Saturday, June 24, 2017

Using Grisaille With Watercolours

The latest issue Watercolor Artist magazine has an article about an artist using the most interesting approach for his watercolours.  Tim Saternow uses grisaille as an underpainting. This technique is normally associated with oil and acrylic painting.

I didn't know much about this technique and had to research it. Some artists execute a grisaille for its own sake  while others use it as an underpainting. A grisaille allows the artist to focus on composition, shape and values and not have any distractions from the colours.  Grisaille paintings often time resemble monochrome drawings.  When used as an underpainting, successive layers of transparent colors are glazed over the grisaille to finish the process. This layering technique helps achieving great realism and luminous effects.

This technique can also be adopted by watercolourists. First start with a monochrome underpainting. Once the underpainting is dry, add layers of  transparent washes.

There are a number of different ways to create the first layer of underpainting for your watercolour.:
  • You can use watercolours. Apparently, the most commonly used color for underpainting with watercolours is purple (a mix of cadmium red and ultramarine blue works very well). Artists also have had success with neutral colors, such as blue or green.  The artist in the article mentioned above uses Paynes Gray
  • A light wash of India ink also works, as long as the ink is waterproof so it won't smudge once dry, allowing you to paint watercolour on top.
  • It's also possible to use a graphite. Since you do not want the water to dilute and muddy your colours, add a fixative before starting to paint so the water doesn't disrupt the graphite. However, the fixative will impact the behaviour, including the absorbency, of your paper.
Depending on the colour of the grisaille, it will certainly set the mood of the painting.
This week's artist find is Tim Saternow (mentioned above)
Tim Saternow watercolour
Have a great week,

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Supportive family member

Many of us have a partner who supports our artistic activities. Recently I read an article that provided advice to those who are close to artists. Here is a quick overview of the tips they had for our supporters:
  • accept and do not attempt to change the artist even if there is an appearance of non-conformism;
  • respect the way the artist works which may include the need for solitude or odd hours dedicated to painting;
  • attempt to understand the artist's goal even if they may appear non-conventional;
  • when times get difficult, continue believing in the artist;
  • make any contribution that you can such as keeping inventories, assist with finances, set up at art fairs, help with the resume, etc.;
  • never stop telling the artist that you continue to believe in their art, especially through difficult times;
  • be present at show openings.
I hope that you are as lucky as I am and have someone who constantly shows their support.

Today's artist find is Chan Dissanayake
Chan Dissanayake watercolour
Have a great week,

Saturday, June 10, 2017

What is a colourist

When an artist claims they are a colourist, what do they actually mean. I know some local artists who claim they are colourist. How does one know if they are a colorist or not? As an art admirer, how does one determine if they are looking at an artist who is a "colourist?"

Many believe that a colourist is one who is more concerned with the play with colour and who will exaggerate a colour, or use an unexpected colour rather than the colour that is really there.  Colourists also seem to have an aversion to greyed colors. They'd rather play with pure colours and insinuate gray, than "dull" down a passage with grays.

Others believe that a "colourist" depends on the impact of colour and is less interested in 3D form as achieved through light and tone.

Today's artist find id Marc Folly
Marc Folley watercolour

Have a great week,

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Value of stretch learning in arts

When you choose a photo to paint do you always select one that you are confident that you could succeed with? If that's the case, you are most likely staying within my comfort zone. The learning experience remains limited when an artist stays in that zone and doesn't stretching him or herself.

If you decide not to push yourself and stay in the comfort zone, there is a risk that you won't be learning as much as you could. 

There are three learning zones: the comfort zone, the stretch zone and the panic zone. Most of us naturally drift towards the comfort zone. However, the main place that learning and development takes place is in the stretch zone.

How do you know that you are approaching a stretch zone? You will likely get butterflies or feel the urge to walk away or give up prematurely.  Whatever the sign, it is important to recognise that it indicates your personal stretch zone and an opportunity to make a decision there and then to grow. If you don’t take up jump you might never do so

You might think that if working in the stretch zone helps improve your skills, then working in the panic zone is better (more is better yes?). Unfortunately, research has demonstrated that this can lead to ineffective learnings and weaker performance.

If being in the stretch zone is challenging why do some artists push themselves?  The answer probably lies with the artist's desire to better their art.

This week's artist find is Nicola Morrin
Nicola Lynch Morrin

Nicola Lynch Morrin

Have a great week,