Watercolour Classes 2/5

First we try overlaying stripes to see how the colours blend. I do a hybrid by making a face in the grid:

Then we did a rapid sketch in the style of Norman Ackroyd. Using soluable graphite over wet paint over candle wax. I love it, though mine is more Quentin Blake. 

Next, we discuss the five elements of pictures: 

  • LINE
  • SHAPE
  • TONE
  • COLOUR
  • TEXTURE

Our own personal signature style is the way we combine these. 

We also discuss making the grey out of the palette. I usually use Ultramarine Blue and Raw Sienna. Rebecca Allen suggests Alarizin Crimson with Veridian Green. It’s not working for me. When it’s dark it’s black and when it’s light it’s brown. 

Session 2.3 is an afternoon of painting skies. I draw a complete blank at this point. When it’s sharing time I ‘pass’. No clouds have appeared. This is dismal. I don’t even want to share them all online. That’s never happened before. What’s going wrong?



Once again I have found it impossible to do what I’m told! I have learned IT and music by making my own experiments in my own time. The problem might be sheer rebellious disobedience or it might be the mere unfamiliarity of listening and doing another person’s instructions. 
In the end of the day, Session 2.4 is a garden, and the 20m exercise is to use the same ‘Mark’ throughout. It’s not great but it’s better than the skies. Here it is before and after being ‘thickened’ by Snapseed:



The sessions are helping me to realise the totally unfamiliar disciplines needed for creating a watercolour artwork in a frame. I do need to go beyond colouring in a drawing. The requirements are mind-stretchingly unexpected and I’m struggling to keep up. I will need to revisit and practice the following:

  • Using a consistent ‘Mark’ to tie everything together at the ‘gestural level’;
  • Using colour to anticipate its multiple roles as raw colour, adjacent colour, wet or dry under-colour, and (new!) as a compositional element avoid ‘dead’ or ‘static’ placement;
  • Using lines of deliberate and consistent quality to precede or follow, and to define or fight against ‘Shape’.;

Great tips I’ve learned include:

  • Use a Great Big Brush;
  • Draw with it, starting to distribute colour and first layers of colour;
  • Use “Open” lines;
  • Use the same mark, or he same brushstroke to construct an entire painting; (Cezanne)
  • Stand back, and use your arms;
  • Using candle wax as a slightly random ‘resist’ below or above the bottom layer of paint;
  • Use graphite stick or soluable graphite stick or conté before, during and after painting. 

Here are some collages I made for Instagram to make something out of the wasted paper:

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