Sunday, August 19, 2012


Many people say that they want to "loosen up" their watercolors.  I know of no better practice than by not drawing a single line on your paper before you begin.  Have an idea, but then follow the paint.

Here, the idea is the Bridge House on the footbridge in Boothbay Harbor.  First, I wet the entire page and then flooded in some color.  The Bridge House was only indicated in the first wash by a blurry slightly darker granulation.  After that wash had dried, I began "finding" sails, dock, rowboat, and some details in the bridge house.  I stayed with the same colors I had used in the original underpainting.  It's much more creative when you improvise because you have to think in terms of balance, size, shapes, gradation, and values.  None of those things has been pre-determined, but it's not a thought-less approach.

Coloring book paintings aren't as free flowing as this approach so you have to get loose.  Try this with a limited palette with a subject you know well enough to draw upon by memory, and I'm almost sure it will loosen up your brush.

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