Thursday, October 14, 2010

Value study of Punalu’u Beach in Kauai

Watercolor study of Punalu'u Beach (Payne's Gray watercolor on tinted paper)
Doing a value study of a black sand volcanic beach! Am I crazy? *wink* All the same, it was a perfect opportunity to get my watercolors out after the long layoff and get my “eye” back for painting. Boy, am I rusty with the brush! It’s always amazing to me that when you hard focus hard on one skill (like the speed sketching I was doing on my trip) you can appear to “lose” your skills in other areas. Of course, they’re not really lost, they’ve just been put on the back shelf for a little while. Once you take them out again and blow off the dust, they’re back ready for use.

In this piece, besides working out the relative values in Payne’s Gray, I was also trying out a bunch of watercolor techniques. I was testing their value (no pun intended) for potential use in a more finished painting. Techniques like stamping, scribbling, splatter, scraping, and dancing brush strokes are all really important in watercolor. For a long time I was against using such watercolor "tricks." I'm still not sure why. Watercolor is about light, shape, and color. Artist/authors like Cathy Johnson and Claudia Nice have helped me understand these concepts much better. Now it’s up to me to keep practicing until my brush works with me as easily as my pencil and pen. :-)

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