Traditional watercolour artists do not use black paint. The technique is reliant on the paper colour illuminating the transparent layers of paint. The highlights are devoid of paint and the deepest shadows have the heaviest paint but are still transparent. I’ve borrowed many of these watercolour techniques in recent oil paintings (using solvent in place of water) so it was only a matter of time before I would also stop using black. Its only a temporary phase I’m going through though, I think, as there are going to be times in the coming winter when black will be required.
In the accompanying video the dark handled brush is a round and its used from start to finish without much cleaning between mixes. The ‘dry’ paint is wiped off on a tissue paper and occasionally a little solvent is used in the cleaning. This illustrates that my colours ‘evolve’ through stages of light and dark coloured mixes. For example, the initial blue of the sky is lightened to become the clouds on the horizon. This mix is then darkened with more blue (Prussian) and red (Burnt Sienna) to become the clouds. This grey is then changed with a little yellow (Yellow Ochre) to become the distant trees. The same mix is then changed with more blue and yellow to become the nearer trees. In effect the same 3 colours are used throughout the entire painting, only the proportions of each colour changes. The result is harmony.
The light handled brush is a wide filbert brush (No. 12) and its used only to blend the colours, especially the sky colours. A ‘rigger’ type of nylon brush is used for fine lines using a ‘wet’ mix of solvent (White Spirits) only.
The painting is 16″x12″ and took about 2 hours to complete in a single session. There are 3 colours plus white used (no black).
Here is the painting video. See you soon.
Haven’t visited for awhile and have missed your sublime work Liam. This painting is serene and so evocative of the season, while your sharing of technique is as clear and informative as ever – thank you for your continuing mentorship and inspiring art…
Thank you John and welcome back. I liked the collaborative work with Ese’s Voice – words with pictures and pictures with words, great.