Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lesson 44 Flat and Graded Washes

One of the first lessons in a beginning watercolor class is how to lay down a flat and a graded wash. This is actually a tricky thing to do in watercolor, particularly on the cheaper watercolor papers. In this lesson we revisited the subject. The biggest challenge in preparing for laying in a flat wash over a large area is to get enough color mixed up before you start. We used paper cups to mix up at least a couple tablespoons of rich color. Dampening the paper first helps, as does keeping the paper at an angle so it dries from top to bottom. Here are two examples of skies done with a rich flat wash. Both Barbara and Leslie contrasted the flat sky with a loose, textured treatment of waves.

Next we practiced laying in a graded wash working from dark to light and at the same time from warm to cool hues. Graded washes give the painting a sense of depth. In these two examples Brian and Nancy create a sense of deep space using graded washes and bring the foreground even close with accents.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back in Class with Lesson 43

We began a new series of classes with a project involving sunflowers. The idea was to lift sunflower shapes out of a saturated wet background. We brushed colors on very wet paper and let them grade into each other be tipping the sheet various ways. Flowers were lifted out by dabbing with paper towels. Yellow color was added back into the petals while the paper was still damp to create soft edges. When everything was dry we brought out some of the edges by darkening the background in places. Here are some examples by Jean, Carrie, Carla and Rita.