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WATERCOLOR

practical

guide to

watercolor
painting
tor the

home

artist

ARTIST'S
HANDBOOK

BOOKS
BEL-TIB
751.422 Artist's 2003
Artist's handbook.
materials,
Watercolor
techniques, color and
composition, style,
qJo^
subject
:

ADTICT'C

APR

Alii

H D A A

DATE DUE
o ?n u

M^'m

^l^lp'X

JAN

1 8 20 JS

1/

HANDBOOK:

ARTIST'S

WATERCOLOR
materials

techniques

composition

Edited by

style

color and

subject

SALLY HARPER

AN OCEANA BOOK
First edition for

North America published

in

2003 by

Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

Copyright

2003

Quantum Publishing

Ltd.

All rights reserved.

No

part

of this book

may

be reproduced

in

any form, by photostat,

microfilm, xerography, or any other means, or incorporated into

any information

retrieval system, electronic or mechanical, without

the written permission of the copyright owner.

All inquiries should be addressed to:

Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

250 Wireless Boulevard


Hauppauge, New York 1 1 788
http ://www.barronseduc .com
International Standard

Book No. 0-7641-5619-5

Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 2002107842

This book

is

produced by

Oceana Books
6 Blundell Street

London N7 9BH

QUMWAH
Manufactured
Printed in

in

Singapore by Pica Digital Pte Ltd.

Hong Kong by Paramount

98765432

Printing Co. Ltd.

</)

INTRODUCTION
The medium
The

history of watercolor painting

MATERIALS

a>

How

to choose paper, boards, canvas, etc.

14

17

20

Brushes

VJ

9
10
13

and colors

Paints

Easels

21

Boards, palettes and other equipment

22

Lighting

23

TECHNIQUES

25

Laying washes

26

Foundations

32

Brush techniques

42

Color

50

effects

Alternative techniques

66

Mixed media

75

80

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

83

Composition

84

Tonal values

100

The

illusion

Creating

of depth

mood

107
112

Choosing colors

127

Mixing colors

132

STYLE

139

Painting an impression

140

Expressionist approaches

142

Abstracting from nature

144

Pure abstraction

148

SUBJECT

153
154

Still life

Plants

and flowers

Landscape
Light

and weather

164

170
180

Buildings

199

The animal world

206

Figures

and portrarts

ClrK-arv

INDEX

AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

215

220
222

uction
Of all

mec

the paint

perhaps the most idiosyncratic. With


watercolor. what is done is done.
Depending on the technique used, once

applied to paper, a watercolor

wash

will

stay there. But the very unpredictable

nature of watercolor painting also brings


special satisfaction to the artist. There

is

intense pleasure involved

in working with
watercolor and adapting to it. rather than
determining from the outset what the

result will be.

The

art of watercolor painting has a

history that stretches back over 40.000


years. The

first

known examples were cave

paintings, using thick applications of

water-based

paint. Early

Chinese

opaque

artists.

however, used soft-haired brushes and

worked on

silk

and

rice paper,

whose

absorbent surfaces encouraged the use of


delicate, transparent washes. With just a
few fine strokes, these artists captured a

mood

of atmospheric space

in

their

landscapes, anticipating by several centuries

the

work of western watercolor

This

is

to

let

artists

such as Turner and Girtm.


the strength of watercolor: its

ability

the texture and tone of the paper


mingle wrth the vivacrty of the paint, en
that illusion of light

many a
have a mind of

and depth

for

which

/e. True, watercolor n


its

own. but

the excrtement of

that

is

this intriguing

.ill

part of

medium.

INTRODUCTION

"I

don't

do watercolor

difficult"

amateur

it's

far

under running water and washed away.

too

Watercolor has many

remark often heard from

is

painters,

who

even those

main attraction for

other media, such as

in

oils.

It

cannot be denied that some people


find

watercolors a

than

oils.

little

unpredictability should

this

is

very

be regarded

as

a virtue, not a drawback. What people


really

mean when they make

of remark

this kind

that watercolors cannot

is

be altered over and over again


can; a color

or wash, once

on the paper must


extent this

is

true,

laid

as oils

down
some

stay there. To

and

it

alterations can

feel

when
in fact,

in

a color that has not

so that

it

are

oil

light.

of the paper

its

is

paint or acrylics,

opaque and can be

dark to

As

transparent,

is

must be applied from

dark, unlike

built

light

up from

Highlights consist of areas

white or very pale

left

certain

amount of

pre-planning

is

work

necessary at an early stage to

some

planning

always needed for

is

come

is

out

whatever medium

being used.

one ever

quite

knows how

behave, and

watercolor

will

watercolor

artists find this

one of

many

very

quite right can be changed dramatically

unpredictability

by applying another wash on top of

assets.The purely practical advantages

areas can be sponged out or


over; and

if

to

which

washes surrounded by darker ones. A

No

be made, and

often are, as a painting progresses: a

wash

mixed with water and

painting or drawing,

approaching a watercolor But,

many

pure watercolor

implies,

it

out where the highlights are to be, but

is

understandable that people should


a certain nervousness

its

its

of subjects, especially

landscapes and flower paintings.

medium

sometimes unpredictable, but

ideal for a variety

name

harder to use

This very attractive

being

freshness and translucence, making

regard themselves as reasonably


proficient

virtues,

artists

it;

worked

the worst comes to the

worst the whole painting can be put

its

greatest

of watercolor painting are that you

need

little

expensive equipment, the

painting can

be done more or

less

anywhere provided there

enough

light,

be cleaned up

quickly, leaving

no mess. Since the paper


relatively cheap,

expensive.

LIBERTY WATERFALL

McKay

is

experiments

and mistakes are not very

Shirley

is

and paints can

THE MEDIUM

THE DISMASTED BRIG John

The Medium

broad mosses, and the

Watercolor.

made by

like all paint, is

mixing pigment wrth a binding agent,


this
in

case

gum

arabic.

water. There are

which

is

Sell

Cotman

The rain-swept sky has been treated


swirling

the waves has been used to


in

make a

geometric pattern of different-sized

triangles.

soluble

two types of

different media,

and watercolor

watercolor." 'pure" or "classical"

often used with pastel, pen and

watercolor. which

pencils

is

gouache, or "body

transparent, and

color."

which

is

the

It

can be a useful

exercise.

technique of gouache painting

watercolor

can be

oil

laid

or

this

is

color

in

with pure watercolor.

Its

is

source of constant controversy

some

is

conjunction

use

and should never be


combine the two wrth

considerable success.
is

draw
it

into

with

or

pastels to

see the

medium

ummosity
used; others

has "gone

inks

among

claim th

destroys the character of the

when

wrong." to

outside

book; but gouache

quite frequently used

watercolonsts:

similar

acrylic, since light

over dark, and

the scope of

is

Nowadays

a general trend toward mixing

there

is

ink.

or crayons (see "Techniques").

same pigment made opaque by adding


whrte pigment to the binder. The
to that of

in bold,

movement of

effects that

can be
achieved.

INTRODUCTION

The History of
Watercolor

illustrators

seventeenth century.
It

Painting

was, even

is

commonly

so, in

eighteenth-

century England that watercolor


painting

It

of the sixteenth century

and the Dutch flower painters of the

was elevated to the

national art.

believed that

A new

interest

watercolor was invented by the

landscape painting for

English landscape painters of the

culminated

eighteenth century, but this


so.

Watercolor has been

various forms for

many

in

is

far

use

from

it

for painting

plaster to

painted

in

Italy

were

a kind of watercolor;

it

776-

own

sake

837), the fore-

topographical - a truthful and detailed

record of a particular place - but


the hands of

decorate their tombs; the great


frescoes of Renaissance

its

work of John

had hitherto been purely

centuries.

on

the

runner of the Impressionists. Landscape

in

Indeed the ancient Egyptians used a

form of

Constable

in

status of a
in

artists

in

such as Paul Sandy

(l725-l797),ThomasGirtm

was

(1775-1802), Francis Towne

used by medieval manuscript


illuminators,

both

in its

"pure" form

and mixed with body color; the great

German

artist,

(1471-1528),
extensively,

Albrecht Durer

made

use of

it

and so did many botanical

STUDY OF CIRRHUS CLOUDS


John Constable
English painter John Constable revolutionized

the art of watercolor, bringing to

observations of weather, light

it

his

acute

and atmosphere.

THE HISTORY OF WATERCOLOR PAINTING

*>een seen

in

paint

Throughout the nineteenth century


the techniques of watercolor

continued to be developed
subject matter

The poet
(

757

A/illiam Blake

827). evolved his

an*

became more

of conveying

own method

poetic vision

his

in

watercolor. as did his follower Samuel

Palmer

805

88

).

who

used

and blocks of opaque color


visionary

swirls

in his

and symbolic landscapes.

With the end of the Napoleonic

and the topographical

easier

new

reached

like

heights

the

in

Samuel Prout

GREAT FALLS OF REICHENBACH


a superlative draftsman

imer

V.

once again became

1815, travel

tradition

work of

783

who

852).

painted

the buildings and scenery of western


(

740

784

6).

John

Cotman

Sell

1842) and Peter

(1782
than

849)

it

further

became much more

Watercolor

that.

Europe

deWmt

v.

illy

exploited and given the recognition


that

was

its

artists

worked

watercolor alone, regarding


perfect

medium

it

in

805

775

oil

85

M W Tur
.

J.

achieved

).

painter, but

further by his friend, the French

possibilities

rnd

haphazard blobs of paint turning them


into

some

of the most

depictions of

light

mi

and color

of watercolor.

its

gre.r

exponents being Graham Sutherland

a<

he explorted

accidental effe

(1798 1863).

of the twentieth

Fir

century have not ignored the

he produced watercolors

"rules."

new

)elacroix

of an amazing depth and richness. Qurte

unmhibrted by any

glowing studies of

landscape and figure subjects, to be

light.

fame

his

made

s<

quick sketches of skjes.The grc


all.

876)

techniques, such as the "dragged" wash,

Constable used watercolor mainly for

cotonst of

Middle Eastern scenes, and

as the

for creating the

^xssphenc effects they

Traveling

John Fredenck Lewis

were pioneered by Richard Parkes


Bonmgton ( 802 828) for both

due.

Most of these

in faithful detail.

afield.

(1903
(

889

1893)

1980) and Paul


1

946) and

h.s

brother John (b

Medium

It

with both professior

amateurs, and

ind

new way

constantly being found of explore


that have

full

potential

k
s>.

w
hI

Materials
"To get the
tools":

right results, start with the right

it's

a rule that applies to

many

undertakings, including watercolor painting.


If

you are

just starting

to experiment with

may not want to invest


of money in equipment.

watercolor. you
great deal

no need to rush out and


buy an expensive easel and an enormous

Certainly, there

is

range of paint colors.

It

is

perfectly

acceptable to start small, and purchase

equipment when you are sure of precisely


what you require. It may be that you never
get around to buying that expensive easel:

many

work

professional watercolonsts

at

an ordinary table, with their board

supported by a
it

is

areas.

pile

just as well

Good

of books.

not to scrimp

qualrty paints

same
some

the

All

in

and brushes

stand the watercolor artist

will

good stead.
and you will not need an enormous range
of paints and brushes to start with. Few
watercolonsts use more than a dozen
colors, and most rely on only two or three
brushes. The choice of papers available to
in

the watercolor painter can also be


daunting. Again, feel free to experiment:

buy

just a

few sheets

at a

time

until

you

are familiar with the characteristics of


different types of paper.

MATERIALS

Perhaps the greatest single advantage of watercolor painting


a small amount of equipment is needed, equipment which

is

that only

is

easy to

and brushes, although not cheap, last for a long time; indeed
last virtually for ever if looked after. The best paper for
watercolor work is hand-made from pure linen rag. Machine-made paper
is less expensive but as the surface will not take the paint readily, the
beginner should avoid using the cheaper brands.
store. Paints

brushes should

Paints and Colors

opaque, unlike true watercolor.

Watercolors themselves can be mixed

Ready-made watercolor
in

paint

make them
opaque or semi-opaque, so that they

with Chinese white to

sold

is

commonest

various forms, the

being tubes, pans, and half-pans.These


all

contain glycerine and are

known

as

become

Success

semi-moist colors, unlike the


traditional

dry cakes, which are

are

in

require considerable rubbing with

water before the color

is

released.

more

subtle

watercolor painting

in

depends so much on applying

still

some artist's suppliers, but


not used much today. Dry cakes

available

a softer and

form of gouache.

of transparent, but
a mistake to

is

quality."

layers

color that

is

known

as "artist's

There are cheaper

paints, sold

a slow process, but the paints are

for "sketching," but since these contain

therefore economical.

Gouache

paints,

or designer's

colors as they are sometimes called,


are normally sold
paints,

in

paints,

have chalk added to the

pigment to thicken

it,

and are thus

filler

color

to extend the pigment, the


is

weaker and the

paint tends to

be chalky and unpredictable.

Whether

tubes. These

and the cheaper versions of

them, poster colors and powder

tubes
has

its

is

to use pans, half-pans, or

a personal choice. Each type

advantages and disadvantages.

who

Tubes are excellent for those

work

mainly indoors on a

fairly large

fiiflft'J/,ffft
Kauiu

mm

s
HUMIU

Mucum

2U I
CUM*

14

it

buy any but the best-

quality paints,
It

rich,

UUUM

PAINTS

AND COLORS

squeezed out of them on to


'U left Or

ig IS

completed can be u
ng

with

it

wet bru
can be bought

in sets

.i

which

s,

own

their

are the

..

popular choice for wor^

outdoors on a small

scale.

be bought

:olors can also

concentrated form

with

in bottles,

droppers to transfer the paint to the


>minently suitable

broad washes which require a

for

large quantrty of paint, but they are

easy to mix than the other types.

less

The choice of colors

is

personal,

though there are some colors that

color,

everyone must have Nowadays there

than others according to the cost of

is

that a beginner

justified in feeling

bewildered, but.
necessary.

mind

is

that

only a few are

in fact,

some

point to be

colors are

may not

use

for any painting that

be hung or
therefore,

is

exhibited.

Hookers

urers have systems of

se appear

green,

green.

raw umber, and

Wmsor

(called

on

blue

in

and Newton range)


blue.

watercol<

than a dozen colors. For

recommended

to rule out any colors

d as "fugitive" All

the

Few

cerulean blue, while monastral blue

wise course,

more

to keep

is

it.

landscape painting, useful additions to

intended to

is

call

the basic

b>

important consideration for q


sketches and "note-taking," but dis

professionals

simple as possible.

considerably less permanent than


others, which

more expensive

The golden rule when choosing a


range of colors, or "p

is

somewhat

One

being

the pigment used.

inge of colors to

su

choose from

some

is

the

Wmsor

sometimes

instead of

For flower painting the

might be enlarged by

addition of cobalt violet and

(J

lemon

also bear a

code

See the "Color and


Composition" section for more

relative price of

each

information

yellow.

tubes or pans
"

ng the

will

on color

ch<

15

MATERIALS

Suggested Palette
Warm and

cool versions of the primaries are essential, plus

secondaries and

some of the

so called "earth colors." The latter

rather nondescript to the beginner, but they are of

because they are close


but can be a good

mixing other

to

many of nature's

addition as

colors.

it is

more

Other useful but not

umber and

cadmium

cadmium

burnt

16

is

not included,

strictly

essential colors are

indigo.

lemon yellow

yellow

cobalt blue

importance,

vital

Black

or less impossible to produce by

red

umber

colors.

some

may seem

yellow ocher

sap green

burnt sienna

viridian

cerulean blue

French ultramarine

Prussian blue

Payne's gray

raw

HOW

TO CHOOSE PAPER. BOARDS. CANVAS ETC

How

to Choose
Paper, Boards,
Canvas, etc.

The

paper

the term used for the

support

surface

Hotpressed

on wt>

ting

is

done

is

whrte or

pale-colored paper, which reflects back through


the transparent paint to give the translucent
Cold-

qualrty so charactenstic of watercolors. There

are

many

pressed

types of watercolor paper Each

paper

probably need to try several

individual will

before establishing which one

suits his

method of
may

working, though sometimes a particular paper

be chosen to create a

special effect

The three main types of machine-made paper


are hot-pressed (HP), cold-pressed (CP). which
is

also rather quaintly

known

as "not" for "not

hot-pressed." and rough. Hot-pressed paper

Rough paper

is

very smooth and, although suitable for drawing

or pen-and-wash.
building

up

not a good choice for

is

layers of

washes

watercolor technique as

rt

in

the standard

becomes clogged

very quickly Cold-pressed paper which


textured,

is

the most popular and

both broad washes and


as

rts

name

implies,

is

fine detail.

much more

textured, and the paint

is

is

slightly

suitable for

Rough

paper,

will settle in

Hand-made
paper

heavily

the

"troughs" while sliding off the "peaks." giving a

speckled effect which can be effective for


subjects but

Among

is

difficult

some

to exploit successfully

the best -known makes of

good

color papers are Saunders. Fabnano.

Arches. Bockmgford. Strathmore. and R.W.S.


(Royal Watercolor Society),

some

Drawing
of which also

handmade papxHand-made papers are made from pure

include

(cartridge)

paper
linen

rag and specially treated with size to provide the

best possible surface for watercolor work. Such

papers are sized on one side only and thus have

17

MATERIALS

a right

and a wrong

side,

wherever the surface has been

which can

One

be checked by holding the paper up


to the

light

becomes

so that the watermark

Many of the

visible.

wrong

a right

paint,

moreover can be manipulated


in

a very free way.

both strong enough to stand up to


erasing, but mistakes are difficult to

remove from the former which holds

deal of preliminary drawing and

erasing without damage, but others

do

the paint very

not. Bockingford paper; for instance,

in many ways, is
damaged by erasing, and the
will take on a patchy appearance

good choice

firmly.

Saunders paper

for beginners:

although excellent

strong, stretches well,

quickly

pleasant surface.

Kent

Carisbrook

it

Arches

M 38AM

Schoellershammer T

Schoellershamme

40J

Fabriano

^^

Canson Mi Teintes

is

and has a

Hand-made

18

that

Arches paper and Saunders paper are

papers have surfaces that are

Rice

is

be removed by

and moved around

and

tough enough to withstand a great

paint

spoiled.

advantages, however;

washing out where necessary; the

better

side.

Some

its

paint can easily

machine-made papers also have a

watermark and hence

of

Ingres

is

HOW

TO CHOOSE PAPER. BOARDS. CANVAS ETC

Stretching paper
If

you have

tried watercolor painting

on

paper, you

fairly thin

tendency to buckle when you apply wet washes, and then

of waves. This

you can turn


will

shrink as

due

is

to

If

you tape

dries, pulling itself taut

it

have noticed

will

dry unevenly,

in

its

series

expansion of the paper when wet. a tendency that

to the rapid

your advantage.

to

down when wet and

it

fully

expanded,

it

as a drum, producing a lovely springy surface

not unlike a canvas.

The paper must be fully


submerged in water for a few
moments, either in the bathtub or

sink

as

or slowly passed through a large bowl,

shown

here. This ensures that every inch

of both sides

thoroughly wet.

Take the paper out of the water,

'Ppmg wet and


I

for a

is

position to

be

lay

still

on the board

it

stretched. Leave

rt

few minutes for the water to be com-

pletely absorbed,

and when the buckling

process has reached maximum, wipe off


surplus water with tissue. Then pull the paper
at

When

^ii

one end. holding the other end down.

Dry the edges of the paper where


will go with some

tour" sides

the gumstnp

are taped down, use


J

more

tissue to

over the top of the gumstnps.


Press

it

down

fresh tissue, then cut the strip into

wipe

to squeeze out

lengths,

wet the

sponge, and

sticky side with a

stick

damp

down.

any excess water and ensure

good adhesion between the


two surfaces. Also wipe up any-

nearby pools of water which


could run into the gumstnp,
dissolving the glue

and

weakening the adhesion.

e the paper to dry for a few

you are

hours, or

up the process wrth

advisable to check

if

on

it

a hurry,

speed

a hairdryer.

during drying;

side has not stuck property,


it

in

if

It

is

one

you can reinforce

wrth a fresh piece of gumstnp.

MATERIALS

many brushes

have a great

Brushes
Soft brushes are normally used for

three or four

watercolorThe best ones are

sable,

and many

made from the

hairs of

practical

in

chisel-end for laying

tips

of the

tail

the small rodent found chiefly


Siberia. Sable

a lifetime.

brushes are also


hair

(known

as

Some

looked after properly

if

last

Watercolor

made from

reason) and ox hair These are

is

now

from

good

If
is

made

washes and two

different sizes.

in

watercolonsts use ordinary

falling

essential to look after

water

of

out as you work.

you want your brushes to

Wash them

wide range of

synthetic brushes, usually

range would be one large

care must be taken to prevent hairs

some

substitutes for sable, but have less


spring. There

be adequate,

use only two.

household brushes for washes, but

squirrel

"camel hair" for

will will

artists

or three rounds

brushes are extremely

expensive, but

they should

for

watercolor work; for most purposes

thoroughly

after use

nylon or a mixture of nylon and sable,

stained use a

and although they do not hold the

brushes pointing

if

little

them
in

still

Never

downward

in

bend the

leave
a glass

paint as well as sable, they are

of water, as this

excellent for finer details and are

out of shape, possibly permanently.

much cheaper

they need to be stored for a length of

Only by experimenting
individual discover
sizes suit

them.

It

will

an

which shapes and

is

time

in

will

hairs

box or can make sure

mildew may form. Store them

not necessary to

(left

to

hair,

mixed

right): blender, fine

fibers round,

If

that

they are absolutely dry; otherwise


upright.

A RANGE OF BRUSHES SUITABLE FOR WATERCOLOR PAINTING


synthetic roundhair, broad synthetic round

ox hair round,

squirrel hair round, sable fan

bright, chisel-ended,

sable round.

20

it

running

they are

soap.

last,

well.

sable round, fine

EASELS

studio easel,

Easels
Watercolors. u

done

oest

at close qi.

*h the

support

not

necessary for indoor

really

It

allows you to

at different angles

to

do

vertical to horizontal.

Good

to

do without one

until

easels are
it

is

many
work

professional watercolonsts

work

wise

you are sure

at

an

ordinary table with their board

artists prefer

supported by a book or brick

preliminary drawings with the

board held

vertically)

around to the best

more

the

tilt

(many

convenient. Both

of your requirements;

work. However, an easel can be


helpful.

more

not cheap, however, so that

held nearly horizontal, so that an easel


is

is

are adjustable to any angle from

difficult

and to move

light,

which

with a table. The most

important aspects to consider


of course, from price

and the

it

is

facilrty

are

apart,

stability

for holding the

work

firmly in a horizontal position.

For outdoor work, the combined


seat

and

easel,

which

earned by a handle,
useful.

is

folds

and

is

particularly

For indoor work, the

combination

easel,

which can be used

both as a drawing table and a

There are two

wooden one

mom

types of sketching e

ones They both weigh

about the some, and the height and angle can be


oo)tr.

MATERIALS

Boards, Palettes

and Other
Equipment

in

a variety of sizes,

the nonpainting hand

will

possibly

another necessity for outdoor work;

two boards of

have forgotten the water. Special

different sizes,
it

where necessary. A piece of plywood


or blockwood is perfectly adequate

wood

drawing

soft

pins.

is

smooth and

enough to take

For outdoor

used, with the paper clipped to

you

find that

containers can be bought, but plastic


soft drink bottles can

the water and any

be used to carry

light

(unbreakable)

container such as a yogurt container


will suffice

work

to put the water

in

when

you reach your destination.


Various other items, though not

piece of illustration board can be


it,

strictly essential,

can be useful and

though the paper must be heavy

inexpensive aids for watercolor work.

enough not to require

Small sponges can be used instead of

If

you buy paints

in

stretching.

paintbox form

you

will

already have a palette;

you

will

need one with compartments

for mixing paint.

are

22

nothing worse than arriving at

your chosen spot to

to support the paper and stretch

the

is

need a drawing board, or

provided the surface

in

when working

outdoors. Water containers are

there

You

and some have a

thumbhole so that they can be held

made

if

not,

Watercolor palettes

in plastic,

metal, or ceramic,

brushes to apply washes, to sponge

out areas, and to create


cloud

effects;

soft,

paper towels,

smudgy

blotting

paper and cotton wool can be used

much the same

in

way. Toothbrushes are

BOARDS. PALETTES. AND OTHER EQUIPMENT

useful for spattering paint to create

textured

effects:

pebbles on a beach, for example.


scalpel,

or a razor blade,

to scrape

away

a highlight area.

Lighting

to suggest sand or

is

For indoor work

often used

small areas of paint

in

And both masking

tape and masking

can serve to

fluid

block out areas while a wash

is

laid

over the top. leaving a hard-edged


area of white paper

The

specific

devices are

when removed.

uses of such aids and

more

fully

explained

in

left

vital

is

to organize a

shoulder (or right shoulder

are left-handed) can be quite


factory

south

It

even and
so

less

is

if

the sun, since the

you

faces north (or

relatively

unchanging

window faces
light may constantly
the

brilliant

may even throw


light

if

satis-

the southern hemisphere) and

gives an
light.

window

the

if

in

change from

the "Techniques" section.

it

good system of lighting. Working by a


window with light coming over your

to

murky and

distracting patches of

and shade across your work. An

artificial light

of the fluorescent

you to work
room or comer and to
working when the light has

"daylight" type will enable


in

Starter Palette

a poorly

continue

faded

lit

winter days can

seem very

short for those dependent on daylight

Such

light

can be used either instead of

natural light or to

there

is

supplement

one type with a base

be clamped to the edge of a


I

These colors

will

provide

adequate range

perfectly

Some

needs.

artists

for

it

and

that can

table or

liacent shelf.

a
most

work with

fewer From top to bottom: cobalt


blue. Prussian blue, vmdian. yellow

ocher.

cadmium yellow, lemon


cadmium red. alizarin

yellow,

crimson, burnt umber. Payne's gray.

and

ivory black.

A desk lamp can be angled so that does


not cast too much shadow Such lamps
it

can be

fitted with daylight simulation

bubs.

23

4l

Techniques
The two most important
watercolor

are.

unpredictable to

some

characteristics of

that

first,

always

is

it

extent, even

the

in

hands of experts; and second, that because


dark

is

needed

is

The
as

always

laid

over

light,

some

watercolor technique

classic

wet-on-dry because each

laid

planning

before starting a painting.


is

known

new wash

is

over paint that has already dried. The

basis of this technique

a thin skin of paint

paper, or a part of

moment

it.

the wash,

That

in

which

over the whole

wash

first

is

the

of decision, because you must

know which

then

is

laid

is

areas you wish to

"reserve" as white paper.


In this

use

have been

section, the techniques

grouped roughly

them

in

in

the order you would

creating a painting,

moving

from washes and foundation techniques


through brush techniques and color effects
and.

lastly,

corrections.
spirit

to making changes and

Approach each method

of experimentation

it

in

may be

worthwhile to set up some practice paper


and use it to try out different techniques
before launching into a complete
composition. Don't be too quick to discard

your early

efforts,

though:

it

is

often

possible to rescue apparent mistakes by

reworking them using methods such as


scumbling or

wax

resist.

TECHNIQUES

Laying Washes
The term "wash"

a rather confusing one, as

is

implies a relatively broad

it

sometimes used by watercolor


painters to describe each brushstroke of fluid paint, however small it may
be. Here it refers only to paint laid over an area too large to be covered
by one brushstroke.
area of paint applied

Laying a Flat

flatly,

but

it

is

Wash

Beginners are often encouraged to


practice laying perfectly

but while

it

watercolor
rarely

as an

flat

washes,

teaches you control of the


it is

fact a

in

used to create

underwash

technique

paintings,

for a

whole

except

picture.

also

Laying a Graduated
This

is

tone
color

you

a one-color

as

that changes

progresses. Mix up plenty of

it

the palette, but

in

lay

wash

Wash

this

time as

each successive band of color

gradually

add more water to the

mixture.

Try on both dry and wet

paper Start with a strong

solution of yellow
lighten

it

ocher and

gradually by the addition of

water to each new stroke across the

Load the brush and


paint

in

lay

the

even strokes across

the paper from one side to


the other.Tilting the board a

paperThe

last

pure water

uneven

tilt

If

band should be almost

the wash appears

slightly

the paper to encourage

the paint to flow.

Do

not touch

it

with

little will

help the bands of color run into each

your brush.

other.

Never go back over the wet

paint;

it

still

dry

paper before

it

laying

the wash, which

helps the colors blend together.

26

flat,

may look uneven


wet. You can dampen the

though
while

will usually

Sometimes a more dramatic

tonal gradation

Dampen

is

required.

the paper and

lay

two or three bands of full-strength


followed by

really pale

pure water for the

last

color and
stroke.

color

finally

LAYING WASHES

Variegated Washes

Textures

"ndmg two or

more

colors together

W.itcrcolor washes can be n

sunset might

things:

some

simply play the role of a

require linear bands of red. yellow, and

flat

blue whereas a tumultuous sky could

while others serve the purpose of

be depicted with blobs or splotches


of different colors blended

in

more

backdrop to a

providing an

underpamtmg

for

subsequent work. They can also be an

end

irregular way.

"drama,"

visual

mood

themselves, conveying

in

and atmosphere by means of a few


brushstrokes swept over whrte paper.
In

creating a wash, the illusion of

texture can be achieved by choosing

the right paper and pigments.

One

make

of the best ways to

wash say more

is

to use the texture

of the paper as an integral part of the


painting.

mainly

start.

Watercolonsts

in

our colors before you

supports very

Lay the colors on dry

the contribution they

paper

in

even bands allowing

finished

who

washes choose

paint

their

carefully, fully

make

aware of
to the

work.

the wet edges to blend wrth each


other. Resist the temptation to

touch

up wrth your brush while the wash

is

drying.

Dampen

brush
Tilt

in

The granulation of the pigment that

the pap-

the palest colors.

sometimes occurs when a wet wash


applied over

a dry one can add

oreas. which

can become

the paper and allow the

colors to blend.

Jony
flat

is

e-

useful

and

shadow

<1uli

27

TECHNIQUES
must work fast. Paradoxically,
when you keep all the colors wet,

that you

Wet-in-wet
This

exactly what its name


- applying each new color

means

implies

they

will

not actually mix, although

they

will

bleed into one another.

without waiting for earlier ones to dry

Placing a loaded brush of

so that they run together with no

on top of

hard edges.This

is

technique that

only partially controllable, but

is

enjoyable and challenging one.

is

a very

Any

of

the water-based media can be used,


providing

no opaque pigment

added, but
helpful to

in

the case of

color

it

is

add retarding medium to

wet wash of

new

the

brushstroke causes the

draw away.
The danger with

picture wet-in-wet

painting a

is

that

undefined. The technique

to dry completely at any time. This

that you have

that you
it

is

must

stretch the

a really heavy

one

of at least 200 pounds) and second,

whole

may

it

look

altogether too formless and

effective

first,

in

first

color to

The paper must first be well


dampened and must not be allowed

paper (unless

paint

weight of the water

the paint to prolong the drying time.

means,

wet

a different

dropping a pebble

little like

into water; the

is

acrylic,

is

and

let

when

is

most

offset by

is

it

linear definition, so

gone

edges

when you

as far as

you

feel

can,

the painting dry, take a long, hard

look at

it,

and decide where you

might need to sharpen

it

up.

Step-by-step: Wet-in-wet

Flood the whole picture area


with clean water and

soak

With

in

for a

let

it

few seconds.

a large, flexible brush such as a

squirrel-hair, paint in ultramarine, Payne's


gray,

and

violet in separate areas defined

by your sketch.

Prolonged wet-in-wet

painting
picture.

required for this

the paint starts to

dry halfway through, creating unwanted


hard edges, spray on clean water with
an atomizer This

will

take effect

in

seconds, softening hard edges and

enhancing the

28

is

If

flow.

LAYING WASHES

Subsequent washes need

more

definition,

so pne-wet

Mix a

only selected areas. Apply

cerulean blue
softening

in

some

the central area


parts with water Paint

ultramanne streaks
stroke over

at the

them with

Allow the two areas to

bottom, then

wet

fuse.

brush.

Irttle

emerald green wrth

cerulean blue and a hint of


Payne's gray,

the

and use to

give

wave more shape underneath. Then,

with a darker mix, paint the curve

underneath.

Add

same mix and

lines

a touch of black to the

paint in the small, dark

areas immediately under the crest

Go

around

the picture.

adding a few

dark spots and very


pale, undulating
in

the foam.

washes

Finally,

dab

spots of Chinese white

foam

in

any places you

have accidentally
painted over Then add
streaks of dry-brush

white over the blue for


texture.

29

TECHNIQUES

Hard and Soft Edges

CHURCH HILL.WINCHMORE

HILL

John Lidzey

wet watercolor wash

laid

on dry

paper forms a shallow pool of color


which,

if

left

undisturbed,

hard edges as

it

will

rather

dries,

form
like

hard and soft edges describes the


subject

tidemark.This can be alarming to the


novice, particularly

in

of a painting, but

is

it

characteristics of the

the early stages

one of the many

medium

that can

be used to great advantage. By


smaller; loose

laying

washes over previous

dry ones you can build up a fascinating

network of fluid, broken

lines that

not

successfully

gives the picture

There are

more

several

and also

variety.

ways of avoiding

hard edges. One is to work wet-inwet by dampening the paper before


laying the first wash and then working

subsequent colors into

it

before

dries so that they blend into

another with subtle

it

one

transitions.

only help to define form and suggest

wash on dry paper can be softened

shapes, but also give a lovely sparkling

and drawn out

quality to the

sponge, paintbrush, or cotton swab

method

work. This

for building

is

an excellent

up rather

irregular

dipped

in

at

the edges by using a

clean water to

remove the

wash "dragged" or

shapes such as clouds, rocks, or ripples

excess

on water

"pulled" over dry paper with either a

You

will

not necessarily want to use

the same technique

in

every part of

the painting; however, a combination of

30

more

paint.

brush or sponge

will also

dry without

hard edges, since the paint

is

prevented from forming a pool.

LAYING WASHES

Backruns
both
e and a

These are boti

delight to watercolor painters.


lay
it

If

it

completely

is

chances are that the

seep into the

dry,

new

you

realistic

gently

always happen: the

by

does not

It

possible to avoid

them

is still

no remedy
backrun
except to wash off the entire area and
start again. However many watercolor
is

takes a

how wet

irregular,

will

if

first

there

on

it it is too wet and


merge together without

a backrun. as they

do

in

the wet-m-wet

technique.

LEFT: The results of working into


thoroughly

&y vary

a wash before

it

is

widely according to the paper used

the degree of wetness or dryness, but


like this

be able to

or dry the

be, but as a guide,

a sheen

the colors

for a

practice to

little

wash should

altogether.

There

wash. The paint

area of soft color with the

judge exactly

is

damp

flow outward, giving an

jagged outlines so typical of reflections.

less

smoother, highly sized ones, and with


it

still

will

conducive to backruns than the

practice

in

working wet color or clear

into a

or water

more absorbent or

rough-textured papers are

approximation of reflections

moving water can be achieved

lightly

water

alternatively
It

conventional brushwork. For example, a

paint will

described as "cauliflowers."

or

ones such as the

quite unlike those achieved by

into

the

old. creating strangely

sometimes

ill

of flowers, as the effects they create are

shaped blotches with hard, jagged


edges

large areas such as skies

watt"

wash and apply more color

before

in

quite dehbei

it

and

can look something

example.

BELOW

vre backruns have been

deliberately induced

and

then blown with a hairdryer so that they form definite


is.

Techniques sue

amorphous shapes such as

particularly useful for

clouds, reflections. o>

r
31

TECHNIQUES

Foundations
Building up

Watercolor
When

Because watercolors are semitransparent,

colors cannot be

light

OVERPAINTING

laid

over dark. Thus, traditional practice

is

to begin a painting with the lightest

dry,

over the

the darker ones by means of

will

successive washes or brushstrokes.

much

Many, but by no means

by laying a

flat

wash

artists

all,

all

over the

paper leaving uncovered any areas

become pure white

that are to
highlights

(known

pencil

it

is

wash or washes are

lose

done by

laying

original ones.
its

freshness

if

watercolor

there

the strength of color needed for each


layer carefully

and apply

one sweep of the


each wash

wise to start with a

form a

is

allowed to

dry,

Some

be reserved. The tone and color of

clarity

artists find

and
it

if

overall color key of the finished

adding the middle tones

laid all

over the paper might be the correct

landscape, but

would not be

will

the tone and color key of the painting

color then go back to the

in

it

crispness.

planned as they must relate to the

color and intensity for the sky

with

it

easier to judge

the preliminary wash also need to be

deep blue wash

quickly,

it

brush, so that

positive feature of watercolor

work, adding

place and shape of the highlights to

too

is

overpainting, so always assess

develop hard edges, which usually

drawing to establish the exact

painting.

darker

individual brushstrokes

does not disturb the paint below. As

as reserving). This

procedure obviously needs some


planning, so

first

areas begins,

washes or

tones and build up gradually toward

start

suitable

they begin with the darkest area of

two extremes have been


Building

up a painting

not the only method.

lightest,

last

when

the

established.
in

washes

Some

is

artists

avoid using washes altogether

down

for a foreground containing pale

beginning by putting

yellows and ochers. Another variation

brushstrokes of strong color

of the overall wash

the paper sometimes modifying them

is

to

lay

one

for

small
all

over

the land. Both these procedures have

with washes on top to soften or

the advantage of covering the paper

strengthen

quickly so that

you can begin to assess

colors and tones

without the
distraction

of pure white
paper.

32

the

the process of intensifying certain

certain
areas.

FOUNDATIONS

Up

Step-by-step: Building

1^2

Having

laid

distant

hills,

a gray-blue

the

artist

wash over the sky and

blocks

slightly

the details of the middle distance.

these washes to dry and then paints the dark trees

The

final

touch

is

The warm cobr

to

lay

darker one for the

in

He

leaves

the foreground.

a green-ocher wash over the area behind the trees.

creates a sense of recession, as

front of the picture, while the cool blues are

it

advances toward the

pushed back

33

TECHNIQUES

Gouache and Acrylic

thick

and

dry, a light layer will

cover a

dark one completely, but there


If

either of these paints

used

is

thinly,

without the addition of white, the

to the

soluble

those for watercolor described on the

that a

previous pages. The beauty of

will

that

is

painting will

stir

acrylic,

no amount of overup

because, once dry,

is

immovable

disadvantage of this being that

out

is

impossible).

acrylic

can be

infinite layers,

built

up

lifting

more or
or

light

in

light. If

the paint

is

Working

in

gouache, the

and allowing runs to occur

When

the

first

in

washes have

used as watercolor

in

fish

more

thickly,

is

areas, but

and has applied a

broad stroke of opaque yellow.

muddy

is

dry,

so

layers

to begin by using the paint


its

opacity gradually as

you work. The building up process

is

aided by working on a toned ground,

which serves the same function as a


preliminary

wash

in

helps to avoid too

of

watercolor and

many

layers

paint.

in

Gouache

The prawns
solidly

are painted less

than the

fish,

as befits

their delicate, slender forms,

and the opaque paint

places.

dried, she

she intends to build up the textures of


the

application of moist paint

thin, increasing

washes

most

water even when

churn up and

artist

begins to define the detail.The paint


still

is

you can

underneath. The most satisfactory

Working

begins with the paint well


thinned, laying broad

layers

used

Step-by-step:

less

light

opaque gouache
extent, be built up

over dark. Paintings

from dark to

in

dark over

can, to a certain

(a

used opaquely,

If

in

new

method

earlier paint,
it

number of

apply as this paint continues to be

procedures are much the same as

however,

34

limit

is

small areas of highlight.

restricted to

FOUNDATIONS

Now

using really

opaque

white, she accentuates the


silvery highlights.

Using a strong mixture of

gouache, the

artist

"draws" with

the point of the brush on the


underbelly of the

The

and

swirls

Raised blobs

can be seen where the

pigment has been used

straight

from

the tube.

fish.

scales of the

One

fis^

s
scraping into the paint

working small brushstrokes both

of the exciting properties

of gouache

is

that

rt

allows a

and

contrast of thick and

thus providing additional surface interest

thir

wet and wet-on-dry

35

TECHNIQUES

Underpainting

It

essential to use a pale color

is

and one that

the colors to be placed on top.

This involves building up a painting

over a
It

is

monochrome

tonal foundation.

usually associated with

oil

not interfere with

will

painting,

but the early watercolorists used a

In

predominantly green landscape, for


instance, blue

would be

good choice

and, since blues tend to stain the

modified version of the same

paper; a blue

technique, particularly for detailed

disturbed by subsequent washes. The

wash

is

to be

less likely

topographical or architectural subjects.

paper should be a

You can see the

one, such as Arches, which allows the

underpainting

wash down
in

if

effects of

you have ever had to

a watercolor by dunking

a bathtub. Faint

it

shadows of the

original will remain,

which can often

provide a good basis for the next

absorbent

fairly

undercolor to sink into

be reserved

of course, be

white paper

An

Any

it.

areas to

as bright highlights should,


left

will

uncovered so the

show

through.

underpainting for acrylic

is

attempt. This kind of "accidental"

much

underpainting highlights the value of a

permanent when dry and the

deliberately planned one: establishing

range can be greater because the later

the tonal balance of a painting

is

not

less restricted as

it

be

will

tonal

colors can be used opaquely to cover

always easy, and doing this at the

the

outset avoids having to alter or

good

correct (and possibly overwork) the

glazing, in

painting later on.

successive thin skins.

first

one. Underpainting provides a

basis for the

technique of

which colors are

ABOVE AND
This painting

built

up

in

LEFT:

was begun

with a

monochrome underpainting

in dilute

cobalt blue, an unusual but deliberate

choice of color, as the blue

repeated

is

throughout the picture. The flowers and

drapery were then

up

in

method known as

lean," the

background and

left

36

built

paint the

quite thin.

thicker

"fat over

foliage being

FOUNDATIONS

Step-by-step: Tonal Underpainting

A
I p

tonal underpainting can provide a better basis than an outline drawing,


pencil lines quickly

gray, building

become

obscured. The

up to deeper tones

in

artist

begins with a very

light

areas that are to remain as dark

shadows.

The

J 9^

laid

gray chosen for the underpainting

over

it

but

the shadows

it

rs

slightly

remains

modified by the colors

virtually

unchanged which

importance of choosing the

right color.

stem of the boat and areas of the

water, have

highlights the

brightest parts, the

Notice that the

been

left

whrte

the underpainting.

37

TECHNIQUES

Glazing
(acrylic

This

a technique that

is

was perfected

lay thin skins

of transparent

laying

watercolor painting, over-

washes

is

sometimes described

as glazing, but this

misleading as

is

implies a special technique,


fact

it

is

the normal

when one

whereas

Acrylic paint

fast:

is

perfectly suited to
it

dries

each layer must be thoroughly

dry before the next one


effects

in

way of working

the glazing technique because


so

it

using watercolor paints.

is

is

applied. The

the technique creates are quite

different

from those of color applied

opaquely, as

light

seems to

appearance of being

lit

The use of a

white ground

from

glazing

alone or

To

glaze with

small

38

for acrylic

both gloss and

conjunction with water

in

painting can

layer

by layer

seen

in

in this

acrylic paintings

way of

only

wash and allow to dry

built

up

as can

be

- but

this

is

not the

using the technique. Thin

glazes can also

be

laid

over an area of

thick paint (impasto) to great effect.

The

glaze will tend to slide off the

raised areas and sink into the lower

ones - a

useful technique for

suggesting textures, such as that of


bark.

Other

ways of conveying rough textures


and sponge

When
lay

be

way -

some of David Hockney's

spattering,

Overpaint with a few brushstrokes of


the same color

in

using watercolor include

within.

one color

available

whole

With only one color


I

weathered stone or tree

reflect

through each layer almost giving the

brilliant

smooth

matte - and these can be used either

colors of incredible richness and


luminosity.

on

media are sold

Special

pigment one over the other to create

In

ideal)

is

further enhances the luminosity.

by the early painters using oils.They

would

gesso

surface such as illustration board

wax

resist,

painting.

dry paint more strokes

of the same color over the top.


This could be used for a grassy

foreground.

FOUNDATIONS

Step-by-step: Glazing

Working

acrylic

on water-

color paper the artist starts

with the paint heavily diluted


with water Acrylic used

in this

virtually indistinguishable

from

watercokx but
once

rt

way

A layer of darker color mixed

is

with special glazing

cannot be removed

dry. a considerable

advantage

been
the

in

artist

now

laid

medium

builds

up the

highlights

with opaque paint

the glazing technique.

Here the transparent


Deep-toned

on the
layers

glazes are

apple. The

of color

way

reflect

now

laid

seea

eahter

back

luey quality of the


Either

medium can be used

through subsequent glazes gives a nch

but

gtowng

right consistency.

effect

has

over the orange, and

it

takes a

little

slightly

pant can be

water or the
for

acryk

special

glazes,

practice to achieve the

39

TECHNIQUES

Drawing
a guideline to

changed
off

radically

and beginning

be planned

they need to

advance and

in

where the first washes should be laid.


Another problem is that on certain

(except by washing
again),

it

papers, such as the popular

usual

is

to begin a painting by drawing the


subject directly
artists
is

this stage,

because they are

Bockingford, erasing can scuff the

Some

onto the paper

dispense with

usually

surface,

but this

you

it

before, and have a clear idea of

how

There are certain inherent


that the

are

paint

in

likely

find that

unsightly blotches.

drawn

will

probably consist of
lines,

but a

subject, such as buildings

portrait, will

may find that the


method (see opposite) is

drawing. Then you

squaring up

possible and any shading avoided so

helpful, using either a sketch

Having

made a

pencil lines can


in

nothing

more than

photograph of the

preliminary drawing with a very sharp

be erased at

this stage,

any but the palest areas of the

but

painting.

or a

need a more elaborate

should, therefore, be kept as light as

is

pressure.

light

For a simple land- or seascape your

complex

to

If

you need to erase, use a

no more than a few

show through the


the paler areas. The lines

lines

that the drawing

40

is

any paint applied to these

form

underdrawing

problems with underdrawings for

One

will

kneaded eraser applying

they want the finished painting to look.

watercolor

removing parts of the top

layer so that

areas

familiar

with the subject, have painted

remind you which areas

should be reserved as highlights and

Because watercolors cannot be

it

is

or

subject.

penal, the artist lays the

first

washes. The

not always necessary as they are unlikely to show

FOUNDATIONS

Step-by-step: Squaring up

The method demonstrated

The next

here avoids damaging the

ongnal drawing or photograph.

A gnd

is

drawn wtth a

felt-tipped

a sheet of acetate. The gnd

is

pen on

traced from

a sheet of graph paper below, which


saves time

and

The

is

onto the working paper Fend,


set square, and ruler are

and the

needed

pencil lines should

be

for this

as faint as

possible.

very accurate.

acetate sheet

is

then placed

square by square.

Do

not rush

this

process as you could place one part of

over the photograph or

working drawing and the


is

stage s drawing an

enlarged version of the gnd

mage

the composition

the wrong square

transferred to the working paper

41

TECHNIQUES

Brush Techniques
Brush Drawing

rather than a

line.

Thus, by using only

one brush you can create


Drawing
brush

is

directly with a

if

a variety of

you use several brushes,

satisfying and, like

including broad, flat-ended ones, the

an excellent

way to loosen up

repertoire

Down

your technique.

centuries, artists have

sketches,

through the

made brush

sometimes using pen marks

sometimes

as well,

effects and,

enormously

is

blots,

and

freely

not,

Chinese and Japanese


technique into a

Opaque

and the

made

the

is

almost endless.

The technique can be combined


with others

in

a painting, and

is

particularly useful for conveying a


feeling of

animals,

movement,

in figures,

or even landscapes.

fine art.

paints are

not suitable for brush


drawing, as the marks

must be
- flowing easily

and

lines

fluid

from brush to paper

You can use ordinary


watercolor
watercolor

or

inks,

thinned with

acrylics

water Good, springy


brushes are also
essential.

Light pressure with

the
size
will

of a medium-

tip

pointed brush
give precise,

delicate

more
the

lines.

line will

become

thicker so that
possible to
thick

little

pressure and

in

More

it

draw

is

a line that

places and very fine

pressure

still,

is

in

dark and
others.

bringing the thick

part of the brush into contact with the

paper

42

will

give a

shaped brush mark

FAMILY

ON THE BEACH Jacqueline

Rizvi

Watercolor and body color on pale gray


paper. Working rapidly on the spot the artist

has used the brush very

medium.

much

as a drawing

BRUSH TECHNIQUES

Brush Marks
greater or lesser degree.
I

he marks made by the brush

use a broad,

painting are exploited

medium

most
of

artists
it

to

follow the direction of a form, while

contributing factor to a finished

thick buttery

Some

brush, allowing

flat

others use a pointed one to create a

the

fully in

oil paint.

network of

This

lines in different

colors

has often led people to ignore the

and tones. A popular technique for

importance of brush marks

creating the impression of squalls of

in

watercolor. but they can play a

and expressive part


making
lively,

all

in

ram or

vital

the difference between a

dynamic picture and a

"stroke" paint

dull

in

built

stippling.

up

Then the

in

into a

brush to

a particular direction,

most watercolors to

STRANDE WATER AND

HOGWOOD

onto paper using short

brush.

Another

useful technique for

foliage - a notoriously tricky subject

entirely with tiny

is

it

paint only partially covers the

|ultte

dry brush, which creates a pleasing

feathery texture because the dry

possible to discern the strokes of

the brush

work

strokes of a small square-ended

in

strokes of a pointed brush. However,


is

flicking paint

visible

watercolor occurs

the technique of
is

to

bristle

can be conveyed by dabbing or

obvious example of

brush marks

painting

in

is

while an exciting impression of foliage

dull,

routine one.

The

swirling mist

wet wash with a dry

a painting,

paper

Palmer

Palmer uses her small brush marks descnpt/vety


variety of different

to build up pattern and texture. Notice the


modes - kt)e left-shaped blobs and dots at the top. long strokes for the

clumps of rushes, and broader squiggles

for the reflections.

m
43

TECHNIQUES

EVENING, PANTYGASSEG David Bellamy


The outer twigs and branches of the trees are suffused by
lighter

tone for the fine outer branches

light

and merely suggests the

from the sky.The

artist

uses a

twigs using quick dry brush

strokes.

Dry Brush
As
This technique

implies

is

just

what

its

name

painting with the bare

minimum of

paint

It

is

one of the most often used

all

a painting as this can look

Texture-

in

a watercolor, particularly for

in

Opaque gouache and

acrylic are also

well suited to the dry brush technique.

both cases the paint should be used

and grass

in

a landscape or hair

In

in

a portrait or animal

with only just enough water to

painting.

there

is

It

needs a

too

the paper at

much

it

will

little
all,

little

paint

but

if

practice, as

it

will

there

not cover
is

too

simply create a rather

blotchy wash.

if

flat

or broken washes.

fur textures

foliage

and

dull.

combination with others, such as

ways of creating texture and broken


color

over

technique should not be used

making methods work best

on the brush so

that the color only partially covers the

paper

a general principle, the

malleable

- or even none

at

all

make it
- and

the best effect are obtained with

bristle

brushes, not soft sable or synthetic-hair

brushes (these

are, in

any case, quickly

spoiled by such treatment).

BRUSH TECHNIQUES

Step-by-step: Dry Brush - Animal Texture


Asquare-

ended brush
is

into paint
dried.

there
paint

Make
is

dipped

and

partially

sure that

not too

much

on the brush by

expenmenting on a
spare piece of paper

before painting.

As

before, dry brush

applied over

work

is

washes The main

colors of the horse's head are


lightly

painted and allowed to dry before

shadows are added.

Because he wants to grve

hint

artist

very

slightly

uses a color that

is

only

darker than the wash

beneath, and makes quick,


strokes

just

of the hair texture, the

light

brush

By means of successive

light

applications of dry brush, the


artist

models the forms

accurately, suggesting the different

textures of the horse's head and

mane

45

TECHNIQUES

Scumbling
This

is

one of the best known of

all

techniques for creating texture and

broken color

particularly

effects

the opaque media.

It

in

involves

scrubbing very dry paint unevenly

over another layer of dry color so


that the

first

but only

one shows through,

partially.

Scumbling can give amazing


richness to colors, creating a lovely

glowing effect rather akin to that of


a semi-transparent fabric with

one

another, solidly colored

beneath.

There

is

no standard

for the technique, as

it

set of rules

is

fundamentally an improvisational
one. You can scumble

dark over

light,

or a

light

over dark,

color over

vivid

a contrasting one,

depending on the

circumstances, but

do not

try to use

a soft, sable-type brush or the paint


will

go on too evenly (and you

quickly ruin the brush).

brush

is

ideal,

but other

will

bristle

possibilities

are stenciling brushes, sponges,

crumpled paper or your

fingers.

The particular value of the


method for gouache is that it enables
colors to be overlaid without

becoming muddy and dead looking always a danger with this medium.

Scumbling

is

watercolor, but

less well suited


it

is

to

possible to

adapt the dry brush method to


scumbling, using the paint as thick as
possible

- even

straight

out of the

tube - and working on rough paper

46

SUN AND SHADOW, SANTORINI


Hazel Harrison Here successive layers have

been

built

up over a

pre-tinted yellow ocher

ground. The detail shows thin over thick

scumbling with a

bristle brush.

BRUSH TECHNIQUES

Stippling
light

This

is

method of

applying paint

series of separate, small

in

marks made

to dark, with highlights

or only

lightly

left

white ground shows through, while

up

gradually with

with the point of the brush, so that

dark areas are

the whole image consists of tiny dots

increasingly

dense brush marks.

However,

is

of different colors.

It

was and

still is

and

is

seldom used

for

However,

for

anyone

who

work and the

attractive

rt

is

an

method and can produce


any

other watercolor technique.

The success of stippled paintings


relies on the separateness of each dot:
the colors and tones should blend

the viewer's eye rather

than physically on the paper. Like

watercolors they are

built

establish a larger,

preliminary wash.

enjoys

lovely results qurte unlike those of

together

and to

highlights

challenge of

a slow and deliberate approach,

quite permissible to use

darker area of color by laying a

large paintings for obvious reasons.

small-scale

it

built

body color to emphasize the smaller

technique favored by painters of


miniatures,

white

covered so that the

all

up from

The beauty of the technique


that

is

allows you to use a great

it

one small
shadow could consist of a
whole spectrum of deep blues,
violets, greens, and browns. As long
variety of colors within

area

these are

they

will

all

still

sufficiently close in

read as one color, but a

more ambiguous and

evocative

than would be produced by a

wash

of. say.

as

tone,

one

flat

dark preen.

MARGARETS
JULY
Carol

Ann

Schrader
This artist u

stipple as

a form

of detailing The
very fine dots

con be seen only


by dose
inspection.

47

TECHNIQUES

Spattering
Spraying or

flicking paint

paper once regarded


and

"tricksy,"

artists as

now

is

onto the

unorthodox

as

/"

accepted by most

an excellent means of either

enlivening an area of

flat

color or of

suggesting texture.

Spattering

a somewhat
method and it

is

unpredictable

some

practice before

of the effect
to try

it

it

out on

create, so

will

some

before running the


painting.

takes

you can be sure


it

is

wise

spare paper

risk

used, but

the paint must not be too thick or


will

simply cling to the brush. To

fine spatter load a


fairly

it

bristle side

effect,

use a

down, and
bristles.

bristle brush,

loaded with paint of the same


consistency,

horizontally

run your forefinger over the

For a coarser

of color of the spattered paint against

it

make

toothbrush with

thick paint, hold

above the paper

The main problem with the


method is judging the tone and depth

of spoiling a

Any medium can be

and tap

it

sharply with the

handle of another brush.

If you apply
dark paint - and thick watercolor will

that of the color beneath.

of necessity be quite dark

very pale

The

tint

it

- over

may be too

best effects are created

obtrusive.

when

tonal values are close together

If

the

you

are using the technique to suggest the

texture of a pebbled or sandy beach,


for which

it

is

ideal,

you may need to

Step-by-step: Spattering

Spattenng

one of the

stages
painting.

final

in

Here the

is

artist

has completed the

cliffs

and rock The foreground,

however looks
and

48

lifeless.

fairly flat

BRUSH TECHNIQUES

spatter
this

one

pale color over another

case the best implement

mouth

is

diffuser of the kind sold for

In

spraying fixative. The bristle brush

method can
pamt. but

also

will

be used for watery

give

much

larger drops.

Because he wants to
prevent the spattered
paint

from going over

the finished areas of the picture,

the

artist

tracing

two

masked these with

paper

layers of

He now

spatters

pant over the

light

brown foreground wash.

Any

overlarge or

overdark blobs can be

removed with a cotton


ball
stjll

or sponge while the paint

is

wet
The
4-

spattered

paint givesa
realists

impression of the rough

sand and pebble beach.

The dark

formed by

line

the paint collecting at the

edge of the mask helps


to suggest the

shadow

where the beach meets


thedrff

49

TECHNIQUES

Color Effects

a painting by reserving areas of white

Body Color

paper There are good reasons for


This slightly confusing

term simply

means opaque water-based paint.


it was usually applied to

watercolor can be destroyed by the

In

the past

Chinese white, either

mixed with

transparent watercolor

in

parts of a

however,

highlights.
it

alternative

is

Nowadays,

for

is

when used

sensitively.

opaque gouache

watercolorists avoid the use

of body color altogether; priding them-

on achieving

all

the highlights

in

is

medium

gouache

in

shrouded

weather

landscapes, such as misthills. It

gives a lovely, milky,

translucent effect
that of

zinc

particularly well

suited to creating subtle


effects

Some

an attractive

(not flake) white

paint.

selves

body colon but opaque

either Chinese white or

often used as an

term

addition of

watercolor

Transparent watercolor mixed with

painting or used straight out of the

tube for

this,

as the lovely translucency of

gouache

slightly different

itself,

more

from

which has a
chalky, pastel-like
*

quality.

watercolor that

wrong become over-

has gone

perhaps

worked or too bright


in one particular area
- can often be saved

by overlaying a semi-

opaque wash, and


untidy highlights can be
tidied

up and

strengthened

same

in

the

way.

STILL LIFE

WITH TEAPOT

AND DECANTER
Moira Huntly

50

Rl,

RSMA

COLOR EFFECTS

INTERVAL AT THE GLOBE

THEATRE
Jacqueline Rizvi
This artist

uses

vith

up very

builds

v.

opaque white and


gradually, usually

working on a toned paper (the

ground

for this painting

light beige-gray).

was brought out

velvet

is

The red of the


in

places by laying transparent

red watercolor over a

slightly

opaque cnmson and white


r

Toned Ground
For a picture that

is

planned as an exercise

colors

rt

and

dark, rich tones

can be an

advantage to begin with


a pre-tmted ground.

is

It

possible to

buy heavy colored papers

for water-

colors to

some

extent. Secondly, they

allow you to build up

deep colors

color work, but these have to be

with fewer washes, thus avoiding the

sought out; few of the smaller,

risk

specialist art

supply shops stock

quick and simple

watercolor paper

wash of thinned

is

The

color,

it

to pre-tmt

to lay an overall

when

permanent, so there
stirring

way

if

is

be

no danger of

up with the next

layer of

problem with

artists like

snow

The advantages of toned grounds


First,

they help you to

pre-tinttng

scene,

on

warm, yellow

ocher ground so that the


whrtes.
small

is

Some

to paint a cool picture, such

blues, blue-

and grays are heightened by

amounts of yellow showing

through. Others prefer cool grounds


for cool paintings

paint.

are two-fold.

mam

deciding what color to use.

as a

you are doing

dry. will

of muddying.

The

them

acrylic (after

stretching the paper


this).

less

for

warm

carefully

and

ones. You

about the

warm

need to

grounds
think

overall color key of

achieve unrty of color because the

the painting and you

ground shows through the applied

to try out

will

probably have

one or two ground

colors.

TECHNIQUES

How
A

Toned Groundworks

toned canvas helps you to judge the

color mixtures

more

how the colors will


colors. To demonstrate how a toned ground

toned canvas
by other

gives

or value, of your

relative intensity,

accurately than a white canvas. This

you an idea of

(below) shows a piece of canvas, of which half

ground of raw umber and

half

is

left

is

is

look

because the

when surrounded

works,

this illustration

painted with a toned

white. Small squares of ultramarine and

cadmium yellow are applied to each half: observe closely and you will see
how much more intense the colors appear on the toned ground than they
do on the white canvas.

BELOW:

Generally, the color for

2.

When

the canvas

is

well covered,

wash of white

applied to the support with smooth, even

scumbled over

result

strokes. Here, however, the artist begins

light

is

mixed on the palette and

applying the color


will

in

by

loose strokes which

be blended together on the canvas.

Cadmium

red, yellow, ocher,

and

diluted with water, are freely

white, well

and

painted over the white surface.

52

a toned

thoroughly dry, a thin

ground

loosely

it.

The

toned surface

in

is

and
paint

is

a medium-to-

which the brush

strokes are only partially blended. The colors

blend

in

the viewer's eye, however,

effect

is

more

color

vibrant than a flat

mixed on the

palette.

and

the

wash of

COLOR EFFECTS

Ground

Step-by-step: Cool Tinted


Paint

the

shadow
of the plate with
cobalt green

even

flat

using a

in

an

wash

No. 3

round sable.Thts
color harmonizes

with the pale

background.

with a pale wash of vindian

and cobalt

blue. After

you

have completed the pencil drawing,


use gamboge followed by Prussian
blue and
shells.
little

alizarin

cnmson

Apply simple

flat

to paint the

washes with a

wet-rvwet mngling.

The cod green of the ground


Gradually bmkJ up the color

areas,
flat

metrockalry

laying

blue

down

washes O^rlay the green

shadow with Hooker's green Add

cobalt

deep to the mussels and part the

lobsters with
akzarri

magenta gamboge, and

cnmson.

causes the bright yellows and


reds to stand out

and

"vibrate"

in

contrast

These opposing color

values create a dynamic tension. The

trued background also mparts a depth


that could not

be achieved with

stark

white paper

53

TECHNIQUES
where

Blending

wash ends or meets another

wash, brush or sponge the edge


This

means

with water before

gradual

soft,

from one color or tone to

transition

another

achieving a

It

is

a slightly trickier process

with the water-based paints than with


oil

or

pastel,

because they dry

quickly,

of these

is

to

work

or

fruit

the soft contours of a face, use the


paint

fairly dry,

applying

it

small

in

strokes rather than broad washes.

that the colors flow into


a lovely

method

them

wet-in-

wet, keeping the whole area

is

the roundness of a piece of

lightly

convey

dry. To

If

can be softened by "painting" along

can be used.

This

is

unwanted hard edges do form, these

but there are various methods that

One

it

damp

so

one another

for

shapes such as clouds, but

amorphous
is

The
acrylics

is

in

water

little

method for blending


them fluid by adding

best

retarding

less

sponge or cotton

using a small

swab dipped

to keep

medium. This enables very

suited to precise effects, such as those

subtle effects, as the paint can

you might need

moved around on the

in

portraits, as

you

sufficiently You can


shadow intended to
nose or cheekbone spreads

cannot control

it

gouache colors can be

easily find that a

another to create soft

define a

the danger

is

of wet color

haphazardly.

To avoid the hard edges formed

that too
stirs

paper.
laid

be

Opaque

over one

effects,

much

though

overlaying

up and muddies the

earlier layers.

Step-by-step: Blending Colors

This
I

is

more

laying

vanegated wash. Lay two


stnps of color

allow to dry

54

A middle

controllable

technique than that of

parallel

on dampened paper and

stnp of color

and the edges blended


existing stnps

gentle brush strokes.

is

laid

into the

of paint with

COLOR EFFECTS

^^

WATERCOLOR

A
V
^^
^^^

^|

^.'*

^^H

pate green wash

rs

laid

and

|^H

some darker greens and browns

^F
^F

allowed to dry and (he tones are


bui/f

up

with sma// brush strokes

of pa/nt carefully blended together

^^^^^^

"

a morsfened brush.

GOUACHE

The some

be used

t<

gouoche. but here the point


rs

used

thickfy.

with the blending

done by working very

dr<,

over the underlayer with


brush.

On

paint has

bristle

the top of the apple,

been applied over

light

dark.

ACRYLIC

Because

ocryfcc

cannot be

dhes so

moved around on

the

paper as wotercoJbr con, retarding

medkjm has been used

to slow the

drying time This arso m-

transparency of the

pant

so

the brush strokes used to butt up


the shadows are dearty

visible

TECHNIQUES

Broken Color

cover the raised tooth of the paper a

It

is

one of the paradoxes of


flat

appears as

or indeed, as

realistic,

as

broken up

colorful,

one
in

that

some

Impressionists,

is

the same one - the effect

textured or

more
a

in oils,

discovered that they could best


describe the

of

light

on

fleeting,

foliage

shimmering

In

and

and interesting surface texture.

gouache and

acrylic,

stiff

brush. Acrylic

one green

once

many other

ways to break up color


textured paper the paint
will

will

sink into

CORNISH FARM

Michael

Cadman

acrylic

it

is

immovable

which means that more or

endless layers can be

over the other This


it

is

is

laid

one

not true of

opaque,

it

also absorbent and so too many


layers will disappear into

not completely

the troughs, but

less

dry,

gouache: although

you "drag" a wash over a heavily

broken

perfect for this

is

kind of treatment as

for each area. This technique

have

will

applying the paint rather dry with a

or grass by placing

can be adapted very successfully to

56

lively

be even

will

varied and the painting

yellows side by side instead of using just

If

in

color effects are best achieved by

effects

small dabs of various greens, blues,

watercolor but there are

exploited

If

a different color or a darker version of

way. The

working mainly

much

effect

you then apply


drier paint over the original wash -

color seldom

that a large area of

broken color

by watercolorists.

painting

and watercolor

is

new

those below.

COLOR EFFECTS
'iKJ-valueone.

Highlights

When
The

white p
integral part of a watercolor painting,

good watercolors

giving

ucent

most

qualrty.

effective

For

way of

highlights

*o

is

their lovely

this

reason the

creating pure,

to "reserve" any

be whrte by

painting

around them. This means that when

will

be. so

where the

some advance

highlights are to

planning

white,

all

of course, are pure

a paintjng where

all

the values

Thus, before the painting has advanced


far

you

will

have to decide whether

to reserve areas of an
to build

for a highlight,

it

very

effective,

but

ft

need a

more

softer,

is

not necessanry

might, for example,


diffused highlight

on a rounded object such


fruit. In

as a piece of

such cases, you can achieve a

greater transition by softening the edge


brush, small

swab dipped

in

sponge or cotton

water, so that

it

blends

area

Small highlights, such as the points of


highlights,

are dark, whites could be oveHy-emphatic.

very

wash around an

what you want. You

into the whrte

is

necessary

Not

lay

dry with a hard edge. This can be

you begin a painting you must have a


clear idea of

you

be reserved

light reflecting off

up

really

initial

pale

wash or

dark values around a

light in

eyes or the

tiny sparkles

on water which are

virtually

seen

impossible

to reserve, can erther be achieved by

masking or added wrth thick Chinese


whrte or zinc whrte gouache paint as a
final

stage. Highlights

by removing

can also be

made

paint.

Step-by-step: Highlighting
The shapes of the
mrtialry left

fruit

A rmdde stnp of coJor

are

whrte. their outlines

is

laid

and the edges blended nto the


-ting strips

of pant with

gentJe brush strokes

57

TECHNIQUES

Step-by-step: Highlighting continued


Instead of applying a

3 }4

wash

all

over the

flat

and

fruit

then adding darker value,

each area of color

is

treated separately

though some washes


later stage. With

all

and the main washes


artist

decides

where

dark emphasis

is

will

overlap at a

the paper covered


in

place,

further

the

light

and

needed.

She darkens the cast shadows on

and below the green apple and uses

opaque white to add


highlights

on the

fruit at left

additional
right Those

and

on the orange have been applied


the point of the brush, giving a
impression of the

peel.The

artist

slightly pitted

lightly

with

realistic

texture of the

has been conscious of texture

throughout using the granulated

quality

of the

wetly applied paint to add surface interest

The grapes

are given further

modeling, with the dark paint


again kept very

wet The

onginal

reserved highlights are not touched again,


but the

stalks

are defined with a

combination of opaque paint and reserving.

The treatment

rather than

impressionistic

is

literal,

and the patch

of dark green at the top of the


apple,

which could be either a shadow or

a leaf has been added pnmanly to


separate

it

from the background and

emphasize the highlighted

58

areas.

COLOR EFFECTS
without worrying about spoiling the

Masking

area to be reserved.

Many watercolonsts use masking

and masking tape for reserving areas


of white paper. Masking
specially

made

fluid,

kind of liquid rubber sold


bottles

Some

which

for the purpose,

and applied with

watercolonsts

in

is

is

method of
area, can

laying

with masking
painting

in

classic

washes around an

be gained by
fluid

is

it.

Stopping out

method of

fluid

is

applied,

quite dry before

and the

is

called the resist

method. This differs

wax

in

from the previous

being permanent; once

on the paper

is

the

to use

it

cannot be

laborious

scraping with a razor blade. The paint,

moreover,
to

some

will lie

on top of the wax

extent, leaving a slightly

very attractive, particularly for flowers

or

fabrics.

An

ordinary household

candle can be used, or a white

wax

finer lines.

and

subtle shades made by the brush


remain when the liquid is removed.

the

what

crayon for

"negative"; the precise

The paper must be

in

is

textured surface. The effect can be

effects, quite different

from those produced by the

way of keeping

away from the paper

removed except by

feel a certain

mechanical. However, very attractive

and exciting

wax

the

or as being too

as "cheating."

paint

techniques

small

a brush.

disdain for masking methods, regarding

them

Yet another

fluid

fluid itself

BELOW
to

mask

Here the

enabled the
fresh,

artist

used masking

fluid

certain areas during painting. This


artist to

spontaneous

work

freely, resulting in

style.

must be allowed to dry before a wash


is

laid

the

over

fluid

finger

area,

it

Once

the wash has dried,

can be rubbed off with a

or a

soft eraser, leaving the

white

which can be modified and

worked

into

if

required. Masking fluid

should never be

left

on the paper

for

longer than necessary, and care must

be taken to wash the brushes


immediately; otherwise

fluid will

harden

the hairs and rum them. Masking

fluid

is

not suitable for

all

papers,

especially ones with a rough surface.

Masking tape

is

particularly useful

for straight-edged areas, such as the


light-catching side of a building

or the

edge of a windowsill. Masking tape


enables you to use the paint freely

59

TECHNIQUES

Step-by-step: Masking Fluid


The

I
-

tree trunks are carefully

drawn, masking

fluid

is

applied,

and then
further

work

is

left

to dry before any

done. The

artist

is

on Bockingford paper wrth a not


from which the rubbery

removed;

ft is

rough papers as

With the
intricate

fluid

is

easily

not suitable for use on


ft

sinks into

and cannot be peeled

fluid

working
surface,

the "troughs"

off

protecting the

shapes of the trunks

and branches, dark washes are


built

up behind and above without

paint splashing

onto the pale

the washes are dry the

fluid

areas.
is

fear of

When

removed

by rubbing wfth a finger

The

trunks and branches are

modeled wrth darker


places

gouache define the

60

paint

in

and touches of white


highlights.

COLOR EFFECTS

Step-by-step: Spattering Masking Fluid

For
I

this painting

m two

masking

consecutive

wash of

fluid

layers.

applied

is

Apply an

initial

pale burnt sienna Allow to dry

completely, then spatter


loading a toothbrush

on some masking

and

flicking

the

fluid

bristles

by

with

a finger

Paint a

second wash over the

dried masking

fluid,

reserving

the shapes of the figures

When

dry,

masking

rub

fluid

off the

second

layer of

and spatter on a second

layer creating larger blobs as well as a


fine

spray

Cover almost

and allow the

Apply a

to

half

the surface

dry.

wash - a darker

combination of burnt sienna and


violet

second

third

fluid

layer of

painting the

When

dry,

masking

rub off the

fluid Finish

two fishermen mending

nets using the

same

their

limited palette with

the addrtion of black and ultramarine

LEFT Masking tope can be very helpful


buildings

It

for

takes the tension out of pointing

allowing you to work freely without the danger of


spoiling

on edge

that needs to

be

straight

and

61

TECHNIQUES

Out

Lifting

Certain colors, such as sap green and


phthalocyanine blue, act rather

Removing

paint

from the paper

only a correction method,

color technique

be used to great

it

a water-

is

and can

right

effect to soften edges,

dyes, staining the

cannot be

highlights that

papers absorb the


to

move

paint,

making

Bockingford, Saunders, and

papers are

all

excellent for

Cotman

lifting

out

streaked wind clouds

the technique, choose your paper

blue

easily

in

a blue sky

wash and wiping

a dry sponge,

paintbrush or paper tissue across

while

is still

it

is

created by laying a

it

wet. The white tops of

accordingly

out

Paint can also

by using a

gum

be

lifted

out

when dry

dampened sponge or other

When

working with

is

useful for

lots

become too wet and


flow of paint

of wet washes,

wiping areas that have

Use a

for controlling the

blot-and-lift

motion.

Tissue paper can also be used to

amorphous shapes

in

lift

wet wash.

out

lifting

small

you intend to

dampened sponge,

pressure

cotton

tissue

in

most

lifted

but for

useful tool

cotton swab. Never apply too

method depends both on the color to


and the type of paper used.

it

Large areas of dry paint can be


with a

the

lifted

useful aid to

remove.

partially

such tool, but the success of the

be

Another

arabic.Add

smaller ones the

paper

blotting

is

if

quantities to the color

cumulus clouds can be suggested by


dabbing the wet paint with a sponge or

so

in

you become addicted to

this way,

and

hard

it

around.

it

reserved. For instance, the effect of

quickly

62

like

paper can can never

be removed completely, while some

and modify color and create

diffuse

those

own

in its

not

is

is

much

when using a cotton swab,


may poke through the

as

plastic

tip,

scratching the surface of the

paper

Blotting

paper

is

thicker

and more

absorbent than tissue and, once dry

be reused.

If

you wish to

precise area hold the


blotting

lift

out a

is

can

comer of the

paper against the surface

excess paint

it

small,

absorbed.

until

the

COLOR EFFECTS

Out

Step-by-step: Lifting

With the
I

lift

Use

less

wash

still

wet

out areas with a piece of

crumpled
deliberately

blue

uneven

tissue to give a

effect

pressure toward the

bottom of the

sky;

always smaller and

clouds are
less distinct just

above the horizon

In this
I

been

be
dried pink

case
laid,

lifted

two washes have

and the blue

is

to

out to reveal the

wash below.

Again use a small piece of tissue to

2
effects

sponge,

rag.

you might

try usr>g a

or large piece of cotton wool

63

TECHNIQUES

Textures
contrast. You can vary the brushmarks,

There are two main kinds of texture


painting; surface texture, in

paint

itself

is

some way

in

which the

up or manipulated n

built

to create what

is

known

as

surface interest; and imitative texture,

which a certain technique

is

using fine, delicate strokes

in

some

places and large, sweeping ones

in

employed

others. You can put

with a

knife,

on

in

slabs of paint

and you can even mix the

paint with sand or sawdust to give

an

it

intriguing, grainy look.

to provide the pictorial equivalent of a

texture seen

to

some

in

nature. These overlap

extent: surface texture

sometimes seen
in

many

cases

it

as an
is

end

is

in itself,

welcome

but

by-

product of the attempt to turn the

on are described
SPONGE

convincing two-dimensional image.

are

Surface texture

be

built

this

in

Since watercolors

thin layers, they

cannot

up to form surface texture, but

can be provided instead by the

grain of the

paper There are a great

in

other entries (see

DRY BRUSH, SCUMBLING, SPATTERING,

three-dimensional world into a

are applied

PAINTING,

WAX

RESIST),

but there

some other tricks of the trade. One


of these - unconventional but effective
to mix watercolor paint with soap.

is

The soap

thickens the paint without

destroying
stays

its

translucency Soapy paint

where you put

instead of flowing

it

outward, and allows you to use

many watercolor papers on the


market, some of which - particularly
the hand-made varieties - are so rough

textures and forms.

and they appear almost to be

be obtained by a variation of the

embossed. Rough papers can give

technique.

exciting effects, as the paint will settle

turpentine or white

unevenly (and not always predictably),

paper and then paint over

breaking up each area of color and

and the

leaving flecks of white

Reserved

showing through.

inventive

you

dry,

crystals

resist

down some

lay

spirit

on the
it,

the paint

separate to give a

marbled appearance.

because the edges are

ragged,

If

oil will

effect can

slightly

brushwork to describe both

Intriguingly unpredictable effects can

on rough paper
stand out with great brilliance highlights

slightly similar

be gained by dropping

of sea

salt into

brush off the

salt,

wet

paint. Let

and you

will

pale,

above the surrounding

has absorbed the surrounding paint.

colors.

snowflake shapes where the

shapes

used both

form

same

thickly

and

thinly

in

the

painting, providing a lively

salt

the crystals are close together these

surface interest because they can be

will

run into one another to

a large mottled blob rather

resembling weathered rock.

it

see

the white areas appear to be raised

Acrylic paints are ideal for creating

64

Imitative texture Several of the


best-known techniques for making paint
resemble rocks, tree bark, fabrics, and so

If

COLOR EFFECTS

Step-by-step:Textures
The basket
I

is

first

drawn

in lightly,

and then washes are applied to


the background, foreground, and
itself. The paint is left to dry
Shadowed areas are painted in,

to the basket
completely.

and. while the paint

is still

wet. the

textured side of a piece of paper towel

pressed into

it

to

lift

off

some

is

of the paint

and leave an imprint of the paper behind.

The

paint

is

then

left

to dry.

Spots of darker color are then

dabbed onto the basket using


bubble wrap, bubble-side out. to

suggest the mottled textured

When

is

dry. a strip

of corrugated cardboard
is

for the

this

weave of

the basket.

used to apply paint

woven border along the

top edge of the basket.

An

imaginative application

4
scrap materials that

people have
resulted

in

in

their

most

homes, has

the almost

tactile

surface

texture of this basket.

65

TECHNIQUES

Alternative Techniques
regular wash, squeeze

Sponge Painting

paint out so that the

Sponges are an

moistened. This

essential part of the

tool kit. As well as being useful


mopping up unwanted paint,

some

sponge

which can be

artist's

striated effect,

for skies, seas, the distance

landscape, or hair

either alone or

sponge

in

flat

wash

with a sponge as
only thing

it

is

just as

satisfactorily

is

take a wash around an intricate edge

for which a brush

is

best

- but

if

you intend to begin a painting with an

wash of one colon the sponge

overall
is

ideal.

For a completely even wash,

keep the sponge well saturated and


squeeze

down

it

out gently as you work

the paper

If

gives an attractive mottled

achieved with a brush, particularly

easy

with a brush. The

is

it

cannot do

a portrait.

effect quite unlike anything that can

conjunction with brushes.


Laying a

in

effective

in

Dabbing paint onto paper with

corrections, they can be used for

applying paint

only

is

give a slightly

will

for

cleaning up edges, and making

of the

you want a

less

you use the paint reasonably

method

is

an excellent

way

be

if

thick. This

in

which

to describe texture, and you can


suggest form at the
applying the paint

and densely

There

is

in

some

areas

others.

no reason why whole

paintings should not


this

same time by

lightly in

be worked using

method, but the one thing the

sponge cannot do

is

create fine lines

or

intricate

details,

so brushes

are usually

brought into play


for the later

stages of a
picture

when

extra definition

is

needed.

LEFT: The mottled


finish that

sponging

creates

ideal for

is

conveying the pitted


surface of fruit such as
oranges.

66

ALTERNATIVE TECHNIQUES

Step-by-step: Painting with

It

1^2

is

often necessary to

window

bars,

you cannot take paint around edges

you can with a brush. The

artist

as

has masked the

which are to remain white, by the simple method of holding a

ruler against each

over

employ some system of masking when

painting with a sponge, as


precisely as

Sponge

places, as

He does

edge as he works.
he

is

aiming at a

soft,

not worry unduly

if

paint splashes

impressionistic overall effect.

Working

carefully,

the

artist

continues to build up

the painting, using the


paint fairly

each

new

wet so

that

application

merges with the


surrounding colors.

One

of the problems with combining

sponge painting and brushwork


the contrast of techniques,

if

is

that

over-

emphasized, can destroy the unity of the


composition. Although the
conventional brush washes

the paint loose and

fluid

artist

has used

in places,

he has kept

throughout, blurring the edges of the brush marks on

the crockery so that they blend

in

with the sponge work.

67

TECHNIQUES

Painting Foliage with a Sponge


The sponge

is

frequently used to portray vegetation and trees, as

atmospheric painting by Maurice Read. The natural impressions

mimic the appearance of

foliage. The overall effect

soft

is

and

in this

left

by a sponge

consistent with

is

the treatment of the rest of the painting.

A sponge was used


to give
it

68

The

foliage

was

built

of these trees

up with a

The

to fuse

fine grain

to apply

an aged look

It

and blend a

made

by the

some

little,

up with wet-in-wet washes

sponge, with a more

with brushwork to bulk

applied

stippled effect around the

out,

edges.

grain to merge.

and cause some of the

some brushwork

The main body of trees has been


built

it

dome

rather wet, to allow

assisted by

sponge has been enhanced

fine

sepia to the

was applied

fairly

overlaid with
give texture.

concentrated and

sponge painting

to

ALTERNATIVE TECHNIQUES

Blots

The shapes the blots make depend

on the
Blot painting

most often

a technique

is

monochrome

associated with
ig,

but since watercoloi

le

form

liquid (ink)

ink

Tilting

is

an

its

inclusion

is

technique

will

that

ay of loosening

it

up

one

make the

blot

the paint or ink

will give

a diffused, soft-edged

further variation can be

provided by dropping a blot on to the

uns. blot

suggest a painting

will

flicking

give small spatters; wetting the

paper
blot.

never entirely predictable, and the


ike will

the board

run downhill;

have

included this technique here. The

other reason for

>m which they are

dropped, the consistency of the p


01 mk and the angle of the paper.

paper and then blowing

sometimes

it.

tendrils of paint shooting

which sends

out into

various directions. Blots can also be

way

nent of a subject quite unlike the

used

was planned. Allowing the


ng to evolve in this way can have

suggest the texture of trees, flowers,

that

ting effect

new way

and may sugge

of working

Blot painting

is

in

a controlled, selective

or pebbles

in

a particular part of a

the future.

a form of

freed from the cor

pies have

;x>sed by

the need to "n

loosen up and en|oy you


effect

been produced dropping colored


on to the paper from different h<

Some

itmg." yo>

mdom

of the colors have been used

undiluted and

of colored

blots will suggest an actual subject,

and

some mixed

with a

'endnls of

spreading

e the result of

blowing the

repp

technique for flower and foliage

mt

but often.

effe

little

mk

can be developed into a roughly

as here, trv

to

painting.

constructive doodling. Because you are

Sorrv

in

blots, a useful

and simple

TECHNIQUES

Line

intended to convey a sense of

and Wash

movement. Rembrandt's sketchbooks


This technique has a long history, and
is still

much used

illustrative

are

work. Before the

began to exploit the

full

possibilities

medium

had been used mainly to put

one or two

The

of

pale, flat

over pen drawings, a practice that

itself

continued the tradition of the

is

of the

color

made by

not look

preliminary studies

for paintings.
line

it

and wash technique

and

let

it

to begin

is

dry,

and then

color with a brush.

difficulties

way

such a

in

like

of the technique

line

that the

washes do

a "coloring in" exercise, so

more

often

is

both

is

lines

to integrate the drawing and the

pen and ink-wash drawings often

The

method

traditional

lay in fluid, light

One

few

in

surely placed tones.

with a pen drawing,

it

tints

artists as

monochrome pen and wash

needed to record

British

watercolorists of the 18th century

watercolor as a painting

of

full

drawings, conveying everything he

today, particularly for

satisfactory to

and wash

at the

some

develop

same

time,

and color

particularly well suited to small,

beginning with

delicate subjects such as plant

and then adding to and strengthening

drawings or to quick figure studies

both as necessary.

A
I

line

medium, such

as

pen or

Usually the line drawing

The

artist

is

the

is

no

is

done

first

as

in this

hard-and-fast rule.

has used a water-soluble pen, so

that the lines are softened

washes

pencil,

perfect partner for the delicacy of watercolor

case, but there

lines

laid

on

and spread by the

top. This prevents the line

drawing from appeanng too hard and clear

in

contrast

to the watercolor
I

The washes on the

for flower drawings

70

shell

have been kept to a

minimum to preserve the delicate effect for


which the technique - which is often used

is

so well

suited.

ALTERNATIVE TECHNIQUES

a razor blade. For the finest

Scraping Back

the point of the


This technique,

sometimes

paper

paint so that the white

revealed. The

called

it

means removing dry

simply

"ito.

method

used to create the kind of small, fine


highlights that

such as the
grass
It

in

is

catching blades of

the foreground of a landscape.

more

method than

satisfactory

opaque white applied with


this

a brush, as

tends to look clumsy and.

over a dark
very

color,

if

laid

does not cover

it

Scraping

scraping gently with the side

remove only some of the


This technique
unless

is

done with

such as a scalpel or

a sharp knife,

craft knife,

or with

is

not successful

reasonably heavy paper -

no

will

paint.

you use a good-quality,


than

lighter

flimsier

it

40 pounds.

paper you could

should be

On

easily

make

holes or spoil the surface.

The same method can be used


gouache or

well.

diffused

of the knife or razor blade, which

cannot be reserved,

light

A more

over a wider area can be

highlight

made by

is

most often

is

into the paper.

use

lines,

but avoid digging

knife,

surface

is

acrylic,

one

but only

if

for

the

that can withstand this

treatment.

LEFT The

delicate,

complex

pattern of the frothy water


this

painting

in

was created by

scraping with a sharp point. The


effect which
in

the detail

shown

can be seen

here,

clearly

would be

impossible to achieve by any other

means. Opaque white gouache or

acrylic

could be used, but the texture would be


less interesting

and

RIGHT:

Sharp,

highlights

dean

can be

Ivres

made

and

by

scraping mto dry paint with

scalpel or other sharp knife

Take core not to

damage

the

paper by pressing too hard A


fingernail provides

ready tool

another

for scraping back.

cnsp.

and

the lines less fine

TECHNIQUES
able

Wash-off

volume of

then
This

is

an unusual and fascinating

laid

over

must be used,

difficult,

but

it

is

not

slow, involving careful

planning and a methodical approach.


Basically,

the

method

involves

painting a design with thick


paint,

gouache

covering the whole picture

surface with waterproof ink and then

under running water. This

holding

it

washes

off the soluble paint

ink that

covers

in

it,

and the

leaving only the ink

the unpainted areas to form a

the paper must be stretched -

essential, as

it

has to bear a consider-

left

is

to dry, after

painted on with
paint.

White

the paper and destroy the


effect.

wash

light

paint

as a color could stain

sharp

clear,

For the same reason the wash

should be as pale as possible:

purpose

only

its

to allow the white paint to

is

show up as you apply


Once the paint is thoroughly
it.

dry,

cover the whole picture surface with

waterproof

Allow the

ink.

"negative" can either be

into with

new

it

dry

ink to

completely before washing

and-white image or

negative image.
First

is

white gouache

thick,

of Indian ink and gouache.

is

and

which the design

technique that exploits the properties


It

water.

it

it

left

off.The

as a black-

can be worked

colors, using gouache,

watercolor, or acrylic.

Step-by-step: Wash-off
In this
I

example, the

a soft brush to

artist

uses

remove any

excess gouache. The

waterproof black

ink that

was not

painted over gouache stays firmly


place, despite

in

repeated washings.

El
The

finished effect

is

a silhou-

etted image. This can be


is,

or

it

left

as

it

can be developed by

fei

adding color to the white parts of the


design. For demonstration purposes, the

shown here has deliberately been


However the technique is
best suited to a more intricate or textural

EE

design such as leaves and flowers.

design

kept simple.

Animals, with their fur texture and


markings, are another suitable subject.

72

ALTERNATIVE TECHNIQUES

Wax
This

simple or as complex as you

Resist

like.

You

can suggest a hint of pattern on

addition to the wart

colonst's repertoire,

is

a technique

based on the antipathy of

and involves deliberately

oil

and water,

repelling paint

wallpaper or fabric

in

still

life

or portrait by means of a few


dots or blobs

made

group
lines,

with a candle or

do something more complex by

from certain areas of the paper while

making quite an

allowing

crayons, which are smaller and have

The

rt

to settle

idea

is

simple, but can yield

quite magical results.


lightly

scribble over

and then overlay


the paint

others.

in

If

you draw or

paper with wax

this

will slide off

with watercolor

the

waxed

areas.

good

beneath watercolor gives a

delightfully unpredictable

effect that

pressure you apply and the type of

paper you use.

methods

wax crayons produced for children.


The wax underdrawing can be as

trunks.

'

were
then knd on top.

In

some areas

1ry

repeated. A

and

the

the pro,

more pronounc*

can be gained by working on rough

speckled

vanes according to the

hold candle or the type of inexpensive

boied over

drawing using

points.

Wax

You can use either an ordinary house-

ABOVE AND RIGHT

intricate

It

is

one of the best

for imitating natural textures,

such as those of rocks,

cliffs,

or tree

TECHNIQUES
flowing into

Gum Arabic

Its

This

is

the

medium

that,

together with

varnish.

the binder for watercolor

gelatin, acts as

arabic can

and
If

is

is

moist).

Gum

little

mixing
it

less

gum

paint,

runny and easier to blend.

particularly suitable for the kind of

painting that

is

up

built

brush strokes, as

it

in

small,

separate

}2

The paper

is

When

masking

dry,

first

fluid

the wash

surface. While

damp, a

clean,

the wash to

wet brush

lift

water The wash

out
is

rule of

are built up

gum

fluid

is

in

74

is

teach

will

when

medium, but

using

a general

thumb is that there should be


more water than gum.

considerably

Gum

Arabic

is

used to mask out the shapes of the

ink

mixed with gum arabic

is

fish.

painted over the

the

removed.

highlights

the same way.

craft knife while

arabic mixture

it

is still

Additional highlights are

out with a

to dilute

to dry completely

Darker washes and

should never be

pressed into

highlights in

left

before the masking

is

gum

covered with a pale wash of blue-green watercolor

wash of green and blue


whole

how much

as a painting

Step-by-step: Using

It

cause cracking. Experience

you
it

them from

prevents

application of

used undiluted, however, as this could

extra body,

it

light

additional richness.

to your water

gives

it

as a

arabic will revive the color and give

bottled form

in

is

a dark area of a painting,

such as a very deep shadow, has gone

washes, a

often used as a painting medium.

making
It

be bought

you add a

when

keep them

If

dead through too much overlaying of

pigment (watercolors also contain


glycerine to

one another

other important property

lifted

the ink and

damp.

To complete the

picture, the

goldfish are painted

orange watercolor

in

tones of

MIXED MEDIA

Mixed Media
Although many

know

artists

that they

can create their best effects with pure

more and more

watercolor

finding

and more

that they can create livelier

be extremely

other

that,

is

once

and the

vivid,

dry.

the paint

cannot be removed. This can be an

from convention,

breai-

desired,

advantage, as further washes, either

watercolor or

acrylic,

one without

can be

laid

expressive paintings by combining

an

several different media.

pigment. The paint need not be

To some extent, mixing media

now

such a diversity of

is

matter of tnal and error, and there

is

prescribing

is

each possible combination.

for

However,

it

can be said that

some

and watercolor.

example, can be

made

thin

in

washes throughout: the

combination of shimmering, translucent

can be very

acrylic

for

to blend into

one another almost imperceptibly

effective,

particularly in landscapes with strong

foreground

mixtures are easier to manage than


others. Acrylic

applied

disturbing the

watercolor and thickly painted areas of

artist *s

no way of
techniques for each one or

materials that there

initial

in

over

interest,

where you want

to pick out small details like individual

flowers (very hard to


color).

It

is

do

in

water-

often possible to save an

unsuccessful watercolor by turning to


acrylic in

the later stages.

because they have very much the

same

characteristics, but

two or more

physically dissimilar media, such as line

and wash,
contrast.
this

rt

will

automatically set

There

nothing

is

may even be

exercise

but

ft

up a

wrong with

the point of the

can make

to preserve an overall

it

difficult

Watercolor & Gouache


These ire often used

many

between them. However,


are used thinly

gouache

Watercolor & Acrylic

to

make
e.

Acrylic used

thinly,

diluted with water

but no medium or white, behaves in


more or less the same way as watercolor There are two important
differences between them, however.

One

is tr

of color so that a

first

wash

depth

can.

if

and

it

dull

paint,
it

unless both

more
manap

can be a

combination to

difficult

unity.

toy.-

artists scarcely different

once mixed with white

opaque

which can make

'te
it

look dead

beside a watercolor

v.

TECHNIQUES

Step-by-step: Painting
One
I

stage

in

Gourds
of the most attractive

qualities

of these gourds

contrast

in

up the

building

orange gourd, the


with

gum

textures.

arabic,

is

As the

the
first

pitted surface of the

artist

mixes her paint

which makes

it

settle

with

a slight bubbling.

Still

using transparent watercolor,

she paints the yellow gourd wetin-wet, allowing the colors to blend

softly

Opaque gouache

3
the

used for the

fruit.

gourd

is

flat

is

together

now

back-

ground and some areas of


The texture of the orange
achieved by further

applications of paint

gum arabic. This


damp sponge.

is

mixed with

blotted with a

The finished result


shows the pleasing
variety of paint

quality typical of

media

mixed-

paintings.

tk
76

MIXED MEDIA

eighteenth century

Paint and Pastel

at

Soft
fully

-.'i

be used very success-

means of adding texture and

face interest to a painting. Sparkling

wash with

strokes of pastel, particularly

work on

fairly

if

light

oil

pastel laid

effect.

light

down under

repel the water

will

to a greater or lesser degree


oil

(some

pastels are oilier than others) so

that

it

medium. Some mixed-media

dissimilarity

sinks only into the troughs of

the paper, resulting

in

a slightly

mottled, granular area of color.

its

own

kind of
nati.

partners, having a similar matte, chalky

Watercolor and Crayons

Pastel

been used together

hese have

since the

ese

effect,

mixed media

selves.

When

dry they are a drawing

are.

them-

in

medium, but as soon as water


applied to them they become

is

paint,

and can be spread with a brush. Very


varied effects can be created by using

them

in

a linear

manner

in

of a painting and as paints

They can

Gouache and

of the elements used,

which creates

you

Oil pastels have a slightly different

of

was

pastel

rough paper.

but equally interesting

watercolor wash

when

popularity as an

dynamism, but these two are

broken colors can be created by


overlaying a watercolor

t's

its

techniques are based on the

with watencolor. and provide an

excellent

the height of

also

some

areas

others.

in

be combined with

traditional watercolors, felt-tipped

pens or pen and

ink.

CHURCHYARD
by
This

combination

of media has

produced a

lively

contrast of

The

buddng and
are pure
color,

sky

tree

v.

while the

and

grass

are pastel

worked

ov<-

irvtid watercolor

wash.

TECHNIQUES

Mixed Media
PASTEL WITH

The

WATERCOLOR WASH

vibrancy of soft pastel colors

2 Using a

soft

watercolor brush, he

can be used to enhance the delicate

washes over the

transparency of watercolor washes.

toned wash to spread the

Here the

color

artist

creates a design with

3 While the wash


artist

is still

adds further

point of the pastel

wash dnes. more

damp, the

details with
stick.

pastel

Any

When

the
the

marks and

watercolor washes can be added.

pastel with a light

surplus moisture

removed with

a soft orange pastel.

78

Effects

blotting

cloudy sky at sunset

striking. In this painting

pastel
is

paper

is

particularly

the

artist

has

used watercolor and gouache, the

former for
latter for

its

its

transparency and the

bnlliance of color

MIXED MEDIA

Mixed Media

Effects

GOUACHE AND CHARCOAL


I

The

artist first applies a thick

layer of yellow gouache.


this

is

design onto

it

Note

the paint

that

if

the charcoal

2 Using a No. 4

bristle brush,

into the charcoal

the

artist

drawing with

further gouache colors. Interesting


variations of

tone are achieved by

with charcoal.

will

ACRYLIC

works

effectively in

wet,

AND CRAYON

be used very

combination with

crayons. The

oil

crayon

resists

the watery paint and the design

allowing the charcoal to dissolve into

shows up

the color

colored wash.

in places.

is still

not take.

Acrylic paints can

oil

When

completely dry he draws a

clearly

through the

TECHNIQUES

Making Changes
Corrections

As

may
It

is

common

belief that

cannot be corrected,

watercolors
there

but, in fact,

you

a painting nears completion,

find that

edges or

there are too

many hard

insufficient highlights.

Edges can

be softened by the water treatment

are several ways of making changes,

described previously, but here the best

correcting or modifying parts of a

implement to use

painting.

swab. Both these and sponges are near-

If it

becomes

something

clear early

on that

essentials

badly wrong, simply put

is

the whole thing under cold running

water and gently sponge

in

clean water and

dampened cotton

watercolor

are ideal for

lifting

painting, as

they

out areas of paint to

create soft highlights.

Any specks of dark

off the paint.

For smaller areas, wet a small sponge

in

is

paint that

may

have inadvertently flicked onto a white

or light-colored area can be removed

wipe away the

offending color or for a very tiny area,

with a scalpel blade, but use the side

use a wet brush.

in

It

must be

colors are

said,

though, that

some

more permanent than

a gentle scraping motion, as

pressure with the point could


holes

others - sap green, for example,

make

the paper

in

is

hard to remove totally - and that

some papers

hold onto the pigment

with grim determination. Arches


of the

latter,

is

one

but both Bockingford and

Saunders papers

will

wash

clean very

well.

ABOVE
ABOVE Here

the artist finds he needs to

lighten the color in this area, so

some of the

80

paint with a

damp

he

lifts

out

sponge.

If

create an

one color floods

unwanted

mopped up

effect,

into

another

to

the excess can be

with a small sponge or piece of

blotting paper.

MAKING CHANGES
LEFT Small

blots are easily

scraping with

careful not to apply too

you could

BELOW

removed by

knife or razor blade.

make

holes

much

in

the paper.

Ragged edges can

udied up with a
white gouache

knife, or

Be

pressure or

either

with

pami as seen

be

opaque
here.

Color changes
Newcomers
it

difficult

to watercolor often find

to judge the strength and

quality of the

color to be applied.

first

There are two reasons


lighter

when

for this:

becomes

that the paint

dry.

one

is

a great deal

the other

that

is

is

it

hard to judge a color against pure

white paper - the

wash

first

inevitably

looks too dark or too bright.


If

you

the

find

wrong, do not

colors are built up


laid

colors are

first

despair.
in

Because water-

a series of over-

washes or brushstrokes, the

color and tone you put

means

final:

made on

is

first

lighter,

by no

this

many changes can be

the paper

yellow wash

down

is

itself. If

that

into a

become

now two

layers of paint.

the same token, a wash that


pale

is

very

easily

is

By

too

darkened by

applying a second

wash of the same

color or a

darker version of

slightly

Although

it

is

often stated

about watercolor that


cannot be
only

laid

means

light

in

it.

books

colors

over dark ones,

that they will not

too "cool," that

is.

this

become

in

green

with too high

be changed

warmer, richer green by

strong wash of yellow

green, and the tone darkens because

there are

is

a proportion of blue, can

a pale

covered with a blue

one. the color changes to

but colors can be modified

way. particularly greens.

on

laying a

top.

I*
l*

S9K&.

ra *

Composition
Having experimented with the range of
techniques used

in

watercolor painting,

is

it

time to look at the art of composing a picture

and putting on paper the colors that are


before your eyes (or in your mind). There are
questions of selection and balance to be

addressed,

in

order to make a three-

come

dimensional subject

to

life in

two-

dimensional form.

Many of these

principles are

painting media, so

much

common

of the material

to

all

in this

section does not refer specifically to painting

with watercolor.
in

If

you are already competent

painting with other media,

you may be

familiar with the principles explained here; but

for those fresh to painting, these guidelines will

be

particularly valuable in the early stages of

constructing a painting. Having learned these


rules,

you may wish to break some or all of


is one of the elements of creativity.

them. That
But

it

is

also important to have a firm grasp of

the principles of painting so that you are aware

of the effects of each decision you make


regarding form and color.

Some

people are fortunate enough to have an

instinct for

good composition and color

others have to learn


scene.

If

how

to create a pleasing

you are one of the

the simple guidelines

use;

latter,

in this

don't despair

section

will clarify

the mysteries of color and composition.

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Composition
large the picture should be, how the objects you are
be grouped together and positioned within the picture
area, choosing different elements of line and shape, value and color and
applying them in ways that make your painting look right as a whole - all

how

Deciding

painting should

these are the ingredients of composition.

Size

and Shape
or irregularly shaped. This

elliptical,

The

may be because the

majority of pictures are

rectangle. Partly this

paper
it

is

is

sold

easier to

in

is

just practical

rectangular sheets and

make

this regular format,

in

than to prepare a

painting surface of a different shape.


Visually, a

is

shape of a painting usually grows out


of the demands of an individual
subject or approach. Unusual shapes

a stretcher for

canvas or cut a panel for painting

painting

planned for a particular place, but the

rectangular or contained by a

rectangle gives a clear-cut,

something that you

for painting are

can consider later

if

they interest you.

Working with a rectangle, you can


choose to make the picture square, or

evenly balanced picture area within

to have a longer dimension from top

which you can organize the elements

to bottom, or from side to side.

of your painting. Artists can, and do,

format

make

paintings that are round,

is

longest

is

often referred to as a

portrait shape;
is

longer

which the upright dimension

in

is

one

in

IEI

which the width

called landscape. These

however don't imply a rule for


composition - a portrait or figure can

terms,

occupy a wide canvas, and

a landscape

can be given vertical emphasis.

When

IE|

IE

you begin work, you have to

choose paper or canvas of appropriate


size and, unless

you are making a

square painting, decide whether you


will

use

it

as a portrait

or landscape

shape. This depends on your choice of

LEFT: The viewpoint of Stephen Crowther's

The Water's Edge

exploits the strong line

At

E
?

of

the promenade.

84

(i

COMPOSITION
subject and

what you decide

best view of

Some
deciding

is

achieving the correct proportions and

the

spatial relationships.

it.

painting without

'

on the

dimensions of

final

the painting, letting the shape gradually

An

emerge. Alternatively an unusual


format

may

a long,

narrow

rectangle, say

suggest a particular treatment

you work on paper, you don't

have to
trim

it

on. use a

or. later

mount

on. use a

or. later

mount

to contain

the picture area. You can even extend


it

quite easily

if

is

your painting becomes

be done

and

quickly

without

simply,

will

finished painting

is

same

exactly the

photograph. The same method can be

used to reduce a rectangle, though


this

is

less

common. You

will

need

reference, and a sheet of tracing

another piece of paper to

paper, which

is

It

easiest to begin with a format that will

work

for the painting

mind.

If

you

find

you have

when you

in

something important

edge of the

picture,

slips off

taped over the

vertical line. This

left

develop the composition that

is

draw the bottom

First

bottom

start to

set square, a ruler, a pencil, the original

too large for the paper by attaching


it.

the

proportion as the sketch or

to

contain the picture area. You can trim


it

up

ensure that the shape used for the

the given rectangle. You can

fill

integral part of squaring

enlargement of a rectangle, which can


the need for calculations. This

of the subject.
If

Scaling up a Rectangle

left

line,

original.

then the

forms the

comer shared by

the

and the enlargement.

original

the

you can adjust

your composition by redrawing and

overpamtmg.

When
for

your

you

select a size of

painting, consider

it

paper
terms

in

of the actual scale of your subject.


small landscape can

be powerful, but

you might prefer the spacious


large picture.

If

you choose a

feel

of a

large

picture area for a small-scale subject,

however, say a

may mean

that

still-life

or portrait,

Place the reference

you end up painting

the objects larger than

life

size.

This

can look strange because objects

life

and when you

size,

paint

them over

you encounter problems

diagonal

and

line

this

corner

in

through the bottom

the top right

Continue

fhrs line

any point on

naturally relate to a personal sense of


scale;

and &

it

to the

hand

base

vertK

rectangle

comer of the

corner

original

extending to the top

fhrs line

line

left

you can drop a

and a

vertical

horizontal to the
r

m your nev,

left-

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Enlarging with a Grid

accurately, as the

method

grid

Preliminary sketches are often

drawn

eye plays

The

tricks.

an accurate way to

is

transfer, enlarge, reduce,

or even

smaller than the finished painting, as

deliberately distort an image.

they are usually done

time-consuming, but you can be sure

to

make them

full

size

If

photos, they

will

also

enlarged. This can be


is

sketchbooks;

would be

need to be

done

difficult

solely

to enlarge

It

is

of accurate proportions. You

you are working from

unnecessary.

eye, but this

in

to

draw two

grids,

will need
one to go over the

reference and a second,

by

proportionately

guide for the

to act as a

larger,

new

drawing.

Lay a sheet of tracing paper

over the sketch or photo and

tape the two together at the

back with masking tape. Using a ruler

and set square, draw a

grid of equal

squares over the whole of the tracing

Number

paper
letter

can

each

vertical line

each horizontal

fix

line,

and

so that you

any point of reference.

This drawing

is

being

enlarged twice up from the


original. Take

another larger

sheet of tracing paper and redraw the


grid, exactly

twice the

the squares

in

numbers and

size,

the same

then

way

label

with

letters. Transfer

the

drawing from the small to the large


grid, using clear,

When

simple

lines.

the drawing

is

completed, rub over the back


of the trace with colored

chalk,

under the drawn

trace

in

place

chalk side

lines.Tape the

on the watercolor paper

down, and redraw over the

existing drawing; the lines will

transferred to the paper


chalk marks.

86

Remove

in

be

the form of

the trace.

COMPOSITION

Measuring
Anything out of

You should

give yourself

avr

becomes

up your
olor and relating the objects
within

it.

Make

sure that your

viewpoint

fixed:

obscure your

line

You should never attempt to turn


your head from side to side
to see

do not

of vision with your

this field quickly

distorted and out of focus.

more

central line of vision

very quickly

one eye when

comfortable, seated or standing, so

measuring up distances. This

will

ten minutes.

not want to

Do

move

after

not attempt to draw

will

become confusec

also necessary to shut

you

order

and your view

drawing board and be certain you are

that

in

as this will alter your

is

because

our two eyes provide us with


binocular vision, which gives us a

your objects from too close a view-

moving viewpoint. Shutting your eyes

point or to cover too wide a range.

alternately will

Although we can see through an angle


of 80 only a fraction of this, about

particularly in the relationship of

within our proper

Hold a per

thumb up and down


sizes

of objects.

it

field

show

this

to be so.

objects close to each other.

of vision.

ength and shde your

Hold up a wooden nJer and

to calculate the n

matches the
to the

dkogf

*'ie line

dra*

87

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Making aViewfinder
Cut out

a rectangular

window from cardboard

of a neutral color, such as

mark quarter segments on two sides and half


segments on the others. These marks will aid in calculating the proportions
black or gray. With a pencil,

of different objects.

This

shows the

possibilities

of a

landscape format. You can spend

By holding up the viewfmder

time moving the viewfmder around

you can eliminate surrounding


at arm's length, trying
detail, simplifying

the scene and

helping you to make decisions


on what to include in your

out

first

landscape format and then a


portrait shape, until the

composition begins to take shape.

and what format to

picture,

choose.

When

working outdoors the simple window-

easiest to use, but

a standard

if

you want to vary

type viewfmder

is

the

the proportions from


rectangle,

two

cut-out "L"

shapes can be
used.This allows

you to plan a
square composition,

or an elongated
landscape shape, as

shown

88

here.

COMPOSITION

Making Thumbnail Sketches


Before starting a painting, spend

some

time making simple pencil sketches.

4 the basic shapes and directional lines you can see

>y making a framework of connecting


shapes, then start to break

down

lines that

in

your subject.

contain the overall

the large areas into small sections, paying

attention to the relative height, width, and depth of different elements

and curves, and the

subject, the interaction of straight lines

shapes

in

When

links

in

your

between

different parts of the picture.

you have made a variety of quick sketches, play around with the

and proportion of the

picture. Try drawing a rectangular frame around


each sketch to increase the background area or push the edges of the
size

picture closer into the subject, perhaps allowing important shapes to


off at the sides,

be cut

top or bottom of the frame.

The

picture frame encloses a

conventional view with vertical

and horizontal

stresses evenly

balanced.

2 Moving

into the subject,

the

makes the

artist

stress

more

central

vertical

and the

background more busy and


active.

ttured so closely, the tree

becomes an

abstract shape

that divides the

background

and breaks up the balance.

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Clouds

whole. Since the sky

Composition

in

some extent
will

integral part

of a composition are

often ignored, which

view of the

seems strange

fact that skies are often

the dominant element

in

a landscape.

But the landscape painter must tackle


this

problem: clouds form exciting

shapes

in

themselves, and these can

Not

all

this kind

those

in

distance, such as

rounded

hills,

clumps of trees or

and

if

colors as well as

shapes are repeated from sky to

land.

two parts of the painting will


come together to form a satisfying

the

need

mountain

scene, for instance, or winter trees

if

the sky

in

be more
is

allowed to take

place, but a flat landscape can

often be saved from dullness by an


eventful sky, so

the foreground or middle

distant

paintings, of course,

stark silhouette, will

second

the sky can also be

shadows or

of sky interest

successful

in

in

hills.

be manipulated or exaggerated to

planned to provide a balance for

reflected to

from the undersides of clouds

occurring again

add extra movement and drama to a


subject Shapes

is

the land below, you

often see touches of blue or

violet
in

in

book

keep a

special sketch-

for recording cloud effects so

that you can use

them

landscapes

in

painted indoors. Skies are very

to recreate from

memory

difficult

alone, so

in

addition to sketches, you could also

use photographs of

skies.

SOUTH

SUNSET.

DOWNS
Charles Knight
In this

pointing the
dually the

whole composition,
with the
fields

and

hills

serving as

an

anchor to the

movement

above.

Much of the

sky

and

foreground has been

painted wet-in-wet

and

in

the central

area the orange and


gray washes have

been allowed

to

flood together, giving

realistically soft

effect

90

COMPOSITION
SPRING

SHOWER

Donald Pass

clouds

eye

enc<<
5

we

follov,

'he sky

ind both by using the

*ork

>d by

of

th-

CLOUD STUDY
Ronald Jcsty
rxjOC

xxjgh

appearonct

planned and

stixkxomposed

mode on

will

do at

some

the spa

I*

composing

if

you ore receptee enoi

-fgestions

done ouickh
f

sugg*

The

'/

>nd the dark

^ling

out

places (see itrrw-tc out)

around the shapes with the point

o\

do

and

tt

and was

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Composing a

alternative

Planning the disposition of objects


still-life

colors

in

group so that they provide a

is

as important as painting

good

painting,

still

life,

like

should have

into the picture

and

from one object to another

It

wise

letting

some

formed by the back and

placing

front of a

will

out of the painting instead of into

lead
it.

device often used to break up such


horizontals

is

to arrange a piece of

drapery so that

it

front of the table

lines

the objects

in

as this will look static

in

relate

them

terms by

pictorial

overlap others, and give

depth to the painting by

them on different spatial


some near the front of

planes, with

tabletop: the eye naturally travels

and these

all

and uninteresting. Try to

a sense of

lines

toward the centre of

to one another

to avoid the parallel horizontals

along straight

provides diagonal

between them,

it

is

it

in

Never arrange

drawn

is

around

lead

regimented row with equal spaces

movement and
led

will

the picture.
it.

any other

dynamism, so that your eye

to place the table at an

is

angle so that
that

and

satisfactory balance of shapes

An

rhythmic curve around the objects.

Still Life

the table and others towards the


back. Finally

make

sure that the spaces

between objects form pleasing shapes


- these "negative shapes" are often

hangs over the

overlooked, but they play an

and forms a

important part

in

composition.

BLACK GRAPES AND

WINE
Shirley Trevena

Trevena works straight

from her arranged group


with no sketching,

and

composes as she

paints.

She

vary the

likes to

texture of her paint using


thin watercolor

places
layers
others.

and

of gouache

The lace

original white

untouched.

washes

thickly built

is

up

in

the

paper

left

Her work has

lyrical quality:

the objects

recognizable, but

are

all

we

are drawn to the

painting by the fluid

shapes and

92

in

colors.

COMPOSITION

MOTHER AND CHILD

Greta Fenton

watercolor and conte crayon

in

Composing Figure

or foreground interest to balance a

window,
It

is

easy to

become so bogged down


human figure

the intricacies of the

and face
but

it

is

that composrtion

every

brt as

is

forgotten,

important as

any other branch of painting. Even

you are painting

just a

sitter in front

example,

horizontal lines

in

well as a subtle
lines also

will

have

and

the background as

fall

of

light,

while the

pictorial potential.

setting

need

planning. You will have to think

whether to make them the

background and the balance of

relation to the

the ideal

foil

values.

might be

for a dark-haired srtter

allowing you to concentrate the

drama on the

face

itself,

often find you need

but you

will

about

them

in

foreground and

background and what other elements

you should include


a

more background

an

focal point

of the painting, where to place

plain, light-colored wall

in

careful pre-

square or rectangle of the paper, the

of a

give an

Figures or groups of figures

outdoor

head wtthm the

for

interesting pattern of vertical

if

head-and-

shoulder portrait, always give thought


to the placing of the

your

subject. Placing

Painting

good

idea to

make

or suppress.

It

is

a senes of small

thumbnail sketches to work out the

composrtion before you begin to

paint.

93

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Composing a Landscape

full

range of their

responses to

Whatever the medium used, landscape


is among the most popular of all

choose

One of the reasons


for this
the common belief that
easier than other subjects. Many who

nature

painting subjects.

it

is

would never attempt

relief

exacting and thus

However

more

mishandled colors

itself:

painting

is

about
the

finding

real

in

or leave out and think about

whether you might exaggerate


certain feature

be

in

feeling of

space

in

wide expanse of

countryside by putting

things

in

some

The

convey the impression of misty

best landscapes are painted by

have chosen to paint the

land because they love

it,

in

small

the middle distance, or


light

by suppressing detail and treating the

whole scene

and use the

TALL TREE AND BUILDINGS Charles Knight

art.

For instance you might emphasize the

figures

who

the interests of

always matter; whatever the subject.

artists

94

You should never attempt to copy

to put
less

marred by poor composition or

- these

who

as an easy option.

means that you have to


make choices and decide how much

enjoyable.

a painting will certainly

to express their

world. This

to

country scenes, feeling them to be

skills

not by those

pictorial equivalents for

is

a figure painting

or flower study turn with

it

it,

in

in

broad washes.

watercolor

It

COMPOSITION

Composing a Flower
Painting

A group

of flowers tastet

arranged

in

an

attractive vase always

looks enticing

that after

pant of

them

putting

may not make

all. is

the

there - but

a painting

ft

itself

Placing a vase of flowers in the

center of the picture, with no

background or foreground interest

is

not usually the best way to make the

most of the

some

are

rule.

subject - though there

notable exceptions to

So you

this

have to think about

will

what other elements you might


include to

more

make the composition

interesting without detracting

from the main subject

One

of the most-used

compositional devices

is

that of

placing the vase asymmetncally

and painting from an angle so that


the back of the tabletop forms a
diagonal instead of horizontal

Diagonals are a powerful

the

artist's

line.

weapon

armory, as they help

to lead the eye

in

to the center of the

picture, while horizontal lines

opposite.

One
groups

difficulties

with flower

that the vase leaves a blank

space at the bottom of the picture


area. This

IN

A TUMBLER

can sometimes be dealt with

Ronald jesty

omposibons are always


often surpnsing, as this

of the
is

SWEET PEAS

do the

one

is

bold,

We

and

are so

conditioned by the idea of "correct" settings


for flower pieces

and

stiH lifes

that the idea of

a vase of flowers on a newspaper


seems olmost heretical but it works per

placing

newspaper images providing yust the

by using a cast shadow across part of

with the

the composition, or you can scat*

nght combination of geometric shapes

one or two blooms or petals beneath


or to one side of the vase, thus
creating a relationship between

and

dork tones to balance the forms and colors


of the sweet peas.

foreground and focal point.

95

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Balance and
Counterbalance

"composition consists of observing

and depicting
this

One

of the most important goals

composing a
balance.

In

painting

is

contain enough variety to keep the

in

achieving visual

lines,

we

shapes, colors, values and

human eye

order and

centuries, artists

have put forward

freedom,

a successful composition. But

in fact,

unity,

is

drawn to

it is

we

diversity,

stability,

also attracted

by

and the element of

surprise. The challenge for the artist

innumerable theories about what

makes

observation sums up,

begin composing a painting. For though

harmonious

the

critics

if

the dilemma that faces us each time

result.

Throughout the

this variety

are to avoid confusion.


Plato's

- must be arranged with

care, so as to create a

and

viewer interested, but that

must be restrained and organized

other words, the various

elements that make up the image -

textures

By

diversity within unity."

he meant that a picture should

it

in

striking

lies

the right balance between

was the ancient Greek philosopher,


Plato, who expressed most succinctly
what good composition is all about.

these opposite attractions.

Plato stated quite simply that

composition,

The most obvious way to achieve


balance

is

through a symmetrical
in

which elements of
similar value,

shape, and size


are used

together

in

almost equal
proportions.

Although

at

times such a
structure

may

serve a concept
well, for

most

purposes too

much symmetry
ABOVE:

In this illustration

imbalance between the

there

left

and

is

an

right halves.

The mass of the mountains and rocks on the


right

has great

color

and

visual

its

demonstrate

this

is

virtually

imbalance.

strong

value contrasts, whereas the

half of the picture

96

weight with

left

empty.The scales

%?

COMPOSITION

ABOVE
the

\ion

same bme.

shows how an asymmetrical composition can en

retaining balance

and

unity

included onty the foreground rocks on the


that has

enough

design, lacking

artist

has

mountains

we have a

Thus

counterbalance

visual weight to

results in a rather static

The

left

its

small

mass of dark

large

For most

artists,

the

wrthm unity

is

way

to achieve

to create an

asymmetrical composition,

which

in

shapes and masses within your

composition as "weights" to be

features that are inherently different

nged so

but of equal mtere


as to counterbalance

one

another.

An

asymmetrical composition succeeds

in

creating a sense of equilibrium, while


at

the

same time

Asymmetrical composition

is

much

vegetables

often

which a small but

heavy metal weight on one side


balance a

found.

until

Remember,
an object

it

an

is

not only

size that gives

strong color, shape, texture,

will attract

the eye

visual

when

used as a contrasting element, even

in

.mounts For example, a large

a pair of old-fashioned

scales, in

is

weight

interest.

compared to
weighing

balanced and counterbalanced


equilibrium

or value

allowing a contr

of shapes, colors, and values that lends

and

left

or>

diversity that Plato talked about.

diversity

value

and

value on the

and uninspired

the element of

in

mass of light

larger pile of fruit

or

on the other Think of the

area of

light

value can

be

counterbalanced by a small area of


dark

valu<

more

visual weight;

and a

large area of cool color can

offset

by a small amount of intense

color that creates a strong focus.

be

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Creating a Center of Interest

LEFT: This seascape has few interesting


physical features to hold our interest. But

the sea

look

and

more

sky could have been

made

to

interesting than they are here;

the painting has no obvious focal point

and our eyes

dart from one are of the

picture to another, unable to settle

anywhere

The nineteenth-century English artist


and writer John Ruskin was once
asked "Does a picture need a focal
point?" His reply was firm: "Indeed it

in particular.

normally the

sitter's face,

whose

expression conveys

his

or her

personality. In a

life,

the center of

interest might

still

be a jug of flowers, with

does, just as a meal needs a main dish

the other objects playing a supporting

and a speech a main theme,

role.

tune needs a note and a

just as a

man

There are

an aim

several devices that the

."

in life

In

artist

other words, a picture should

center of

have one strong center of interest to

which the viewer's eye


pint

is

drawn - the

more
more

or texture

shapes. But the


attention-getter

known

tonal contrast.

is

well

these are usually abstract designs

the nerve endings

artist sacrifices

in

that area, or

most dynamic

don't have a center of interest, but

which the

in

intense colors, or contrasting

Of course, many

paintings

such as placing

interest,

detail

which contains the message of

the picture.

that

light
in

the eye and

and appear to contrast.

absorb

Therefore, by placing the lightest

representational

on the other hand, the

lack of

light

light

and the darkest dark adjacent to each

you

a center of interest leads to an

other

incomplete

create a visual tension, a "push-pull"

When

feeling.

planning the compositional

arrangement of the

painting,

your

emphasize

it?"

For example,

a portrait the center of interest

is

the center of

eye and holds

More

want to emphasize, and how

should

at

interest,

sensation that attracts the viewer's

first

question to yourself should be "what

do

is

appear to expand, whereas dark areas

dramatic

interest for the overall unity of pattern


In

It

areas stimulate

or texture.
painting,

98

can use to bring attention to the

that you
in

his

or her

interest.

often than not, the subject

want to

paint won't have an

obvious focal point -

it's

up to you to

create one. This applies particularly to

COMPOSITION
landscapes and seascapes,

which the

in

sheer magnitude of a panoramic view

attention toward a specific point.

When

you're looking at the real thing

your eyes can happily roam

at will

over

the scene without resting on any

and

particular point,

this

it's

detail, color,

"freeze"

on

rt

a small,

flat

that

sheet of

paper

One
is

The

some

be more

scene, but with

cliffs

Even

the picture contains multiple

if

subjects, the

composition needs to be

commands more

than the

rest.

one

is

caught by the

against the dork

placed the

lightest

eoch

and

other,

light

do

and darkest

this

shape of the
i

values

has

For example,

if

foreground trees of equal

compete

for attention

they

size,

one tree

in

will

and you may


size

of

order to lend more

importance to the other.

g focal

point

more n

Now
is

the picture has

more

satisfying to look

at The dark foreground wave has a part


play. too.

It

acts as

a co

to

the

sharp contrast maki

subject

attention

landscape scene includes two

one

marked improvement NotKe how your


on

and the picture loses impact.

have to deliberately reduce the

important thing to remember

that there should never

BELOW

is

diluted

or area

a quite

when you take all


and movement and

matter

area,

interest

more than one


the message becomes

there

carefully controlled so that

won't do"

from your enjoyment. But


different

If

dominant

to focus your

difficult

it

major center of

:>ne

painting.

se of

movement

that directs our eye few

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Tonal Values
and drawing are an extension of the art of seeing; by viewing a
unexpected way we often gain new insights not
only into the physical world around us but also into ourselves and our
own individuality This intensity of experience inevitably comes through in
our paintings and drawings, which take on a greater power and beauty.
Painting

familiar object in an

Accordingly, the projects and

demonstrations

in this

of

chapter are

designed to develop your awareness

If all

of tonal values through close

is.

observation and intelligent inquiry.


You'll learn

how

light

ordinary subject;

how

to

how

sounds

like

hard

work -

it

artist will tell you,

knowledge of

Added

most

make sense

is

as vital to

practical techniques.

to which, the discovery and

understanding of what makes a thing

of a complex subject by making value


sketches; and

this

But as any

successful picture-making as the

and shade that

lend poetry to even the

can be achieved by working

painstaking observation

to spot those

dynamic shapes of

reality

with a limited range of values.

tick

is

always a rewarding and exciting

experience

a convincing illusion

BEACHED FISHING BOAT, SUFFOLK ESTUARY

by Edward

in itself.

Wesson

r
1

^*

il

* j^^^^5^

"l

teiJ
J

j^yM^tf
100

..^--

TONAL VALUES

What are Tonal Values?

light

from the window

The idea of

The word
light

how

"value" simply refers to

understand

md

or dark an an

color.

Some

more light
why we perceive

colors reflect

than others, which

is

navy blue and sky blue are

both the same basic

blue

is

dark

light

value.

In

color,

unmixed

addition, the value of a color

show
man m

so that one color can


of values. Imagine a

look at

it

color, that

between. You can

terms of

is)

from white to

test this

by

looking at a black and white

photograph of a

is

adjusting the

light falls

we

it.

easy to

is

white. Every color (every

tonal "value." ranging

in

but navy

value, while sky blue

changed by the way the

striking

black and with infinite shades of

as being paler in value, for


iple.

pure,

if

is

tonal value

or by

television set until the picture

is

on

painting,

knob of your color

it.

black

goes

and white.

a vanety

a navy-blue sweater

standing

in

window so

front of a

that

he

is

at

right-angles to you. His

sweater

is all

made

of the

same color of wool, but


you'll

notice

how

appears darker

at

rts

value

the back

than at the front, where the

LEFT
wide range of values. The
colors

tne frua

contrast with the

and

flowers

muted

colors

of the other obje

above

Fhe

some Hi

photographed

block

and

see the

arrangements

and dork

*\

terms of light

value ptr

COLOR AND COMPOSITION


crystallized form. The

Making Value Sketches

when
Having trained your eye to perceive

now

values, you're

to the next stage

ready to

like

move on

using tonal values

to create a balanced and unified

composition.

In

lightest light

is

we

far

could ever hope to

attain in a painting.

As

artists

we

have to portray what

BELOW: A
here

102

is

harbor scene

we

like this

see

is

and colors,

in

useful firstly

way

lit

by changing

light,

in

which you

because they provide a

of getting familiar with the subject


feel

more

starting to paint

one makes an

that the overall value pattern

confronted with a profusion of shapes,

so you

in

order to give a painting more force,

we

see the

So how, when

and value masses. These sketches are

of the subject, and

ignore the inconsequential details;

that,

concentrate only on the main shapes

obliged to select from nature only

spirit

we "can't

sketches of the subject

are

those elements that seem to capture


the essential

is

do we begin this process of selection?


The answer is simple: before you
begin painting, make a few pencil

nature the range of

extremely wide -

a landscape,

forest for the trees."

values,

values from the darkest dark to the

wider than

problem

faced with a complex subject

too busy

confident

it,

when

and secondly

because you can use them to try out

attractive painting subject.

and scattered

The only problem

TONAL VALUES
merits of lights and

differe

seems

one

the

until yoi.

best. There's

the hghh

an old carpenter's

If rt

\hes

cut

once" Making

prelin

will

save you a

of time and

lot

ige

something

and look

Claude mirror to help them

more

lights,

clearly the simple pattern of

and middle values

darks,

when

glass which,

It

helps

if

you

at

the sketch as a

dimensional pattern of
shapes.

If

this

light

flat,

two-

and d

simple light/dark pattern

doesn't hold together as a harmonious


abstract design, then the painting

landscape. This consisted of a piece of

darkened mirror

areas,

feel

color and identifiable subject matter

landscape painters often used a device

see

and dark
and you

temporarily disregard aspects

Assessing the Values

called a

"clicks"

happy with the way they hold


together.

the eighteenth ce

and

the proportion and

distribution of the light


until

frustration at the painting stage.

Dunng

values?

doesn't, feel free to arrange

"measure twice and

:.s

)oes the finished

good balance of

sketch have a

What you

most

likely

for

a lively interplay of lights

is

fail

will

should strive

and

movement

held up to the subject, reflected the

darks that creates a strong

image

across the paper. The overall pattern

in

a lower key.

the image

reduced

also

It

enabling the artist to

in size,

see a large stretch of landscape as

it

should be simple and cohesive,


consisting of a

few

large, interlocking

would appear picture-size.The device

shapes rather than a

was named

fragmented ones.

after the French

Claude Lorram
well

known

ai

600- 682). who


1

mellow

in

Today. Claude mirrors are

by looking

at

through a piece of tinted


acetate. This

the image

no

but

ft

most of the color and


can see a

the subject

glass

or

won't of course, reduce


size,

more

will

cut out

detail

simplified

Start with Five Values

colors.

longer made, but you can achieve a


similar effect

of small,

is

for his beautiful tonal

landscapes painted

lot

so you

arrangement

When

a painting contains

different colors,
at

rt

is

too many

unsatisfying to look

because the colors end up by

out Exactly the


same thing applies with values too
many will cause a painting to look

canceling each other

confused and

can discern

disjointed.

literally

Of course we

dozens of

and there

different

nothing

of values. Looking at the subject

values

through sunglasses also works

nature that looks confused or disjointed

When
work
just

making your value sketch,

quickly

and reduce everything to

three values

light,

medium, and

dark (save the white of the paper for

in

nature

is

but for the purposes of picture-n

we need to reduce the number of


values we see to just a few. m order to
make

clear,

uncluttered statement.

in

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

LEFT: By half-closing his eyes,


the artist reduces the scene to
just three or four values. In this
first

sketch,

he

t/es similar

values together to
larger,

make

stronger shapes.

BELOW: Now he

strengthens

the areas of darkest value.

One

of the most useful lessons you

should leam

make

is

how

little like

painting

say more.

less

speech -

giving a

many

in

if

It's

become

will

make

Most

values, but

picture with just three to

the whole idea of tonal


values leaves you feeling
puzzled, a

make

good exercise is
few paintings or

drawings using only

five

values; white, a light value, a

middle value, a dark value,

and black By doing


will train

this,

you

your eye to judge

the value of any color


correctly,

and you

to see things

in

will

leam

terms of

broad masses instead of


getting

04

bogged down

in

long and
if

by;

It

gauge

positive to

how

five

you

on the

light

in.

(2.5

scale,

or dark

Start by drawing a bar 5

it is

fact

one to

depending on

good

five. In

is

simply give each area of color a tone


value from

work with

possible to create a perfectly

you something

the values of your subject

well delivered,

a lasting impression.

around nine to twelve

to

gives

bored, whereas a

painters tend to

one below

the colored objects you are painting.

you include too

few considered phrases,

scale like the

helpful in determining the values of

irrelevant facts, the listener will

very soon

small details.

A value

to

in. (

it is.

2.5

cm)

cm) wide on a sheet

of white paper. Divide the bar into

TONAL VALUES

in.

(2 5

cm) squares. Leaving thr

square white.

)ther four sqi

ed

lines

over the hatched

square

If

same

pencil,

solution of

l*m using watercolor

up

a full-strength

nd

ivoi

then dividing

go

it

between four

keep one saucer "neat." to

lit

with the third square.

over squares four and


finally

even gradation.

the

degree of pressure on the

ig

and

IB pencil

five only.

Now

five again,

So long

go

en. to get

and

as

middle, and dark grays.

sau<

a>

my

add

light,

teaspoon of water to the second

you

two teaspoons to the

exert the same degree of pressure

saucer,

with the pencil each time,

three teaspoons to the fourth for the

give

this

you an even gradation

from white to
ittle

should

in

more

ABOVE H

difficult

and

Jied the

man

value

reinforcing the linear

ng

is

now

n
oV

stronger

layout

and more

and

simply use the white of

to create a

remains intact but the composition


t^

ue.

the paper.

the rrmjcte values

the

third,

ut

ch

wifl

'.

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Still

One

life in

of the most fascinating aspects of

complex

interplay of

qualities that

Five Values
still

life

painting

shape and form, value and color

make each

still

life

is

recording the

light,

and shade -

unique. The aim of this project

is

those shapes and values as simply and expressively as possible words, to get to the
Set up a simple

real essentials

still

life

group

matter what you choose to

other

of the subject.

similar to the

paint,

to record
in

one

illustrated.

It

doesn't

so long as the group includes a range of

colors from very pale to very dark. Arrange the objects

on

a table against a
wall,

and

light

them from one


you

side so that

get interesting
cast shadows.

Use any

medium you
but

stick

like,

to just

five values. In

order to keep
the values
consistent

throughout,

it's

best to premix

them

before-

hand.

Highlights

light

values

and

Pale

mid-values 3 Dark
mid-values 4

Darkest values

complete the
picture

06

THE ILLUSION OF DEPTH

The
IDS
illusion

Illusion of

Depth

landscape pamtir

the greatest ch

of space and depth on a

flat

and trees stretching away into the hazy distance


but

Simple

tricks

how

can

we

capture

of linear perspective

>f

it

is

convincingly

in paint?

perspective." This term, invented by

Leonardo da Vinci (1452

overlapping one shape

describes the

front of

effect, as

presence of a foreground

does the

detail that

effective

the most

means of improving the

quality of

painting

far

is

depth and distance

in a

through the use of

LANDSCAPE LATE AFTERNOON

lighter in

become

the distance but

light

forms

darker, with the con?'

between values becoming progres-

recedes into the picture, such

road or fence. But by

1519),

phenomenon found in
whereby dark forms become

another, for example, gives an instant

three-dimensional

fields, hills

marvelous one.

can work to a certain extent;


in

creating the

piece of paper The sight of

sively smaller

toward the horizon.

This section explains

how

to use

value and color to reproduce the


effects of aerial perspective

by Charles Harrington

and so

COLOR AND COMPOSITION


bring your landscapes to

life.

addition, you'll find advice

In

on how to

choose the best viewpoint so


emphasize the
recession.

feeling of

as to

the

far-off hills

the

sky.

feeling

depth and

Objects

and recession.
in

the foreground are

value and have stronger

to capture the subtle nuances of value

stronger

and color that lend atmosphere to

tonal contrasts within themselves than

portraits,

still

lifes,

and indoor scenes.

objects

these
in

Aerial Perspective
Also
this

know

is

as

atmospheric perspective,

a subject which

is

of particular

concern to the landscape


picture

artist. In

perspective

effects

of

in

the result of haziness caused

is

by dust particles and mist and other


of weather As values lessen

on an

in

increasing

blueness; while a far distant range of

aerial

skill

the middle distance, and

turn are stronger than objects

strength, they take

the

hills is likely

to be seen almost entirely

as a limited scale of light blues

carefully, controlling his

values and colors with great

in

in

effects

below Robert Dodd has

observed the

in

the far distance. This difference

value

so that

and

blue-grays. Middle distance fields will

the middle ground merges gently into

tend to be seen as greenish blue and

the far distance.The tonal contrasts

foreground features

in

the foreground are quite strong, while

TILLINGBOURNE VALLEY, WINTER

will

exhibit the

whole range of color and

by Robert

;%muw*
108

of place and atmosphere as well

as of space

discover ways

Finally, you'll

are only just darker than

His painting creates a strong

Dodd

value.

THE ILLUSION OF DEPTH

view THROUGH THE VALLEY


techr

The control and subtlety exercised here indicate the considerable

a good eye

for tonal

atmospheric perspective as the magnificent slopes


ttnge

of the drstont

is

establishing

by the scale of forms

the

in

foreground. The inclusion of

monuments,

tl

way

of

hazy blue

to the

buildings, figures,

as seen here, or the

or a good grass

will

be adequate

same

trees

and

in

fields will

green spring shoots change to

summer

the composition

green

mam

yellow,

subject of

It

landscape providing atmosphere and

foliage

one green

change from season to season; yellow-

the painting, with the surrounding

setting the stage.

No

nature. The

and

can often be the

focus point

achif

green.

to depict the range of color seen

other features adds interest and

made

use has been

Full

the foreground give

mow

Another method of
depth

assessment

is

bk

leaves to the purple,

and orange of autumn


important to vary the

constituents of the greens you use;

blue and yellow mixed give the most

building in a

landscape can provide an interesting

common

change of tone and form

yellow ocher aoq frequently added, and

a basic

rectangular shape within softer,

more

Green

is

the most dominant color

landscape.

acid

and

rt

It

is

easily

made

thin

takes real sensitivity to

and

black umber, and

es of Prussian blue and


sienna,

result but

raw

or raw umber contrast well

the brighter hue o'


general rule

is

to

than one green

is

make
used

>ie

sure that
in

any

more

pair

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Choosing the Best

respect, your choice of viewpoint

becomes

Viewpoint

vital;

difference

Once you
of

have grasped the principles

depth and atmosphere

in

your

However

it

is

Let's

interest,

paintings will increase tremendously.

equally important to

look

first

of

is

picture just because

destroy

feeling of recession

or

the center of

interest;;

in

the forefront of the


it

is

the center of

indeed by placing

it

in

As we have already
is

seen, the

way

to divide your

picture into distinct areas

in

terms of

encourage the viewer to "step

will

into"

the picture and explore the


composition, thereby increasing the

- the foreground, middle


ground and background - and to keep

impression of distance and depth.

these areas distinct

thought, too.

distance

in

value. In this

the

distance or middle distance, you

it.

to achieve depth

at

drawn. This does not necessarily

your picture, since

enhance the

all

the picture to which the viewer's eye

have to be

can either

the

all

insipid

or focal point - the part of

consider the actual composition of


this

flat,

picture and an exciting, effective one.

the qualities of

aerial perspective,

make

can

it

between

The foreground needs


It

careful

e:

should be the strongest

LEFT:

SPRING

by Frederick

Walker

Influenced by the PreRaphaelites, Walker uses


carefully

observed and highly

wrought

detail,

picking out the

foreground with particular care.

FAR RIGHT: LANDSCAPE

NEAR

LESS

BAUX

by David

Hutter
In this striking

has chosen a

image the

which the landscape


out

like

Notice

map

how

artist

bird's-eye view in
is

rolled

in front

of us.

the outer edges of

the picture are vignetted; these

areas of bare paper


pull the

and back

to the distant

mountains.

110

seem

to

eye into the picture

THE ILLUSION OF DEPTH

of the three planes

not so strong that

in
it

the picture, but

sets

up

between the viewer and the


the composition. For

rest of

this reason, artists

such as Camille Corot


included nothing

a barrier

796- 875)
1

the foreground of

in

was nearer than


200 or 300 yards ( 80 or 270 meters)
away from their easels. A slight
their pictures that

where the

values of the landscape Are

delicate, as in a misty scene.

On
object

the other hand, a prominent

the foreground can act as a

valuable counterpoint to a

more

distance center of interest. For

example, the overhanging branches of


a foreground tree can

be used to

create a frame within the borders of a

through which the viewer

sketchmess

in

the immediate

picture,

foreground

is

often desirable, especially

looks out across the landscape beyond.

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Mood

Creating
So

we've looked

far

at

we

aspects of what

ways of using tonal values to describe the physical


see - in rendering the character and solidity of

objects and the nearness and farness of things, for example. But the

emotional content of a picture

is

every

bit as

more so.
conveyed by the way light

important,

if

not

Mood, atmosphere, a certain intangible quality


falls on a subject - these combine to create "the spell that charges the
commonplace with beauty," to quote from the great British
photographer

Here, once again, tonal values play a

major role

creating the

in

want to convey
is

in

your

a strong connection

value range

mood

it

in

mood

you

pictures. There

between the

mysterious atmosphere, whereas


values create a

impression. The

light

or cheerful

lively

way

light

and dark

can also have an influence on the

example, dark values

the lower half

in

of the painting convey a feeling of


stability;

but

if

the dark

values occupy the upper half of the

composition, as

in

storm scene, the

alters radically,

becoming

threatening.

many

This section explores the


in

which tonal values can be

organized and used as a means of


expression. You'll learn

how

to key

tonal values to convey a particular

mood; how to capture the


atmospheric effects of
indoors and out;

12

shadows

portraits;

in

and

how

to

in

creating powerful and

compelling images.

how

light,

both

to use

light

BELOW: A STREET
colors,

and

is full

to

IN

MILAN

by

Phil

limited range, consisting entirely of

and

purple-grays, create a

accentuated by the shaft of misty

empty

Wildman

of atmosphere. The somber

sense of quiet loneliness.This feeling

cars,

the bus.

emotional impact of a painting. For

ways

mood

exploit the magic and mystery of

browns, ochers,

values are arranged and distributed

somber and

create

This painting

dark values gives a somber or

mood

Brandt.

a painting and the

conveys; a preponderance of

strength and

Bill

and

is

sunlight, the

the small group waiting for

CREATING

ABOVE STORM FROM THE SEA

by

Son Perron

MOOD

BELOW
?

white of the

Mien
rubbed off
delicate white shapes
is

'he btrd's

BELOW:

Cobalt blue. Paynes gray

sienna are used

to

and burnt

fot

with scumbled brush strokes

Av

ABOVE

is

outkntd

a$

og tonal contrasts
here odd

<'

roxkite fron

corMnongiy dramatic m

if

the picture

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Keying Your Values


To express

the term "key"

simply,

it

darkness of a particular painting.


painting of a dimly

because
values.

summer

lit

and low notes are the equivalent of

interior, for

would contain mainly dark

it

depiction of a cornfield on a
day,

a "high-key"

painting, containing mainly light values.

Where many amateur


wrong

is

in

artists

mood

values,

it

too many

becomes

When

different

rather uneven and

confused, and furthermore, the

It

far better

is

limited range of values

more than
the

five

- and

certainly

no

them to

It is possible to draw an analogy


between the values in a painting and

in

a piece of music:

should be used
in

in

order to achieve

we

they

a controlled range

To take the analogy

pictorial

harmony.

a stage further

can compare the whole range of

values of a painting with the key of a

piece of music, and the

way

in

that

they both create a particular mood.

Music that

is

composed

mainly of

high-key notes sound either

114

create a sense of

drama or

mystery.

any successful painting and

at

see immediately that

good key - there

is

it

has a

a unity, a feeling of

strength and solidity that stems from

colors. You'll notice

too

how

the

artist

has deliberately orchestrated the


values to underline the

mood

he or

whose

Impressionists, for example,

full.

the notes

and

high-key paintings capture perfectly the

to use a

exploit

a soft

she wishes to convey. Think of the

emotional message becomes


dissipated.

a painting: light

the perfect harmony of values and

and to give greater power and

painting contains

will

you'll

importance of using a limited range of

directness to their paintings.

mood, or

optimistic

in

create a cheerful and

will

Look

go

not understanding the

values to express a particular

and dark values

light

values

romantic one, whereas dark values

on the other hand,

would be the subject of

more somber,

melancholy sound. These high notes

be termed "low-key"

instance, could

Low-key notes, on the other

piece.

hand, produce a

refers to the overall lightness or

light

and

brilliance

of sunshine and the heady

summer

warmth of

end of the

scale there are the low-key

day.

At the other

Dutch masters

paintings of the great

of the seventeenth century - people


such as Rembrandt ( 606- 669),
Vermeer ( 632- 675) and Pieter de
Hooch (b. 629) - in whose portraits
1

and domestic

atmosphere

is

interiors a tranquil

conveyed exquisitely

through muted darks offset by a few


telling

areas of soft

light.

So by now you can see


values play a

vital

role

in

that

establishing

the overall atmosphere or

mood

cheerful or poignant and romantic,

of a picture, no matter what your

depending on the rhythm of the

subject

is.

CREATING

MOOD

ABOVE:

High-key Painting

WATCHING GULLS

by Lucy W.lhs

In c

Jacqueline
In

most of the

a high-key painting

colors are

in

mood

the light-to-middle value

range, and there are

of

(page 42). the

f-

high-key pointing

this

is

one of

exuberance.

no sharp

contrasts of value. This creates a


sligh*

nosphenc

effect that

ideal for expressing qualrties

is

such as

delicacy, tenderness, softness, frag

or

the viewer's eye while

Indeed,

pale, gentle colors

painting,

mixed with a

Edgar Degas

use
lot

retaining

was the Impression

rt

notably Claude

pi.

To create a high -key

still

their vibrancy.

of

839

Monet ( 840 926).


834- 9 7). Alfred S
1

899). and Cam.lle Pissarro

who were

work wet-m-wet so that


one color Wends softly into another
with no abrupt change in value. To

greatest exponents of high-key

keep the colors

and the way

white, and

lively

and luminous,

them on the palette; it's


to do as the Impressionists

don't overmix
far

better

(1831-1903)

painting. They

were

it

perhaps the

fascinated by light

affects

the appearance

of objects, and their canvasses consist

almost entirely of high-key colors that

did and use small strokes and dabs of

capture not only the impression of

broken color (see above) which blend

shimmering

light

but also the

mood

of

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

again, the trick

silvery haze.

deliberately emphasize the lightness

the sun

is

shining.

So what kind of subjects are suited

is

to

and brightness of the scene - to paint


and brighter than it actually
necessary - in order to

to the high-key treatment? Let's take a

it

portrait subject to start off with.

appears

Suppose you want to paint a portrait


of a small child, or a mother nursing

about your emotional response to the

her baby, or a pretty young

makes these subjects so

girl,

what

attractive

lighter

make

more

still

gentleness and grace - qualities that

pale values.

might be

lost

gentle colors,

more
spirit

in

if

on the other hand, are

keeping with the emotional

Of course am

not presenting

with

pretty, delicate

- and

perhaps, or pale china teacups

arrange
soft,

this

cannot be broken,

them on

a windowsill with

diffused light

coming through the

shadows

keeping with the

soft, in

high-key effect.

have seen mother-and-child

portraits executed

are

Choose

you can

mood

romantic

window. Remember to keep the

of the subject.

as a rigid rule that

and

warm,

Soft,

soft,

objects - a jar of wild flowers

you used too many

the painting.

in

light.

painting, too,

life

create a

statement

forceful

fleeting effects of
In

is

if

their qualities of youth, innocence,

dark values

full

in

dark values that

of tenderness and

simply trying to suggest

feeling.

one way

The

in

portraiture this

is

say.

And

extreme
in

in

into

fall

which neither

nor extreme darks

lights

predominate. When handled

skillfully,

important, since here the emphasis

is

personality.

values creates a subtle and

harmonious image with a quiet,

Everything about the painting should

contemplative mood. However, while

be geared to making the viewer

closely related values

aware of the

harmonious, a middle-key painting

sitter's

character

Landscapes, of course, offer plenty

danger of emerging

may be

flat,

some

positive

lifeless

contrasts, so try to introduce a

river that sparkles with light

or a landscape

in

from the
autumn,

telling lights

scheme to

it

or

contains

rich

give

choice of colors

mist and clothing everything

painting. Since

few

darks into the

more

"snap."

Give careful thought also to the

with the sun breaking through a pale


in

it

in

a middle-key

you are

in

and

of opportunities for high-key painting.

unless

is

bland,

The most obvious examples might be


a snow scene on a sunny day; or a
setting sun;

painting consisting mainly of middle

particularly

on the expression of

vast majority of paintings

the middle-key range,

orchestrate your values to better

express what you want to

Middle-key Paintings

am

which you can deliberately

116

Once

exuberance that everyone experiences

when

sacrificing

the

CREATING

rtic

possibilities

(light/-'

image

exciting in

is

vital

terms of

By choosing colors that are

intensity,

that

13
13

a
!3

is

value but contrasting

or

of chiaroscuro
'

is

you

in

that the

BELOW HAZY SUN AND DAMP


BOULBY

MIST.

DOWN by Trevor Chamberlain

color.

similar

atxxr

tempt

ontrolling

cture

will

harmonious and

MOOD

vibrant.

subject

preaston

demanded by Sud

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Low-key Paintings
CAT

LEFT:

CHAIR

ON A

by Lucy Willis

low-key painting

doesn't have to be

somber.

In this

charming study of a
cat on a chair,

backlighting throws

the subject into nearsilhouette

and

creates

interesting positive

and negative shapes.

ones.

In

our

subconscious
minds, darkness

is

associated with
night,

turn

which

we

in

associate

with mystery,

suspense, and

emotions such
sadness,

fear,

loneliness.

as

and

Dark

values can also

create a feeling of
strength and calm.

By choosing your
subject carefully

and using colors


in

the mid to dark

value range, you

As we have seen, a low-key painting


one that is predominantly dark in
value,

and such paintings create a very

different

118

is

mood

from that of high-key

can use the psychological effect of

darkness and shadow to create


exciting,

dramatic images.

The example shown above

CREATING
demonstrates the powerful

MOOD

lies

humans have

ition for the

good

ow. After

doesn't the figure lurking

shadows

strike us

with

terror than seeing the

in

far

and

a strong
as

all

we

learn

dge here

mysterious

film

experience,

their air of

skillfully

another,

how

to soften

/alue there,

blend one area into

the interests of creating a

in

picture that breathes

all.

and has

Choosing your Subject

more

monster face

'

't'^SS,

ft

important that your subject

same way. the most


memorable pamtm

to the low-key approach.

the

that leave |ust a


ition

little

iose

to the

of the viewer. The

to use

shadow

as a

veil,

softening harsh outlines and creating a


subtle

atmosphere around the

His figures, softly

shadows and
them.

yet

We are

be a

portraits of

Rembrandt painted are


example of this. Rembrandt

knew how

a child, for example,


generally

portraits that

a classic

subject.

emerge from the


seem a part of

men
key

mesmerized, and the

men

emphasizes rugged

still

life

of inanimate objects

doesn't necessarily suggest a particular

mood;

up to you to create one. Try

it's

still

background,

lit

/as

skill

wrth

astounding. But don't

'hibit

mood

you can create


your

how

they convey, and then see

own

style

that

mood

through

of painting.

Never underestimate the value of


power to suggest. When we

we

strive to

everything as

en

render

possible in the

belief that clarity equals

The resuR. of course,


the subject ends up k>

mood

more

ind

source

intin

difficult

mood

is

to achieve because you

have no control over the


artists

lighting.

But

can take advantage

of weather effc
pictures;

ordinary scene

is

even the most


transformed

storm threatens, or when

when

&

Or you could try painting


woodland scene, wrth shafts of pale

approaches
a

of

Outdoors, the low-key

'

ng.

light

create intriguing highlights and

landscape

the

against a dark

by a small

shadows, lending a subtle atmosphere

and

you: simply study

Rembrandt's paintings to absorb

life

placed to one side of the group. This


will

let

women

of mystery and introspection.

we first saw
Of course Rembrandt was

gr

portraits of

equally well, conveying a sense

placing your

would not

particularly older

Low-key

image continues to haunt us long after


it.

suited

portrait of

from the use of low-

lighting that

work

s
is

suitable choice; but

benefit

features.

lit.

master, and his technical

life.

the

to face?
In

>on

With more

ntmg.

d emotionally. The appeal of


sue!

more

two-dimensional,

in

low-key paintings can have, both

sunlight breaking

through the gloom.

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Mood
In

in

Landscapes

a landscape subject,

the same subject over a period of

one of the

most important elements to consider


is

light,

because

light affects

both the

values and colors of a picture, and

both have a

significant effect

mood. Claude Monet put

when he

said:

does not

exist in

its

it

on

its

own

and the

light,

it

which vary

Monet became so
effects of light

same

life

the

it

and therefore

alter

- the

air

continually."

the

conveys.

For example, a seascape viewed at


flat

and

even and there

is

little

But a few hours

values.

sun

is

is

contrast
later,

very

in

as the

going down, the luminous

and color that he


again and again

scene, painting

different times for the

it

at

day and

in all

seasons. Making a series of paintings of

120

in

uninteresting because the light

fascinated by the

would happily return


to the

to

mood

how

demonstrates

midday might look

every

moment; but the surrounding


atmosphere brings

it

can alter the balance of values

a picture,

right, since

at

because

even quite small changes

in

worth

certainly an exercise

is

trying,

lighting

beautifully

"For me, a landscape

appearance changes

time

BELOW:THE AUVERGNE

by Moira Clinch

Strong contrasts between

warm and

and

light

to this

and dark

cool color

values lend a vibrant

sunny landscape

in

mood

southern France.

MOOD

CREATING

ABOVE THE

PASS

OF RYVOAN

by David Curtis

values of the evening sky con-

with the cool blue values of the

and the

land, creating a subtle

on

and

evocative image.

The

the pointing

on the landscape.
1

provide strong

mood

of

is

nst the sky.

light

isolation

can

themes, as

is

of

Then

light

light

same

values with which to capt

the bright, high-key

mood. A snow-

creates bold patterns of

and theres

Viewpoint and composition are

approaching storm

mood.

creating

and

also an interesting reversal

is

made more

dramatic by placing the horizon

line

very low so as to place emphasis on


the

sky.

On

a sunny

day you coul<

positioning your easel so that

view

for the

one

dull
light

bl-

brooding atmosphere o'

again, the

covered landscape on a

once, appears

wintry feeling

and

mornm

sky. for

important elements

transformed by the sparkling

of a bright frosty

of values as the

when

time you might choose a limited range


of

conditions.

darker than the land, creating a

In winter.

the branches of bare trees en

scene

more comfortable

in

seasons, too. offer splendid

opportunities to exploc
light

ope

location in Scol

with squalk of cokl ram before completing the

more

than

is

telling, sur

if

in

shadow except
s will

di

the subject were even

much
for

en

picture

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Mood

Interiors

in

opportunity to explore the dramatic


contrast of

Domestic

interiors are often

as suitable painting subjects

not seen

by

beginners, perhaps because they are

so

much

it's

easy to take

is

a part of everyday

them

life

that

for granted.This

since interior scenes offer

pity,

marvelous opportunities for creating


unusual and exciting tonal

natural daylight or

artificial light,

closed environment of a

room

rich with

is

luminous values and

soft,

deep shadows that create


and tranquil

a calm

atmosphere.
Interiors offer
distinct

one

advantage over

landscapes

that you can

in

control both the

compositional

arrangement of the
subject and, to a great
extent, the lighting, so as

to express what you want


to say

in

your picture. The

some

following are just

of

the ideas worth


considering:

# A darkened room
an open door

in

with

the

background that offers a


tantalizing glimpse

of a

scene beyond. The scene


might be part of a

sunlit

landscape, or another

room

that

is

this will give

122

brightly

you an

lit;

the

and dark values and

lit

only by a

table lamp that sheds a soft pool of

an otherwise shadowy room.

light in

This sets up an intimate, low-key

mood.
BELOW: INTERIOR
by Keith

compositions. Whether illuminated by

light

warm and cool colors.


' An interior at evening,

GWYNDY BACH

Andrew

Subtle colors
the quiet

and

mood

soft

mid-tones contribute to

of this domestic

interior.

CREATING

MOOD

mysterious and

mood,

evocative
mclucv

shadowy
perhaps

figure,
sitting at

the fireside or
reading by a
lamp.

Before you begin


to paint

good
make

it's

idea to

value

sketches of the

room from
different

viewpoints, until

you

find

the

composition that
appeals to you.

Observe how
and where the
light falls.

Do

the

shadows and
highlights create

interesting

patterns?

ABOVE HOYA

IN

THE WINDOW

ea of

by Lucy Wife

more high-key mood


Is

consists

warm

positioned

you want the center of


tch

It

light

of a frame wrthm a frame. The

there a

lively

Is

the

where

interest to be?

interplay of shapes

and

formed by the walls, floors,


windows, and furniture? All these
angles

greens of (he garden, seen through

the window, are surrounded

and

emphasized by the coot blues of the

interior

things

must be

carefully considered;

necessary, rearrange,

waff.

if

add or subtract

objects until you get the effect you

'

Sunlight filtering through thin


S

light

bathes the

that lends a

atmosphe

room

still,

in

diffused

timeless

'

learning to select

of the process of

from what you see

order to amplify what you want your


painting to

in

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Mood

in

Portraits
mystery and

Painting a portrait involves

more than
Your

much

introspection.

simply achieving a likeness.

something about the character and


quality that the

with.

In this

quality,

light

an emotional

viewer can empathize

respect, the

on the

subject: the cool,

weak

daylight

coming

amount,

and direction of the

'

have an influence on the impression

window
and the

lighting affects

particular

a landscape,

the values and colors

the subject, which

in

in

from a

light will

you wish to convey. As

in

also play

two sources of

painting should also say

personality of the sitter

You can

v.

>

in

turn convey a

atmosphere and sense of

place and time. For example, bright


sunlight creates strong contrasts that

convey energy and light-heartedness,

whereas low

lighting

conveys an

air

of

stronger

warmer

light

of a

lamp. This creates a range of

and cool colors that give a

warm

special

luminosity to the portrait.

So before you
portrait, first

mood

start painting a

decide what kind of

you wish to convey and

arrange the

lighting accordingly.

you don't have an


shouldn't be too
is

a couple of

stands.

124

Even

actual studio, this

difficult; all

lights

you need

with adjustable

if

CREATING MOODS

PORTRAIT SKETCHES
by Terry Longhurst

portrait

be

does not have to

nighty finished but to

successful

it

be

must convey a

sense of the person

portrayed

None of these

studies has

mrwnum

more than

background and

the treatment of the faces

and

figures

But.

each gives a feeing of

the

sitter's

is

character as

nbmg
hairstyle,

spontaneous.

and

we*

feci

pos-

125

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Using Shadows Creatively

when

everything

golden

The power of suggestion can be used


to great effect

in

and

arresting, mysterious,

stillness

When

is

and evocative.

bathed

is

object

a soft,

a magical air of calm

to the scene.

a cast

shadow

another object that

Shadows are not always dramatic or

in

and the lengthening

shadows lend

a painting, turning an

ordinary image into one that

light

travels across

lies in its

path, that

becomes much more

threatening; they can also introduce

interesting to look

beauty and poetry to a painting. Most

describing three-dimensional form, the

work

landscape painters prefer to

the early morning or

when

the sun

is

at a

late

favorite painting

time

is

and as

autumn.

in

back and forth between seeing

the shadows as a descriptive element

My own

later

afternoon on a sunny day

we

interesting paradox: unconsciously


shift

earth and trees and buildings cast

shadows.

addition to

graphic lines of the shadows offer an

in

afternoon,

low angle to the

long, descriptive

at. In

a purely abstract pattern. In

this

way our

we

play an active part

imagination
in

is

fueled and

the work.

Carry a sketchbook with you

BELOW:A COURTYARD

whenever you can and make visual


notes of any interesting shadow

IN SPAIN

by Hazel Soan

patterns you
In

come

across, such as

the final stages of the painting, the artist

those cast by a tree, or a wrought-

decided that the foreground shadow was too

heavy and too regular a shape. She decided

wash down the area and change


dappled

tree

it

to

shadow, softer and more

keeping with the rest of the picture.

a
in

to

iron gate, or the

dappled shadows of

trees and plants

on

a garden path.

Indoors you can experiment by

moving

lamp around the room,


shining

it

on

objects from
different

heights and

angles to see

what

kind of

shadows

it

creates
(adjustable

desk lamps
are great for
this).

126

CHOOSING COLORS

Choosing Colors
red. yellow,

The three primary colors


produce

all

basic palette. But

and blue

many

can be mixed to

and blue

the other colors, so obviously these must be included

paint,

if

we

different reds,

buy must be of the

we

ask

in

in

our

our local art supply store for red. yellow.

be asked "Which one?" because there are so


yellows, and blues to choose from. The first ones to
will

brightest,
results

most intense hues because mixing always


loss

of color

intensity.

Starter Palette

m *
<*

*h
Raw umber

Burnt sienna

Cadmium

red

t+
Ivory

bghl red

Cadmium

**

yellow

Uttramanne

Vrndian

Colors to be added
blue,

lemon

YeHow ocher

**

4F
cobdt

bkxk

Phrhdln

Wmsor

Mur

violet

yellow,

raw senna burnt umber. Payne's

gray.

Chme^

Hooker's green or fern? verte

127

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Tinting Chart
Watercolors have
or

light

different tinting strengths,

a color you've

paper With

practice,

add for each

color;

mixed up

you

will

in

and

your palette

it

is

will

impossible to

learn to estimate roughly the

but to start with

it

is

is

considerably lighter

when

how

dry.

how

it

dry

Beginners usually add too

dark the color looks

when

dark

amount of water to

a wise course to try out a mixture

a spare piece of paper before committing yourself. Let

they are alarmed at

tell

be when applied to the

first,

on

as watercolor

much water because

wet.

Cadmium
yellow

Lemon
yellow

Sap green

Terre verte

French
ultramarine

Cerulean
blue

Alizarin

crimson

Permanent
rose

128

CHOOSING COLORS

Transparency of Paint

others they are categorized as


it

One

of the most exati<

unpredictable, qualities of watercolor


is

its

abilrty

to impart color while

to a greater or lesser degree.

Linked to

this

is

the

way

in

which

paper

more

generally a tighter

detailed style

uses a higher mix of pigment to water

than a looser one. As a rule the

pigments can be diluted with water so


that the white of the

The amount of water used


matter of personal preference, but

allowing underlying layers to remain


visible

or semi-transparent and

semi-opaque

the

itself

dilutes the color, rather than

result.

No two

contain the

"polluting" the color with white, as

is

more

water used the more unpredictable


mixes

will

same amount of

ever
water,

and the solution with the higher

the case with opaque paints. Because

percentage of water

will

of the transparency of watercolor. the

less diluted mix. This

"pushes" the

usual

way of working

is

from

dark, gradually building

up

Transparency, however,

is

light

relative,

because some pigments are


considerably

to

pigment creating

intriguing,

unpredictable, effects.

layers.

and

"run" into the

It

is

if

seldom

possible to recreate them, as they are

never exactly the same.

more opaque than

yy yyyy yS,xy

ABOVE RELATIVE TRANSPARENCY


Some colon art less transparent than others The more opaque
cenJean lemon yek**. and yetow ocher Any of these used
the value of a darker cokx beneath

colon

the starter pak-

forty strong solution.

w#

kghten

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Judging Color

and look

Relationships

appears
all

at

an area of color which

at first sight to

be the same

over - an orange, for example, or

Color relationships can be established

the cover of a sketchbook. The

by continually comparing your picture

square of color you see, isolated from

to your subject and marking

its

alterations

and modifications

until

you

judge the relationships to be


satisfactory. This

variations

which develops

painter's

eye

now

and you

moving the

try

begin to see

will

the color You

in

darker shadow areas and

changes

with experience. Try to look at the

world around you with a

slightly

look pretty

will

meaningless, but

card

does require very

careful observation

neighbors,

in

little

notice

will

slight

color intensity caused by

reflected light or the proximity of a

one

while thinking which colors you could

different-colored object. By taking

mix for that yellow-edged cloud or

area of color out of context you are

those interesting greenish shadows on


the

unlit side

learn a

stuck

lot,

in

and you may

a traffic

jam

good way of

changes
with a

Hold

of someone's face. You'll

is

'/<

this

find

able to see

what

happening

really

is

in

terms of color instead of simply what


you expect. You don't have to use a

being

less frustrating.

analyzing color

- your

piece of cardboard
little

with a

fist

hole between the fingers

will

do.

to use a piece of cardboard

in.

(0.6

cm) hole cut

in

Making Color Notes

it.

up about a foot from you

You may

some

also find

recreate a scene
Ofcai*-

<Wfe

useful to

make

the studio. You

in

may remember the

to (suu-teoj* t
t-

it

color notes so that you can

general

impression of a color; but no one can


recall

the subtle variations, so

out looking for a

likely

subject try to jot

down some

if

you're

landscape

impressions on a rough pencil sketch.

This can be

done

in

words, for

instance "sky very dark blue-gray,

mixture of Payne's gray and


ultramarine."

MP

*%/'

pastels,

you have

paints,

make some

quick visual notes there

and then, trying out various


combinations

130

If

or even crayons with you,

until

you are

satisfied.

CHOOSING COLORS

The

Color Combinations

Artist's Palette

fWue

Cerulean blue + Aureolm yellow

Cerulean blue

rp blue

Cobalt blue

+ Aureolm

yellow

Aureolm yellow

Raw

sienna

Antwerp blue + Aureolm yellow

umber

Burnt

Burnt sienna + Cerulean blue

cnna

These three blues, combined with


oureoim. a

lemon

slightly

yellow,

wide range of delicate greens.


greens at

all

no block or

Burnt

stronger cokx than

umber + Cerulean

blue

enable the anist to n

have been used

ftjyne's

gray

No

tube

here,

and

A tmy amount

Chinese white was mixed with the blue

of
Burnt ."''

obalt blue

Color Temperature

Worm

colors

the red

am

those closer

end of the spectrum.

Cold colors are those


the blue

end of the spectrum

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Mixing Colors
Having chosen your colors, the next stage

to practice making

is

new

shown on page 6. There are


only 0, which may seem a small number but the charts show how many
more colors those 10 can produce. The chart colors are all two-color
mixes: you can make an even wider range by using three. It is not
advisable to mix more than three.
colors from mixtures of the "basic palette"

Charts

like

otherwise - and not allowed to run

these are useful for

reference, but you'll learn

more

if

you

do your own experiments on the


same lines. First, though, here's a brief
look at

some

neighbors.

In

general,

painting

itself;

it

often leads to

muddying or an uncontrollable mess.

They are

blue, yellow,

and

paint

themselves must be looked after

Primary colors are the ones you

produce by mixing other

you

although this can be

successfully,

The tubes or jars of

them.

colors.

carefully.

It is

most important

that their

caps are screwed on immediately after

red.

Secondary colors are made by mixing

use.

two

acrylics,

gouaches, and watercolors

which make green. Tertiary colors are

harden

in

mixtures of one primary color and one

replaced

secondary, or three primaries.

their box, otherwise you'll never find

primaries, such as blue

and yellow,

You can buy both secondary and


already have three of
palette: viridian,
gray.)

them

in

However you can

your

achieve

more
- and it

much more fun.


The quantity of paint to mix should
always be more than you think you'll
is

need.This applies particularly to

watercolor washes, which


lot

of paint.

It

is

infuriating

really

need a

to run out

of a mixture which has taken a long

time to make. Try to keep your


mixture clean. Each color should be
thoroughly mixed - unless you want

not,

oil

paints leak everywhere;

their tubes. Pastels should


in

their correct position

using a large

raw umber and Payne's

variety of color through mixing

If

the one you want, especially

tertiary colors ready-made. (You

132

its

done

of the properties of

colors and the terms used to describe

can't

into

should avoid mixing colors on the

it

number

if

be

in

you are

MIXING COLORS

Two-Color Mixes
This chart

shows

all

ette (top

the colors

mixed with one another


half proportion.

When

with color mixing you

how

in

and left-hand
in

a half-and-

you experiment
will

discover

dramatically the proportions

affect the

mixture and

the
side)

how much

some col<
Compare the cerulean and
stronger

gray mixture on the

far right

chart with Payne's gray


will

detect

little

itself

is

is

^J H

red

^r

Lemon

^A

is

v.

strong.

/////A
Cadmium

of the

a relatively

and Payne's gray

others.

and you

difference. This

because cerulean
color,

in

Payne's

//

yekr*

Cadmium

^A

^^
CenJean

uttromann>

^*

^7
^&

jfel

ocher

Raw
umber

^A
4^r

4^r

33

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Mixing Secondary Colors


The secondary

colors, green, orange,

and purple, can be bought as various


hues

tube or pan form, but

in

generally

- and

it

more colors
more fun -

if

you mix your

own.

These next pages show how by


mixing

two

create both intense and

muted

secondaries.

can be achieved

is

green or one of the purples, you can

primaries together; or by

mixing a primary with one of the

There are some secondary hues,


however such as vindian and
cadmium orange, which cannot be
mixed from two primaries
have an intensity which

it

as

is

they

impossible

to reproduce.

proprietary secondaries, such as sap

COLOR
When

Cadmium

colors are placed next to

BIAS

one another you can see the color

^^

red

Cadmium

yellow

Alizarin

^m

(yellow bias)

bias.

crimson

(blue bias)

French ultramarine

(red bias)

(red bias)

7^^H
5
Lemon

yellow

(blue bias)

134

,-"

^m

^W

^^

Winsor

blue

i (yellow bias)

MIXING COLORS

Understanding the Mixtures

< MIXING INTENSE


SECONDARIES

French

mne

red veers toward yellow, so

sense

Lemon

yettow

+ Cerulean blue

when

mixing secondaries, you

will

need to know which of the primaries


to use. as there are

many

versions of

each one. As you can see from the


color wheel, each

toward another;

one has

a bias

for instance,

makes

intense secondary to exploit the bias.

Conversely,

When

it

trying to achieve an

if

you want to

neutral secondary or neutral colors,

mixing colors that contain the

opposite or complementary color on


the color wheel

even muddy

will

give a

muted or

result.

cadmium

MIXING MUTED

SECONDARIES
These charts show
choice of the

how

the

pnmory cokx

affects the mixture Those closest

together on the wheel create

ntense secondaries. wfWe those


furthest apart create neutrals

French uft/amome +

Cadmium yetow

13!

COLOR AND COMPOSITION

Mixing
The warm

Warm

Pigments

colors of burnt sienna,

yellow ocher, and burnt

umber form

the basis of Moira Clinch's La


Bougainvillea.The versatility of a single

watercolor pigment

is

demonstrated

umber was used


both the somber nature of

by the fact that burnt


to depict

the gate and the delicate plasterwork


of the

wall. The

only difference

between the two

is

the amount of

water used to apply the

paint.

ABOVE: A

strong diluted fat underwash of

burnt sienna

was used as the

basis for the

brickwork Individual bricks were then over-

painted

deep

in

red,

diluted mixtures of cadmium

raw

sienna,

and

yellow ocher.

LEFT: The highlights of the bougainvillea


fowers were painted in concentrated rose

madder

carmine, while shadows were

formed by subduing the

BELOW: The

gate was painted in a


umber and lamp black
and indigo for the shadow

iron

mixture of burnt
with extra black
area.

RIGHT: LE BOUGAINVILLEA by Moira Clinch

136

color with indigo.

MIXING COLORS

Muted Colors
This painting by John Lid.
4 colors

very

clearly.

which to mix and drop


used to convey a

in

the

fluid colors.

dull winter's day.

The cool

very limited selection of colors was


".indigo,

color

nd the spiky, linear pencil drawing emphasizes the

atmosphere, but
n crimson

this

is

of

used the actual page as a palette on

Th<

cleverly counterbalanced by thin

and yellow ocher.

and

bl-

washes and mixes of

giving the painting slight

touches of warmth.

the whole porting

can be
,

t.f

ABOVE

skeleton drawwyg of the

>>*

yetow ocher and

ultrorr

iMtromanne. mdtgo.

*\ond
LEFT xrtsondW.
gouoche *'
coo*

and warm tones

blossom on thek-

13

Style
Before art schools were established, most
artists

learned to paint

the studios of

in

As apprentices they copied


their master's work, and once they were
sufficiently competent they sometimes even

successful painters.

blocked

in

the master's paintings, leaving

perhaps only the

finishing

master

The

touches to the

himself.

tradition of copying persisted

even into

the Impressionist era. Pierre-Auguste Renoir


(

84 - 9
1

9). for

example, copied the work of

the great eighteenth-century masters such as

Antome Watteau

684-1 76

in

the Louvre, a

task that helped formulate his love of

luminous colors.

In his figure paintings.

light.

Cezanne

returned constantly to arrangements based on


the work of Michelangelo, Rubens, and Poussin.
Actual copying continues to be practiced by

some

artists

and students today, but

Many modern

longer obligatory.

however, make

visual

references

in

it

is

no

artists.

their

work

to paintings they admire, sometimes using the

same compositional elements or re- interpreting


a particular theme. As you develop your skills
as a watercolonst.

study the

work of

you

will find

past masters

understand and establish your


preferences.

it

in

useful to

order to

own

stylistic

STYLE

Painting an Impression
Impressionism set the standards of a
granted. Despite
paintings

still

all

seem

valid for application

was

originally

new

we now

realism that

the innovation of twentieth-century


fresh

and

take for

Impressionist

art,

and the approaches remain

inspirational,

to contemporary themes.The term "Impressionist"

coined as a

critical insult,

implying that the paintings

artists were careless in their


what we see in the work of Claude Monet, the
figurehead of this movement, is a detailed, analytical process of

appeared hasty and unfinished, and that the


perceptions. Yet

observation and record, which nonetheless results


vital,

colorful,

The Direct Approach

in

images that are

and celebratory.
glazes (successive layers of thin paint)

and more detailed brushwork.

Of the new
Monet and

concepts developed by

two principles
One was the

his colleges,

featured importantly.

unknown but the


the

first

to adopt

Impressionists

them

were

as standard

requirement to complete a painting

procedures for painting finished

by direct reference to the subject -

works. The immediate impression of

for example,

working outdoors

in

the

the subject became the

image

final

landscape, building up an image of the

without the imposition of

artistic

immediate view. Previously on-the-

theories and conventions.

Essentially,

made which

spot sketches were

would then be used

they understood that a painting

as reference for a

should reflect the transience of

formally constructed studio

observed

composition. The other principle was

reflected the

the technique of working directly

and surface

onto white canvas, often allowing

new

colors to blend with undried layers

below, a

method known

as

working

wet-in-wet. This contradicted the


traditional

method of developing

realities. Their

ways

detail

in

paintings

which

form

change with changing circumstances -

above

all,

natural

the variable effects of

light.

Another

significant

feature of Impressionism
a

solid

can appear to

was

that

it

challenged traditional concepts of

was no

painting slowly layer by layer beginning

comparison and drawing.

with a dark or mid-toned ground and

longer considered necessary to have

It

proceeding to a

monochrome

objects precisely defined and clearly

underpainting

which the main forms

distinguished from

were modeled
this

in

in

value alone.

When

had dried, colors were

introduced, usually

40

These concepts were not previously

in

the form of

one another

Paintings did not have to

be neat and

distinct close-up as long as

be read

at a distance.

they could

PAINTING AN IMPRESSION

Responding to the

blue,

Moment

it

The

practical guideline for

Impressionist approach

is

an

think

respond

it

described

it

thus:

When

Monet

you go out

until

gives

it

"naive impression"

the

light.

is

word

naive

unique

you saw

in

As Monet

stressed,

you have

looks to you."

in

front of you. a tree, a

here

is

little

field.

square of

The

is

not

this

implies, but

what
moment.

your painting

impression "exactly as

Impressionists,

inspiration

simplistic, as

sometimes

that place at that

records

think,

own

you your

consisting only of

to paint, try to forget what objects

Merely

exactly as

it

naive impression of the scene.'This

you know, about your subject and


directly to the purely visual

and paint

looks to you. the exact color and

shape,

to free your

mind from what you know, or

sensations of color and

here an oblong of pink here a

streak of yellow,

it

who drew

from the English landscape


painter John

Constable

(1776-1837).
applied their
paint

thick

dabs and strokes


of broken color
to depict what

was

their

mam

preoccupation the ever-

changing effects
of

on the

light

landscape

AUTUMN AT
ARGENTEUIL

by

Claude Monet
(1840-1926)

The French
Impressionists

were very much influenced by Constable's landscape

pointings,

particular took the preoccupation with the effects of light almost to the

frequently
hghts,

worked out of doors, and would paint

buidmg up the pomt

motion which he sought

thick

several versions of the

and Mont

pomt of on obsession

same scene m

He

ckfferent

impastos to ochieve the ever<hongmg effects suggestive of

STYLE

Expressionist Approaches
beyond appearances,

Expressionist painting goes

technique and composition to develop

mood

using devices of

and atmosphere. By

distorting or exaggerating particular aspects of the subject, the artist


directs the viewer's
picture. The picture

response towards the emotive qualities of the


drawn subjectively rather than objectively. An

is

Expressionist painting
threatening, but

it

is

not necessarily "unreal," and

need not be
reality.

to caricature. The characteristic

Composition and

features of faces and bodies are

Stylization

exaggerated, even to the point of

means of emphasizing

Distortion and stylization are

deformity, as a

characteristic features of the

the narrative point of the image or

Expressionist approach.

As

in

the

associations.

simplify detail, so that a

space and distance can be heightened

object

through exaggerated perspective.

ingredients that

In

landscape, architectural and interior

and

distortion of the subject can create a

mood. Paintings from the


commonly use a method similar

is

its

can also be helpful to

It

Schiele painting, the impression of

subjects, selective composition,

42

it

has to challenge our normal perceptions of

person or

reduced to those
still

make

essential

it

recognizable. But Expressionism does

not always aim to provoke or disturb.

Sometimes Expressionist devices are

particular

used to create

figure

of alternative

lyrical,

realities.

appealing visions

EXPRESSIONIST APPROACHES

LEFT

TAUREAU

ROUGE
by Franz Marc

founder

member

of the Blue Rx)er


group. Franz

Marc

experimented with
the express/veness

of color and Cubtstinspired rhythmic

harmonies

wotercotors of his

onmal

favorite

subjects.

Colors as Expression
eye and a large expanse of

The

colors of

(page

Women

Upside

Down

42) are intense and hectic

yellow can have a disturbing

The

particular

wrth dominant high-key tones that

mam

color

create an unnatural brightness.

solid

and

startling feature of

the painting

brilliant

is

effect.

hue and tone of the

in this

painting

make

rt

suffocating.

Expressive use of color always

the dominant yellow, used as the

involves a subjective element, but

theme color

there are also predictable interactions

in

several Expressionist

works. Although yellow has

some

pleasant associations, particularly wrth


sunlight,

it

is

not always easy on the

between colors

be exploited
mood.
of hue or tone

that can

to create a particular

Deliberate contrasts

can introduce discordant notes to a


LEFT

WOMEN

Scheie

UPSIDE

DOWN by Egon

191 S)

Heightened color and expressionisoc


drstortion

ofEgon

of form are characteristic features

Scheie's angurshed portraits of

Viennese sooety

composition, underpinning the


portrayal of a violent event or ur-

atmosphere. Conversely, color

harmonies and

carefully related

tones

can help to evoke calm and pleasant


emotions.

STYLE

Abstracting from Nature


some

For

word

people, the

be

will

"abstract" automatically signals that a painting

to understand and possibly uninteresting to look

difficult

at.

Abstraction frequently evokes an unsympathetic, even hostile reaction,

because

it

seems to

our

reject

common
around

It

is

work

true that an abstract

themes and methods, and


respect

it

is

life

as, say,

work

all.

it

also

is

common

For example, an abstract

painting can

has
this

is

excluded from abstract

most

likely

art,

because you have

not been given the means to relate

painting. This

on abstraction may

knowing a

bit

it

know and

understand about
section

be a two-dimensional

who

you are one of the people

felt

to things you do

contains the

kind of perceptions that are

to us

both areas of image-making.


If

a recognizable

or figure painting. But

true that such a

concept and technique, so stimulating

that

in

not as readily accessible to

the casual viewer


still

one

is

unique response to particular

artist's

experiences of seeing the world

us.

leave

you

more.

rendering of three-dimensional space

and form; or

may obey

it

particular

Sources of Abstract

conventions of composition and


division of the picture plane.

composed of the same

It

is

Imagery
also

There are two

materials as

methods of

One

developing an abstract

represents similar preoccupations with

use objects and images from the

technique and surface values.

world

The

idea that figurative and

is

absolutely

false.

helped by

some

who

felt

have

it

But

this

artists

not

is

and

more

between them,

universally valid than

since abstraction

common, even

another

became

form of painting

in

to

from which

to employ purely formal pictorial

relationships

such

qualities

as nonreferential shapes

and surface

and color
effects

directly relating to the material


In

for a while dominant,

the middle of the

twentieth century. The

is

real

"abstracted" interpretation. The other


is

and to claim one approach as being

fact,

as reference points

elements and material

critics

necessary to create a

kind of competition

style.

you evolve a personalized,

abstract approaches are worlds apart

144

basic

other paintings, and therefore

two apparently

properties of the chosen medium. The

second approach

is

investigated

on

pages 148-151.
Abstracting from nature

take to

mean

we

can

deriving abstract

different disciplines have usefully

imagery from things actually seen.

exchanged developments of

Landscape

style,

is

a frequently used

ABSTRACTING FROM NATURE

resource for

its

enormous

enables us to look at

and disregard
cannot be

of approach,

this kind

perhaps because

it

natural

objects, indoor

overall

and man-

be

and outdoor

To describe
analysis in the

this

SEA by Milton

in

the earty

and color areas not vet broken up by

seen as an

same

elliptical

uniform

be

way. a face can

shape colored an

pink.

Arms and

legs

can

interpreted as basically cylmdncal

forms and clothing as separate areas of

environments, and actual events

ROAD TO THE

the landscape

features. In the

method can

be applied to other

like figures,

the particular detail of individual

clearly identified al

equally well

made

broad terms

incidental detail that

distance. But this basic

themes

in

blocking

stages of the painting - broad contours

scale

bold color and pattern.

Avery,

938

process of abstract

most simple terms, we

Often,

in

any subject you can

identify linked

and repeated shapes

can take possible examples and relate

and forms that give a sense of unity to

them to

your interpretation The same type of

figurative interpretations

For

be made within the range

instance, a landscape of fields,

linkage can

hedgerows, and distant

of hues and tones that you see. so that

hills

can be seen

as a series of rhythmic shapes, each of

you can discover a pattern of sim

which has a dominant cotor; an abstract

and contrast. Abstraction means

ig

of such a view might look

something

like

the image that a

figurative painter

would achieve while

mrtially

breaking

down what you

see

before you into simple, sometimes

very obvious visual elements.

STYLE

How

Far Does

it

Go?

If

you are interested

in

abstraction

and have not previously understood

So

fan

we

simplistic

have examined a

fairly

approach that opens the

very

paintings

in

these terms and imagining

door to abstraction but does not


wholly bridge the gap between

what might have been the

what an

keep

artist

sees and

on the canvas or

what goes

paper. This

is

some point a new


conceptual leap may occur that
eliminates some of the links
because

at

for specific shapes

is

in

mind that

also an

inspiration

and colors. But


in

abstract art there

emphasis on the material,

surface qualities of the painting, and

more

is

often

in

figurative

realities.
if

you were

working on an abstracted
landscape, you might see a sudden
shaft of sunlight falling
field,

on

a grassy

which might then become a

yellow on your
As you step back and see
the effect on your image, it may
slash of bright

painting.

occur to you to give the yellow a


different

hue or tone, or to turn

the slashed brush mark into a


distinct,

hard-edged shape.

Alternatively,

you might suddenly

decide that every area that had


previously represented green grass

should be painted bright red, to

completely change the character of


the painting.

Or

you might create a

broad pattern corresponding to the


linear texture

of the blades of grass,

not necessarily

As such

in

naturalistic colors.

ideas develop,

you

remove the particular


associations that would enable an

ABOVE: DORIS TYSTERMAN

un involved viewer to relate

elements of your painting directly

ways of unleashing abstract properties

to those of the original subject.

but from a basis of observed

gradually

46

it

directly influential than

works.

between observed and interpreted


For instance,

it

well, try looking at abstract

by Roy Sparkes

natural subject such as flowers can suggest

reality.

freely,

ABSTRACTING FROM NATURE

tartmg

Collage from a Landscape


or Still Life

Choose

a landscape

view that
set

is

theme

familiar to

up a simple

still

you

life,

to vary the surface qualities


within the different shapes. For
instance, use heavy impasto

or

and

contrasted with patches of


transparent color glazing; or
color next to active,

create an abstracted color study

opaque,

using cut and torn pieces of

broken brushwork.

flat

colored paper collaged to your

base paper Try to deal with


distinctive,

strong shapes,

Drawing with Color


Using a similar subject,

make

eliminating small-scale detail.

color drawing with brush and

Don't worry about making the

pamt. following the contours of

some

shapes too precise, and you can

shapes and including

allow the paper pieces to overlap

elements, such as interesting

and modify each

make changes

other. You can

simply by gluing

pieces over each other.

textures

on the surface of the

objects you are looking

Painted Abstraction

Repeat the project but using


I

to create the color are

Apply the paint

ABSTRACTION

al

using a bnght-colored piece of

paper for your painting

detail

project, so that

select

in this

you have to

your paint colors boldly to

e sure they have an imp

in differ

by Stuart Davis. 1937

14;

STYLE

Pure Abstraction
makes no reference to the

abstract painting, which

In

become
(

872-

the subject of the work.

real

and execution

basic ingredients of color; composition,

Some

world,

Mondnan

artists, like Piet

944), arrived at a form of pure abstraction by working their

through

figurative styles

Others, particularly

the

in

the

is

it

that, in effect,

way

and processes of abstracting from nature.

when

twentieth century

late

so

many more

examples of abstract work have been produced, seen, and commented


upon, have moved very quickly into this way of thinking and working
early

It

may be

in

their careers.

impossible to eliminate

completely

all

normal range of human

is

If

not to refer to

anything known, the important

visual

experiences, and sometimes a viewer

question seems to be, where do you

may

start?

feel that, for

example, a landscape

reference can be seen

in

painting that purports to


abstract. This

is

because

put

be wholly

color?

we

tend to

suggesting space and form, and

we

when

are looking for references to real

situations
identify

or objects,

we may

what seem to

associations.

However

unconnected with the


intentions;

abstract

mode, the

claim to

us reasonable
this

is

artist

in
is

a purely

dealing

with shapes and forms, colors, and


textures

in

terms of what they

actually

not what they represent.

are,

As

in

any form of image-making, the

abstract artist deals with basic

elements of
line,

pictorial

construction -

mass, color, tonality, surface

texture, and pattern, shape, contour,

position the line

in

one

What

should be the next mark, and why?


is

It

because such questions cannot

usually

be answered

precisely,

reference to something

many people find


become interested

in

or by

else, that

difficult

it

to

abstract art. The

of an abstract painting seems too

personal and inaccessible.

The

artist

makes

negative responses
abstract work.

the painting

what

Composition Elements

Why

place rather than another?

logic

artist's

when working

What prompts the artist first to


down a line rather than a block of

a particular

see marks on canvas or paper as

148

depth, and apparent volume.

spatial

the painted image

references to the

it

is

Its

positive
in

and

producing an

logic

can

lie in

what

supposed to do, and

should not do. Mondrian

good example to study because

is

in

his

geometric grids and limited color


range are so apparently restrictive and
severe. His intention

was to create

"dynamic equilibrium,"

movement and

tension

a sense of
in

an image

that also had absolute balance.

PURE ABSTRACTION

Mondnan chose
a

the right-angle as

pure and constant factor

fixed

and balanced relationship

between two

lines.

When

using this to

construct squares and rectangles,

however, he

still

had a great deal of

scope to vary the proportions and


interactions of these simple geometric

shapes.

In limiting his

color range to

What

these paintings are not

supposed to do

is

to create an

impression of three-dimensional
space, or refer to external dimensional
space, or refer to external
this sense.

Mondnan

reality. In

challenges both

himself and the viewer to discard

received notions of pictorial space.

We

might tend to relate a grid

the three primaries and the neutral

structure to architectural frameworks.

colors of red. yellow, blue, black, white,

The use of

and gray he had a palette that

implies light

incorporated absolute qualities of hue

modeling three-dimensional form. But

black and white usually

and shadow, a means of

and tone. As these were applied to

Mondnan's

the geometric

picture plane,

grid,

they further

paintings

lie flat

on the

and neither the color

influenced the tensions and balances

nor the construction suggest any

element of

the painting.

real

space and form. This

requires careful

judgment of the
proportions of the

shapes and the extent


of the color areas, and
their interactions.

Painterly features are

also eliminated - the

color

is flat

the marks

brush are

and opaque,

made by

the

virtually

invisible.

SELF

PORTRAIT

(1872-1944)

by Put

Mondnan

STYLE

The Range of

(1880-1966), some of whose

Abstraction

paintings also

conform to

a grid-like

structure and contain very strong

Mondrian aimed

at,

and achieved,

what he described as "an expression


of pure

reality,"

but as you can see

colors and tones. Yet Hoffman's


is

work

vigorous, free and gestural, the

colors and textures of the paint are

from looking through any book on

rich

modern

dimensionality sometimes occurs

art, straight lines

color are by no

and

limited

means the only

ingredients of abstract art.

It

is

compare Mondrian's
German-born
American painter Hans Hoffman

and

varied.

when shapes

suggestion of three-

overlap and colors

seem

to advance or recede but, as with

interesting to

Mondrian, the image exists on the

work with

surface of the canvas and

that of the

referential

- the viewer

is

is

self-

not led into

an illusory pictorial space.

Looking

at abstract

painting

in

definitions,

terms of simple
there are

distinctly different styles. In

hard-edged abstraction,
shapes are sharply defined
although not necessarily

geometric, and color


interactions are usually
strictly controlled.

style

is

which

Another

gestural painting,
is

visually busier

and more complex, with


vigorous brush marks,
splashes, spots,

and

dribbles. There are also

more

decorative forms of

abstraction,

LEFT:

in

which the

COMPOSITION

byWols.c.1950.
In

50

Europe, watercolor was used

working

by abstract

artists

style called

Tachisme.

in

PURE ABSTRACTION

picture surface

appears he
patterned. There are

other categories, and

works by

all

individual

who draw on

artists

of these

conventions.

You may

find that

easiest to

is

it

develop an

approach to pure
abstraction by

beginning with
abstracting from
nature.

As you work

through particular
images, you

will

become gradu
more interested
what

is

in

happening on

your canvas or paper,

and you may forget


about the actual
source. You can start

to deal directly with

color interactions; relationships of

ABOVE LIGHT COMING

line

and mass, textural contrasts: or

PLAINS

developing a composition that

by Georgia OKeefe. 1917


i

suggests space while also emphasizing

down

yourself

if

working

in

do. But

to

let

is

beware -

yourself get

in

terms of what you tried to


it

is

more tempting

away with

unsatisfactory solutions

than

evoke the American landscape

your intentions and ask

the painting

economy.

Georgia OKeefe used watercolor to

the flatness of the picture surface. Try


to pin

ON THE

in

abstract

representational work, as you

You

will realize

that

many of

the

preoccupations involved are the same


as those

you had to apply to

work, but

at

some

becomes the

have no external points of reference

own

by which to judge what the picture

experience

should loo'

ft

painting

itself

instinct, technical skills,


will

figu-

point your subject

and your
and

enable you to

ca'

through.

151

ubject
section demonstrated so

As the previous
clearly, painting

techniques are no

more

vehicles for the expression of ideas.


section,

we

will

look specifically at

than

In this

how

watercolor can be harnessed to depict a


personal vision. The explanations and step-bystep demonstrations are grouped according to

theme, ranging from

still

life

and plants and

flowers through to animals and portrait and


figure

For the
to

newcomer

work.

to painting,

work through these themes

is

it

in

worthwhile

order.

Still

life

offers the luxury of a subject that doesn't

move and which can be

arranged into a

easily

pleasing composition, then rearranged and

to

suit

the

artist.

relit

People and animals present

particular challenges as living subjects; although

they can be especially satisfying to


are at the

shown in each of the subject areas, together


with some explanations of the particular
associated with certain themes.

difficulties

Someone who

has never dared to attempt to

portray the effects of changing


the perfect
say.

method

"so that's

how

for the
rt's

first

done.

too." You probably

they

and approaches

variety of different techniques


is

paint,

same time more demanding. A wide

light

could
<

may see

time here and

do

that

SUBJECT

Still life
life, as its name implies, simply means a composition of objects
which are not moving and which are incapable of doing so, usually
arranged on a table; the French rather depressingly called it "dead life'

Still

(nature morte).

The

subjects can be

like,

but traditionally the objects

group are

life

still

in

whatever you

painted with breathtaking

some way

a selection of

fruit,

still

life

painting can be entirely controlled by

associated with each other - a vase of

flowers with

skill.

Because the subject of a

in

the

artist,

lighting,

as can

its

arrangement and

present an unusual

lifes

still

vegetables with cooking vessels or

opportunity for exploring ideas and

implements, and sometimes dead

experimenting with color and

game, or fowl with

a goblet of

fish,

water

perhaps, or a bunch of parsley.


(Culinary

are less popular

lifes

still

risk

of looking

like

cook book.) Good

made from

wonderful and moving

nothing but a

Most

artists

pile

life

still

lifes

at

one time or another and several,


notably Jan Vermeer ( 632- 675),
1

included

them

in

life

artists

became obsessed with


all

In

more

lavish

still

to control the subject of

ability

life

means

much time

you

as

out

new ones

as

still

other subjects,

the past for

still

as

to work out

like

you

feel inspired.

paintings, but

it

lifes
is

in

other than flower

now becoming

extremely popular.

portrayals of

tabletops gleaming with edible produce,

RIGHT: STILL
rare porcelain,

that you can take

Oddly, watercolor was seldom used

and vied with one another to produce


every

The
a

painting techniques at leisure, trying

their figure paintings.

to the exclusion of

dimensional surface.

the composition, and you can practice

the seventeenth century a group of

Dutch

fundamental problems as form and

from

of books on a table.

have painted

906), found that the form

the three-dimensional world to a two-

subjects.

still

Cezanne

Paul

life,

still

839-

space and the paradox of transferring

be

paintings can

Gogh (1853-1890) made

Vincent van
a

the cover of a

homely

quite

allowed him to concentrate on such

nowadays, possibly because they run


the

composition. The greatest master of


the

and golden

LIFE

WITH GRAPES

goblets. In
by Shirley Felts

many of these, tiny insects are visible


among the foliage, blood drips from the
mouths of freshly

killed

hares or rabbits,

and bunches of grapes shine with


droplets of moisture, every object

154

tiny

For reasons not entirely understood, shapes

have particular properties, and


natural eye-catchers.
circles in

some

bottles, or

Many

form: plates,

circular table,

circles

still lifes

fruit,

as

are

incorporate

the tops of

in this painting.

STILL LIFE

55

SUBJECT

I
Setting up a still

Lighting

life

also very important.

is

It

defines the forms, heightens the

There are no

specific

painting a

life

still

problems

colors,

in

or flower piece once

has been set up. The real challenge


arranging

it,

and

this

may

it

down on
first

arrange

them

in

long as you decide

it

theme of some

It

is

kind:

the various objects are too different

kind they

Start with something

you

bowl of fruit on a patterned


or a potted

cloth, perhaps,

like,

satisfied that

light,

it

will,

of

so

where the

but often

it

brings
if

its

more

is

artificial light.

satisfactory to use

own

problem, however since

you are painting flowers or

they

will wilt

plant,

more

fruit

quickly.

ii'

and

until

you have

achieved a good balance of shapes

and

Drapery

colors.

subject,

and

is

often used to

complement the main

balance and

it

is

useful to have a

selection of fabrics or tablecloths

hand for

this

purpose.

Many

on

artists

make small sketches or diagrams to


work out whether a vertical line is
needed

the background, or a

in

tabletop

shown

foreground.

as a diagonal

Finally,

when you

sure that the arrangement


at

it

well

to

Move

it

will

fairly

do, look

will

fill

the space allotted

the frame around so that

you can assess several


Often you may

56

the

through a viewing frame to assess

how
it.

in

are

possibilities.

find that allowing

one

Most

still lifes

-.,

This solution sometimes

table-

keep arranging and rearranging


you are

in

look uneasy together

will

the

shadows are to be at the outset and


do not keep trying to change them;

to

is

a harmonious way.

also best to have a


if

difficult

in

may not matter very much

This

composition simple. The more objects

you have the more

component

you are working by

course, change as the day wears on.

to keep the

is

If

northern hemisphere)

not give

will

painting. The wisest rule to

you a good
follow at

a table

vital

natural light other than a north (in the

time - plunking an assortment of


objects

composition.

is

some

take

and casts shadows which can

become

are arranged on a tabletop or

similar flat surface, so you'll

need

to get the

of the objects to run out of the

right perspective for the front back,

picture actually helps the composition.

edges, or the entire painting

will

and

look

side

tilted.

STILL LIFE

Themes

soiled

boots are almost a form of

pictorial biography, telling us as

successful

random

still life is

life is

if

collection of objects

should always be

One

seldom,

some

ever, a

there

where

still

fruit,

You can

th.it

up

need very

"dm

alsc

subject, so that the

viewer

is

not

seem not

to belong.

Another kind of theme


one.

"literary"

Some

still

is

the

The best-known examples

artist.

painting stage

van

Gogh

paintings

lifes

are those of Vincent

853- 890). whose


of his room at Aries and
(

his

kind you

may have

them in a semi-abstract way.


allowing them to hide their identity

BELOW: BY THE COTTAGE

his

own work-

DOOR

by Michael Emmett

still life

outchor group

been

is

on example of

W''

'.e

that someone, perhaps the

moving portrayals of

the objects are

in

to treat

This delightful
still

if

story about the personal interests of

of such

themes

careful handling at the

behind their general forms or outlines.

the

lifes tell

and

linked visually or set

exciting contrasts. Visual

widely dissimilar

worried by the discordant notes of


objects that

also take colors

seem to be

grouped together Attractive


themselves, they

much

about the objects

shapes as the theme, choosing objects

vegetables, and kitchen equipment


in

artist as

themselves.

kind of theme.

of the most popular types of

the culinary one.

about the

sitting in

vegetables.

con see
rxx

f'

the sun prepanng

fruit

and

SUBJECT

because the dominant theme

Backgrounds
One

of the

life

still

background
to

commonest

painting

mistakes

in

as unimportant.

It is

easy

matter and that the spaces behind

and between them are areas that


filled in

elements

in

just

somehow. All the


painting should work

need to be

together however and backgrounds,


although they

allows you to exploit color

may play a secondary


much consideration as

some pattern itself.


The most important thing to
remember is that the background
color or colors must be

in

You can

stress the relationship of

when you
two areas of

foreground to background

the placing of the objects.

begin to paint, tying the

The

kind of background you

depend
you

entirely

plan.

plain

will

on the kind of picture


white or off-white

wall could provide a

good

foil

for a

group of elegantly shaped objects,


such as glass bottles or

ABOVE: PLUMS IN A DISH

tall

still life

paintings,

has chosen

and

by Ronald Jesty

in this

to paint his subject

the picture together by repeating


colors from

example,

if

one to another For

your group has a

predominance of browns and


try to introduce
into the

blues,

one of these colors

background

also.

vases,

This artist likes to exploit unusual viewpoints in


his

tune with

the overall color key of the painting.

role, require as

choose for an arranged group

58

it

and pattern would be better served


by a bright background, perhaps with

only the objects really

feel that

color but a group you have chosen

because

to treat the

is

in this

case would be shape rather than

This not only neatly solves the

problem of a

separate background and foreground,

example he

allows

from above.

shape of the metal

him

to

make

the

it

also

most of the elegant

platter.

STILL LIFE

Step-by-step: Arranging

Because a vase of flowers

makes a

needs to be combined with

shape

tall

it

often

a Floral

The
edge

more

provides a

and the bowl of

Moving the

pink

harmonize with the

and blue color scheme.

color and "acton." so a piece of


blue fabric

^ed to give a

is

line

of the back table

distracting:

interesting

small pot

makes each shape

The background needs some


'

is

moving the

group to the other end

other objects. Here, the small blue pot


fruit

long

Group

comer

view.

away from the vase

distinct

The napkin complicates the

composition.

It

is

removed

pinned up and

feeling

of

movement

59

SUBJECT

Step-by-step: Cyclamen

careful outline

made

The

drawing was

of the flowers and pot

and then the flowers were


painted

in

with a mixture of

red and purple

was

on

cadmium

lake. Particular attention

paid to the arrangement of the

mid-to-light tones of the

leaves

definition being
sides,

to form a

colors

in

quite

the center were


freely,

laid

sharper

reserved for those at the


clear,

- emerald

sharp outline.The

green, sap green,

raw sienna -

spaces created by the flowers against the

Payne's gray, and a touch of

background.

were put on wet and allowed to mix on


the paper

The

leaves

darkened

and flowers were

in

places and a

wash was then

laid

first

on the

pot.

Here, too, the colors were applied wet

and moved around on the paper


the

artist

was

satisfied

with the

until

way they

had blended together

A very pale wash

was put on

the underside of the

dish,

leaving the rim white to stand

out against the checks. The blue used


was chosen to echo the blue on the pot
and the shadow was added later

160

STILL LIFE

Here the

the

tip

artist

is

using

of a sable brush to

checks

paint the blue

Although they were painted


lly.

and vaned

in size

to suggest recession, the

and color
has

artist

not attempted to produce perfectly

it

or regular

which

lines,

would have looked mechanical and


monotonous.

The wet-in-wet technique

was used

pot

giving

for painting the

it

lively

appearance suggestive of

and

light

texture. Widely varying colors

were

applied with plenty of water and

blended into one


another

the paint

If

too wet or blends


the wrong way.

be dabbed
sponge or

jgf^

'

<

TJMl
i

among

can

off with a
tissue.

Flower arranger
are

it

is

in

the most

Indeed they

subjects

are often regarded as


re

branch of
irely

practn

however, they ore

type of sull
the

same

life,

posing

probier

wet as shanngthe
major advantage of

bemg a

captive subject

SUBJECT

Persimmon and Plums

Step-by-step:

Ronald Jesty

1^2

who

likes

is

an

artist

to exercise

control over his

full

medium,

and he works almost exclusively wet-ondry. This painting


carefully,

and

separate stages.
full-scale

up

First

a series of

in

he transferred a

drawing to the paper by

drawing over a

He

has been planned very

built

is

tracing.

began with several

small, neutral-

colored washes and then painted the

golden-brown background. He turned


the board sideways to

make

it

easier
It is

to take the paint around the edges of

the bottle.

important to establish

the color key early on, so

once the background


complete he puts down a pale

is

pinkish

gray for the tabletop and areas of vivid

red for the petals of the anemones.

Without the background


been

difficult

it

would have

to assess the strength of

color needed for these.The next stages


are the

persimmon and the mug

holds the flowers, close

in

that

tone and

color but with clearly perceptible


differences.

color

is

None

of these areas of

completely

flat:

the modeling

on the persimmon and the

jug begins

immediately, with darker cooler colors


in

the shadow areas, linked to the blue-

gray of the mortar and pestle.

The

flowers and

colors built up
highlights

in

fruit

are

now

virtually

complete, with the dark

a series of small, overlapping

of varying

intensity.

The

light

blue-gray of the vase

represents the color and tone to be reserved for highlights.

62

rich

washes to leave

on the

left

STILL LIFE

The box on the

lc"

painted
picks

in

up

a color that

that of the

persimmons and yellow plums.


Although the painting

is

and

vivid

the colors are deliberately

colorful,

orchestrated to give an overall

and

strength

unrty to the

composition. A further wash

on the blue vase to stand


mid-value highlights

when

is

laid

as the

the

darkest values have been added.

The complex forms of the

artichoke head are

descnbed wrth

delicate but

accurate brush strokes. Again, the


colors used are versions of those

elsewhere
are
in

With the deep

blues

and purples of the

are

some

delightful touches,

read and the sketch on the

our attention

is

left

drawn to the

center by the strong, dark tones

and glowing
to achieve

colors.

It

is

this intensity

not easy

watercokx without muddying


the paint by overworking, and
is

why

thoroughly.

jesty plans

He

so

overlays

washes

to a considerable extent but


avoids overworking by using
barely diluted paint from the

outset

be

where the tones are to

dark.

in

the painting

blacks or

there

dead browns even

the darkest outlines.

jug

now

complete, the painting has

a sure and definite focal point Although the whole picture

this

no

such as the book

title

is

we

eventful

and

cannot quite

SUBJECT

Plants and Flowers


Flowers, with their rich and varied array of glowing colors, intricate

forms, and delicate structures, are an irresistible subject for painters.

There are many


to the

different

medium

approaches to

habitats or indoors as

still

life

painting,
in

all

in fine detail

suited

their natural

arrangements, they can be treated

mixed groups, they can be painted

in

branch of

this

of watercolor Flowers can be painted

singly

or

or broadly and

impressionistically.

Indoor Arrangements
The

great advantage of painting cut

flowers indoors

that you can

is

control the set up and

your

less at

leisure

the blooms fade and

problem

is

at

work more or
any rate

die. The

until

main

that flowers can look over-

arranged, destroying the natural,


quality that

is

living

the subject's greatest

charm. Always try to make them look


as natural as possible, allowing

to overlap others, and placing


different heights, with

some
them at

some of the

heads turned away from and others

toward you,

as they

when growing

in

would appear

a garden.

Give equally careful thought to the

scheme - of the flowers


them in,
and the background. Too great a
overall color

themselves, the vase you put

mixture of colors can lead to a

muddled

attention with

The

no sense of

painting that has

unity because each


its

hue

is

fighting for

neighbor.

best flower paintings are often

those with one predominant color


such as white, blue, or yellow, with

those

in

the background and

foreground orchestrated to provide


just

164

the right element of contrast.

ABOVE: BRIGHT

GARDEN BOUQUET

by Muriel Pemberton

Here the off<enter placing of the vase and the

way

the flowers lean to the

left

give

a rhythm

to the composition, leading the viewer's eye

around

it

from one area

Pemberton s technique
varied.

is

to another.

equally

lively

and

PLANTS AND FLOWERS

RED ROSES

IN

A FLOWER BED

by Audrey Macleod

One ofMadeocfs
panting flowers or
design of her

concerns, whethe'
portraits.

(he overof

pomongs Here she has used

round

shopesare

ore

angular ones. Ports of 0*

"been

to stand as hrghkghts.

65

SUBJECT

Composition
interesting without detracting

A group
in

of flowers tastefully arranged

an attractive vase always looks

enticing

putting

make

that, after

all, is

them there - but

a painting

of flowers

in

in itself.

the point of
it

may not

Placing a vase

the center of the picture,

main

from the

subject.

One
devices

of the most-used compositional


that of placing the vase

is

asymmetrically and painting from an


angle so that the back of the tabletop

forms a diagonal instead of

with no background or foreground

horizontal

is not usually the best way to


make the most of the subject - though
there are some notable exceptions to

arsenal, as they help to lead the eye

interest,

this rule.

So you

will

have to think

about what other elements you might


include to

make the composition more

powerful

Diagonals are a

line.

weapon

in

the

artist's
in

to the center of the picture, while


horizontal lines

One
groups

of the
is

do the opposite.

difficulties

with flower

that the vase leaves a blank

space at the bottom of


the picture area.This can

sometimes be

dealt with

by using a cast shadow as


part of the composition,

or you can scatter one


or two blooms or petals

beneath or to one side


of the vase, thus creating

between

a relationship

foreground and focal


point.

LEFT:

ANEMONES

by Mary Tempest
This bold, highly

patterned

composition, with the

emphasis on

carefully

distributed areas of bright


color,

is

somewhat

reminiscent

of French painter Henri


Matisse (1869-1954).

166

PLANTS AND FLOWERS

rendered. Looking

Single Specimens
The most obvious example of flowers
and

help you to

'>

ither than

pi

books

illustrated

.it

and photc

background

nt of a group

knowledge

paintings. R-

been made since

p-

x.

Renaissance times

and are

an

still

important branch of

saying that

I also need to

best of

these drawings

and paintings are

but their

primary aim
is

to record

precise

information aboi.'

more concerned

with

scientific

them

in

Most flowers can be

such as
like

circles

or

bells.

These,

everything else, are affected by

perspective, so that a circle turned

away from you becomes an ellipse. It


is much easier to draw flowers if you
main shapes before

describing each petal or stamen.

artists,

who

with these than

accuracy, can exploit

a freer,

However,

will

charms are

secondary bonuses, but


are

you

draw from

constantly

life

establish these

particular species. For the botanical


illustrator, pictorial

it

nphfied into basic shapes,

works of

fine

leaf

goes without

specialized illustration.

Many of the

and

shapes, but

more

this

is

painterly way.

an area where

careful

drawing and

observation

is

needed. You

may be

able

to get
.

ith

imprecise

drawing for

ABOVE
The

oad
impression
flower group, but a
subject that

on

its

own must be

is

to stand

convincingly

CROWN

sr>

IMPERIAL by jenny Macthewi


es.

/lowers are so fu

demand

the nght to

colors of
r

they

some

seem

to

shme out proud and

alone, without th<

ground or other dvers*

and

xjcground

fore-

romty the

SUBJECT

WATERULIES

by

Norma Jameson

Natural Habitat

and you may have to adopt a


ruthlessly selective

Oddly, the term "flower painting"

makes

us think of cut flowers rather

than growing ones, perhaps because

most of the
that

we

see

paintings of this genre


in

arranged rather than outdoor

best

in

however, are

painting

and

them outdoors, whether they

hedgerows or
cultivated

city

blooms

in

woods,

gardens,

is

both

can,

however, present

more

problems than painting arranged

68

light

sky the colors and

or flower head that was

suddenly be

spot-lit

no longer ignore

way to

its

shadow

will

so that you can


presence. The

deal with this problem,

than a few hours to complete,

is

to

two or three separate


sessions at the same time of day or to
make several quick studies that you
in

groups indoors, because you cannot

can then combine into a painting

control the background or the

the studio.

lighting,

if

you think a painting may take more

work

rewarding and enjoyable.


It

have a changing

previously obscured by

best

wastelands, or
in

will also

moves across the


leaf

at their

their natural surroundings,

are wild specimens

You

source to contend with. As the sun

values can change dramatically, and a

art galleries are of

subjects. Flowers,

approach to

achieve a satisfactory composition.

in

PLANTS AND FLOWERS


'

Narcissi

ABOVE

rms ore butt up from

<th glazes of warm and


cool color Are

in

Sunlig

ABOVE Spontaneous
and

lost

brush strokes

and found edge

'*ov>c*e

"breath

the bock can be

those

ww

'^os

jlt

Tot

169

SUBIECT

Landscape
Watercolor has always been

closely associated with landscape

seascape painting, and even with today's proliferation of


the

artist

there

is

still

atmospheric

none more
qualities

Tradition
In

England, the country which

more

sky.

of the Dutch school such as Jacob van

629-1 682), but the general

Ruisdael

public

the main wanted portraits

and

in

historical subjects. The great

English portrait painter Thomas

founded the great tradition of

Gainsborough

watercolor

in

landscape was not

really

suitable subject

the

late

in its

considered a

own

right until

eighteenth century. The

formal, classical landscapes of the

French

artists,

Claude Lorraine

deep

727-

788), had a

love of his native landscape and

regarded

it

as his true subject, but

order to earn a

living

in

he painted many

more portraits than landscapes.


The two artists who elevated
landscape and seascape to the status

were Constable and Turner

(1600-1682) and Nicolas Poussm

of

(1594-1665), were much admired by

Their influence on painting, not only

artists

and discerning

were the

70

and

sea,

than any other can claim to have

landscape painting

for

able to render the transient and

of countryside,

The English Watercolor

and

new media

realistic

collectors, as

landscapes of artists

fine art

Great

Britain

but

all

over the world,

was immeasurable. By the

early

in

LANDSCAPE

FAR LEFT THE WHITE HOUSE. CHELSEA

Thomas

by

Thomas Qrtm was a pioneer of watercolor


much admired by his contemporary.
Turner

ABOVE
David

Girtin

He worked

Mack monostrol
sienna and light

with only five colors

blue.

red

yeHow

ocher.

The

JUBILEE DRIVE.

MALVERN

HILLS by

Prentic*.

b'

the foreground trees, where

over lighter colors.

to create subtle

evocations of atmosphere.

nineteenth century landscape had


arrived,

and

at

watercolor. a

the

medium

for quick sketches

his feelings

and

hrtherto used
for coloring

maps and prints, had become the


medium for many landscape ai
Constable used watercolor as

chief

his

predecessors had. as a rapid means of


recording impressions, but Turner used

new and
ted

its

daring

potential

way and
fully

about

light

and color

At much the same time John

same time

to express

Sell

Cotman. the cofounder of the school


of painting
School,
finest

known

as the

Norwich

was producing some of the

watercolor landscapes ever seen

before or since. These paintings by the

>ofthef

rcolor

have never been surpassed: they

became an

inspiration to

ai

everywhere, and remain so to

school

SUBJECT

Hints for

ABOVE: A

Outdoor

watercolor of stones atAvebury.

The cool tones express the

Painting

and

clarity

of daylight

the calm grandeur of this ancient

monument

Once

landscape had

"official"

become

an

subject for painters, working

outdoors

from nature became


common, the more so

directly

increasingly

after the French Impressionists set the

example.

It

is

now

not

Photographers

lining

so popular

up to record

scenic view are a

more

than

so.

artists

doing

It

excellent discipline, which forces you

rapid decisions about

how

make

to treat

work

it

medium,

is

a light

ideally suited

work, but on-the-spot

and portable

as

it

is

laid

down, freezing

numb your

hands, sudden
efforts

or wash them away altogether and


changing

light

that confuses you and

and composition.

If

initial

drawing

the weather looks

unpredictable, take extra clothes (a

off the painting

hand are a help

to outdoor

winter), a plastic bag or

painting,

enough to hold your board

whatever the medium, always presents

72

the

pair of old gloves with the fingers cut

itself.

Watercolor

soon

winds that

makes you doubt your

and lends immediacy and spontaneity


to the

is

showers that blotch your best

however, an

to look hard at a subject and

among them

with blazing heat that dries the paint


as

usual sight
is,

problems. Chief

weather You may have to contend

rain,

and anything

else

in

case large
in

case of

you can think of

LANDSCAPE
your comfort,

for

tea or coffee
bright try to

sit in

otherwise the

you
it

off the

difficult

ermos of

and a

radio.

If

the sun

bounce

reconnaissance

b.i

or sometimes impossible to
If

you are

headphones to

device.

:>n

Some

listen

do

not.

people also

Always take

sufficient

water and receptacles to put


restrict

m, and

it

your palette to as few colors

Choose

make

a subject that genuinely

you rather than one you

you "ought" to

paint,

even

if it

a back garden or local park.

If

familiar with a particular area

is

feel

in

you

mind. When

light

a start

changes.

If

on one day

Seascapes are especially

difficult,

since

the color of the sea can change


drastically

from dark indigo to bright

blue-green, for

make

It

is

example

in

a matter

often advisable to

several quick color sketches and

then work indoors from them.

only

you are

BELOW THE CLEARING

by Roland Roycraft

will

probably already have a subject, or


several subjects,

first

and complete the work on another.

of minutes.

as possible.

interests

you can

as quickly as

complete before the


necessary

an aid to concentration, though

others

work

important stages of the painting are

to your radio serves as an efficient

it

try to

dashing

in

out with your par

without rushing, so that the

embarrassed by the comments of


passers-by. using

advance by

in

pi

white paper, which makes

see what you are doing.

find

ioning in an unfamiliar

to assess a subject

shaded

light will

is

pure white, and the shadov.

you n

than

SUBJECT

Trees and Foliage

clump of foliage you


fragmented

Trees are
all

among

the most enticing of

landscape features. Unfortunately,

they are not the easiest of subjects to


paint, particularly

when

foliage

effect.

some parts of the tree, those


shadow or further away from you,
will read as one broad color area, while
and those nearer to you

sunlit parts

will

show sharp

light

and shade.

To
is

paint a tree

in leaf

broad shape of the

dominant

successfully

to simplify

it

it

to

Start by establishing the


tree, noting

characteristics,

width of the trunk

contrasts of tone and

in

rts

such as the

relation to the

height and spread of the branches.

Avoid becoming bogged


defining individual shapes

down
in

in detail,

manner

A
areas
lines

useful technique for highlighting

where you want to avoid hard


is

that of

painting

the

is

lively

foliage.

lifting

out, while

good way of

sponge

suggesting

broken-color effect of

Dry brush

is

If

technique, well suited to winter trees

with their delicate, hazy patterns

74

El

created by clusters of tiny twigs.

you try to give equal weight

and importance to every separate

another favored

that does not detract from the main

mass.

color

usually necessary

some extent

will

in

the

patterns of

the subject

see that

own complex

its

create a jumpy,
at

with your eyes half closed and you

obscures their basic structure and

makes

will

Look

BELOW: LAKELAND TREE

by Moira Clinch

LANDSCAPE

Fields

ABOVE AMBERLEYAND KITHURST

and Hills

HILL.

SUSSEX by Robert Dodd

Dod

and mountains always make

Hills

'
I

sufcyect

by

f/ve

dramatic subjects, their powerful

presence needing only the minimum

expto

of help from the painter, but quieter

country

featureless

enough

or with gentle contours

flat

become

easily

in

just

dull

a painting.

and

It

is

part of the process.

seldom

)f

to paint what you see. so

the problem with

of landscape

is

this

that although

you may have to think of ways of

often beautiful and atmospheric,

enhancing a subject by exaggerating

of

certain features, stepping

up the

its

appeal

kind

much

comes from the wa

surrounds and envelopes you.

Once

colors or tonal contrasts, introducing

you begin to focus on the one small

textural interest, or using your

part of

brushwork more
Interestingly,

that they have

who

been

have believed

or

unconsciously improving on nature

fit

onto a piece of

known

Img well

'

to anyone

who

tal

photographs. So take a page from the

painting exa

they have seen, but they never


:>nsciously

you can

found so -

there have been artists

throughout history

it

/ou often wonder what you

inventively.

photographer's book and


viewfinder

is

of cardboard

us-

a rectangle cut in a piece


is all

you need.

SUBIECT

Step-by-step: Morning Headland

Working on stretched and


well-dampened paper; the

artist

begins by dropping dark gray


paint into light to create the effect of

heavy clouds.

Holding the board sideways at


a sharp angle

makes the

paint

flow toward the bottom

cornerYou can exert control by


varying the angle of the board;

the paint flows too

far in

direction, simply reverse

if

one
the

angle.

The mountain was

paper to dry
laying a
tilting

until

slightly,

rough band of gray, and

the board upside

down

the paint flowed into a

suitable

then

created by allowing the

shape.The board was

laid flat.

76

LANDSCAPE

paint will continue

jntil

detail

tt

to lose an effect you

added

in

Step 3

became

of blurred, rounded shapes.

The color flowed upward and

moving

has dned. Be prepared


liked.

The

a senes

downward,
edge

at

creating a jagged

the top of the

mountains, and giving a

realistic

impression of a dark forest below.

MORNING
HEADLAND
Robert

by

Tilling

sf

exploits

the wet-on-wet

method

his

extensively

atmosphenc

seascapes, but

always combines

it

vorkThe sky and


xjrts

of the sea

vere painted wet-

wed to dry
before the

leodland -

whch

equired cnsp edges

kjedand
iarker blues

ntroduced into the

177

SUBIECT

Step-by-step: Distant Hills

E
E
The wash

for the

with a No.

was

sky,

squirrel brush,

deliberately

light

2} 3

squirrel

put on

the far

dry,

wash

for

the same

brush was used to

II

a darker shade, with Payne's gray

added to the cobalt

cloud cover

as the

the sky was

laid slightly

unevenly to suggest a pale blue sky with


a

As soon

put on

blue,

to the area of

Lll

hills.

The second wash had to be darker


than that for the sky but not too dark as
the

artist

knew

that he

would have to

increase the tonal contrasts

distance to suggest

its

to the picture plane.

[As
4- 9

each wash has to be

in

relative

the middle

nearness

m
Ej

allowed to dry before


putting

on the

next,

particular technique, a hairdryer

in this

is

sometimes used to hasten the process.

The

third

and fourth washes, darker

shades of the second, were


leaving the

laid

on

next,

whole of the foreground and

middle distance

still

untouched.

78

>

LANDSCAPE

Rocks and Mountains


rocks and

<t>y

Mountains are a

gift

to the painter

cliffs call

different approach, since th

they form marvelously exciting shapes,

most

their colors are constantly changing

sharp edges and their textures

and. best of

be

sitting

all.

on one. they are

be seen

to

without too

as

flat

details
lightly

far

enough

seen on

from

detail.

or semi-flat washes with

light

in

are pitted

surface and an

soft to the touch.

One

of the

best techniques for creating edge

be depicted

qualities

is

the wet-on-dry method,

where successive small washes are laid


over one another (if you become
tired of waiting for them to dry. use a

on those closer to

you. For atmospheric effects, such as


mist or

some seashores

and uneven

such as individual outcrops


indicated

even

the rounded, sea-weathered boulders

broad shapes

much worrying

Distant mountains can


using

happen to

unless you

exciting qualities are their ha

cloud blending sky and

speed up the process).

hairdrier to

mountain tops together, try working

Texture can be

wet-m-wet or mixing watercolor with

of ways. The

opaque

salt

white.

spatter

LEFT

built

wax

up

resist,

in

methods are

WELSH

number

scumbling, or
all

excellent.

CLIFFS by Michael Chaplin

w the

been suggested

places by

7g washes, a technique
.

M
ibbed onto paper with a sponge looks

You'll find

you hove op

fed for sutjects


'pie

sponge

lie

like

on

weathered stof
layers of

th*

gray-brown n

touches of yellow, create an accurate impression of


the weathered mottled surface of the

<

arty well

on the rough

SUBJECT

Light and
The

British

Weather

landscape painter John Constable (1776-1837) once said

and governs everything." Sky is, of


it is part and parcel of all
landscape, transforming it - sometimes in a matter of minutes - from a
peaceful, sunny scene to a dark and brooding one.
that

".

the sky

is

the source of

light

course, the mirror of the weather and

Painting Clouds

agent.
It

is

easy to think of clouds as simply

gray and white, but

them

carefully,

you

if

you look

will

pink, yellow,

areas

and

may

blue,

may appear

contain hints of

and the gray

purplish or

gain a

new

that your clouds

vitality

will

and luminosity

if

for grays

more

will find

lively:

these mixes

adding straight

black or white reduces the intensity of

the mixture and produces a lackluster

muddy

gray.
is

mixed gray which


a pink gray.

a very useful readyis

both a yellow and

Once you

have

painted with delicately "colored" grays.

experimented with mixing

For a

will find

that Payne's gray has

and,

any other color there are

start, reject

black and try

instead a mixture of ultramarine and

burnt

180

or cadmium red for pink or

yellow grays. You

Payne's gray

will find

to lighten the color,

and a touch of yellow ocher raw

often

brownish.

You

Add water

sienna,

at

be surprised

by the variety of colors they contain:


the "white" areas

crimson as your darkening

alizarin

umber or

ultramarine and

like

times

when

it

is

you

grays,
its

suitable to use

place

it

LIGHT

because

nt Payne's gray,

is

it

AND WEATHER

such

reflecting the sun.

and the shadows

a delicate mixture of colors, can safely

underneath have a

be used

reflecting the sky Yellow

for darkening other colors.

colors

tel

a choice of
useful for
studies.
is

come ready-mixed

tints,

in

which can be very

For example, yellow ocher

the very palest

It

you from some blending, but

worth remembering

will
it

that if you tint your


complementary colors,

will find

//ith

encouraging minute patches of the


save

is

that colors

sunlight highlights.

tint

of yellow,

tint

perfect for a sunlit highlight.

ochr

better than lemon yellow for

You

making speedy cloud

bluish tinge,

you

pure

color,

lively

clouds.

will

achieve

more

which

are not too uniformly combined are


often

more

which are

BELOW CARBIS

interesting than those

efficiently

blended.

Highlights are not always found

the tops of clouds

Piousness

on

depends on

it

evening,

when

highlights are

the sun

In
is

is

low. the

underneath the clouds

and often tinged pink or


the sun

the early

high

in

the

sky.

yellow.

When

the highlights

on the tops of the clouds are

yellow.

part to the treatment of the


perspective

the position of the sun.

BAY. ST IVES

by Ashton Canncl

is

due

in

sky. 7h>

she

Oouds appear largest and most c'<


defined when h/gh in the sky directiy above
you.

and smaller

the closer they are to the

honzon. The colors are also paler on the

and

usuali.

SUBJECT

Cloud Formations

Clouds are always on the move - gathering,

dispersing, forming,

and re-forming - but they do not behave

are different types of cloud, each with

and

its

in

random

own

way. There

individual structure

characteristics.

To paint clouds convincingly you need to recognize the


differences.
levels,

and

It

is

also helpful to realize that they

this affects their

Cirrus clouds, high


delicate, feathery

in

the

sky,

that form

clouds, with horizontal bases

clouds (or thunderclouds)

level
will

different

are fine and vaporous, forming

plumes where they are blown by the wind. The

two types of cloud

vertically,

form on

tones and colors.

on the lowest
and

gray,

cumulus

level are

cauliflower-like tops,

heavy masses that

and storm

rise

up

often resembling mountains or towers. Both these low-

clouds

show

strong contrasts of

sometimes look almost black

clouds are extremely bright


surprisingly

light

and dark. A storm cloud

against a blue sky,

where the sun

strikes

and cumulus

them and

dark on their shadowed undersides.

Sop green
Cerulean

is

a good

particularly for
sky.

Here, the

encouraged

it

to

blue,

a summer
artist

has

be retained

in

the dips of the rough

paper.

Note the sharp edge

painted around the

highlit

top edge of the cloud.The

shadows are created by


merging colored gray washes
wet-in-wet touches of raw
sienna, Payne's gray,

cobalt blue are

and

visible.

Further darker grays are

added

82

wet-on-dry.

LIGHT

AND WEATHER

Step-by-step: Lifting
The technique
In this

overlaid

of

demonstration the

when dry

Antwerp
using a

Out Clouds

blue.

wrth a thin

ocher. overlaid

The clouds are en

crumpled

od

of yellow

wash

tissue. (Alternatively

when dry

with

you could use a

cloth, a

The

artist

it

di

sponge, or evo

dry brush, depending on the type of cloud you

h of

out the paint before

'ting

ng.)

has to

work

soon as the wash

As

fast

completed.

is

jmpJed piece of

tissue

is

used to gently dab off the blue paint

more

Slightly

pressure

define the clean

is

applied to

edge of the

brightly

Irt

top surface of the cloud.

Having established the outline,


the tissue

cloud.

is

reshaped and used

main body of the


As you work, vary the pressure
I

to

lift

off the

applied with the tissue to create the


irregular

shape of the cloud. Take care

not to rub the paper or you

will

destroy

the surface; use a press-and-lift motion

Cloud shadows

I by the thm
I

the

lifting

apt

layer of blue

off

left

by

proo

combining with the yellow ocher wash

beneath To
further,

bmW

up these shadows

washes of gray are applied usng

the wet-m-wet technique.

SUBJECT

Painting Skies

ABOVE:THE TEMPEST

by Roland Roycraft

Besides being exciting to paint, skies also play

vital role in

sky

is

when

the

landscape composition. Here the

main subject of the

the sky occupies only

painting.

picture,

you can use clouds (invent them

like) to

give extra color

and movement

landscape.

RIGHT:

MOONLIGHT NORWAY

by William Wyllie

184

Even

a small part of a
if you

to

AND WEATHER

LIGHT

Judging the Tonal

Painting a Vibrant Sky

Strength of Blue Sky


Inexperienced

artists

and the

rt

which emanates from

light

summer

often find

to capture the intensity of blue,

difficult

sky.

On

rt.

of

sky positively pulsates with light but

rt

is

impossible to translate this into paint

because pigment

is

opaque and

light The artist

absorbs

must therefore

shimmenng

colors optically

in

on the paper or
as

we

effect

by the Impressionists

the elusive nature of


is

based on the

light

fact that

captunng

The pnnciple

our eyes are

unable to focus property on small areas


of color which are the same shade. The
colors resonate

on the

retina

in effect

"dazzling" us. just as light dazzles. For

green can be mixed from

pie,

yellow and blue; but a green

of small dabs,

and

blue,

left

flecks,

composed

or strokes of yellow

unblended, appears

vibrant because the pure yellow

blue are

still

discernible,

resonate on the eye.


point
if

out however,

more
and

important to

that this only

works

the constrtuent colors are of equal or


lual value.)

Optical mixes also

appear more vibrant because the paint


is

applied

stipples,

small dabs, strokes,

skies

is

and

which themselves have more

energy than a

flat

color The tnck with

to introduce hints of

vw

mauves. and yellows into the


blues.

to paint

with

it

and the

rule

is

this

could lead

because the shade of

become too
that a blue

strong

si

always tonally lighter than the

landscape below

You may

find

it

easier, particularly

area of blue

the picture

sky.

if

to paint the rest of

and then add the sky

first

a lighter shade.
If.

however, the sky dominates the

composition, leaving an expanse


until last

can impair your judgment of

the values

in

the landscape below.

cases such as these,

to block

in

is

rt

good

work

the rest of the painting

is

rt

up when

well or

way. Working back and forth

exercise;

rt

is

between

also a useful

helps to into

thus creating a

atmospheric

more

natural

"wo.

and

e' v

To help you judge the comp.


tonal values

look at

rt

complex landscape,

through almost closed eyes.

This helps to take the colors


leaving

In

idea

the sky area with a pale

blue wash and then

the sky and the land

and they

(It is

is

the composition contains only a small

in

into trouble

the sky can easily

canvas. Optical mixes.

know, were used to

all

by mixing

light

sumn

a perfect

conjure up. However,

the eve rather than

on

temptation

the deepest blue pigment yoi.

you

resort to artifice and create an


impression of

you are faced with the intense

blue of the sky


day, the

'he

When

out

you better able to judge the

SUBJECT

Shade: The

The Quality of Light

early

Any

painting that aims

some way

in

to

represent the world around us by


creating the illusion of
painting

about

light.

reality,

None

occupied - value,

is

independent of

Light can

When

light

light

means of

in

reduces the

face,

it

light itself

order to capture an accurate

impression of

light in

your

paintings,

you have to be able to judge


quality This quality can

effect

what

it

the

in

and the

has on our perception of

before

is

light

us.

the weather the time of

the

day,

time of year and of course where


exactly you are

in

the world and

how

close you are to the equator


It

in

or paintings the

effect that changing light

colors

it

on.

falls

day, colors are

shadow more

bright sunlight, colors

gently. In

appear more

vibrant with few middle shades


highlight

Outline: You

weaker the

will

objects

in

the

light

of dusk, even

direct light will have soft

outlines, while
will

notice that the

the softer the outline

light,

In

and shadow.

those

be almost

in

deep shadow

indistinct. Bright

sunshine produces clearly defined

edges where

it

shines directly

on

objects.

can be very instructive to record

a series of sketches

all

At these times of

an object has.

There are various

factors which affect the quality of the


light:

the evening

light in

will qualify

between

its

be seen

color and strength of the

extremes, but you

Sunlight can cast a cold, blue

highlight to

transitory thing.
In

contrast, the

generally softer, graduating from

an elusive and

is

In

of the

up the variety

the early morning and a

light in

which

Yet

limits

plays

middle values.

golden or pink

inspired.

it

its

shines through the leaves of a tree, or

and

the

bleaches out the subtle

gently illuminates a misty morning, we,


as artists, are captivated

in

so the tonal

sky,

the middle shades.

Color:

on

sparkles

weaker

power of the midday sun pushes the


will find

water catches and animates a

throughout

Shadows: As
the

sky,

the sun travels across

shadows

position, color,

alter in length,

and value. Strong

light

the day has on a particular scene.

produces dark, hard-edged shadows,

There are various things you

while soft

notice

86

the

value range to

it.

be the source of

inspiration as well as the


revelation.

in

value range, but

space

color, form,

low

is

Such

of the

considerations with which the painter


is

is

values are softer and less intense.

is

sun

light

morning and evening when the

will

when you compare them.

light

produces paler

defined shadows.

ill-

LIGHT

AND WEATHER

Changing Light

ABOVE SUNRISE. NINE SPRINGS


color

some

the sky have produced

in

by Ronald

J<

ed

of the most magnificent and sublime

works

one of "
')>ch

the history of

make

Glorious

art.

sunsets, towering banks of sunlit

cumulus cloud, dark, storm-filled


the featfv

si

landscape oc

of cirrus clouds

blue expanse: thes*


id of subjects
Is

for gen*

Unfortunately, you cannot

fr

the

sky,

to produce this type of woi

the suns relentless progress across

so you have to learn to cope

you don't want to be hurried, you


could

and building up the


1

You may

find

it

than dc

helps to restrict

yourself to working

on

on

detail,

for only an

und

olution

Still

he

is

to

ne.

a small scale,

md few
1

them.

but you

colors.

may not

until

the

ompleted

if

you

constant. V

187

SUBJECT

you have to

If

one
at

sitting,

as

much

in

information

the start as you can. Your visual

memory
at

your painting

finish

amass

can be improved

you work

if

you were painting

it.

more than

the quality of the

in

season

affect

if

It

is

common

shadows

Study the

shadows

cast.

mistake to regard

as negative areas of a

Not

do shadows help to

comparative values, scan the contours,

painting.

explore the character of the patches

strengthen the compositional

of

light

and shadows.

Some

that sketching these aspects


detail

artists find

any

in

tends to impair the power of

the memory. But


Unless you

it

paint a scene

in

do both.
want to

helps to

specifically

you

bright sunlight,

outdoors on a

when
and

drastic

changes
of

intensity

less likely

overcast day,

slightly

lights

in

only

structure, they can also contribute to

the atmosphere of a scene and to the

mood

you wish to convey. For

example,

bright, crisp sunlight casts

sharply defined areas of

shadow

that

will

and

light

emphasize the

bracing atmosphere of a seaside

be better advised to paint

will

light

the shade, color and

configuration of the

exploring every part of the scene as

But

indistinct.

changes

during the day and according to the

by concentrating hard and

it

and

subtle
that,

the position

and shadows are

to occur

same

scene. But that


late

afternoon

when

lengthen and the

an

scene, painted

in

the shadows

light

is

have

hazy, will

of calm and peace.

air

Shadows are never completely

Painting
Without shadows,
So

if

light

will

and only

influenced by the local color of the

filled

object on which the

colors

anything.

not

bright sunlight,
in

quality of

mean

light. In

shadows are hard-edged

more

gentle

light,

complementary (opposite) to

they are

shadow; for instance, a yellow object

may throw

shadow with

a blue-

violet tinge. Shadows vary in density,

becoming

lighter in

shade the further

they are from the object casting them.

ABOVE: MRS MAUDSLEVS GREENHOUSE

impression of light

by Ronald Jesty

of dappled

sunlight which break into the

shadow on

the wall heighten this effect

In this

wonderfully inviting picture

contrast

and

between the

intense,

and

light,

the color of the object casting the

it

Shadows vary enormously,

depending on the
and dark;

will

falls,

is

shadows are often tinged with

also,

emphasis, that highlight

shadow

by the color of the prevailing

paint a bright highlight, but without an


give

shadow

exist.

need to master

shadow to

rarely are they a

neutral gray. The color of a

the art of painting shadows. You can

equally dark

188

does not

you want to paint pictures

with sunlight, you

black,

Shadows

it is

the

dark shadows

the bright sunshine that gives the strong

and

depth. The

telling

spots

and

entice us into the illuminated greenhouse.

LIGHT

AND WEATHER

189

SUBJECT

Step-by-step:

Hot Sun

This watercolor painting speaks of the hot Mediterranean sun. The artist

was

attracted by the geometric pattern created by the strong verticals of the walls,

countered by the diagonals of the roof against the sky and the mid-morning

shadow cast across the wall. The artist's general plan is to work from cool to
warm, starting with blues/through to yellows and finally red. In this painting the
artist is working mainly from memory, but with the aid of a sketch
supplemented with notes and photographs.

Having sketched

in

composition, the

artist applies

masking
are to be

left

the outline of the

over those areas which

fluid

white, such as the flowers

in

the

foliage.

With

^i

a large softhair brush loaded

with cerulean blue


little

cobalt,

the

warmed

with a

artist paints in

the

sky area and then the shadows.

Now the artist starts to work

on the

details, starting

from

the center of the painting with

A wash

the

of yellow ocher

applied wet-on-dry, runs

down

further than planned, so the

paper

is

laid flat

fashion the

190

and a

tissue

edge of the

step.

is

used to

foliage. The

fluid

mean

and

light

areas of dried masking

that a

merged wash of dark

green can be painted

without worrying about the

in

intricate

shapes of the flowers and stems.

LIGHT AND WEATHER

shadow

When

are located with

diluted cobalt blue, applied

with a small round brush to give

more

dry.

the paint

the masking

thoroughly
is

removed by rubbing with


kneaded eraser Note the

detail.

is

fluid

delicate,

a soft

darker

shadows which have been added to the

window

panes.

The geranium

painted
pink

allowed to

flowers are

wet-m-wet

underwash

dry.

It

First a pale

applied and

then wetted and a

is

cnmson

spot of alizann

is

is

added and

allowed to fuse and spread.

The

artist

foliage

decides that the

the center

is

too

hard-edged, so with a small


piece of natural soft sponge she stipples

on some green

To make the

rt

painting "sing," a

stronger dilution of yellow


|

ocher

is

taken through the

painting, representing reflected light

applied

paint to soften

on the

It is

steps here using the dry

brush technique with a

flat

bristle brush.

191

SUBJECT

Step-by-step:

Hot Sun

(continued)

Finally,

the gabled end of

the house

is

knocked back

with a gentle scumble of

yellow ocher applied with a dry

brush

in

a circular motion.

BELOW: SPANISH STEPS

by Hazel Soan

Finally satisfied, the artist declares the

painting finished.

There

is

probably no

subject quite as

appealing as sunlight

and shadow, and

it

is

most pleasant to paint


outside on a warm,
sunny day under the

shade of a tree.

Look

carefully at

the

colors of shadows. They


are rarely gray or black;

they veer toward blue

or mauve, crimson, or
green, as they are

colored by both the


surfaces
fall

on which they

and by reflection

from adjacent

objects.

Analyze their shapes;


like

clothes draping a

person's body, shadows

can be used to describe

the forms over which

they

92

lie.

LIGHT AND WEATHER

com

disappear and tonal

Mist and Fog

minimized. The effects of


Sunny,

warm

inviting

days are

much more

perspective are

to the painter than wet. cold

days. Yet

if

painting

in

that objects only a short distance

away seem to melt

the practical problems of

bad weather can be

overcome, painting

in

more pronounced, so
into a blur

Capturing the veiled and

bad weather

mysterious aspect of a foggy

is

exciting because of the transformation

landscape requires sensitive

that takes place in the landscape.

observation and a certain amount of

Rainstorms, fog.

ice.

and snow: each of

these weather conditions has

its

restraint in handling the paint.

own

magic, and can turn an ordinary scene


into a

memorable

On

a foggy day

contrasts

in

closely-related tones;

contrasts

painting.

you

will

notice

how

will

In

and allowed to blur

water vapor held

acrylics, oils,

filter

air acts like a

neutralizing bright colors

flattening

and

light

and

at

the edges.

pastels,

In

use the

Reserve any clear

details

and dark

tones for the foreground; these

tones appear darker The mist

disperses the

of

techniques of blending and scumbling.

masses and contours. Dark

tones appear lighter than normal, and


light

illusion

watercolor

washes can be applied to damp paper

reduced to subtle modulations. The


the

too many sharp

destroy the

all-enveloping mist.

color and tone are

in

Use

subdued, harmonious colors and

will

enhance, through contrast, the

so that shadows

mistiness

in

the background.

Step-by-step: Wet-in-wet Mist


a sheet of
I

dampened paper

washes of rose madder are

laid in

horizontal strokes, star

the top of the paper While the paint

wet patches

of color are

small piece of

lifted

is still

out with a

dampened sponge

to reveal

the whrte of the paper

The contours of
using a

with

hills

are added.

wash of cobalt blue mixed

light red.

dampened once more

The paper

is

to produce the softly

dappled color of the sky and

v.

SUBJECT

Snow

Scenes

being a highly reflective surface,


reflects light

For those
regard

it

who

snow and

rarely see

as a treat,

it

way

For

a sight that

is

this

from the sky

in

the same

body of water does.


reason, snow is rarely

brings pleasure and excitement. For

blanket of pure white;

others

affected by the quality of the

it

betides the onset of long

weeks or months of cold and


discomfort, so they greet
positive attitude.

weather; the

As

prevailing

with a

it

less

paintings of

in all

emotional

artist's

response to the subject

is

at least as

important as the presentation of the


facts.

And

it

is

not only

moods

light.

its

color

sunny day the

snow appear

sunlight

produces shadows which

contain

its

complementary color -

blue or blue-violet, depending on the

warmth or coolness of the

that

such as cold and wet as well.

highlights, often

many who

evening

pinkish tinge,

are intimidated by the prospect of

In

painting snow. They feel unable to

light

sunlight.

creates softer

with a yellowish or

and deep blue shadows.

transparent watercolor you have

to establish the position of the

on the snow

cope with such an expanse of white,

brightest highlights

and sub-zero temperatures do not

advance and paint around them.

them to take

exactly encourage

paints outside to try. But

demur from
order

actually to paint,

a scene

even

if

their

you could try working on

you

paper and adding body color

braving the elements

from the

Certainly

hand the

it

is

artist's

effect that

snow

itself.

light

has on the

Getting closer to your subject

in

way you will soon discover that


snow is a fascinating subject to paint.
If you have ever woken up in bed
when there is snow outside, you will
know how the room appears bathed
in

a cool

light.

This

is

because snow,

is

the most economical

for painting

snow

scenes, as

you can leave some areas of white


paper to represent the

on the snow

this

of Chinese white

effect of snow.

medium

at first

landscape and, particularly, the effect

of different kinds of

slight chalkiness

Watercolor

eye.

worth studying

Or

toned

renders the appropriate powdery

or

simply take a walk and observe your

surroundings with an

in

(Chinese white) to the colors. The

in

you can sketch

inside of a car

is

dazzlingly white, but the yellow

Warm

are

On

sunstruck areas of

have to be recreated, but sensations

No wonder there

94

that a

Model the contours

in

lightest lights.

the

snow

with

pale washes of blues, grays, and


yellows.

Use

straight lines

edges where the snow

is

and hard
fresh

and

clean; indicate patches of melting

snow by

using scrubby drybrush

strokes to represent the earth

peeping through.

LIGHT

AND WEATHER

LEFT

THE CLEARING

by Roland Roycraft

torn

the

shadows

</
"ink.

,oate

blues were

deep

yellow
l> ;

blue-gray

and

blue-green shadows

ensures that the


highlights

BELOW
paper

'.disking fluid

for the

was used

in this

appeo'

painting to reserv

snow on the branches. The snowfiakes were made by

spattenng thick white gouache over the top half of the

pambng

with a

toothbrush.

195

SUBJECT

Light on

Water

the paradoxes of watercolor painting


is

The

effects of light

almost

irresistible.

on water are

Obviously they can

seldom be painted on the

that the

most seemingly

spontaneous

spot; a shaft

of sunlight suddenly breaking through

effects are in fact the

result of careful planning.

Work

out the colors and tones

cloud to spotlight an area of water

correct

them by

could disappear before you

wash.

can be helpful to

lay

out

in

advance so that you do not have to

It

wash over
make a

overlaying

your colors. But you can recapture

series of small preparatory color

such effects

sketches to try out various techniques

in

the studio as long as

you have observed them

and color combinations. Knowing

closely,

committed them to memory and

made
the

sketches of the general

lie

BELOW:THE RIVER GUADALUPE

of

When

you begin to

remember

This lovely painting

paint,

that the effect you

want to

skillful

shows a breathtakingly

use of reserved

highlights.

reflection, tiny sunlit twig


is one of transience, so try to
make your technique express this
quality. This does not mean splashing
on the paint with no forethought -

convey

this

196

is

by Shirley

Felts

land.

unlikely to

be

successful.

One

of

and

Each pale

point of light has

been achieved by painting around the


This

can

result in tired,

area.

overworked paint but

here nothing of the luminosity of the


watercolor has been sacrificed
fresh

and

sparkling.

and

it

remains

LIGHT AND WEATHER

>u

you to

intend to

paint freely

ition.

you decide to

If

do en

wav

and without
paint

rl

paint by tilting the board.

If

you

p'

work wet -on -dry. establish exactly


where your highlights are to be and
then leave them strictly alone or.
alternatively, put them in last with
opaque white used

for suggesting the ruffled

breakers, while the deli

patterns formed

accurately "painted" by scraping

decide on. use as few brushpossible

disappointment
o'

ill

im has completely

ment of the

subject. This

insistence
detail,

and

on

is

because

you

There are

it.

and

so learn to make

ng

fev.

on

a
.vn

ordu

ruthlessly

.ouldbe
nable to

belie

medium

ti

that has such an obvious


ing

suppre
often

of tone

wtth hard edges

is

how

ngs go wrong.

The commonest reason

Ripp
distinct contrasts

poor observation

A
same

and

color and tone

between the sunlit tops and


^ws caused by broken reflect
Working wet-on -dry is the
of describing

provide clearty defined reflection'

color, often

but avoid too

this edgy,

much

of

v.

over beca*.

all

no

reflective

obje

overlaying of

iddy the
color

'luid is

very helpful

here, as you can block out sr

be

"less

the secondary ones.

shows very

Water

day

3re" by looking for


is

you put on

will look.

mirror-like surface of a lake

pro

to paint moving water unless

simplify

paint

to the pamtei

lesson for the painter. You can ne.

hope

more

Still

movement b

including every

this

the

wet the water

to

failed

movement and e
ezes

less

or rushing

capture the

nique or

the

photograph

v.

'rom the beach can be very

Most people have experienced the


of finding th

efl

combinations of techniques you

Moving Water

made

of a broken spray on the tops of

Wh

the

freely

practice controlling

'

to

rl

you work

she/
color and tone
iiso

often

affected b

SUBJECT

viewing. Water usually looks darker

the foreground because

you and thus


It

is

also

in

closer to

is

is

a horizontal

ABOVE:
Knight

is

HEADLAND

in

waves and given a

by Charles Knight

provides the perfect illustration of the

their

98

played by technique

in art.

lovely feeling

movement and drama


crisp,

role

can sometimes

and

recession by exaggerating a darker tone

and a master of the watercolor


medium. This wonderfully atmospheric painting

made

It

stress flatness

bring the foreground forward.

painter,

has

implied.

an

a committed land- and seascape

secondary

is

assume the

one because no

or even inventing a ripple or two to

sounds obvious, but has

horizontal plane painted

will instantly

properties of a vertical

be necessary to

powerful implications for painting.

unvaried tone

recession

reflects less light.

important to remember

that a lake or area of sea


plane. This

it

He

excellent use of wax resist for the

dark pencil

lines,

to the

but

of

headland with

his techniques,

although fascinating to analyze, remain


place" as no

more than

which allow him to express

"in

the vehicles

his ideas.

BUILDINGS

Buildings
Watercolor
broad,

the

ell

is

washes of one

flat

slightly irregular

suited to architectural subjects. You

color,

or

on old

surface

buildings. You

edges, and define decorative details with a small brush

made by

c u

teven ones sugge

deliL-

The

paintings

or professional architectural "renderers" to show


prospective clients are more often in watercolor than in any r
medium, and some of these are fine works of art in their own nght.
architects

Optical Trickery

Linear Perspective
Many

ng

peopl'

and painting

buildings

because they

Because the

real

have guessed that perspective n


*

'

lot. But you will not make the


problem go away by avoiding

bowl of

perspective

The
*

is

the most

figures,

feelings of

a landscap*

into the distano

on

fruit

group of

a tabletop.

or eve-

gloom and made'

most people experience

thought of learning perspe

ne into the of

because

important of these, providm,

.vmdmg

j|

evolved a senes of conventions, or

perspective n
% to represent

^ave over the cent

^itectural subjects,

world

dimensional and a p

at

the

mmm

*r

not sur;

on

through an encyclope

the subject, and was horrified by the

complexity of the

ind the

them to

impossit

real such as a house, or


;

Vjt

ft

need not be mad'


1
hope

even

'

see

LEFT

HOTEL VIRGILKD. ORV1ETO

in this

dispel

section of the boo-

some

of the darkness.

the (kigond

*n

gn*4> ofbukingi

by Ray

.vings an<

lean

feeing of

%wrd

SUBJECT

making objects look

and

solid

side planes will

convincing by suggesting space and

further

volume. There

this

is

another kind of

perspective, called aerial perspective,

which

concerned with tone and

is

color This

and

explained on pages 108

is

In

happen the

become

a way, perspective

set of rules that can

more advanced

And

to

make

have to

closer together (a

optical fact) until they

meet on the

line.

the easiest

is

part of painting because

are.

parallel lines

geometrical impossibility but an

horizon

109.

appear smaller the

away they

it

is

simply a

be learned. The

aspects of

art,

such as

composition or the use of particular


colors and shapes to create a specific

mood, can

involve a long-term

personal quest and the conventions

adopted are

different for

but perspective

everyone.

is

every

artist,

the same for

Once you have become


the rules you

familiar with

will find

draw with much more

that you can

confidence because they

become second

will

have

nature to you.

ABOVE: One-point

Simple Perspective

perspective

the simplest kind of perspective,

If

you have a mathematical bent you

life

much of your

to the study of perspective, but

this section

about

is

buildings, so

it

same

vanishing point (called VP

subsequent diagrams).

the vanishing point


picture. If he

simple as possible. The

left.

of perspective

is

founded on one

which can be readily


observed by eye - the apparent

which

all

at the

in this

case the

and

all

artist

has drawn from the middle of the street so

makes sense to follow the "need to


know" principle and keep matters as
whole system

In this

the term for

in

meet

the receding horizontal lines

could probably devote

is

right

to

it

is

in

had been

the center of the


further over to the

would have been somewhere on the

Often

it is

estimate

its

outside the picture, so you have


position.

basic tenet,

decrease

in

the size of objects as they

recede towards the horizon. Suppose


the objects

in

simple cubes

200

question are a series of

- then

it

follows that the

The Vanishing Point


This brings us to the golden rule that
all

receding parallel

lines

vanishing point, which

is

met

at a

on the

horizon. This sounds simple, as indeed

BUILDINGS
have to work out

enough when

the honzo'

you are
or

located

is it

ng but houses? The answer


n

and

this

where the

is

eye

are

omt

picture area,

Extend

this line

Sometimes the

will

be outside the

which case

amount of guesswork is involved,


combined with careful observation

converge.

when you

Normally,

front of you.

vanishing point.

what determines

lines will

to the honzon. and you have your

own

exactly at your

is

are

can see

e of the

rooftop by holding up a pencil or

when you

the middle

and then

is

or sea meets the

but where

level,

the h
quired

the honzon

ipe

whc
in

pc

lookir

'

.i

its

sitting

about your
be lower v

sketching or simply walking

eye

level

(honzon)

will

VP

Horizon

the tops of the buildings, so the

honzontal

windows
but

lines

of roofs and high

appear to slope down,

will

you choose a high eye

if

pie looking

down on

houses from the top of a


honzontal

lines will

level, for

a group of
the

hill,

slope upv.

Iishmg the vanishing point

the essential

first

and painting

buildings,

step

is

when drawing
because

it

gives

framework on which to
work the angle of every honzo
from the top of a roof to the bottom
you a

definite

of a door,

is

determined

you are

in

the middle

If

row of houses on

nothing could be easier

hmg
you and
in

point
at

many

the
''ont of

your eye

the honzon

rule as

is

either side,

line

lev-

and then

lines as

upword

lines

you and

toe.

immeoVote.
>o

front of

ponf

'xinge you'

)u are viewing at an angle,

in

ore workjn% on

and so on.

however, the
longer be

vomhng
the&ow,

to the

you need to

establish the diagonals of rooftops,

window

ABOVE

yen.

Ov hokbnv A o 'j*"

movrw

your he<;

#1 ffont of yv

SUBJECT

Step-by-step: Painting Buildings

I
I

touch of

First

make

a drawing, then lay a

blue

wash

for the sky

flat
rt

or gradated

to

dry.

Lay a

very pale wash, perhaps yellow ocher with a


crimson, over the rest of the painting.

alizarin

Paint the

and leave

shadowed

side of the building, then

begin to darken the colors

in

the central area

and foreground shadow. Paint the lamppost over


the other colors.

Add

further dark washes to the central area

(notice
build

shadows are

up

blue-gray)

on the

detail

and then begin to

buildings.

n
1

=7 7
H
*
^

^\N
\

Continue to add
strengthen colors

detail

and

where

necessary.

White

buildings such as those adorning

Mediterranean landscapes are best reserved


as white paper. Define their shapes by using
the colors of the landscape around them, so
that they shine out
terrain,

strokes.

202

like

jewels against the dark

then pick out details with small brush

BUILDINGS

Step-by-step: Granulated wash


Rough

paper, a size 7 brush, and tube color are used to

for the stucco surface of the windmill.


1

settle

undisturbed

Use very wet


in

(
1

pain

the tooth of

the colors

th<

Urtramanne and burnt sienna have been flooded


I

into

dampened paper When

windmill and

its

reflection

dry,

and

dampen

paint a very

the

wet

loose mixture of cerulean blue, yellow ocher. and burnt

sienna Watch

rt

it

granulate as

in

ft

sel

the banks of the nver and

use granulating washes on the

wall

with the

tip

and cottage. Draw the

sails
I

of the brush.

When

the windmill

paint the
I

windows

is

in

dry.

with

very thick wet paint (indigo


|

and Indian

red):

ttles

tilt

the paper so the

unevenly.

pen the shaded

side

of the windmill and. with a


I

strong swift stroke,

that side against the

broken glaze over the water and


paint the foreground detafc.

203

SUBJECT

Looking Out

Inside
The way

which you approach a

in

a window depends very


much on the aim of your painting.

view through

Window

views, or glimpses of the

outside world seen through

open

doors, have always fascinated


as they provide an intriguing

artists,

and

challenging set of pictorial possibilities.

But

BELOW: INTERIOR WITH DESK AND


CHAIR by John Lidzey
The houses outside have been deliberately
"held back," with the

minimum of detail and

tonal contrast so that they

with the

do not compete

interior.

good

like all

subjects, they

have

their attendant

problems.

The main
difficulties

are those

of creating a sense of

space and

emphasizing the
different qualities of
inside

and outside

without losing the


unity of the picture.

Of course,

not

everyone sees things


in

terms of space -

some

artists will

deliberately ignore

it,

treating interior walls,

windows and the


outside landscape as
a more-or-less flat

area of color and


pattern.

to

do

If

you want

this, fine,

your approach

more

literal,

but

204

helpful.

if

is

the

following advice

be

may

BUILDINGS

Framing a View

to the
ich of the pic'

is

of the

view

is

window or

door.

Suppose

this

an exciting crtyscape and you

make

to

it

the

mam

acting as

little

more

around the edges.


treat the

scene

will

window

In this

it

itself

than a frame

just as

you were painting

subject of

case,

if

outdoors. But

have to give extra emphasis

ABOVE ROADSIDE CAFE

terms of tone or

or bott

more ton
more obvious division between

color and

and dark) than those


and

far distance. This

in

to the view
will

itself,

immediately

light

the middle
a neat

is

giving a feeling of space

you can

you would

in

to you alway

to be devoted to the view out

the painting, with the

you

color

window

way of

and recession

because the window

come

front of the picture

forward to the

known

as the

picture plane.

by Mc*ra Clinch

panting the sharp contrast of light and shade between the front and the stde of
buMng contributes to the strong sense of perspective The deep shadows and bnght highlights
I

In this

grve

on impression of the heat and

glare of midday

Ne-

SUBJECT

The Animal World


The animal kingdom presents the commonest of all problems to the
would-be recorder of its glories: none of its members stay still long
enough to be painted. One can usually bribe a friend to sit
reasonably still for a portrait, but you cannot expect the same cooperation from a dog,

Watch

or horse.

cat,

however why not

subject,

an animal carefully and you

will

If

movement
make a

the essence of a

virtue of

it?

anatomy was

detailed study of

movements it makes,
although they may be rapid, are not
random - they have certain patterns.
If you train yourself to make quick
sketches whenever possible and also

whose prime concern is accuracy, still


do this, but for most this depth of

take sequences of photographs as an

study

notice that the

you

will find

animal
is

necessary before they could even


begin to

draw or

creature.

Some

paint any living

wildlife painters,

unnecessary.

is

understanding their movement,

aid to

is

far

that painting a moving


from impossible - and

Sketching from

Although background knowledge

also deeply rewarding.

Understanding the Basics


Painters and illustrators

who

in

natural history gain their

in

wide

variety of ways.

Life

it

helpful

specialize

knowledge

Many

because

paint with

it

more

will

is

enable you to

confidence, books

and magazines are never


for direct observation.

a substitute

When

working outdoors, whether

you are

in

zoo

or on a farm, try to keep your

take

powerful binoculars and cameras into

sketches simple, concentrating on the

remote parts of the countryside to


watch and record birds and animals

worrying about

main
in

their natural habitats, but they also


rely
in

on

illustrations

and photographs

books and magazines or study

stuffed creatures

in

museums.

and shapes without

and coloring.
while you are

and

All this

lines

start

If

details

in

mid-sketch, leave

drawings on the same page can


provide a surprising

basic

information. You

bird's

wing and

feathers

lie

or

a horse or cow's legs are jointed.


artists

were taught

how

first,

In

and you

that a

it

another one - several small

them to understand
structures, such as the way a
tail

such as texture

the animal moves

research helps

the past,

206

is

learn to

amount of
may find difficult
it

but quick sketches are a knack

practice,

really will

get better with

at

THE ANIMAL

WORLD

Step-by-step: Squirrel

A series of loose watercolor


washes are

laid,

colored pencil
the

and then a

is

brought

in

d*

For the

use of the

soft gray fur

slight

the

artist

gram of the

paper to give a broken texture.

Fine lines arc then

added on

top with white gouache to


indicate the silvery

so characteristic of a

shimmer

squirrel's fur

SUBJECT

Birds
Birds are a perennially appealing
subject, but they are also a

If

complex

one. The fur of a smooth-haired

you are painting birds

natural habitat

you

rather than

obscure the

detail.

the

Both

line

and

structure

wash and

beneath, but

the brush

drawing

the feathers

if

methods are

at

well suited to

do

of a bird

you look

a skeleton

.'

in

this kind

'

museum
you may
find

impression, but

hard

it

to relate
to the

two most

the

exciting features of

it

birds, particularly

living,

feathered
reality.

exotic ones, are

To

color and texture,

portray a bird

and many bird

convincingly

painters

is

it

more

important

employ a

detailed

technique to show

to understand the

these

framework around which

it

is

"built,"

You can practice

in

their

full

and the way the small feathers follow

and discover ways of building up


texture by working

of the wing and

tail

extend beyond

it.

Never be ashamed to draw on the


knowledge

built

up by others:

find that

watercolor

control or

could try gouache,

as well as sketching birds

you

whenever

If

hard to

many mixed media

techniques.

can.

ABOVE:

MACAWS

by Laura

Wade. Watercolor,

gouache, and colored pencils

The

the

is

work

bird.

becomes overworked, you


acrylic, or one of

look through natural history books

magazines

from a

artist's

or even by painting a stuffed

and photographs

in wildlife

initially

photograph or another

you

glory.

painting feathers

the contours of the body while those

store of

of

broad

artist

media

208

their

movement

concentrate on shape and

animal does not

in

need to

will

has

to build

made good
up the

illustrators,

use of mixed

bird's vivid colors

delicate textures. Like

drawings from

and

many

professional

she used photographs as well as


life

for

her reference.

THE ANIMAL

WORLD
LEFT

AND BELOW SKETCHBOOK

STUDIES
Boys

by David Boy*

is

ondon

Z&

tormatxxi labels outside their

should not blind us to the fact that they

'emely accurate, and each one


the end-product of several days of

observation

and

is

careful drawing. However,

they provide an excellent example of the

use of watercohr as a

medium

recording rapid impressions.

for

SUBJECT
fj

Domestic and Farm Animals


SHANDIE

by Ronald Jesty

Although

this

not a particularly small

is

has chosen a

picture, the artist

circular

format reminiscent of a miniature


his delightful

adapted

dog

portrait

technique to

his

for

and has
suit the

idea. His usual style, illustrated

elsewhere

in this

book

is

a precise

yet bold use of wet-on-dry but


here, although

still

working wet-on-

dry he has used very

fine,

linear

brushstrokes to build up the texture

of the

equal

in

and

tones

The buildings behind are

fur.

treated

detail,

but with the

colors carefully controlled so

that they recede into the background.

the best paintings are of subjects

All

that the artist

Rembrandt

is

606- 669) painted

and

his children,

paint animals

or pet

rabbit,

So

why not

in

environment, so that

its

in

mid-air

own

cow

in

field,

always try to

dog,

start at

the edges

in

places to avoid a cut-out

effect.

of the great advantages of

entirely a

preference and

will

your particular

interests,

sleeping (cats are particularly

in

good

at

running, eating, or simply sitting

contemplation.

country,

If

on or near

if

but

it

is

you opt for a very

precise method, using small

brushstrokes to build up the texture

a farm, sheep,

of an animal's fur or wool, you must

live in

models, as they tend to stand

when

saying that

be dictated by

the

you

use the same approach throughout

cows, and goats are also willing

long periods

worth

are

matter of personal

that they are always around

this),

appears

integrate the animal with the

and you can make studies of them

is

it

Whether you

The techniques you use

One
pets

painting an

background and foreground, blurring

home?

210

mistakes

to pay insufficient attention

to be floating

or a

you

if

and have a

captive subject, such as your


cat,

is

are painting a cat lying on a windowsill

output was

inspired by his native Suffolk.

want to

while

Constable's
artistic

commonest
animal

to

himself, his wife

much of John
776- 837)

deeply familiar with.

grazing.

still

One

for

of the

the painting or the picture


disjointed

and

unreal.

will

look

THE ANIMAL

WORLD

Step-by-step: Horse's

Head

washes

painted wet-on-dry complete the

modeling of the head, and are

left

to dry before the fine hairs over the jaw are

suggested with dry brush work.

blue-gray over a

pencil sketch create the

;ht

light

and shade.

u
I

A pencil

is

then used for added

mane

definition in the

Wrth any watercotor too much


fiddling

around can lose the

freshness of the

the dry brush and pencil


kept to a

inrtial

washes, so

work has been

minimum

21

SUBJECT

Wild Animals
Painting wild creatures
habitats

in

becoming an

is

their natural

increasingly

specialized branch of art, mainly

because

involves so

it

ABOVE: RING-TAILED LEMUR

by

Michel trained as an

but began to

exhibit paintings

when her book

work decreased. She became a

more

much more than

illustrator,

or less by accident

and

a painter of cat and dog

is

Sally

Michel

illustration
wildlife artist

well

known as

portraits.

simply painting. Professional wildlife


artists

devote their

lives

to watching

and studying birds and animals


field,

in

the

often using sophisticated

equipment such

as powerful binoculars

and cameras with telephoto

However

this

lenses.

does not mean that wild

animals are beyond the reach of the

ordinary

artist.

Wildlife

and butter of these

is

the bread

specialist painters,

often

viewer

more

in

come

quite close to the

country parks, while shier

exotic creatures can be

sketched at zoos.

zoo, of course,

not a true habitat for a

monkey, so

if

may have

standard of accuracy, but not

magazines for a suitable

all

those

to paint animals need to be

is

no need, either to choose

inaccessible subjects.

nothing

tiger

is

or

in

you

a forest

to resort to books and

wrong with

setting. There

this

after

all,

not everyone has the opportunity to

so constrained.

There

is

lion,

you want to use sketches

for a painting of a tiger

and their patrons often require a high

who want

212

example, are eminently paintable and


will

Deer

for

paint the forests of Asia

from

and Africa

firsthand experience.

THE ANIMAL

WORLD
LEFT

DOG WITH A

STICK

III

by LucyWilhi
without waiting

have run together


ish

front

This

offset

is

by

work on the muzzle and

paws
I

(below) the

artist

idy of

an owl

in

uses very loose

b<

marks, which not only capture the

of the feathers but also

accen'

Movement

qualities

and washes. A

sketc

treatment, perhaps with areas of

When we

watch an animal

movement

in

such as a horse galloping,

our eyes take

in

an overall impression

of shape and color but no precise


details -

these

generalized

in

become

blurred and

direct ratio to the

paper

left

uncovered,

motion much more

at a fast shutter

impression because

itself

suggests

it.

so try to keep

your work unfussy. applying the paint


fluidly

and

letting

your brush follow

the direction of the


Alternatively,

pastels

mam

you could

lines.

try watercolor

or crayons, which can provide

an exerting combination of linear

than a

one - the surest way to


"freeze" a moving animal is to include
too much detail. This is exactly what
the camera does: a photograph taken

way of capturing the essence of


movement is to choose a technique
that in

suggest

highly finished

speed of the animal's movement. The


best

will

vividly

speed

gives a false

much
human eye c
Photographs, though, are enormo

more

it

registers

than the

useful for helping

you to gain an

understanding of the way an

moves and there

is

no harm

ai

in tal

snapshots to use as a "sketchbook

combination with direct observation

and on-the-spot

studies.

SUBJECT

Textures

the mind, springing from the widely


held belief that watercolor can only

The

fur of an animal

of a bird are

among

or the feathers

most

their

attractive features, but they

do

is

that too

much

versatile one, as can


illustrations

attention to

Fine, linear

feathers and,

in

way

careful to

that hints at

all

recede into the distance, and

the

in

if

be seen from the

painting fur or

necessary, the paint can

extra body. Another useful

it

technique

is

dry brush, which can be

worked over

objects appear smaller as they

manner.

be thickened with opaque white to


give

the body beneath. Perspective makes

fluid

an extremely

brushstrokes are an

way of

can obscure the underlying form and

you must be

is

throughout the book.

excellent

paint textures

a preliminary

wash or

onto white paper while the

straight

same way the brushstrokes you make

perfect

to represent fur must vary

details,

such as whiskers catching the

light, is

scraping back with the point of

a knife,

which gives an

becoming smaller

away from

as the

in size,

form recedes

you.

The other problem is the more


technical one of how to represent
soft fur

or

stiff,

bristly hair

not a

real

problem

at

all,

line

this

but only

method

for highlighting tiny

infinitely finer

than can be achieved with a brush.

BELOW: YOUNG HIMALAYAN FOX

with an

aqueous medium. Take heart -

is

in

by

Sally

Pastel

Michel

was

build the

214

medium

texture, the animal's "outer covering,"

structure, so

broad and

in

the

In fact,

present certain problems.

One

be used

laid

over watercolor washes to

dense texture of the animal's

fur.

FIGURES

AND PORTRAITS

Figures and Portraits


The human
and that

may

seem an

face and figure can

why

is

be. but

it

is

it

was saved

certainly

acquired enough

impossibly ambitious subject.

end of this book. Ambitious it


not impossible, and by now you will have

skill in

for the

handling watercolors to tackle

human

subjects with a degree of confidence.

Proportions of the Figure


The key to

successful figure drawing

is

to get the vanous parts of the body

their correct proportions. This

easier said than done, since

is

our eyes

some

tend to mislead us into seeing

parts as larger or smaller than they


really are.

The hands and

feet, for

example, are frequently drawn too


small.

Most

artists

gauge body

proportions by taking the head as


their unit of

measurement. Allowing

for slight differences

from one person

to another, the adult

human

figure

measures seven to seven-and-a-half


heads from top to bottom. Although

no two people are exactly alike, it is


helpful to memorize the proportion
of the "ideal" figure and keep these

mind

as

RIGHT

in

you draw.

The rule that the head

body about seven umes

human conforms

is

fits

into the

useful one. but

no

absolutely to the norm, so

use your observation along with your

knowledge The greatest vanation


the htps

and

is

found

shoulders.

215

SUBJECT

Drawing or Painting
the Head

the eyes, and from here

it

gauge the eyebrow

Sketch a

line.

is

easy to

midway between the eyebrow

When
as
is

drawing and painting the head,

a head and shoulders portrait,

in

it

important to remember that the

and the base of the chin


find

in

line

line

order to

the position of the base of the

nose; then

draw

a line

midway

features occupy a relatively small part

between the base of the nose and the

of the head. The bottom of the eye

chin to find the line of the lower

socket

the mid-point. Beginners

is

make the

often

Finally,

draw

a vertical line

down

center of the head to guide you

features too large,

with the eyes placed too high.

positioning the features

lip.

the

when

on either

side.

Although faces vary widely (and the


first

step to successful portraiture

is

being able to pick out individual


differences

in

proportions)

you'll find

remember the basic rules.


The task of drawing the human
head becomes much easier if you
it

useful to

break

down

it

portions:

into

manageable

draw an

first,

BELOW: PLACING THE FEATURES


A common mistake is to underestimate
size

place the eyes too high up.

remember

and

finally

bottom of the eye

sockets.

outline of the

features,

adjust the position of

individual face before you.

The
head
egg

the shape of the

is

to think of

it

as an

on top of the
of the neck. Seen

sitting

cylinder

from the

front,

upright, while

side

way of

easiest

it

is

the egg

is

from the

tilted at

roughly

45 degrees. Having
established the shape of

the head, you can position


the features, and here the
"rule of halves"

is

useful. Lightly

sketch a horizontal

the head;

216

this

line

halfway

down

marks the position of

helpful to

allowing for individual differences

the features according to the

visualizing

It is

that the mid-point of the

head, then sketch guidelines to enable

you roughly to position the

the

of the forehead and top of the head, and

>

is

head the

FIGURES

AND PORTRAITS

The Head From an Angle


One

of the most
i

head

of proportion

if

semi-profile, or

forward.

difficult

the head

is

when

things

to apply the "rules"

is

is

seen

in

tipped back or

From the

angles, the eyes,

nose and mouth may appear

compressed together or distorted,


because they are seen from a foreshortened viewpoint. Because our

mind

finds

distortions,

it

difficult

to accept these

and therefore

tries

to

recreate the head-on measurements,

the proportions of the head and the


TILTING THE

positioning of the features have a

tendency to go

av.

Drawing the head from an angle


involves careful observation and some

As you draw, use


tool to measure the

precise measuring.

your pencil as a

distance between,

HEAD

Whe'

say.

in

perspective. To place the features con-

see the head as an egg shape and draw

some

light

guidelines

around

it,

as shown

p<es.

the nose and

the back of the ear and then compare


that with the distance from. say.

eyebrow to

chin.

By constar

measuring and comparing

you should

in this

way

arrive at an accu'

result.

217

SUBJECT
i
I

Skin Tones

LIGHT SKINS

DARK SKINS

The

Again, look for the predominant

is

best approach to painting skin

to establish the overall color and

make

color,

which may be yellow brown,

reddish brown, or even bluish

a suitable mixture. This can

then be lightened for highlights by

brown. There are often

adding water, and darkened for

considerable color variations

shadows

between the highlights and the


shadow areas, but these will always

using touches of blue or

green. There

is

no recipe

colors, as they vary so

for

most

light skins

for skin

much, but

be

related.

If

you mix the main

color and add darker colors for the

yellow-ocher

will be among the colors


Here are some suggestions

and red

shadows, you won't go wrong.

used.

you use too many

If

different colors

for "basic skin colors." Payne's gray

you may create a disjointed

or raw umber can be used for

The color combinations shown

shadows.

provide a starting point. Vindian or


indigo can

effect.

be used for shadows.

Cobalt blue
Yellow ocher

Alizarin

Cadmium

Lemon
Yellow ocher

red

Payne's gray

Raw umber

yellow

Cadmium

red

French
ultramarine

218

crimson

Sap green

Cadmium
red

FIGURES

AND PORTRAITS

Step-by-step: Painting Hair

hard-edged effect so he
I

After making a

light

preliminary

pencil drawing, broad, loose

I
I

washes are

laid

over the whole

of the hair These are allowed to dry

before cnsper definition

In

the

is

final

stage the effect

of the masking
fluid

can be

clearly seen,

giving the effect of

"negative" brushstrokes
in

the area above the

forehead.

added.

distinct

The
works wet-on-dry to

edges to each wash.

uses masking

fluid

clearer highlights.

He

give
also

to reserve the

Glossary
Alia

prima A

direct

method of

painting

in

which an image is developed in wet pigment


without reliance on preliminary drawing or

Grain The

or drawing. Paper
grain

form

Ground The

in

or drawing.

The techniques of roughly

of a painting or drawing

in

terms of mass

Paint,

In

can be achieved by adding

this

an effect achieved by

is

a pure state, without blending

or mixing them, and dragging paint of a

stiff

support so that previous

new

be seen through the

trees.

is

It

used as the

pastels.

Half tones

layers can

range of tones or colors


can identify between

artist

extremes of

A technique

Hatching
tone with

and dark.

light

of creating areas of

direction.

Hue This

Complementary

colors There are three


basic pairs of complementary colors, each
consisting of one primary and one
secondary color

found on a scale ranging through the

Composition The arrangement

so that a heavy texture

in

of various

Cross hatching

A technique

etc.

of laying an

area of tone by building up a mass of


cross strokes rather than with a

criss-

method of

Dry brush A means


soft,

spectrum, that

of applying watercolor

feathery effect by working

lightly

dampened with

color The hairs

may be

red, orange, yellow, green,

is

of applying paint thickly


is

knife marks.

body than watercolor

is

technique and impasto

discernible, created

Gouache, having more


suitable for this

is

commonly used

painting.

Masking A technique
protecting

it

in

of retaining the color

parts of a painting by

with tape or masking

fluid

while

colors are applied over and around the


areas.

Medium This term

is

may

used

in

two

distinct

contexts

Foreshortening The

material with which a painting or drawing

effect of perspective

a single object or figure,

in

which a form

appears considerably altered from


proportions as

it

recedes from the

its

normal

artist's

Fresco

color

applied to a ground of fresh plaster

is

technique of painting

Gouache A

water-based paint

in

which

made

opaque by mixing white with the pigments.


Gouache can be used, like watercolor to lay
thin washes of paint but because of its

in art.

It

refer to the actual


is

executed, for example, gouache, watercolor,

or

pencil.

It

extend or

gum

viewpoint.

:1

in oil

spread between finger and thumb.

in

violet.

A technique

Impasto

masked

over the surface with a brush merely

used for a pure color

is

and

blue, indigo,

of the ground

solid shading.

with a

term

by brush or

a painting or drawing, for

example, mass, color tone, contour

one

strokes following

fine, parallel

application.

elements

is

binder for watercolor, gouache, and soft

which an

quality across the

surface preparation of a

tinted

Broken color This


in

in

ground may be laid on


white paper to tone down its brilliance.
arabic A water soluble gum made
executed.

white to eliminate transparency.


using colors

a fine or coarse

manufacture.

from the sap of acacia

such as gouache, which

has opacity and therefore covering power.

watercolor

may have

depending upon the methods used

Gum

and tone or color

Body color

thickly.

support on which a painting or drawing

out the forms and overall composition

laying

its

colors

light

texture of a support for painting

Binder A medium which can be mixed with


powder pigment to maintain the color in a
suitable for painting

work

possible to

is

it

over dark and apply the paint

underpainting.

Blocking

220

opacity

or

Not A

also refers to liquids used to

alter

the viscosity of

paint,

such as

oil.

finish in high quality

papers which

falls

watercolor

between the smooth

surface of hot pressed and the heavy texture

of rough paper

Ochers
iron

in

Earth colors derived from oxide of

a range

from yellow to orange-red.

Opacity

which covers

rt

or oL

Support

or previous layers of
olor

iple.

or dish on whu

Palette
lays

board, or

out paint for thinning and mixing. This


of wood, n

Tone

.or

between

medium made by binding


powder pigment with a little gum and rolling
Pastel

Tooth A degree

ice

the mixture into stick form.

Perspective

which create

impression of depth,
recession

on

Pigment A

flat

and

solidity

Transparency A quality of paint which


mean
ns or modifies the color

mg

surface.

substance which provides color

and may be mixed with a binder to produce

Primary colors

in

which allows a painting or drawing

the surface on which

si

gam

color mixtures

through successive layers of

int<

thinly

washed

technique of painting

colors are red. blue, and yellow. They cannot

which the basic forms and tonal values of

be formed by mixtures of any other


but m theory can be used in v u

the composition are

proportions to create

Resist

is

all

colors,

il

is

Value The character of

other hues.

making

soft

Wash
fine

is

the

dragged or

lightly

in

scrubbed

the

Secondary colors These

blue).

paint

loose, mottled texture by drawing the

across the bristles of a

stiff

brush

loaded with wet paint so the color


"

or tc

ibic.

'

-fistic

technique

and purple (red and

Spattering A method of spreading

onto
Stippling

diluen

requiring

on

'he

of watercolor as

is

flicked

the painting

build

compared

is

to lay

in light

tones

first

and

>v

Watermark

name

.ymbol or

manufacturer incorporated

in

of the

sheets of

quality watercolor pat

when the
Wet-in-wot

up to

th<

"chnique of applying color


of small dots,

made

ending and fuson of colors.

the point of a drawing instrument or fine

'

wet over dry so

Study

watercolor and ink

wrth other types of paint and the tradrtional

orange (red and yellow), green

thumb

make the

Transpar

Paint cc

medium or

are the three

colors formed by mi>

thinly.

merit

color which modifies the tones underrv

blue),

quality of

Watercolor
boun

vital

which

across a surface to form an area of broken

colors;

light.

application of paint or ink

washes whereas gouache washes are semi

nnting technique

paint

An

color spread quickly and


is

u tists.

opaque

a color as assessed

considerably diluted with water to

brushes of

vhich are usually favored by

Scumbling

roughly before

>m dark to

hair of this small, weasel-like

used

laid in

in

color are elaborated.

local

method of combining
'Color pain'

Sable The

and

details

of

it

Watercolc

it.

medium and

Underpainting

painting the pi

and whfl

to adhere to the support

ii

terns of representation in
ting

black

of tc

often prefer to lay

v,

of overlapping
"SSKXi of a

1e as

structured form.

intended to record particular aspects of a


subject.

72

4 9 2 4 2

97

Index
A
A

Courtyard

Spain

in

Street in Milan

145

48-49
abstraction, range of 50-5
acrylic 34-35
aerial perspective 108-109
alternative techniques 66-74
Amberley and Kithurst Hill,
1

Sussex

step 203

204-205
202

painting buildings

E
enlarging a grid

Carbis Bay, St Ives

changing

Church
1

by step 207

212
55

architectural subjects see


buildings
floral
I

light

Hill,

composition and
stylization

88

Winchmore

group

59

in

82

atmosphere, creating

wash 26

foundations 32-33

color effects 50

found groups 156

colors 15

G
3

27

muted

58

glossary

basket texture, step-by-step

65
Fishing Boat, Suffolk

birds

figure

36

92-93
painting 94
95

boards, palettes, and other

creating a center of interest

equipment 22-3
body color 50

creating

Bright

Garden Bouquet

98-99

64

H
1

hard and soft edges 30

Hazy Sun and Damp


Boulby

Down

Mist.

head, the

composition 84- 26

mood

74

hair step-by-step 2

56
cool tinted ground 53
composition 66

69

of Reichenbach

Falls

arabic

still-life

Cornish Farm

colors 54

222

Great

gum

Composition 150

Wine 92

blending 54-55

blots

34

30

pigments

a landscape

208-209

composing
a

Estuary 100

35

37

temperature

warm

96-97

35

relationships

balance and counterbalance

Black Grapes and

38-39
220-22
gouache 34-35
gourds 76
graduated wash 26
granulated wash 203
glazing

mixing 132-1 33
mixtures

175

flat

mixing secondary

37

color changes 8

intense secondaries

Autumn atArgenteuil 141

hills

color and composition 82-83

bias 134

and

values

choosing

Beached

Fen Cottage
fields
five

At the Water's Edge 84

30

Cloud Study 9

combinations

backruns 3

Hill

composition 90-9

assessing the values 103

backgrounds

142

colors as expression 143

cloud formations
clouds

apple, step-by-step

Churchyard 77

2 3

wild animals

86

expressionist approaches

squirrel, step

easels 2

57

horse's head, step by step

palette

213

III

linear perspective 199

Cat on a Chair

arranging a

176

hills

with a Stick

210
Dons Tysterman 46
drawing 40-4
dry brush 44-45

inside looking out

200-20

210

textures 2

Dog

domestic and farm animals

By the Cottage Door

domestic and farm animals

artist's

distant

granulated wash, step-by-

21

Dismasted Bng, the 9

buildings

simple perspective

anatomy 2 5-2
Anemones 166
animal world 206-2
birds 208-209

movement

brushes 20

75

60- 6

brush techniques 42-43

44

abstract imagery, sources of

abstraction, pure

cyclamen, step-by-step

brush marks 43

from nature

abstracting

broken color 56
brush drawing 42

26

drawing or painting 2
from an angle 2
Headland 198

high-key paintings
highlights

15-1 16

57

step-by-step 58
I

12-1 13

Crown Imperial 167

history,

the 10-12

horse's head, step-by-step 2

Hotel Vw&kx Orv^fo


br does it g<
n fhe

99

ih

70

68

199

Mdhdbm

od

Husion of

depth 107
nde* 222 224
binder 88

Inters
ntenors.

hanges80

mood m

"*h Desk and

2 19

59

Owr

prop

60

' of the

Ghbe

Theatre 5

217

87

"troduction 7

218

the 8 9

17

/"Wee On**. Modern H*s

i'xJ
/

fog 193

media

effect

ke>ing your values

Lakeland Tree

74

70

18'

jn 150 151
85
responding to the mo-ie

75

Late Afternoon 107

light

77
olor and d
olor and p<

Landscape near LesBcx.landscapes

of

painting gourds 76

Londxope

7'

78

mood

112

126

141

dtant hJK, step-by-step


176
fields and Nh
75
***$ for outdoor pamtme

g Heodlan-'

mov

213

172

173

mood m 20
1

/88

muted

colors

37

121

morning headUnd. step-bystep 178 179


socles and mountains
77
trees and fokage 74
laying washes 26

gte

scumt

shadows. us^g |?6

Le 6ougow*ei,
liberty Waterlog.

85

outdc

Wtmgou:
ctouds 183

18

snow

step-by step 63
Light

Comng

on

fa

Plans

195

140
I

and weather
changnghght 188

fcght

suggested 16

cfoud formations 82
not sun. step-by step
1

183

-rnonand

spon

>:

th

68

170
pigm.
mist

and fog 193


P*ntg ctouds 180

181

P*ntg skies 184 185

P*nt'"g shadows
snow scenes

composition 166
ndoor arranger

189

9-

***** 23
>p

159

223

94

stippling

47

The White House, Chelsea

Stones of Avebury

Storm from the Sea


stretching paper

Tillmgbourne

Downs 90

29

74

wild animals

underpainting 36-37

Women

and Buildings 94
Taureau Rouge 43
techniques 24-8

textures 27, 64, 2

value sketches

transparency, of paint

Tree

trees and foliage

a Tumbler 95

light

in

water

on water 96
moving water 97
97- 98
still water
Waterhhes 168
wax resist 73
Welsh Cliffs 79
wet-m-wet 28-29

28

toned ground 5
how it works 52

Nine Springs 187

Sunset, South

Tall

08

tonal values 100

subject 153

Sweet Peas

Watching Gulls

Winter

Valley.

tinting chart

W
wash-off 72

thumbnail sketches 89

Study of Cirrhus Clouds,


style 139

Sunrise.

70

themes 157

72

212

Upside

Down 142

The Auvergne 120


The Clearing

73.

02
wash 27

variegated
1

95

Young Himalayan Fox 2

View Through the Valley

09

making a 88
viewpoint, choosing the best

The Pass of Ryvoan 2


The River Guadalupe 96

viewfinder,

The Tempest 184

10-1

Picture Credits
The

material

in

this

book

previously appeared

in:

Watercolor Techniques Source Book;The Complete Watercolor Artist; Watercolor Step-by-Step;The


Encyclopedia of Watercolor Landscape Techniques;The
Techniques; The Complete Drawing

and

Artist's

Painting Course; The

Manual;

Complete

Practical Watercolor
Artist; Painting in

Watercolor;

The Encyclopedia of Watercolor Techniques; The Illustrated Book of Watercolor Techniques; The
Illustrated Book of Painting Techniques; Watercolor School; Light How to See It, How To Paint It;
Watercolor Painter's Question

224

& Answer

Book.

The

essential guide to creating

beautiful watercolor paintings

Includes practical hints and

medium, including

tips,

style, subject,

covering

all

aspects of this

color composition, and materials

Features step-by-step demonstrations of both traditional and

experimental techniques showing

how

to achieve a wide variety

of effects

A perfect introduction for beginners, and a source of inspiration for


seasoned lovers of the

medium
ISBN 0-7641-5619-5
5

ISBN 0-7641-5619-5

BARRON'S

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