In September I will be conducting a marker workshop that will be of interest to watercolorists because I use many of the processes in my painting practice. The class will also be of interest to anyone who wants to use color and drawing to document the observed world effectively in a visual journal. PITT ARTIST PENS are great tools for immediate sketching and we will use strategies/techniques for drawing success in the workshop challenges.
ON MARKER SKETCHES AND WATERCOLOR:
Working from photographic reference when painting in watercolors has never really worked for me for a number of reasons:
• photos flatten and harden edges of objects: I want to capture a visual experience of a moment
• all elements have crystal clear clarity so it makes it harder to decide levels of importance in composition
• gesture is often lost in the process
• it is harder to graphically simplify the image because you start with too much info in the first place
As a commercial illustrator I have worked PLENTY PLENTY with photo reference, but that kind of work has a clear and definite stylistic goal. If I am doing something for myself I want to have a result that shows the qualities of the paint and a sense of movement. So I use my own drawings as the basis for work. Different strokes for different folks…everyone has his own painting agenda.
Watercolor at its best in my estimation, usually deals with imagery in an abstract manner and simplifies a solution. JOHN SINGER SARGENT got that down! A drawing simplifies an image and abstracts it, so using a drawing as a reference gets you one step closer to that goal.
Using high contrast black and white ink renderings from my sketchbook I develop a color study using PITT ARTIST PENS. Then I can use this information to create my painting. I usually give it a few attempts to loosen up my approach and feel comfortable enough to let strokes show their abstract character. Keeping a visual journal helps you gain skill in simplification and expression, building the basics for many paintings in the future! Markers encourage a loose approach, the strokes are graphic and visible. These two facts help a watercolorist prioritize visual objectives easily.