Friday, March 19, 2021

Everyone's Watercolor Homework Careful or Carefree 3/18/21

 Fluid, transparent watercolor on paper is beautiful to look at. As painters, we get to observe how the paint behaves when it is first applied; hues merge and change as liquid colors interact. For a brief moment the paint is at its natural best. Then we make a few more strokes, perhaps in hopes of seeing  more of the grand display. Instead, the paint seems murky, the flow diverted, reapplied elsewhere. Streaks of uncertainty appear.

How can we preserve the beauty of confidently applied paint? Have you noticed that the bold, clear stokes tend to appear in the early stages of a painting, and then get covered by paint that is, in comparison, neither here nor there? By the time the final layer has been added very little of the first one is still visible. As our paintings approach the 3rd and fourth layer we  paint over the bold statements of the first and second, making corrections and covering mistakes.

 This is when we tend to worry that we have't given the viewer  enough information. If the painting feels flawed, we assume it is because something is missing when it is more likely that we have already overloaded the painting.

It is not the painter's job to describe everything accurately. Leave that to the viewer.  The painter's job is to lay down gorgeous paint. 

I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but I mean it literally. The range of what works is much wider than we think. Many of the corrections we make are not necessary.

Here are some images to work from. It is not necessary to make your interpretation the same as the one you choose. Take off into whatever territory you please. The only criterion is to keep the beauty of the paint foremost. If the strokes or washes you make come out different from your intention don't be too quick to correct them. First ask yourself if you can learn to love whatever happened.

If you choose a monochrome image, feel free to add color.


The fewer layers it takes to tell the story the better the odds are that your pain will be clear and fresh.

On a scrap of good paper, practice letting the wet surface make the steam.

                                                                        Leslie Frontz

                                                                            George Post

Kurt Jackson

No comments:

Post a Comment