Monday, June 10, 2013


I've been heavily reliant on a technical knowledge of watercolours, colour mixing, colour wheels etc that was learnt in about grade 4 (about 10 years old?) and not greatly developed since then. It's been a wonderful way to work and play. Frankly, I have enjoyed being naive about certain things because there is a level of freedom to it. As if I can't be held responsible for creating better watercolour work due to my ignorance of how to do it. But now I want to move on. 
Thankfully, surrounding this (slightly embarrassing) realisation has been the course I'm taking with Liz Steel and her fantastic knowledge, experience and ethusiasm. Liz's passion for watercolour pigments is evident in her work as well as commentary.
In our class we covered hue, value, intensity, cool vs warm, use of complementary colours for shadows, mixing colours, wet/damp/dry technique comparison and more. I took many notes and drew pictures and painted colours. But until I start mixing these colours and  using the techniques in sketches, repetitively, none of the newer concepts are easy for me to recall.
Pittwater Road, Manly
As part of the course we had the option of setting up our travel watercolour palettes with Liz's current favourite colours. Awesome. Now I can at least go forth with my own changes knowing I have a good platform to work from.  With a handy selection of Daniel Smith colours set into half pans, the above was my first outdoors/onsite trial of the new paints.
The following class focussed on buildings. Here we recalled some of what we did early on in the course in relation to form, structure, detail as well as more discussion on perspective.
We completed a few very simplified line drawings of incredible, historic, beautiful archtiecture such as Notre Dame from photos (totally gullibe to Liz's clever strategy of boosting our confidence in sketching buildings) and then headed down the Corso, to St Matthews Church. There I became engrossed in detail,  forgetting most of what she'd just taught us about keeping it simple. In order to complete the full picture - both lines and colour on site I still need to work faster. This one was coloured at home.  
 I've also created a colour mixing chart from my new palette.  I then set about to further absorb how my colours mix by sketching a Classic Rover from one of my photos, using predominantly just French Ultramine Blue and Burnt Umber. I snuck in some Moonglow because it looked pretty comfortable with the other two. This was really helpful for me to understand how the colours work together.

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