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Watercolor-Just-Got-Easier
January 20, 2009
Hi

WATERCOLOR PAINTING JUST GOT EASIER FOR YOU

NO MORE TIME WASTING WITH TRIAL AND ERROR

SUPRISE YOUR CLOSE ONE'S WHEN THEY SEE YOUR PAINTINGS

IF YOU THINK YOU CAN PAINT OR IF YOU THINK YOU CANNOT PAINT YOU ARE RIGHT.

YOU CAN LEARN TO PAINT BEAUTIFUL WATERCOLORS.

FLOOD CONTROL

If you have trouble controlling your watercolors, if you can't seem to mix strong darks, if your painting is filled with backwashes, blooms and wandering edges, your problem may be no more complicated than how you wash out your brush.

THE WRONG WAY

If you go directly from washing your dirty brush in your water bucket to the color wells in your palette, you'll fill your color wells with water.  Your pigments will be swimming in water and you won't be able to effectively control the amount of dilution necessary to produce darks or control wet-in-wet passages.  Your painting will turn into a swamp with backwashes, creeping edges and even an occasional alligator.

THE RIGHT WAY

After washing out your dirty brush, you should dry it by wiping it on an absorbent cotton rag.  Kleenex, paper towels or cellulose sponge won't do.  You have to get the water out.  Then you can take fresh pigment from the paint wells to the mixing area and then add to it the exact amount of water needed to control the effect or value you want.

 

 

 

 

EDGES

Forget about the middle ,work on the edges.

If you miss getting the silhouette correct all is lost.

If you draw say a flower with the correct silhouette but get the interior wrong, viewers will know it's a flower.

 

Get the interior right, silhouette wrong no one will recognize it as a flower

 

Forget about the middle.   -   GOT IT?

Keep this thought in mind when drawing or painting, EDGES TELL THE 'STORY'.

INCIDENTS AT THE EDGES ......Means something should be happening at the edges of a SHAPE, things should stick out or down into it.

These "ups and downs" at the edge should be varied.

 

It's important that you do this to the edge of a shape because we pay more attention to a shapes silhouette than to anything in it's "interior"

FADING OUT EDGES

There are many occasions in Watercolor when you want to fade out or soften the edge of a colored area.

For example, you may want more eye movement throughout your picture.

You can do that by softening a few of the hard edges on shapes as it is being painted

Clouds, Rocks are a perfect examples.

Control what the viewer see's.  Fading out edges can direct the eye to see what you want them to see.  If you don't want them to notice an edge, fade it out.

This can and is used by doing the following:

                 

In Fig. 3,  are some random marks.  In Fig 4, you can see what they mean once I soften some of the edges as I paint, in other words tell you where not to look.

Fading out also is the method to use to model a shape with shadows.

GETTING IT RIGHT

As mentioned if two bodies of unequal moisture meet, the wetter area will overflow into the drier area in order to balance out the system.  So, if you want an area to fade out, you must use a brush that is less wet than the painted area.

There are a few other things you must also get right.  One is the direction in which you move the damp brush/  Follow the shape or contour of the painted area.  Don't reach into the paint and drag out color.

Also, be careful how close you get to the wet paint with the damp brush.  All you are trying to do is lay down a damp strip that will attract the wetter paint, so just tickle the edge of the paint.  It may take several passes with the damp brushing in order to moisten the paper enough.  Once the paint begins to move, make your strokes farther and farther out.

It's best if you have your damp brush ready to go as you're laying in the area you want to fade out.  If your damp brush is working as soon as the paint is down, you're more likely to succeed.  Remember that the drier the paint gets, the less willing it is to flow and the harder it is to get a less wet brush to move it.  Therefore, get to fading out quickly and, by all means, do some practicing.

DO'S AND DON'T OF FADING OUT

Remember that your brush must be less wet than the painted area you're trying to fade out.  Follow the contour of the wet paint, just tickling the edge of the painted area.

Don't reach into the paint to put it out.

If you go too far into the paint, your damp brush will just soak it up.

READY TO FADE OUT

Have a damp brush ready before you even put the paint down.

LETS REPEAT

EDGES

Forget the middle, work on edges.

When you are first learning to paint in watercolor, you don't think much about edges.

You're mostly concerned with control.  You consider the painting a technical triumph when the dark green leaves you're painting don't run into your roses or your trees bleed into your barn.  To avoid these disasters, you may even leave thin, white borders around every object or allow each area to dry before painting an adjoining area.  Although you didn't make any mistakes, the resulting painting had a hard-edged, "itchy" quality to it.  The edges throughout were monotonously similar.  You were probably unaware of how variation in edge can serve both as a descriptive device and as an effective design element in your painting.

SOFT EDGES.......Soft edges are created by working into moist area with dryer paint or re-wetting dry edges.  Softening the outside edges of a round form will make it appear more three-dimensional.

DRYBRUSH.......A "dry-brush" effect is created by rapidly dragging the heel of the brush (rather than its tip) across dry paper.

HARD EDGE......Sharpe edges are created with a "loaded" brush held perpendicular to the dry paper.  Cast shadows take a hard edge and help define a form.

TEXTURE......The texture of an object is most apparent at the outside edge of the object and on the edge of the shadow on it.  We see very little texture in the middle of the illuminated or shaded area of an object.

VARIATION......A less static relationship between figure and ground is achieved when some edges are soft and some are hard, some "lost" and some "found".

DESCRIPTIVE EDGES......We can most clearly detect the texture and form of an object whether it's rough or smooth, round or square  at it's outside edge or at the edge of the shadow on it.  You don't have to spend the entire afternoon painting every leaf on a tree with a #6 brush to show it's bushy.  Nor do you have to get the Saran-wrap or a credit card out every time you paint  a rock.  You can quickly and effectively suggest the texture and form of an object by making its edges descriptive.

EDGE AS A DESIGN DEVICE

Our eyes and brains are very selective:  we focus on the things that interest us and everything else becomes soft and vague.  Unlike a camera, our eyes can't bring the foreground, middle ground and background into sharp focus at the same time.  We can only focus on one selected area at a time.  As painters, we select the area (or areas) we want viewers to see by employing hard and soft edges in our composition to create focus.  By softening (or "losing") edges between objects or areas (for example, the foreground and background), we create passages that allow the viewer's eye to move through the design.  By sharpening (or "finding") edges we attract and hold the viewer's attention on areas of importance.

THE TECHNIQUE -- HOW TO PAINT VARIED EDGES.

You probably know already how to get hard edges; your paintings are filled with them.  It's soft edges and rough edges you need to learn to paint.  And control.  They're a basic par of a painters vocabulary.

Four elements control the quality of edge you create in a painting:  the texture and moistness of the paper you're working on; the moistness of the paint your applying; the softness or stiffness of the brush you're using; and the angle you hold the brush.

HARD EDGES:  -     

Paper    -    Smooth, Dry (C.P. or H. P.)

Paint     -     Liquid

Brush    -     Soft wash or pointed

Angle    -     Brush tip perpendicular to paper to allow paint to flow freely.

SOFT EDGES:-       

Paper    -    Smooth, Wet or Moist.

Paint    -     Moist

Brush    -    Soft wash or pointed

Angle    -    Brush tip perpendicular to paper to apply moist paint.

BROKEN EDGES (DRY BRUSH:-      

Paper    -    Rough, Dry

Paint     -     Slightly Moist

Brush    -     Stiff (bristle)

Angle     -    Brush held almost horizontally so only heel touches paper

 

NOTE:    I realize that we were going to discuss floral's this week.  But I had the card before the horse, and saw many problems would occur if you did not fully understand this weeks lesson,which is not easy.  

Take it bit by bit and remember questions to me are gladly received.

See you next week   -  Jim

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