World Watercolor Month #17

For today's exercise I wanted to spend some time working in large shapes, and exploring some new colors, new color triads and see what I discover.

I was browsing through Watercolor Simplified by Pat Weaver, and this value study exercise seemed like a good candidate for what I want to do today.

For this first value study I used W&N Ivory black. I quite liked how the paint moved when dropped into a wet wash. I have a few other different blacks on hand and I look forward to trying them all for more value studies. I learned from this study that doing value studies is a great way to practice composition and brush work.

watercolor value study

I them moved on to a palette listed in the book - Opera, Aureolin, Cobalt Blue. The tubes that I own are Holbein, and I didn't realize that Holbein's Opera and Aureolin are not transparent. The mixes were very heavy, and the color wouldn't move or glaze the way I like watercolor to. 

For the next study I decided to try a more muted and transparent palette, so I swapped the cobalt blue with prussian blue and the opera with perylene maroon. I retained the aureolin (which probably was a mistake since it is opaque).

I love how transparent watercolor shines, and I am much happier with this last study. I think this can be further improved by replacing the opaque yellow with a transparent one. 

Opaque colors have their place, but it is definitely not in creating brilliant washes. 

Things I learned today :

  • It is a fruitful exercise to figure out which of the hues I own are transparent and which are not. Same hues by different manufactures have different properties.
  • Use transparent colors.
  • Value studies are a great way to simplify the design, practice composition and also brushwork.
  • Doing multiple studies of the same subject is a great idea!

I would call that a good day of learning.