Monday, March 22, 2010

Studying texture in watercolor

So here I am back in the pursuit of watercolor after too many years away. I am rusty! *shuddering in embarrassment* As I was trained in Scientific Illustration, most of my early watercolor paintings were focused on detailed renderings of discrete objects or animals, much more so than fine art subjects. I spent some time studying textures but mainly using pen & ink as a base to create the textures and then laying down watercolor washes over the top.

Bone Button, pen & ink with watercolor
& gouache highlights, circa 1997

At this point I am ready to change the focus of my painting to seek a greater understanding of the fine art side of this rich and beautiful technique. I have put together a series of painting challenges for myself to study some of the various ways the medium can be used. I have decided that studying textures WITHOUT the base of pen & ink (a crutch to me) would be a great place to start.

I have really enjoyed Cathy Johnson’s book “Creating Textures in Watercolor.” Her style is easy-going and encouraging and I really like her approach to painting. I have begun working through the book with brush in hand in order to experiment with different sorts of textures.

Here are two of my first textural watercolor sketches.

A study of a wonderful mossy tree in my backyar

  A study of a banana. I didn’t like how I handled the ends
in the larger painting so I re-did them beneath.

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