Friday, March 6, 2020

Beginning Watercolor 3/5: Essential and Optional

How do you know what has to be in the picture and what can be excluded? Take a look at the pictures, below. As painting subjects, do you feel more attracted to one than the others? Can you tell what it is that appeals to you? What gives the picture its uniqueness? What would you not want to change?
Go down the list to see what jumps out as the important thing;
Value, color, edge quality, composition.
It's perfectly OK to be drawn to an image because it looks relatively easy, by the way.

Value and color


Shape first, then texture, if necessary


Let's use this industrial cityscape as an example.

 I like that the sky and the water are soft-edged, while all the man-made stuff is hard edged (EDGE QUALITY). I also think it would be fun to mix several neutrals, some warm and some cool, and use them in all three areas of the scene (COLOR). I see the strips of docks, containers and skyline as opportunities to combine adjacent shapes (COMPOSITION). As is so often the case, I'll want to get the (VALUES) in the ballpark.

Identify the major shapes and make a  simple pencil outline. 
Decide whether and where to wet the paper. 
Block in the lights.
Take a little more care with the middle values.
Place the dark strokes. Remember, the best way to find out if something belongs in the painting is to leave it out.
Stand back. You're done.

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