In this lesson I'm asking my students to bring in a bunch of bright flowers and/or foliage. If using watercolour (I am giving them other options if they've had enough of watercolours!) I'd like them to try and find a way of introducing the 'dry channel' technique that we've been using but in a more fluid and subtle way. Here is a crop from a Paul Riley flower painting where he has used the technique in a loose and lovely way.
Summer Term 2019: Bright flowers, cool shadows.
Lesson 3: …in the medium of your choice.
Set the flowers in front of you in a vessel/jar and on an A4 sheet of white paper (I’ll have one if you need one from me) for clear shadows. Keep everything else simple. Especially think about the shadows and reflections which will become part of your composition.
Think about the flowers and foliage being the wild and vibrant area of your painting (wet-into-wet, vibrant mix of colours) and the rest of your painting, by contrast, having quieter and more muted colours.
Remember that if using watercolour and wanting to work wet-into-wet you have the option of the dry channel technique which could usefully separate the bright flowers from the quieter areas giving you more freedom to experiment with wet-into-wet.
You could use watercolour to start and pastels to finish (I have the class pastels with me if needed).
If using oils or acrylics, with your thinned first layer of paint, make a very loose drawing with a large paintbrush in a neutral colour on your canvas/board. Because the final layer of paint is the one which will hold the bright colours you can work out your composition etc. with neutral colours.
Think about the quality and thickness of your paint if using oils/acrylics. With oil, each new layer must get ‘fatter’ (i.e a higher oil content). I use my paint thinned for the first layer and then as it comes from the tube from thereafter.
Acrylic is slightly more challenging to use thick – you’ll have to make sure your brush is really squeezed of any excess moisture between cleaning and using it.
Your aim is to create two very different areas in your painting – a vibrant area and a quiet area. By using two distinctly different areas of tone and colour you can create this.
Next lesson: Some of you will want to continue with the painting you began this week. Otherwise you can either choose a very different subject to work in a similar way OR choose the same subject to try in a different way.