Thursday, 3 October 2013


Sawston and Cambourne did wk 1 beginners watercolour exercises, starting with a pigment to water ratio scale of light to dark blobs of ultramarine blue, see bottom of 1st pic below.

We did this by not adding any more water, as we picked up a small extra amount of pigment to apply to each blob, but always mixing the ratio in the pallet 1st, so we could measure how dark it was before it went on the paper.
 The reason we needed to practice this is that we will need to know how to do tonally dark and light paintings. See examples below

each colour has it's own tonal range, see right, we need to understand the principle of this, as well as the practice of translating colour into tone, in order to paint light and dark paintings.

Following on from the pigment to waster ratio blobs, we then did the 1st wash on the hills  reference, this was a pale flat wash from top to bottom. We had to be sure to have plenty of water to avoid getting streaks, to keep the paper at an angle so the water didn't pool in the middle, and to hold the brush at a very shallow angle to use the whole length of the brush hairs, to ensure a larger area of coverage, and therefore using fewer brush-strokes to ensure a more even coverage.

Sawston, cambourne and Comberton new all did the colour wheel this week, staring with painting the 3 primaries, red yellow and blue, unmixed with any other paints, we then mixed our secondaries from the 2 primaries either side of it, and the tertiaries, ( 3rd mix ) from 1 primary and 1 secondary, the above example for positioning only, the aim is to have a gradual change in colour from 1 to the next, ensuring that each section looks half way between it's neighbours on each side.

The reason for doing this is so we can mix beautiful variations of colours to add to our paintings, like the neutrals we mixed for the darkening of each hill in front of the other, this makes for a more interesting painting than just using blue or brown straight from the pigment well

 Some of us went on to look further into mixing neutrals, ( dull or muddy colours )
by doing the intensity scale below. we started with an unmixed colour and gradually added a complimentary colour ( it's opposite on the colour wheel ) turning it gradually from intense, ( bright ) to neutral, ( dull ) and back to intense again with the complimentary colour.
See neutral nude, and intense flower as an example.
So remember intense is unmixed, and neutral is mixed amongst the primary colours.

 This still life was set up as an example of intense dark colours, and also for more advanced who have previously completed all the beginners exercises above, to work on during class.

ALL BEGINNERS EXERCISES ARE THE ESSENTIAL FOUNDATION OF WATERCOLOUR TECHNIQUE, AND SKIPPING THESE WILL INHIBIT PROGRESS AND FRUSTRATE THE LEARNER. So if you have missed this class, please complete these exercises before your next class, as I will not have time teach these fully again in class.
But if you have completed them and are feeling a little overwhelmed! take heart, as we will be consolidating our understanding of these techniques in all future lessons, but you will need to bring these exercises to class with you as a reminder.

Next week SAWSTON will meet at the Cambridge botanic gardens at 1.00 P.m.  at the main gate on trumpington road, see link for more info
We will just need our pencils and pads and something to sit on, if you have any small camping stools for the Greenhouse if the waether is bad. If not I can provide 2 larger camping chairs on request

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