Class this past week was an introduction to watercolour, however i had quite a few experienced students in the class so went with this idea: to create a simple still life and render it in blue only before shifting it to full colour. The lessons to be taken away are listed with the images below.
The next step was to use blue (windsor blue-green shade) to paint in the contrasts. Note: some areas are white just because the areas near them needed to dry. Texture on the almonds was dry brushed on before the blue wash was added on top.
Lesson: Allow adjoining areas to dry before painting them so that the paint does not bleed between the areas and blur the lines.
The class started by drawing this simple still life on regular paper and working out the kinks in the drawing before transferring the drawing to watercolour paper.
Then we looked at the darks and lights of the piece before moving to monochromatic painting.
Lesson: look at your subject and get to know it before starting by drawing it and thinking about contrasts.
In this image you see the paper towel added with simple shadows and the onion is completed. Now the fun really begins.
Lesson: The fun can also end here. Monochromatic paintings have a beauty of their own.
On the scrap where the blue washes were tested try to overlay some of the opposite colour- in this case oranges, some more red and some more yellow. This will give you an idea of how to shift the colours.
Lesson: Watercolour paint can be layered because of it's transparency. Wait until the paint sinks in before panicking. The colours mix together in the paper as they dry.
This always delights me. That the colours actually do what they do. Here I have added orange to the onion, egg and almonds. On the egg it is very dilute except in the shadow. Lines have been added to the onion skin by allowing the wash to nearly dry and then painting on thin lines on pale yellow. (try it on a scrap first to get the timing).
Lesson: "Watercolour painting cannot be changed once it is done." is a myth.
In the finished study I coloured the a paper towel a bit with a very pale orange. This allows the egg to appear whitest. Much more time could be spent on this painting if it was to be a masterwork of art. However, as a demo it is good fun and shows you one example of how to move from a monochromatic painting to a coloured one.
Lesson: Each painting ends when you decide it is finished or when it's usefulness at moving you to the next painting is accomplished.
Joanne Thomson is a full time visual artist dividing her time between creating, teaching and mentoring art. She is known for her images of BC inner forests and wild places and her ,now completed, Mason Jar Series. These strong images are created with a gentle spiritual approach to art making. Joanne has a Masters of Adult Education and brings enthusiasm and wisdom to her lessons and workshops encouraging students to explore the creative process through research and experimentation. www.joannethomson.com.