I did some watercolor studies, derived from David Dewey’s The Watercolor Book. This is the edition my local library has – there is a newer edition, but I have no idea how much different it is from this one.
Dewey’s book came highly recommended from one of my favorite sites, www.handprint.com. There are others, too, but this one is the one at the local library. Packed full of text and pictures, demos and a plethora of information, at first it seems like a rather intimidating book. It is. There is a ton of information, and to me, it was hard to sit down to look and to read. However, once I started, I decided my best approach is to begin with some exercises. Other parts can be read for information – I wanted to get into actual painting! What really draws my eye to Dewey’s work is the beauty of his washes – clean, simple, expressive. You can see his more recent work on his website. Given my usual propensity to messy, muddy stuff, his work is simply elegant – not splashy and spontaneous like Charles Reid, but serene and calm.
Okay, so here is what I did. This is the first exercise I did. I used glazes and mixed colors. This was a drawing from one of Dewey’s exercises in warm and cool colors.
Not an especially inspiring image – and poor photography as well! However, what I did learn was a bit about glazes and managed to leave some planned white, some bleeding, some patience, and how certain colors mixed. I did an overall underglaze of Quin Gold. The sky was laid in with a glaze of cerulean blue, while the ocean was a layer of ultramarine. I mixed some alizarin and viridian (complementary colors to tone down the red of the alizarin), along with some burnt sienna to create the float of the shack. The islands were my favorite part – carbazole violet and burnt sienna. I’ve never used the violet, so it was a fun mish-mash.
Next, water studies, which I feel were more successful than the washes and glazes, but I was also warmed up. These are also from demos in Dewey’s book. Here, an underlying wash of ultramarine with a touch of cerulean. Once dried, ripples in cerulean with a bit of permanent rose. Finally, the greenish color is a combo of phthalo blue and burnt umber, a blend I’ve never done before. I really like the colors!
This next image is done in essentially the same way with the same colors, only the ripples are circular. The photo is crummy, but the results are rather clear.
Certainly no works of art, but successful exercises in a few areas. First, getting reacquainted with watercolor is rather painful. Glazing and washes take a bit of patience. Finally, there is the real pleasure of learning new color blends, as well as having a sense of derived satisfaction with a study fairly well executed.
I am excited to be painting again. During the week, it won’t likely happen because of work, but I hope that some drawing might occur. Weekends are likely to be very much taken up with painting . . . yay!