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29 January 2016

February Watercolor Challenge

For this month's challenge, I spent a few minutes browsing through the Google Art Project's watercolor collection. There's some stuff in there that I look at and think, "Really? That got in a museum?" As well as some pieces that are incredibly beautiful. This month's logo features a painting of Conwy Castle in North Wales that I found while browsing. (That's the Welsh spelling, not a misspelling, by the way.) So the first suggestion this month is to spend a few minutes browsing their watercolor collection, and maybe pick a few paintings that catch your eye to come share in the Facebook group. There's an amazing variety of looks that the various artists have persuaded their water color paints to produce for them. As with so many things, spending time looking at copying the work of accomplished artists will give us a boost in our own work; you can't go wrong by studying excellence.

After that, spend a few minutes watching watercolor timelapse videos to see how experienced artists build their paintings. I think it's fascinating to watch how they layer their colors, and I find it helpful to watch them do it, and think about their work as I'm planning my own attempts. Here's a couple, but there are many more on YouTube.

This one is a little bit longer, but it shows the whole process, including how this artist uses the lifting technique that we practiced last month. I think it's interesting how she made the painting "loose" - which made a beautiful final picture.

Next, read chapter 3, Transparency and Opacity from our book. This chapter has more discussion of how to mix colors, and the properties of the two classes of paints, transparent and opaque. Mess around with your colors. Observe how they mix, and what they do on wet paper when placed adjacent each other, as well as what happens when you tip a damp page. Once you have figured out if your colors are transparent or opaque, try building up a few layers, working from light to dark. As with last month's blending activity, remember that this exercise is not about the final product, but rather about learning the behavior of your paint: there are no mistakes, even when the result is not what you were anticipating.

Finally, still working with the artist you selected last month, choose another painting to copy in whole or in part. Remember to bring a photo of your projects to our Facebook group and share your accomplishments so we can cheer for you!

The January challenge can be found here.

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