Developing Your Watercolour Style: Simplify Your Reference Photos
World Watercolor Month/Watercolor Summer Challenge
Lesson 1: Simplify
When your goal is a loose and fluid style, it's so frustrating to be halfway through a painting, only to realize that you tightened up yet again, and the painting is looking overworked and rigid. Once you start to tighten up, it's almost impossible to get loose again, so it's important to stay relaxed and avoid fixing on detail too early in your painting.
Imagine yourself as starting out far away from your subject matter, so that the only things you can identify are the major shapes and patterns of value and colour. This is your first layer. From there, you can imagine yourself moving closer gradually, making out more detail with each additional pass over the scene. And don't feel like you need to get to "magnifying glass" detail; stop when the painting works!
I have found that familiarity and confidence make a big difference in achieving a loose result as well, so I plan achieve that familiarity by painting the same subject or scene over and over again, until I really get to know it and feel like I own it! I have made a personal decision that there are no limits on how many times I will paint a scene in an effort to achieve mastery of that topic, while still giving myself permission to set it aside if I start to lose interest or get frustrated.
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Support World Watercolor Month! Hashtag your paintings in July with #worldwatercolormonth and #watercolorsummerchallenge When you purchase "Sun, Snow & Flowers," I'll donate 10% of your purchase to the Dreaming Zebra Foundation. $1 from every other course sold in July will be donated to Dreaming Zebra as well!