Thursday, October 8, 2015

Beginning Watercolor Homework 10/8/15 Seeing the Sequence of Layers in Advance

Some paintings I admire are easy to understand as a series of layers that proceed from light to dark and from general to specific. Others resist this kind of analysis and remain mysterious.

In any given area or shape there are seldom more than three layers in George Post's paintings. Notice how he uses an invented pattern to describe texture, like the herring-bone marks in the conifers.

Here's Post's pal, Rex Brandt at work. This painting takes a little longer to understand as a sequence of layers. The white building, for example, and the puddle, are first defined by what surrounds them, rather than by a wash that shows us the basic shape.

In this scene from Iceland (painted by me, on a good day), there are areas similar to George Post's shape followed by texture approach, and others that involve first reserving a white shape, as Rex Brandt did so well.

The homework is to copy a watercolor that engages you - one of these or anything you like. As you finish each layer, say, light, middle value and dark, take a moment to assess the effectiveness of the illusion of space, light and substance. You may be able to discover when in the sequence the illusions are established.
Have fun!

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