Newbies Watercolour #2

Lesson #2 - LINE

Recapping on Lesson #1, we learned the 5 elements of design, Line, Shape, Tone, Colour and Texture.

Lesson #2 focuses on the 1st element Line and how it relates to watercolour:

Lines are infinitely variable! They can be thin as hairs, tapered, wiggly, straight, thick, broken etc. It's up to you - you're making them!

Lines can also refer to the line between shapes or the Edge - in watercolour we can make soft wet-in-wet lines, hard wet on dry lines or a combination of both. Lines can define shapes by an outline, they can be blended or faded. Whatever your choices, the lines you make in watercolour should always be gestural and descriptive.

 

Have a look at these samples:

Lesson #2 - Line qualities

Lesson #2 - Line qualities


  1. Hard edged line
  2. Tapered line
  3. Broken line
  4. Fading line
  5. Outline
  6. Soft and hard line
Lesson #2 - Trees

Lesson #2 - Trees

In this painting exercise we practised:

1. Choosing a limited palette - Pthalo blue, Scarlet lake and Lemon yellow

2. Wetting only parts of the paper with a big wet, Chinese brush loaded with Lemon yellow, then carefully painting vertical lines across the paper. This gives a series of varied soft and hard edges lines for the distant trees

3. Laying in progressively darker, richer lines from background to foreground. Notice how the line qualities change as the paper dries at different rates.

4. Having fun with splattering and flicking paint! I like the way this adds sparkle and a sense of light through the leaves.

5. Mixing and blending colours within the tree shapes.

6. Defining and describing leaf and fern shapes on the forest floor and thin branches on the trees.

 

And here is the design so you can try it out on your own!

Line design

Line design

A note about line placement and rhythm:

Example 1. shows lines evenly spaced on the paper. This can feel regimented, repetitive and monotonous. Think about a musical beat that plays out this way, it has a regular rhythm like a military march!

Example 2. shows varied lines arranged at different intervals. Notice how much more interesting both positive and negative shapes are and the tension between them. Think jazz where the rhythms are unexpected and surprising.

 

Line placement

Line placement

Newbies Watercolour

Lesson #1 - An introduction to watercolour and the elements of design

Lesson #1 set up

Lesson #1 set up

  1. A fresh sheet of Arches 140LB Cold Press watercolour paper stretched onto quarter inch plywood board with brown gummed tape.
  2. Photocopy of original design drawn with a sharpie. This can be traced onto the prepared watercolour paper with a hard 2h pencil and carbon transfer paper.
  3. Leave a small strip of blank paper for testing marks, colour and tonal value.
  4. Sketchbook for keeping written and visual notes.
  5. Thumbnail colour sketch. If you figure out your colour palette on a small scale and it works visually, the chances are it will translate successfully on a larger scale.
  6. A wad of folded kitchen towel is useful for wiping excess water from your brush and drying the brush as you clean it in water.
  7. Palette can be anything from a white ceramic plate, a white butcher's tray or 2nd hand appie dishes like this one. Just so long as you have nice wide spaces to mix washes!
  8. Your small painting exercise 9"x13"

 


Painting exercise #1 - Anvil Island evening. 

Even though this little painting looks simple, each of the 5 ELEMENTS of design play an important role and each has been carefully thought through and used with a purpose. The 5 ELEMENTS of Design are: Line, Shape, Colour, Tone and Texture

 

Lesson #1 Anvil Island evening

Lesson #1 Anvil Island evening

1. Line can also mean the edges that define shapes.

2. Notice the proportion of Shapes for sky, water and Islands.

3. Tonal values create contrast and the illusion of depth and distance. Our focal point might be where the darkest shapes meet the lightest.

4. Colour temperature is used here to reinforce the illusion of depth and distance. Cool colours (blues) tend to recede while warm colours (reds) tend to advance.

5. Texture is created here by lightly brushing with the side of a dry-ish brush to give a sparkle to the water.

In this painting exercise we practised:

1. Choosing a limited palette - Pthalo blue, Scarlet lake and Paynes grey

2. Laying a graded wash using Pthalo blue and Scarlet lake for the sky

3. Laying in progressively darker, richer washes from background to foreground

4. mixing warm and cool colours to achieve a sense of depth and distance

5. Introducing a textural passage by using dry brush, creating a sparkle to the water.

 

And here is the design if you feel like having a go at it yourself!

Intro design

Intro design