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Tuesday 3 February 2009



Techniques are almost impossible to write about, but here goes.

The most important thing is to keep at it - keep painting and drawing - and keep experimenting as much as possible.

Here are some things to try with water colour - not all of them will suit your style or your temperament - use the ones that appeal to you and discard the rest.

Before you start, create a white border all around your paper with masking tape. Now draw your subject using a hard (H) pencil. When you are satisfied with your drawing, start to apply the colour.

In the early stages, concentrate on the overall effect. Don’t get stuck sorting out specific details too soon.

Work from light to dark by applying the pale colours first - this usually means the bigger negative spaces and backgrounds.

Large wet areas of light, cool pigment will tend to recede from the picture plane. Try this for skies in your landscapes or when you are painting the backgrounds to still-life studies.

Use stronger pigments over a lighter wash or on their own for foregrounds. Darker areas of dryer warm colour will tend to advance towards the picture plane. Also, try to restrict your colour range. Rather than using lots of different colours, try using the same colour in different concentrations.

Don’t be afraid of leaching (when wet colours run into each other). The textural effects can be quite pleasing. As you advance, you will be able to control this effect more and more.

For the pen and wash look, use a black pen to draw into the colour and outline objects in your painting. You will be surprised how this pulls the composition together by integrating the various elements and adding a sparkle to your painting.

Finally, keep working and keep experimenting with various techniques until you find the ones that suit your own particular temperament and you develop your own distinctive style. Now it’s over to you.

Your subject matter is all around you - inside, outside, in your head, in your camera or on the internet.

It's always worth looking at the millions of famous paintings you can see on the net. It's a great place to find creative stimulation and art ideas.

In the pics above, the Mezin Ladies Art Group is shown:
Hard at work, Hard at play, and the bottom pic is a still life they produced after looking at a series of slides on Pop Art, its development, its proponents and its position in the history of art.

It's easy to get started - just pick up a pencil.

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