Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Simple watercolor

sand dune watercolor Watercolor is probably not the easiest medium for self-taught artists. From figuring out the choice of paper weight to the amount of water to use were aspects of using watercolor paints that I learned through experimentation. Having started with acrylics first, it was easy to assume some of the same attributes would carry over. The task proved much trickier as I came to realize what every half-decent watercolorist knows! Watercolor paint can only be worked over so much before the freshness of the color is lost leading to drab, muddy pictures.

Sand Dunes was one of my early attempts in watercolor and one that reinforced some key learnings: (1) Use the fewest colors possible, (2) exploit the whiteness of the paper to achieve highlights, and (3) be bold with the brushstrokes. The last may be the least obvious but not less important than the other points. Slow, tentative brushstrokes inevitably are the prelude to overworked areas that spoil the painting.

I also like Sand Dunes because it was done with just two colors: yellow ochre and ultramarine blue. Simple palette, simple painting.

Sand Dunes, Watercolor on 140lb paper, 5"X7" (Not for sale)

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