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

Watercolour with a Zen Influence

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I was so pleased with today’s watercolour workshop. Everyone went with the flow of the colour and allowed their brushes to dance lightly across the paper. Not only was it a lovely atmosphere with each encouraging the others, the results were fantastic. While the “journey is paramount” in this art, it is doubly satisfting when the finished paintings look so good (even with several absolute beginners in this group)! And all this with a limited palette of Maimeri Venezia Cyan, Permanent Red Deep and sky  blue ultramarine (some also used a touch of permanent red light, primary yellow, black ink and/or white Gouache).