Painting Your Subject in Five Simple Strokes: Video Demonstration


What a perfect summer day! The kids finished their school work for the year last week and are officially on summer vacation. (Don't tell them, but we'll be packing lots of learning into the summer months, just in a sneaky, hands-on way!) This afternoon I took them on an outing; I wanted to get a run in without getting up early, so I jogged while they biked the walking trails in town. We did a quick 5km and then packed the bikes back in the van and went swimming at the pool. It was actually a lot of fun - so often my plans for a fun outing hold a lot of frustration and complaining, so maybe they are growing up!

I got a little watercolor painting in this morning and I wanted to share my video of my newest endeavours because I'm trying something new. Jean Haines in her book Atmospheric Watercolour said something that stuck with me, about painting only half the detail you think you need. I think that's what I need since I really struggle with "overpainting"; that is, painting the life out of my subject. Nothing makes a watercolour look more dead than that.

So I pulled a number out of thin air and said to myself, "What about trying five-stroke paintings?" The idea being, do an exercise where I allow myself only five strokes to paint my subject. Obviously, this is an exercise, not a way to complete a full painting, but in limiting my strokes, I can still play with amazing colour washes and edges, while avoiding painting my subject till it's dead.

I tried it out today, using this photo as my reference:

Love these saskatoon berries! And my five-stroke version of the berries:

In hindsight (and requiring a sixth stroke), the berries really need one more stem joining the top berries to the leaves. As an exercise, this rocked! Take a few minutes and watch the video in which I demonstrate this painting from start to finish. Two five-stroke layers got it to the point you see here.

I would really love to see how the five-stroke exercise works for you! Email me with your projects ang @ angelafehr (dot) com. Have a great day!