Many watercolourists love painting outdoors. They
look for unusual scenes, colours and natural lighting unavailable to them in an indoor environment. Whilst the traditional medium to use when painting outdoors is oil paint, many modern artists are also painting with
When watercolour painting outdoors
I tend to take
a small watercolour pad and a small travellers watercolour paint box which holds only a
limited pallet and a small brush, ideal for doing quick colour sketches. I found
that I could carry the essentials for watercolour sketching in two pockets, so
became an obsession. I began taking the kit nearly everywhere my wife and I travelled.
I derive the greatest enjoyment from one or two hour watercolour paintings or
should I say sketches done outdoors.
I purposely call them "sketches" rather
than "paintings," in order to emphasize their simplicity and spontaneity.
Sketches in my view are are the easiest to accomplish, and therefore an
excellent way for the beginner to become acquainted with the pleasure and
challenge of watercolour painting---and in the process, produce a wonderful
memory of a time and place. When I return home I have everything I require to begin and complete a
larger watercolour painting from any of the sketches should I think they warrant it.
Perhaps browsing through my watercolour
paintings will light a spark of desire in you to try the same simple sketching
and painting. If it does, I've done what I set out to do.
As a watercolour painter there are times when
you're out and about
and suddenly you encounter a breath-taking scene that you may never see again.
If you have a camera handy you would do the obvious and take a photo but should you lack a camera,
you don't have your travel paint box or coloured pencils, what should you do?
you put your graphite pencil or ballpoint pen to use and do a quick sketch of the scene
taking detailed notes about the actual colours you can see. This will give you a chance to apply your knowledge about the warm and cool classifications of colour because it will be almost impossible to remember each individual colour by name.
A sketch like this should not be too detailed,
remember it's not a finished watercolour painting, yet it should include the essential elements in proper relation to each other. Any hills in the background are merely outlined and if there are woods at left and right, as they get nearer, they should still be merely wiggly lines. Buildings, too, are merely indicated rather than actually constructed.
When you get back to your base of operation, make an immediate colour sketch based on the drawing and notes made on location as well as anything you may be able to remember and visualize about the scene. This procedure will give you a solid basis for a future finished
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