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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Tools for Watercolor = part 3 of 4

I use an O'Hara palette, upon which the color is a mound on a flat surface.
The reason for this is that sullied color runs off and leaves pure color available on the top of the mound.
A dinner plate or enameled tray has the same advantage. Any palette with color in a depression is mechanically inferior.
Contaminated color becomes a constant problem. Water stays in declivities and when paper is wet you cannot get dry color to put into wet areas. Masterpieces have been painted with color in little holes, but they were made in spite of this handicap.

Eighty percent of my painting is done with a two-inch camel's-hair flat brush and a one-inch red sable flat. In many pictures no other brushes were used. This may be because demonstrating to classes everyday — committed to one hour of drawing and painting, and talking while I paint (students cannot sit still longer) — I find these brushes faster. The large flat brush, however, has the following undeniable virtues:
(1) A ready-made straight edge — most expedient;
(2) it holds more color and covers areas faster;
(3) it is an infinitely better "lifting" tool, because its thousands of hairs at the end, squeezed dry, are "thirstier";
(4) it is the best known antidote for "hemstitching," breadth of effect being aided mechanically;
( 5 ) holding the brush perpendicular to the plane of the paper, with its end touching the paper, gives to small parts the beauty of a "tool mark."

Tools for Watercolor = part 2 of 4 The Tools


I feel silly writing about tools.
Hundreds of pages in watercolor books and site have already advised you on this subject; furthermore, the tools used by the best watercolorists have little to do with the qualities in their works.
The color and value chords of each painter, the way he divides space, where his interest lies in the gamut between illustration and decoration, would be his own even if he painted with a sponge and a shaving brush.
I work on the ground, seated on a small folding stool.
I have reasons for doing so.
It gives the same free arm swing the Orientals get painting on their knees, and the angle of vision at that distance encompasses all of my watercolor, so colors and thrusts can be related. But, no matter how much you like my pictures, if you have a big stomach, or are rather broad astern, you will not work on the ground from a small folding stool.
When I use a pencil, a 2-B makes a mark dark enough to be seen under a wash without furrowing the paper.
You may prefer a harder or softer pencil. I frequently draw directly with a goose quill, with a ballpoint pen, or with a brush.
A few people use charcoal. A few times on location will enable you to make your own decisions. I have reasons, however, for using the tools I do. I will give you my reasons.


There is no argument here. Tube colors are best.

Tools for watercolor part 1 of 4

Tools for watercolor

there are two reasons for putting paint on paper.
One is to communicate an idea or an emotion.
The other is to decorate a surface.
Either objective, or the more interesting and more important one of contriving a synthesis of both, has as a prerequisite a knowledge of and facility with the tools used.
These are our concern in this next post.


Watercolor has three glories or virtues:
(1) Faster rhythms — one stroke three-feet long if you wish.
(2) Lovelier precipitations, the truth involved here being that substances obeying their own laws do beautiful things. Look at tide marks on a beach, or auto tire marks in snow.
Coil two ropes and cast one on the floor, then you arrange the other. A glance at them proves my contention. Look at a Rorschach ink blot. This is the truth nobody added nothing to. He poured enamel or paint on the floor and framed the area that pleased him most. Watercolor is trying to help you every stroke you make.
(3) Its white paper showing through a transparent wash is the closest approximation to light in all the media, and light is the loveliest thing that exists.
All of these virtues have to do with the nature of watercolor, which is that it is wet.

Watercolor's Nature

The nature and essence of watercolor is its spontaneity, the swift seizure of a single impression, not the careful building up of design and inclusion of carefully defined detail. That is oil, gouache, or casein painting. Taste is questionable when there is a too arbitrary extension of the natural province of the medium.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Introduction to watercolor

all knowledge essential to the painting of a fine watercolor can be obtained from blogs, many blogs; teachers, many teachers; and subscription to the truth of  the pragmatic theory that doing is part of the knowing.

There is no one volume purporting to present all, or even a resume of all the contributing factors inherent in a watercolor. Most blogs give superficial information on such subjects as wash techniques and the use of tools; they make no pretense of helping the artist to understand himself, the creative act, design principles, or recent findings in the study of aesthetics.

They do not supply definitions of artists' and critics' vernacular—so important to the student in shaping his thinking.

This blog has those additional objectives. It is conceived as a working tool to be kept in studio and sketchbox. It is to be glanced at frequently to keep the mind from digressions, and to keep the artist concerned with significant word
sequences. It is a reference blog.

Throughout the blog and particularly in the chapter. Notes, you will find "capsule" precepts or comments. Some are quotes, others originals.
There is evidence that certain authors have better minds than ours and these "seeings"
—well expressed bv our superiors—can sustain, encourage, and edify us when our lesser understanding and vision engender doubts. >
Man must have a faith to live bv—something to believe in. These men have found an unassailable faith in the validity of creative activity.