The Art of Watercolour #23 was issued on 1st June 2016. It proclaims the diversity between the abstraction of the Belgian Liliane Goossens or the French Agnès Le Dantec, traditional subjects treated either in a conventional way like the portfolio Chinese Yu Siu-Lin, either from a new angle such as snapshots of the Swedish Lars Eje Larsson or the flowers of the German Elke Memmler.
But we start with news from the Rochemaure and the 204th exhibition of the RI in London, plus the traditional my last painting, before going to meet the graceful dancers of Anna Ivanova.
Realism of the sets of the French Alain Page and the characters of the American Gary Akers who enhances contrasts to play with light.
2nd encounter with the boats of the English Ian Ramsay and The Surprising Reflections of the Chinese Girl Jia.Li.
And to finish, the Peruvian Dario Callo Anco in one place one artist together with a demonstration by the American Carl Purcell.
Graham Berry (UK), Ekaterina Ziuzina (Belarus), Ilya Ibrayev (Russia), Anna Ivanova (Russia), Serge Lisiy (Lithuania), Ali Abbas Syed (Pakistan), Frutos Casado de Lucas (Spain), Cesc Farre I Sendros (Spain), Amit Kapoor (India), Milind Mulick (India), Igor Sava (Italy), Massimiliano Iocco ( Italy), Pawel Gladkow (Poland), Minh Dam (Vietnam/Poland), La Fe (Thailand), Christiane Bonicel (France), Christine Crehalet (France), Hélène Darmagnac (France), Thierry de Marichalar (France), Hervé Espinoza (France), Yvonne Ferrero (France), Roland Génieux (France), Franck Hérété (France), Michel Kolsek (France), Michel Rabault (France), Pierre Valaincourt (France)
In our search for diversity and quality in the work of watercolourists, it is quite naturally that we are open to foreign countries. In 2014, 60% of the artists came from abroad and it will be the same for 2016. It is of course a huge preparatory work to receive all these artists and their companions: obtaining visas, accommodation, meals, supervision works… Their works are exhibited at the Salon and are put up for sale at attractive prices. When a work is sold, it is immediately replaced by another that we have in stock.
Roses by Jean-Claude Papeix
The fourth Watercolor Biennial of the Bassin d'Arcachon organized by the association "Arts et Loisirs" is announced from August 6 to 21, 2016 in the large multipurpose hall of Teich, in Gironde. This exhibition, now a must-attend event of the summer, will bring together 71 watercolourists around the two guests of honor, Marc Folly and Fernand Thienpondt. The grand prize of the biennial, the special jury prize, the public prize will be awarded during the event. The public will be able to attend free demonstrations almost daily or participate in courses led by exhibiting painters. Thanks to a raffle, original watercolors will be up for grabs. The visit of the Bassin d'Arcachon
We have a large number of prices that cover as many different aspects of watercolor as possible. Only one of them is given only to RI members while all the others are open to all exhibitors, whether they are members or not. Some prizes are awarded for their technical mastery in a field such as drawing, landscape or the use of color. Others are awarded specifically to young artists or to encourage innovation and experimentation in watercolour.
When I was a student, the fashion was for very large abstract oils on canvas. It was the beginning of concept art, where the idea was more important than the finished work. Some people even declared the death of painting.Page 13 Interview with Andy Wood, President of the RI
French Joël Leroy
I came late to watercolor. I discovered this technique during a visit to the Biennale de Brioude in 2009. However, my approach to drawing and painting goes back to my youth. Apprentice pastry chef, I painted decorations with chocolate. My apprenticeship master had noticed in me a certain aptitude for the artistic part of the trade and had encouraged me to take courses at the Beaux-Arts in Boulogne-sur-Mer. But a serious accident during military service put an end to my job as a pastry chef. I moved away from painting and drawing. Then I started a career in the administration of National Education. I nevertheless kept a passion for art, even without practicing, I took pleasure in browsing the exhibitions, reading books on painting. I like the impressionist period, Monet, Sargent… but my favorite is Cézanne. The moderns also attract me, Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon.
Rigour and tenacity characterize my temperament; I sometimes do the same painting several times until I get a result that suits me. I build my works by respecting as much as possible the rules of the Ancients (golden number, values…). Page 14 Joël Leroy
Sarah Wood, British watercolourist who lives in France
I love the fluidity of the washes and its transparency. This is how I became fascinated by the challenge of using watercolor to translate each of the raindrops and the way the light affects them. I began to study them in depth: it is interesting to observe how different leaves and flowers react to the rain. Some leaves don't retain water at all, leaving only dark streaks, while others retain the shape of each droplet. The flower petals, on the other hand, react differently: the drops are not as remarkable. I like to incorporate tangled backgrounds of leaves and grasses into my works. The more detailed and complicated it is, the more exciting the challenge.
My advice: never be afraid to tackle everyday issues. There is always power in the shadows and the light offered by the most ordinary of objects.Page 17 Sarah Wood
French Didier Brot
In the risky adventure of the paths of watercolor to be invented day by day, it takes courage, imagination, requirement, perseverance and talent. There are two steep paths open to any artist engaged in this quest. That of “more”: more knowledge, more effects, more social events and relationships, more media presence, probably more success. And the other way, the one, more spiritual and austere, of “less”. At least not knowledge, quite the contrary, but outdated knowledge, less chic and gratuitous style effects and more interiority. A path also contrary to the fashion of the time and therefore at a certain distance from the legitimate need for consideration and success. But giving pride of place to independence, freedom and sincerity.
With this approach, Didier Brot creates small thematic series using a technique, a support, a colorful atmosphere. Everything for a writing limited in time and space in order to avoid being recognized, cataloged, labelled. Then he changes everything and starts a new watercolor adventure.Page 16 Didier Brot
Singaporean Marvin Chew
I paint what I see and what I like, capturing the special mood or atmosphere of my surroundings, my daily activities, landscapes and urban scenes. I am often referred to as a “beauty director” because I transfer mundane scenes into impressionistic watercolor compositions imbued with a nostalgic feel. My inspiration comes from observing the world around me. I love to paint on the ground, where the direct confrontation with the subject and its relationship with its environment offers me abundant and interesting possibilities in terms of composition and design.
I have painted in watercolor all my life, and yet I find this technique always so stimulating and fulfilling. I like the brightness and the flexibility it allows. If it does not give too much room for error, it is not for all that a medium for perfectionists: it is almost impossible to tame its natural flow. I've spent the last ten years trying to find a way to control her and dictate my choices, but I'm beginning to realize that she should be left to "paint" herself instead. My job as an artist is only to guide her until I obtain a result in line with my conception of beauty.Page 18 Marvin Chew
French Agnès Le Dantec, winner of the June 2016 competition
When I want density, I work in acrylic on paper or on canvas so that I can come back to it often and make many glazes. My subjects will also be more "crumbled" than in watercolor, moreover acrylics could very easily serve as a starting point for them: contrary to what one might think, watercolor is not a sketch of another thing ! As for the mixed technique, which I especially like, it allows all freedoms, which is the supreme guide of my work. I like to experiment with effects, to create new materials, as if glued or painted papers were surprising colours.
I take all the colors! The reds, oranges, Opera pink, yellow, with pleasure for the yellow of Naples (Sennelier) which, very diluted, reflects the light. In the blues, I choose ultramarine for the granulation, Prussian blue to make bright spring greens mixed with lemon yellow; cobalt and ceruleum more rarely, or else for combination, with caution because of their relative opacity.Page 88 Agnès Le Dantec
Ross Paterson's Favorite Painting
As the sun went down, I could see that the shadow in the foreground became more and more important. Not only did it allow me to indicate the mood, but also to simplify and unify the Perhaps the most complex part was the final wash for the cool shadow, applied over the underlying warm-toned layer, in a predetermined balance of warm and cold to suggest the illusion of Sunlight Applying this mixture of ultramarine blue and a bit of permanent pink was the last step in the painting…and the most dangerous, because then I could lose everything.
To paint the stream, I applied the paint to the previously wet part: the three primers (yellow, red and blue) were applied in a balanced way to give a grey- warm blue. The water has turned bright yellow at the top, to match the reflections of the hill in the sunlight. My overall goal was to depict the gradual change in tones of the water as it darkened as it got closer to the foreground..Page 80 Ross Paterson
My last painting
These artists have already been published in the Art of Watercolor, we find their last painting.
Flags for freedom,
50 X 50 cm
Our president asked us to fly the French flag in tribute to the attacks: that's what I did, in this premonitory watercolor, two weeks before.
95 X 75 cm
By being on the wire between reality and the dreamlike, between abstraction and figuration, I can both create associations and evoke memories.
120 X 90 cm
I like to let the paper rest during the composition stage, in order to improve the contrast between what is represented and what is thought
Untitled, 56 X 62 cm. aquarelle et encre de chine,
56 X 62 cm
Shadows and light jump and confront each other, to the rhythm of the dancing brush.
Butterfly pea, 35x55 cm
The paradox between the softness of the subject and the vivacity of the touch is there to stimulate the gaze.
Anticipation of Good,
Dylan Scott Pierce
Although her life is filled with difficulties, this woman grows beautiful things in the garden of her heart.r
Anna Ivanova, The Grace of the Ballerinas
This young Russian artist sensitively depicts the graceful world of dance, rising to the challenge of multi-character compositions.
I fell in love with ballet as a child, when my mother took me to see ballet festivals in Kazan. The dancers and sets were right under my nose. The bodies flew in the white clouds of the tutus. It was magical to see the delicate gestures of the dancers and ballerinas. Today, I understand how difficult it is for dancers and ballerinas to obtain this image of lightness. It is not only a way of being for them, but life itself. You can always identify a ballerina from afar: the way she moves, the way she holds herself, and the grace that emanates from her, even when she is tired or impatient to go on stage.
Some paintings – which I call my “novels” – consist of 10 or 12 washes, while others are painted alla prima; these are my haikus. Generally, I start with a fairly detailed pencil drawing which then allows me to focus only on the coloring and lighting. Whether a painting requires multiple layers of color is determined along the way.Page 26 Anna Ivanova
I haven't had any specific training in art, so for me, the rules... I just feel what my work should look like and I trust my instincts. I like to play with light and planes, blurry and sharp contours to find the center of my composition and prevent my image from being static.
It is the movements that captivate me, the bodies that fly and the clouds of tutus. I appreciate soft colors and I always like to try to capture a scene when there is an interesting interaction with the light. Light plays the biggest role in my painting.
My palette generally contains 7 colors: burnt sienna (from Jackson for its red tone), ultramarine blue (from Schmincke for portraits because it is very transparent, and Mijello for backgrounds, thanks to its graininess), brilliant opera (Mijello) which I use as a base for my flesh tones, pheasant blue (Mijello, in particular) for cold flesh tones, sepia (Schmincke or Daniel Smith), madder rose (Mijello ) and yellow ocher (very rarely). I use paper tone for my brightest whites and a mix of sepia and ultramarine for my blacks. If I need greens, I just mix a brown and a blue.
Demo : Conversation (56x38 cm)
I start with my main subject, character by character. Then I end with the background that unifies my work. Along the way, I can stop at any time to have time to finish the work in a logical way.
- I start with a light drawing, because generally I don't like the pencil lines to be visible. I then wet the entire sheet until its surface is glistening with water. I wait for the surface to become matt: it must no longer be soaked, while remaining cool in contact with the hand. There I can start painting.
- I start with the character in the foreground, painting from light to dark. I try as much as possible to apply only one wash: this way my watercolors keep a fresher and lighter character.
- I paint the other ballerinas using the same colors as the previous step. The tutus are made with a mixture of Bright Opera (Jackson's), Violet hue (Jackson's), ultramarine blue and sepia. I only use one brush: a Chinese calligraphy brush made of wolf and goat hair.
- The central group of dancers is finished: I concentrate on their tutus, which I link to the background. By painting them wet on wet, I reinforce the feeling of lightness of their tutu. A dark background also helps me bring a strong light to the central composition.
- THE FINAL: I end with the last ballerina, not as detailed as the others because it is part of the background and does not constitute the main subject. I then paint the background, in order to unify the paint. I finish by adding a few highlights on the other ballerinas.
MY BLENDS FOR SKIN AND HAIR :
Yellow ocher (Jackson's), Peacock blue (Mijello), burnt sienna (Jackson's), Bright Opera (Mijello), for skin tones. And for the hair: the light parts are painted with Peacock Blue, then Sienna, sepia (Schmincke) and ultramarine blue (Schmincke).
In Alain Page's studio
An industrial designer by training, Alain Page started out in art with Asian calligraphy. It was during the 1990s that he decided to take up watercolor painting. He is now president of the Alizarines company, which organizes an exhibition every two years in L'Haÿ- les-Roses, near Paris.
During the stays he made in Asia, Alain confronted the beauty of the temples and places of life in Cambodia and Bali. From the many shots he takes during his travels, he creates sensitive watercolors in homage to these places..
I draw my subject in pencil, specifying the details. I wet my paper by zones, with water (without color), reserving dry parts. Then I put my backgrounds, usually colored grays. I apply the colors in small touches, as the paper dries, to make the volumes appear. Gradually, I wet the different areas by making "grafts" on the already dry parts, compared to the new wet areas. Gradually, I create the areas of shadow and light. I get closer to what I felt when I took the picture.Page 32 Alain Page
In the studio of Liliane Goossens
Liliane Goossens is a basic member of the Watercolor Institute of Belgium (AIB) and Watercolourists in Northern France, among others. An interior designer by profession, she began to engage in watercolors for drawing and designing interiors. In her position at the Belgian television channel VRT, as an interior designer for films and soap operas, she also used this technique. There were no computer drawing programs then and the tradition was to show pictures by hand. From there, she began to put feelings into watercolors, through the use of color and composition. She then learned new techniques, such as Chinese watercolor and Japanese painted designs, which gave her a different point of view from the codes of Western thought. The paints in pans have been replaced by tubes, the brushes, the containers for water and also his studies have become larger…
You have to know how to draw before doing a watercolor. With the wet-on-wet technique, you never know the end result in advance. It is certain that one must master this technique. We know that we have to take into account the composition, the perspective, the light and the dark. I try to say as much as possible with minimal resources. It is a combination of lines, surfaces and shapes. We must also take into account the characteristics of the color: transparency, concentration, resistance to light, nuances… For me, the painting itself is more important than the theme. The work is ultimately the reflection of the impressions and feelings of the moment. Usually it's a landscape, but not necessarily. It can also be purely abstract. The paintings are a real search for the unknown. They sometimes give lush organic shapes or a melancholic atmosphere, and they are at the same time suggestive and very presentPage 37 Liliane Goossens
Nothing is forbidden in painting Lars Eje Larsson
The Swedish artist strongly believes in the rule that the end justifies the means. Whether landscapes or scenes from imaginary films, his paintings reveal his inventiveness in watercolour.
I have been painting in watercolor since 1977, and before that in oil – since 1966, in fact. A friend of mine showed me the works of Andrew Wyeth. I had always thought that watercolor should be light and simple. But I have now acquired the certainty that we can do everything with watercolor. I love this mix of dry and wet techniques in one image. I tried to learn for myself what Andrew Wyeth had discovered, and I came to the conclusion that you have to be very involved in what you want to express in order to feel it; it is not enough to simply copy the technique of another painter. But it was in any case a complex and difficult process
I work a lot on my night scenes, partly inspired by a stay in Cuba in 2012. I was fascinated by the magnificent patinas of the old facades, as well as the old American cars from the 50s – just like the warm lights of public lighting and the cold lights of fluorescent lamps inside, unlike Sweden!Page 40 Lars Eje Larsson
Yu Siu-Lin, Childhood dreams and future memories
The lost paradise of childhood and the weight of old age are two themes dear to Yu Siu-Lin. He found in watercolor the perfect technique to express his nostalgic and poetic temperament.
A fine arts graduate from the National Taiwan Normal University, he became a high school art teacher in the 1990s. In 2015, he took part in the International Watercolor Elite Exhibition in Taiwan.
I used to paint portraits and observe people from a very young age. It was therefore natural for me to develop a sensitivity of my own. Then, when I discovered watercolor at the age of forty, I fell in love with the portrait genre. The emotions and feelings that we have towards each other are something that fascinates me a lot, like the devotion of parents towards their offspring, the innocent and naive face of a child, the memories forever anchored in us of the places where we grew up. Each face emits something noble and this is precisely what I seek to praise through my brushes.Page 52 Yu Siu-Lin
When I choose my colors, I primarily choose low saturation hues, which are best suited to my way of thinking. In addition, by using overlays of transparent layers, I create a rich and deep atmosphere that also remains harmonious.
Gary Akers, What I learned
Oscillating between outings on the ground and his Kentucky studio, he offers landscapes magnified by watercolor and tempera. A 1974 graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky, he published his book, Kentucky: Land of Beauty, in 1999, followed by a second book, Memories of Maine, in 2003. . Gary Akers is a member of the American Watercolor Society and the Kentucky Watercolor Society.
I really discovered how to paint in watercolor while studying at Morehead State University; before that, I was just playing around with this technique. I had a very good instructor, Doug Adams: he taught me the technique and we did a lot of rides together. This is where I became aware of the importance of shadows and light in my work. The discovery of egg tempera came later, when I was teaching drawing and watercolor at university. There was a book in the college library about Andrew Wyeth and I couldn't find it. believe that one can paint so well. This is where I got into tempera; all my works during my university studies were made in this technique. I was able to perfect my learning thanks to a grant from the Greenshield Foundation. As an instructor, I had the option of borrowing this book for an entire year. My final diploma was devoted to the technique of egg tempera.Page 58 Gary Akers
My tempera technique in 4 key steps
- I prefer tempera to all other techniques because it dries to the touch in seconds and you can apply the next layer very quickly. I've always enjoyed painting on dry surfaces and I don't like stopping mid-work to wait for the paint to dry.
- It is this layering process that makes egg tempera so unique, as each layer of paint shows through under the previous layers, until the last ones are almost opaque. No other technique than traditional egg tempera, whose origins date back to the Renaissance, can achieve such beautiful luminosity.
- The pigments I use are: titanium white, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, light cadmium red, medium chrome yellow, yellow ocher, sienna, shade and burnt sienna. The pigments are mixed with distilled water and egg yolk, with equal amounts of pigment and egg yolk. The latter is the only binder I use.
- It all starts with large color washes. Large areas are delimited by free and spontaneous gestures using a large sable hair brush. Once these areas are properly determined, I focus on my main subject, working on details until I am satisfied, using cross-hatching to complete my painting.
Step by step : Reflection of Olson’s
I seek more to convey the essence and atmosphere of my subject than to make an accurate and detailed representation of it.Page 59
In order to obtain a final rendering close to tempera, despite the fact that you do not have pigments on hand, you can mix egg yolk with watercolor in a tube. Especially conducive when you are in the field.
When you take a break for lunch, never forget to cover and protect your work in progress. Otherwise, as was my case, you may see a stray cat or dog licking the surface of your panel!
- I start with a light sketch on a Clayboard Smooth panel. I then apply my first washes using a Loew-Cornell No. 4 round brush: yellow ocher, cerulean blue and titanium white, to indicate the first tones of the sky in the glass and the window frame.
- Using the same brush, I outline the reflections of the trees in the background. At this point, I have thus determined the strongest and weakest values of my array
- I bring more detail into the window with a Loew-Cornell Ultra Round #2 brush. I build up the textures of the grasses using lots of very small cross hatches.
- Now that the window is almost complete, I start painting the wooden cladding of the facade, using yellow ochre, cerulean blue, light cadmium red and titanium white.
- I continue to bring detail into the wooden planks, again using cross-hatching. I layer the washes of warm and cold layers on top of each other to achieve a balance of colors.
- THE FINAL: I pass a final global layer in order to achieve unity. Before finishing the painting, I add some final details on the window and the siding.
For Ian Ramsay, the act of painting must be accompanied by a certain peace of mind. A feeling of relaxation, the satisfaction felt in front of the chosen subject gave birth to his best works. Here he gives us the fruits of his experience as an open-air and studio painter.
Ian Ramsay was born in Farnborough, England in 1948. He was educated in Britain, Canada and the United States. Holder of a master's degree in architecture from the University of Utah, he exhibited, between 2001 and 2005, in 16 Japanese cities. First an architect, Ian Ramsay discovered watercolor in London in the 1970s. A practice that quickly became an obsession for him. The profession of artist fell on him by chance, thanks to an encounter with an art gallery located near his office. It was 1979, and his life was taking a new turn.
He won, among others, the Edward Maule Memorial Prize from the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, the Purchase Prize Award at the Sear Invitational Art Show at Dixie State University in St. George (Utah) and the Best of Show at the Utah State Fair.
He gives workshops and demonstrations in the United States and in Japan.
Victoria Dock under the microscope
This painting expresses what I felt that morning: I was calm, happy and content. I particularly enjoyed painting this watercolor, more than many others over the past few years.
THE COMPOSITION: My idea for the composition came from a photo taken one morning in September 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia. I liked the composition with the boats but I had to make some adjustments to the side quay and in the background to strengthen the composition.
THE SUBJECT AND ITS COLORS: For me, the real subject lies in the details of the boats, in particular the masts and the ropes. I was also touched by the monochrome aspect of the sky, the water and the hulls of the boats. Grays and blues were the perfect palette to capture the tranquility of the morning.
Where to paint?
I paint a lot in the open air but my most accomplished works – and in my eyes the most successful – are made in the studio. Painting and drawing on the pattern are enjoyable and very important activities. This allows us to open up about it, where the photo limits our appreciation and understanding. The exterior natural colors also seem easier to recreate on the sheet.
His creative process
My sketches outline the main shapes as well as the shadows that are placed for compositional purposes. My color studies are very free. Once I get to placing my drawing on my sheet of watercolor paper, I tend to put in more detail than necessary. I discovered that it saves me from making too many decisions later on. As the painting develops, some details are added, and some decisions – which improve the painting – are still made.
I try to decide in advance what mood I want my painting to have so that I have a direction to go. This is something I sense during the early stages of painting development. If I don't let the painting take off on its own at some point, then I'm going to end up with a lifeless painting. When this happens, I try to correct my mistakes with more wash in the sky and in the foreground, while adding more contrast.Page 62 Ian Ramsay
The method of Ian Ramsay
Once I have determined my subject from my sketches, photos or slides, I begin with a quick study of values and composition. This helps me lay my drawing comfortably on my watercolor paper. The subject itself usually determines the size of the sheet. I then carefully draw my subject with an F pencil. For me, precise drawing makes the painting experience easier. If I'm in a hurry and haven't solved my drawing correctly, there's always something wrong with the end result. Corrections need to be added. Patience in drawing is always one of my most important goals.
The next step is to quickly apply the first washes, for the lightest colors in the sky, in the foreground and in the other large flat areas… while taking care to paint around the areas that I reserve. I almost always paint wet on dry; I rarely use the wet-on-wet technique. I almost never use masking gum: it's both painful and it leaves too sharp contours which must then be reduced.
Once the washes are dry, I start superimposing the colors, wet and free, blending the outlines if necessary. I like to have a richness of outline, especially in the sky and large areas of landscape. At this stage, I will focus on my main subject, giving it form, shadows, and more impact, always keeping in mind my contrasts (of value and color).
Throughout my painting, I use large brushes, which allow me to paint quickly, fluidly while being more relaxed. Despite the level of detail in my paintings, I only use fine brushes at the very end of the work. Details are intricate for those new to watercolor painting, when it's actually the easiest part of painting. On the other hand, all the complex parts must be solved before going into the details... Then it's like drawing, and I love drawing.
When the details are laid, the painting is 90% complete. At this point, I put my painting on an easel to assess it. I take notes on the necessary color and value adjustments, in order to give the watercolor more strength. The painting is finished after these final touches have been applied.
Jia Li Water stories
This Chinese watercolourist graduated in 2021 from the Institute of Fine Arts in Hubei. In 2014, she received the Excellence Prize at the International Biennial of Watercolor in Shenzhen (China) for Water Mirror Bloom (opposite).
His watercolors full of details try to translate the feeling of fullness that arises when one is under water or immersed in one's thoughts. Fascinated by the reflections of liquid on the skin, Jia Li makes us discover the beauty of submerged bodies through the expressions and postures of her models.
I really feel something special with water: I like to be in it and discover what lives under the surface. It really is another world. Many people think like me, hence the very large number of underwater photographs that can be seen here and there. I too seek to show my emotions through the sheet of watercolor paper, to describe them through my brushstrokes. The refraction of light, under water, gives an incredible beauty to the characters; everything is more mysterious and more exciting. The human body underwater is free, unfettered. Equally fascinating and unpredictable are the reflections of moving water on the skin, the waves, the bubbles. And the clothes change with the water, so each image is necessarily unique.Page 68 Jia Li
La technique de Jia Li en 4 points clés
- Generally, I start by moistening both sides of the sheet and then laying it on a plastic board. I wait for the moment when there is no more water on the sheet but when it is still wet, then I apply the overall color. I use cotton fiber paper, which absorbs water well: it allows me to take on more color with my brush.
- Once the paper dries, some of the color will be absorbed by its fibers, and therefore the color will be lighter than when you laid it down. I try not to iron, which requires me to successfully estimate and gauge the right amount and density of paint the first time.
- When the sheet is almost dry and flat, I will fix it on a wooden board. I wait for it to dry completely before going back to the details, wetting only the areas that need to be reworked.
- As I paint a translucent environment, I try to keep my colors transparent. To represent water, I don't use too many color overlays. It is easy to make the transparency only with pigments: it is enough to keep the balance between water, color and humidity of the sheet. Second, objects underwater always appear more vivid than they do in a context with natural light. As a result, the color will be denser in the shaded areas. Once you understand this, it's easier to paint objects – and bodies – submerged.
Un tableau à la loupe
THE COMPOSITION: Only half of my character is represented, in order to leave room for the viewer's imagination. I used the golden rule to place the face. The blank space on the right is used to show the direction the character is swimming in. On the body can be discerned the details of shadow and light, both on the skin and on the clothes.
THE MESSAGE: I wanted to present here an assertive and optimistic attitude, without being disturbed by others. And while emphasizing the direction we are taking ourselves.
THE SKIN TONES: For the details, in order to make the color transitions more natural, I will spray water, especially on the skin tones, in order to keep the right humidity before to repeat these parts. This gives me a more natural look.
THE HAIR: I take a dry brush, saturated in pigments, and I gently stroke it to indicate the hair. For specific details, I wait until the sheet is perfectly dry, because I don't like blurry or abstract renderings. Highlight areas in my paintings are those containing realistic detail. I like when my images are anchored in a certain reality.
MY WATERCOLORS: I paint with watercolors from Daniel Smith, Van Gogh and Winsor & Newton, but in truth, I don't care. The important criteria for me are the saturation of the colors as well as their finesse.
"Summer light #4" Step by step
While the paper is still wet on the surface, I apply my first washes which help me establish the first shapes. I try to make this first wash as decisive as possible, so as to avoid having to apply more on the same areas.
I continue by adding details, that is to say the folds and the shadows on the garment. I will come back to this a little later.
With a dry brush, I'm going to work on the hair, drawing in the paint there, adding strong highlights here. The details are important because, in my opinion, that is where the beauty of painting lies..
Elke Memmler, freedom of color
For the German artist, expressiveness rhymes with freedom. Refusing all recourse to photography, she pursues her path in search of her own truth in painting.
I paint a floral watercolor, I start by taking a walk in my garden or in that of my friendly neighbors, in order to choose an armful of flowers. I can't paint from photos. I need to have my subject in view, and this is also true for my urban scenes and my nudes: I have to “see reality”. I only need three or four flowers for my composition, which I place in a small vase or glass and keep in my studio until they fade. “The painted image” develops in my head thanks to my imagination. I look at the flowers, then I organize my ideas in terms of contrasts of shadows and lights, of composition. Then, I launch directly into a sketch on the sheet. The painting is then done in the moment, I forget time and space. I don't ask myself the question of what I can do and what I can't do. My job is to transcribe on the sheet the image that I have in mind.Page 72 Elke Memmler
Focus on a watercolour: tulips
THE SUBJECT What could be better than an armful of tulips overflowing from a vase to express your artistic creativity? True to my predilection for floral themes, this exuberant bouquet is an excuse to make color sing.
THE USE OF COLOUR: Here, color is at the service of the composition, which can be divided into three zones of roughly similar format: the blues in the lower part represent the vase, while the flowers are rendered in a shades of flamboyant and transparent reds. Finally, in the central part, the greens ensure the transition between the top and the bottom of the composition, thanks to the slender leaves, real guidelines that mingle with the blues and reds.
THE NEGATIVE PAINTING: In order for the watercolor to keep its lightness, I deliberately chose to reserve certain white spaces in the middle of the sheet. Thus, the two red tulips, on the left, find their counterpoint with the two other quasi-identical forms and untouched by paint, on the right. In addition, this bias allows the colors, in contrast to the white of the paper, to be even stronger.
A DIVERSITY OF TECHNIQUES: In order to express all my creativity, I have chosen to use a whole range of techniques: granulation, iridescence, contoured shapes and layering of washes...Page 75 Elke Memmler
And to finish
Dario Callo Anco, Paint to witness
Dario Callo Anco is a Peruvian artist, the last of a family including two other artists, Evaristo and Mario. Born in the city of Arequipa in 1973, Dario Callo studied plastic arts at the University of San Agustín, although his passion for art dates back to his earliest childhood:
My fondness for drawing and painting started when I was in primary school. I won my first painting competition there, admits the artist. This made me want to pursue art studies, and then to participate in competitions and exhibitions. In watercolour, he expresses what inspires in him the slow disappearance of the traditions and heritage of his country: "I feel touched by the arrival in Peru of modernity and cement, which is most often done to the detriment ancestral customs and cultures. »
What interests me is the attitude of my characters, especially those of the Andean peoples. In a portrait, it is important to render the atmosphere, which is a bit of a setting highlighting the character. Above all, I try to capture the characteristics specific to these peoples, whether it is their clothing or the texture of their skin. I try to lose my subject in the background – a way of symbolizing the disappearance of these ancient peoples, their customs and their traditions. Whether the model is unknown to me or on the contrary a friend or a member of my family, the difficulty and the challenge remain the same. Painting is my life. In the immediate future, I focus on my research on the Andean landscape as well as its population and its future development in this modern world. Offering a contemporary vision of Peru interests me; my interest in this subject is due to the fact that my parents were born and lived in the Colca Valley. Their Andean roots run through my veins”. Page 77 Dario Callo Anco
Simplifying shapes with Carl Purcell
Carl Purcell taught painting and drawing at Snow College in Utah for 30 years. He is currently retired from college but is a popular painting and drawing workshop instructor, having led workshops all over the West, from Alaska to Arizona and Great Britain.
Carl has been honored with National Watercolor Society Iconic Membership and has been awarded Honorary Membership by the Utah Watercolor Society for his contributions to watercolor painting in the state. He has won numerous awards, including a purchase prize at the National Watercolor Society International Exhibition in 2008. In 2009, Carl was chosen as one of three judges for the annual National Watercolor Exhibition Society.
What constitutes a recognizable style? We all have the same letters of the alphabet and despite everything we all have a unique handwriting which is imprinted with our own personality. I am a virtual summary of all the paintings I have seen and admired. However, deep inside me, something prompted me to put a personal spin on everything I was able to learn. I never cared about developing a style, in the same way that I never cared about developing a personal writing. It happens naturally. I don't think Beethoven gave much thought to the style he wanted to give to his work. As surprising as it may seem, I never give much thought to my style. I imagine I have one, but I would be hard pressed to describe it! My goal has always been to progress in painting, to paint honestly and to learn a little with each new work. I admit that I borrowed many ideas and learned lessons from many paintings!Page 86 Carl Purcell
Demo : Aspen
I start first by acknowledging this anguish that precedes any good watercolor. First step: make a drawing of my subject, in which I extract the visual information that immediately caught my eye. It can be a light shape, a dark shape, a rhythm of shapes, a combination of colors, or an assembly of lines. The drawing helps me to set up the subject, filter it and embellish it. Then, from this first sketch, I attack my painting. Just as the drawing is not the replica of my subject, the painting is not the simple replica of my drawing. At the end, to make sure my details are correct, I refer to my subject.Page 87 Carl Purcell
I start with light washes that are simply adapted to the placement of specific shapes. These washes alternate between warm and cold colors, with dominants. I leave white areas according to my needs – even a little more than expected: these tend to disappear during the painting.
I then develop rhythms of intermediate values that divide the sheet into different areas leading to the focal point. This step activates the format and allows the eye to move through the painting.
I develop the dominant part to keep my idea firmly in mind while I work on the rest of the painting. It lets me know where I should stop. I add some details if necessary while trying above all not to go too far.
The watercolor technique generally requires a tactical approach. For example, it is easier to start with light values and gradually move towards darker ones. The needs of the painting nevertheless remain a priority and I have sometimes done a watercolor by starting with my darkest values in order to establish from the start the range that I wanted to use.
Aspen, 56x38 cm, Carl Purcell