediate Watercolor, 9/26/19 What is Style?

Style is what makes one artist's version of a subject different from another's. How we use color, value, edge quality, composition, and complexity varies from individual to individual.

George Post

Tony Couch

The trees in these two paintings are similar in composition. In both they form a band of green across the top half of the page. But the feeling we get from one version is very different from the other. What have the two artists done differently?
Let's consider one variable at a time, edge quality, for example. Couch lets his trees merge where they meet the ground, making them into a single shape. Post maintains a hard edge between the individual trees, keeping them more separate. As a result, Couch's trees play a supporting role in the scene while post's are the stars of the show.

Try looking at The differences and similarities of color and value

Style emerges from our distinctive use of the medium; How  one painter loads a brush, which brush is selected, where on the handle the artist holds the brush, everything, in other words. You don't need to deliberately seek your own style. It will find you.

Here are two images. Choose one or paint both if you have time. We will see how we approach the subjects in our own way.

Beginning Homework , 9/19/ 2019 What color is a shadow?


These shadows are not all the same color, or are they? If you're making a watercolor painting of this array of shapes couldn't you use the same gray  to darken the shadows of the grass and the pavement, and let the local color show through?  Or would you have to make separate colors, one dark green and one dark blue-grey?

Try it both ways and see which technique you prefer.

Below is a painting by John Singer Sargent. Can you tell which method he used?

Here you can see that not only does the color change as the shadow passes over different local colors, the value of the shadow also depends on how dark the local color is. The shadow on the red shingles is darker than the shadow on the white window trim.

Here are some images with sunlight and shadows. You can make a painting from one, or you can just paint patches of local color and the appropriate shadow color. 

Have fun


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Intermediate Watercolor 9/19/19 Light, Middle, Dark

In terms of  the progression from light to dark, this is a very well-behaved image. You can easily tell what is lighter or darker than what. There really are just 3 values. With a good grip on value, then, perhaps you could play around a bit with color or edge quality.

I see a little more complexity here. It still progresses nicely from light to dark, but with more stops along the way. How few values would you need to keep the feeling of light and space?

Does the tree need to be black? For that matter, does it need to be so tall? What about the range of values in the group of buildings? A bit of adjustment could improve the composition. Limit the palette? Expand the palette!?

Beginning Watercolor, 9/19/19

In class yesterday, we experimented with working wet into wet. We also spent some time mixing neutral colors. The next step is to practice juggling both those balls at the same time.

The horizon in this photo is the only hard edge. All the clouds are soft. If you were painting a version of this scene, therefore, the first step would be to wet the paper.
You may have found yesterday that mixing your colors took quite a while, and by the time you were ready to apply the first layer of paint the paper was dry. If you intend to make soft-edged shapes and you get hard ones, stop painting as soon as you notice. To be sure, you can make a very small mark toward the edge of the paper to see whether the paper is still wet. If that test mark comes out soft, carry on. If it comes out hard-edged, stop painting. You are in charge, not the paper. Remember, you can re-wet the paper once it's thoroughly dry and create just the kind of edges you intend.

I wet my paper on both sides so it would stay wet longer. It helps to think of the wetting as a process of getting some water into the paper, not just on the surface. I go over the sheet lots of times with a BIG brush, in both directions. Put a little extra on the edges. They dry faster than the middle. After the clouds had all been painted the paper was still wet, so I dried it thoroughly so I would get a hard edge on the horizon.

Still soft?


Here are a couple more good skies to consider.

About those colors:
My one sentence theory of color mixing goes like this, "To get the color you've got to look like the color you want, add red, yellow or blue".

For this exercise, limit your palette to one each of the primary colors. That is, one red, one yellow, and one blue.
Please bring in all your attempts. Part of what we're practicing is diagnosing what went wrong in a failed study.
Have fun!