Forest Light, watercolour


Like many artists I love depicting light in my paintings. This work was started by flooding cool yellow on the paper from the top right then cyan, ultramarine and a little Maimeri permanent red light (not light red which is more opaque) in varying amounts from the left and base, weighting the base with darker hues. The yellow was to give a sense of light, although at this stage I did not know the resulting scene was to be a forest. My concern was purely to paint atmosphere… the sense of light. The depiction of a setting would come later. I was working with cling film technique with students, so while the work was still damp I covered it with cling film, pulling and manipulating it to create interesting shapes, bigger in some spots and smaller in others. At this stage I was thinking “underwater scene” with the patterning being refracted light within the water. On removing the cling wrap I saw a tree suggestion on the LHS and I started to ‘pull” that out from the background. A lighter patch suggested a waterfall so I lifted colour to re-inforce that…. made easier because of the extra soft Fabriano torchon paper. Gradually the forest evolved with some traditional brushwork, a little use of palette knife, scraping and calligraphic marks using sumi ink, watercolour and a little white gouache. The centre back was left to suggest the indistinct, hazy mystery of distant, vegetation.

Forest mystery

Forest mystery

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Watercolour techniques… clingwrap


For the past week with my art classes we have been enjoying using cling wrap to create exciting textures in watercolour. With practise one can have a degree of control over the patterning but as with many of the techniques I prefer, part of the art creativity is the serendipity of it, and working with what happens. My starting thoughts for this particular painting were sunlight and forest. I chose a lemon yellow, cyan and a little red (all transparent), put bold colour on the wet paper, arranged the cling wrap then left sitting for a while before drying with the hairdrier (in a class I often need to hasten drying of my demo works). I then worked quite extensively into this “base” letting the patterns suggest the evolution of the piece.
Can you see the remnants of the cling wrap patterning? I do not like such techniques to be too obvious. They should enhance the painting not be the primary focus.
We will look at this again in classes this week so if you are able to attend a session on Tuesday or Wednesday evening (7.30) or Friday afternoon (1p.m), you will get instruction in this. (I can provide gear).

Forest mystery

Forest mystery