It’s been a funny few weeks. It’s been difficult to settle at anything, and I haven’t been making pictures which I feel have much value. This all came to a head after a disappointing outdoor painting session in Lavenham, and after that I decided I should go back to basics with watercolour.
I reviewed the early Stan Miller videos, which I’ve previously found to be quite inspiring. I first tried the portrait of the old man:
…then tried the same monochrome technique for a picture of a young woman:
Taking the exercise further, I tried a tiny three-colour imaginary face (French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson and Aurora Yellow). It was going to be a woman, but it appears to have come out rather masculine.
The last step was to go for it, repainting the woman in colour, still adhering to the 3-colour principle. This was fun.
In retrospect I think I should have left more white space, but this was just a little practice, so I’m not going to over-analyse. I did the best I could with lifting out instead, where I wanted a little more light – on the hair, the jawbone, the nose and lips. I love the anarchy of painting in just three colours, and not worrying about ‘realism.’ Strangely enough, this really doesn’t seem to matter when the picture is done, in fact the crazy riot of colour adds something to the painting for me.
The main thing was that after this session I felt so much more positive about watercolour than I had the previous day. Thank goodness, mission accomplished!
(Oops, just remembered, I should champion the wonderful #WorldWatercolourMonth here!)