Sunday, May 2, 2010

Playing In Puddles - Watercolour, it's what I do.

These past few weeks, I've been enjoying writing about my love affair with watercolours. I decided to do this while I was reading a wonderful book on Art Marketing called "I'd Rather Be In The Studio!" by Alyson B. Stanfield. ( If you are looking for a book that will give you great insights and tips on getting yourself (as an artist) moving as well as a virtual artistic energy boost, I highly recommend it!)
One of the things I read, was that if I have experience and am educated in something, I should talk/write about it. Now, I grew up being taught to NOT talk about myself, especially about the artist in me. So the idea of talking about my painting, and about myself as an artist was a Big Deal. But you know, I have really been enjoying this.
I have always been attracted to the bright, clean look of watercolours, and when I finally got myself to art school, too many years ago to admit to) I made sure I took all the watercolour courses and I loved them all. Well, except for the class that insisted that we splash and dash paint on the paper. I think that's when I realized that I need to paint in a realistic style. Bravo to all who enjoy the freer forms of painting, but I am simply not a person who can "emote" and fling paint. As you can see by my 11 x 14 watercolour painting "How Does Your Garden Grow?", I love detail, and one way to get detail in watercolour is to use a dry-brush technique.
You can literally use a dry brush dipped in paint that is fresh from the tube or that is sitting, wet, on your palette. You can also dampen your brush, take off any excess moisture, and run it across paint that is damp, but not a puddle. For really tiny detail, I often use an all purpose synthetic brush, and often in a size o or even a 00. I don't paint every hair on an animal, but I sometimes like to give the impression that I do.
I'm enjoying passing along little watercolour tips that I have picked up over the years, and I hope they help you find more enjoyment in the paintings - yours and mine.