It’s challenging NOT to be obsessed with the weather out here in the Pacific Northwest during the rainy season. Many of the “natives” don’t seem to think about it much, but when you have spent most of your [long] life in a part of the country (mostly Missouri) where NO weather pattern lasts for days on end (I’ve lost count of how many days in a row...rain, rain, rain)...well, yes, then you do think about/obsess about it. Or, speaking for myself, I definitely do.
During these rainy days, I am not motivated to go outside. In addition to completing my 2019 Creative Memories Scrapbook Album (which was a huge project), I have played around with several little watercolor art projects.
Since I have a few to share, I will take this opportunity to discuss a little bit about how I see “style” or “technique” in watercolor.
I will say that about a year ago, when I first started experimenting with watercolor painting, I took note of the various styles and got in my mind that I needed to settle into one style as I moved forward with learning and practice. What style would be “my” style, which style should I focus on as I learn?
But I have now observed that many of my favorite artists actually use different styles at different times. That works for me, because my mood is different some days than other, and I tend to paint according to my mood.
Here’s what I mean by “style” or “technique.” This is from my layman, non-professional viewpoint. I see two major different styles of watercolor. Again, in my terms, I see “detailed/realistic” watercolor and “loose” watercolor. Each of those styles has a lot of variation, under the “umbrella” term.
I tend to be more “realistic” and not so much “loose.” However, even my more detailed work is not totally realistic (I’m not that good). Under the umbrella of detailed, though, there is a cartoon/illustrative style. It isn’t just dropping watery color (loose), but is more detailed, with a goal of creating an “illustration” of the object. The extreme on the continuum of “loose” styles is mainly wet-on-wet, laying down a lot of watery paint, and letting it run. Many artists are great at that technique. I have not had much success with my attempts at strictly “loose” technique.
Here are some of my rainy-day projects with a brief description of the [varied] styles.
I’ll share this one first, because it’s not “really” watercolor, but is using watercolor paints on a sketch on a Bible page, called “Bible Art” or “Bible Art Journaling” or “Bible Journaling.” I have about four Bibles I use for art journaling (eventually one for each of my grandchildren), and this one is on the page of Matthew 8:20, where Jesus is talking about the commitment needed fo follow Him, as He said that even foxes have dens, but He [His followers] does not have a place to lay His head. This is an example of detailed (or at least NOT loose) style, although it is not meant to REALLY look like a fox, even though it is fairly realistic. I mean, you CAN tell that it is a fox. I think?
This little chickadee is an example of detailed (NOT loose) style and yet an illustrative technique; that is, while it is not loose, it is also not meant to be a realistic version of the chickadee.
This black-capped chickadee (compare to the previous picture) is a detailed style, somewhat realistic, although because I am not professional, it isn’t exactly like a photo of a chickadee.
This colorful little hummingbird is sort of a combination of styles. While it is not an attempt at realism, I used a loose technique to lay down the colors of paint, some wet-on-dry (paint on dry paper) and some wet-on-wet (paint applied on top of paint that is still wet). This one may be about the most “loose” you will see from me at this point, as I typically like more “control” (duh) than is possible with a loose style of painting.
I often use a reference photo to paint from. This is the reference photo for this hummingbird:
So, there you have my thoughts on style, and as is obvious, at this point, there is a lot of variety in the styles I use. Obviously, the more illustrative examples are much easier and less time-consuming than the ones that have more detail and/or tend to be more realistic.
Oh well, it’s all enjoyable, and even though I am the type of personality that will always care about “the product,” I am also all about the process!
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