Watercolor class #6: daily prep 2

May 31, 2013

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I’m taking along to class all my work done during the week dressed up in A2 plastic folders with paper frames. I find that scrappy edges don’t make for clear analysis of issues and problems.

Today I thought I’d take a tiny tiny picture and reinforce some of what my teacher is telling me about buildings and landscape. I thought the size of the picture would help me block out detail unnecessary and unadvisable in terms of watercolor painting. First up, my usual pencil sketch with tone, looking to the play of horizontals and verticals, a variety of darks across the picture plane, enough detail to make it obvious we’re looking at Notre-Dame-de-Paris which is so iconic it’s contour is enough to suggest it.

What follows is some watercolor thumbnails, aiming at the recommended 15mins instead of the 2hours I’d want to take normally. This is supposed to be simulating watercolor sketching on location: limited palette, keen observation (hard edges) and calligraphic expressionism (lost edges), focus on the spire and leaving vague the foreground, etc.

Pretty depressing stuff, but in hindsight I realised that the initial drawing was too vague and I would have had more success with the watercolors if I’d articulated the shapes better in terms of foundational drawing and stuck to them in the painting.

My teacher thinks I edit what I bring along to class each week; little does he know that I bring everything, warts and all!

Though I’ll probably revert to a simpler subject after this – I thought this would be simple enough – I’ll return to this subject one day after having more keenly observed the constituent parts of the building.

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