Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The way of the watercolor

with 3 comments

Harbor Scene by George Pearce Ennis

Watercolor is swift and immediate in its expression of the artist’s emotion. The worst fault of beginners is the desire to copy nature slavishly. Before you touch color to paper you should consider composition and selection carefully. Define the shapes. Plan your light and dark masses. Then:

  1. Lay in the dark masses, with a full brush. “Only in this manner can you secure a rich bloom.” The dark masses can be made vibrant by flushing rich colors together. Add last the color required to dominate the mass.
  2. After establishing the dark colors, develop the middle plan. Keep white and brilliances to the last. Area of white paper held in reserve “is a safety hold on your picture.”
  3. The final vital stage is to express your highlights: sunshine and shimmers. Sky; foreground; summing-up.

If there is trouble in parts, lay it aside—or remove the offending parts by sponging. Purple is the only color difficult to remove. It stains and holds on like grim death. A watercolor must be painted without fear or favor, directly, lusciously, with a dripping flowing color. To falter is to fail.

Christopher Morley, reviewing the book Making a Water-Colour by George Ennis

Written by nevalalee

July 5, 2015 at 7:30 am

3 Responses

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  1. Words of artistic wisdom.Thank you for sharing.

    novonay

    July 6, 2015 at 4:05 am

  2. Glad you liked it! I think every writer would benefit from learning how to draw.

    nevalalee

    July 6, 2015 at 11:09 am

  3. Yes indeed so very true

    novonay

    July 6, 2015 at 11:50 am


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