Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Q&A: watercolour dullness

Here's a question I received via my website: I love your watercolor on paper. My question is the paper watercolor paper and is it gesso ex? My paintings often look to dull. I love your colors and brightness. What am I doing wrong. I use WC paper not gessoed.

My answer: Hi and thank you Judy. A common problem and a simple solution. Dullness could be caused by a number of things: poor quality of paint; poor quality of paper; too many pigments being mixed together; or overworking/re-working of washes. Unfortunately, watercolour materials do not come cheap. Alongside decent sable-type brushes you will need artist-quality paint and paper – student quality, albeit fine for learning, doesn’t quite cut it. Mixing too many pigments together will result in muddy wash of colour. I keep my mixes fairly open and mainly use either one pigment/colour or two. Watch out: some colours (eg. indigo) can contain two pigments to start with. Re-working washes (areas of paint) will result in the painting losing its freshness. I believe this is due to the pigment particles being disturbed from their initial state – a bit like smudging a fresh pastel mark will result in a duller result. Oh, gesso doesn’t really make a difference except that it can improve the surface of the paper if you’re using cheap stuff. I hope this helps.

Always happy to help!
Chilled to the bone/watercolour

Friday, 5 June 2015

Commission: Evening clouds 2015

Upon reading the client's colour brief I wondered "how am I going to incorporate those colours?" But, that's what I like about commissions: the challenge can force you to use, hitherto, un-explored colour palettes. Purple was required, so I used it as my base colour (I normally choose orange, red or yellow), and it works. Of course, I painted a small test-piece first to make sure I interpreted the client's requests correctly… it would be silly not to.

Evening clouds/acrylic on canvas