Sunday, 2 April 2017

Three-Layer Thumbnail Sketch

St Peter's Porch
Three-Layer Thumbnail Sketch
Watercolour On Paper
26cm x 18cm (10" x 7")

The Three-Layer Thumbnail Sketch is the third "exercise" from Watercolor Painting by Tom Hoffmann. It is another study that helps to explore how much detail is needed in a picture (see Five-Value Monochrome Study and Two-Layer Geometric Sketch).

The Three-Layer Thumbnail Sketch builds up an image in layers - that progress from light to dark and from general abstract marks to more specific details.

Tom recommends this as an approach for interpreting complex subjects and making them less daunting.

The process starts by asking what pattern is formed by the whitest/lightest parts of the subject. Once the pattern of whites is understood, the lightest layer is painted around them with abstract marks. The first layer can be painted confidently with abstract stokes because most of it will be covered by subsequent layers.

The second layer is another pattern of abstract strokes. It is started by asking how much of the lightest layer needs to remain visible and what pattern does it form.

Each new layer gets darker and more detailed – moving from general to specific information.

You can either stop after three layers or continuing adding layers with more and more specific information.

Once again I failed to keep the first layers as simple as Tom suggests, but the exercise was illuminating. It opened my eyes to a different way of looking at and painting complex subjects.

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