Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thoughts on Starting

The most frequent question I get from students is "How do I start?"  Should I wet the entire page?
Should I paint on dry paper?  Should I paint all over the page or just in one section at a time?  How do I know what to paint first?

1.  Think about composition.  What am I trying to  emphasize  about this scene/still life/ portrait?
 where should it be placed?  What should surround and point to it?

2.  Most important is to plan your values.  Since most watercolor proceed from light to midtone to
     darks, it is important to know in advance where those are going to be.  Oil painters can easily change their minds.  Watercolorists need to know so they can proceed from light values to darks.
     A value sketch will tell you this.

3.  Make some decisions about color choices.  It's probably wise not to be reaching for just any old color because it "feels right."  Limiting the number of colors you use will provide unity.
Here is a value sketch and compositional placement for a painting.  Next time, the painting stages and final result!

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