Tutorials

Sparkling Light, Venice

" . . . colours were encouraged to mix naturally on paper and not to be overworked. " ~ Robert Brindley

I recently stumbled upon the UK Watercolor Artist Robert Brindley. I also discovered a nice tutorial on his approach to watercolor painting. I thought this would be a nice thing to share.

Mr. Brindley is an accomplished UK watercolor artist who also dabbles in pastels and oil painting. His watercolor paintings are classical and atmospheric in nature. His approach is classical in the sense of using translucent watercolors to attain tone.

Robert also has a number of YouTube instructional videos. There is one video that is simply tutorial and shows insight into his approach to painting a watercolor. I have simply taken his video and screen-captured this simple tutorial. The tutorial is good if you are just beginning in watercolor and will show you some simple steps to painting and getting started.

I don’t use a lot of masking fluid, but Robert has no problem using masking fluid to retain his lights. And he does this very well. Even the application of masking fluid can be difficult and challenging. The application is part of his initially planning and drawing.

This is Robert Brindley’s setup. He also uses a plein air French easel. His masking fluid of choice is Windsor & Newton.
Step one includes a careful drawing and masking.
This is the initial drawing and masking technique commonly used by Robert Brindley. The first thing I notice is the simple outline of the drawing, very similar to the style of Iain Stewart.

When drawing, I first noticed how simple the outline is for his initial painting. This is similar to the drawing style of Iain Stewart and other great artists. The point here is to remember that everything in watercolor is a silhouette and shapes. Don’t get into too much detail in shading the drawing. Just create an outline.

Mixing colors pools and having colors ready for washes is an important aspect of painting and mixing these colors on paper.
Step 2 involves color mixing on paper and avoid going over areas already painted to prevent backruns and flowering.
In the initial wash, it is important to lay down only color first. Keep your warm areas in the yellow and red spectrum and the cooler colors in the blue and some purples.

Interestingly, in Step 2, the only thing here is to concentrate on color washing and keeping your warm and cool colors. Do not worry too much about tone in this stage. Color-in your base wash and preserve your whites. This is similar to Herman Pekel’s workshop , where in the first wash you only color and texture the first wash and preserve whites.

In step 3, we let the paper completely dry after the first wash. Then we add the background tones, still trying to silhouette the background structures.
Here we paint the background. It’s important while planning your painting to identify your background, stage and foreground.

In this stage after the paper is completely dry, we can paint in some of the back ground structures. This helps to ‘lighten’ the lite areas and ‘darken’ tonally the architectural design. In this painting, this structure is actually a focal point and should be contrast against the light areas of the sky and reflections in the water. Remember to not make this structure too dark since it is not a foreground structure. This structure is part of the midground. The boat and buildings on the right should be tonally darker as well as the pier to create depth. The pier is the closest structure and should be tonally darker to bring it forward.

After the midground structures are painted, the foreground structures such as the jetty is painted. The masking fluid is also removed to bring out the lights and contrast.
Here, in Step 4, the pier is painted and should be tonally darker than the mid and back ground structures. The foreground water can also be painted to give the painting more depth as the water lightens away from you.

It is interesting here in the final stages (Stage 4), the masking fluid is removed from the midground and pier structures, but not the water highlights in the foreground. This is so the foreground water can be painted by increasing the tone in the water. Here is where the final touches in the painting can be painted.

Here is the final painting.
Enjoy this real time tutorial!

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