So, you would like to learn how to paint watercolours? You've dabbled a bit or you haven't done it since you were at school or perhaps you just don't think you can. Or maybe you already paint a bit but they seem a bit boring and flat. You may have even been painting for years but your pictures are structured, stiff and tight. There are many ways to paint watercolours in a variety of styles. My style has developed into a loose, impressionistic way after years of being constrained as a commercial illustrator. It is very different from the way I used to paint and it is quite a liberating technique. If you too would like to let yourself go (I don't mean slobbing around in your jim-jams watching daytime TV), I mean to free yourself from old bad habits, to paint in a relaxed and pleasurable way, then I might be able to help you.
We have recently announced new dates for our Autumn schedule of Watercolour Workshops for people of all abilities from beginners to the more experinced. In a relaxed atmosphere with small class sizes you can find out the secrets of producing simple effective watercolours. Don't worry, you can't get it wrong but you will learn from your mistakes and I would like to think by the end of the workshop you will have a finished painting that you will be proud of.
So, what will you learn? The 'Watercolours without Fear' workshop will cover the materials I use and how to get the best out of them. We will do a few simple exercises to introduce you to the techniques we will be using later. I will show you how to draw basic everyday things with just a few sketchy strokes and we will learn how to apply watercolour using washes, wet-on-wet and other basic techniques. The 'Watercolours with Style' workshop is ideally suited to those that have already done my 'Watercolours without Fear' workshop and covers many of the same techniques skipping some of the basic elements and concentrating on developing your technique. I have found that, to a certain extent, even experienced artists are still beginners to the way I paint. What it should do is add another dimension to your armoury of skills allowing you to take your paintings to a new level.
Here are some simple tips to get you going. Your drawing should be quick and fluid, not too detailed. Draw what you see, not what you know and trust your eyes. Use a simple palette, I often complete finished paintings with no more than three or four colours. Too many colours will make your painting look fussy and disjointed. I prefer not to use too many flat washes because they are, well, flat! Blending colours makes your painting more interesting and adds depth especially with the wet-on-wet technique. Leave areas of white paper, you don't need to flood the whole picture. You should plan your painting out in your mind first as you will need to work quickly. A wash should only take a few seconds to apply, then leave it... I said LEAVE IT! Remember, less is more and know when to stop... don't fiddle with it!
It will take you a little while to master the technique but with constant practise you will be amazed at what you can achieve. The more you do the more confidence you will gain. There's nothing more frightening than a white sheet of paper (well, except for a rabid grizzly bear, maybe) but I noticed that some students were making lovely marks on a scrap piece of paper but when they came to apply it on the finished painting it was clumsy, fussy and overworked. They clearly had the ability to do it but went into fear mode. Just relax and enjoy it, you will get better results.
You can book our Watercolour Workshops and Courses here online or give me a call on 01409 241989.
The example of the hare below shows the simple technique of using wet-on-wet in two or three colours with minimal drawing and hardly any detail. You too can learn to paint like this.