Sunday, 6 May 2012

Tonal Studies

Porthmeor Beach
Watercolour on Paper
13.5cm x 18.5cm (5.25" x 7.25")

Maggie Latham is writing an informative series of tutorials about Exploring Colour in Watercolour. She is being very generous with her knowledge.

In the third post, she explores the use of water in creating tonal value.

For some time, I’ve intended to experiment with painting tonal sketches. Maggie’s tutorial has provided the spur for me to start. An extra incentive is I am spending a lot of time in hotels and I’ve been looking for something to do in the evenings. Until now, I have shied away from painting because of transporting my painting paraphernalia, but I can cope with the one brush and one tube of paint I need for this tutorial.

The first assignment is to paint a value scale from black to white in 10 steps – starting with almost pure pigment and then adding more and more water to create lighter and lighter greys.

Tonal Scales
Watercolour on Paper
28cm x 38cm (11" x 15")

In my first attempt (the leftmost), I added a brush full of water between each step. In the last few sections, I added more water because the mix wasn’t becoming light enough.

In the second attempt (the middle one), I added 2 brushes of water between each step.

In the third attempt (the rightmost), I started by adding one brush of water and gradually increased the amount of added water as I moved down the page.

I intend to repeat these scales using a more scientific approach. I will print a 10 step grey scale, and attempt to replicate the tones while making notes about how much water I add.

After the scales, the tutorial progresses to painting tonal sketches. Maggie’s guidance is to work without a preliminary pencil sketch and to build the pictures up in layers working from light to dark.

Saint Michael's Mount
Watercolour on Paper
18cm x 13cm (7" x 5")

The pictures on this post are coastal views from Devon and Cornwall. I painted them with a number 10 round brush. It would have been nice to use a rigger to create some finer lines, but I need to practice painting details with a larger brush.

Towards Stoke Fleming
Watercolour on Paper
18.5cm x 13cm (7.25" x 5")

When I am next away from home I will paint more of these studies. I may even start working on the rest of Maggie’s tutorials because if I can cope with packing 1 tube of paint, I must be able to manage 3 or 4 tubes.

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