I've been using watercolors in my illustrations for about 10 years now. I had a basic watercolor class in college but nothing since. The rest has been self-taught. It was wonderful to learn from such a talent artist AND teacher as Carl Purcell. Many artists can paint well, but few can teach well also. I learned more in those 3 days of class than in the past 10 years and my college watercolor class combined. I wish I had more time to learn from him. Someday I hope to be able to take his 2 week course.
Some highlights from my notes...
- Overstroke and watch it croak- be deliberate and smart with your strokes. Do it and leave it.
- Create as few boundaries as possible in the initial stages (1 &2). Easy to add hard edges later. Hard to create soft ones
- When Carl goes back to the pallet for more paint, he always adds another color. Let the colors co-mingle on the paper and never get the EXACT same color again.
- There ARE patterns in nature but an INFINITE variety within those patterns. No two things are exactly alike in nature.
- When painting trees- really look at the overall shape. Don't let the left brain take over and make it an oval or triangle. Paint the shape.
- When painting branches- look for and paint the branches that do the unexpected, not the 45 degree upward branches
- Little shapes of light and dark draw focus - larger shapes don't make you look so intently
- to Draw means to Pull - pull your line
- Interesting shapes have dominant directional thrust
- Lost edges are important
- Paint and sketch outside when you can
It was a fabulous course. I need to spend a week now and just practice everything over and over to really ingrain it in my head. Here are some pics and notes...
|Carl Laying in a background wash. Learning how to do this is essential to watercolor...he's a master at it.|
|Once that is dry, you choose the focal point of your painting and put in your darkest darks.|
|Then work out from there. Don't let anything outside the focal point get darker or have more contrast.|
|He's so good at keeping it loose. He calls this the stage where it's almost done.|
|All he did from there was add a few light foreground elements, some more trees off to the side, a hint at the grasses, some detail on the barn roof and some branches (which looks easy but is really hard).|
|Carl is really good at taking the essence of something and redesigning it to be more beautiful. Here's the original photo.|
|Here's what he painted instead. Still recognizable as THIS barn, but so much better designed.|
|some value studies of some of his photos he provided to practice from.|
|I'm not as good at trees etc as rocks I think. Maybe I am just "hard edged." I don't know. But here's an attempt at a landscape with trees and water from a photo I brought.|