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Painting exercise : Working with edges quality and contrast

Here is an exercise I gave to my students on the latest workshop I teach.

Emphasis on the foreground berries, which is the focal point is achieved by painting them with crispier edges and more tonal contrast.

Working from photography, it is common to have an out of focus background, this is a photography artifact that you might want to replicate in some paintings to help you focal point stand out. Painting on wet paper will produce blurry edges that will become more defined as your paper is drying. You can take advantage of this property by painting first the elements with a soft focus first and then move progressively to paint the elements with more definition and crisper edges.



Try to paint this picture or one of the pictures on the exercise page with a variegated wash in the background.Tips:  You might need to preserve the foreground berries area with liquid frisket before painting the background because those contours would be a bit too complicated to paint around. Also getting some of the green of your background into the red berries area would tone down the red of the berries, as green and red are complementary colors.Start painting the background as your paper is still wet, then when your paper is dry remove the liquid frisket and paint the foreground berries.To help with the illusion of round berries, try to have contrast (the colors on the berries are going from white to almost black) and keep your edges soft.Remember not to dry the liquid frisket with a hair dryer. Once it is dry you can dry the following layers of paint with a hair dryer or it will stick to the paper.Feel free to take some artistic license; I changed the color of the background and the composition on the video example. 



This video is part of a series of exercises and demonstrations included in my new book : Taming Watercolor, everything you need to know to get you started.

I am very excited to introduce my new book and ebook: Taming watercolor, everything you need to know to get you started.

This book has the content I am teaching in workshops so you can get a workshop at home with access to extra exercises and videos !

        [slideshow_deploy id=’5482′ align=’center’]

In Taming Watercolor, you will find:

  • All the basic skills you need to get you started with watercolor
  • A password protected page with lots of extra exercises and videos.
  • Links and qr codes to unlisted videos tutorials so you can watch videos as you are reading the book (by clicking on the link for the ebook and by scanning the qr code for the printed book)
  • Step by step painting tutorials

Learn a series of basic skills that will give you some control over the medium of watercolor, and see how you can apply those skills to any subject, portraits, landscapes, still life… Each chapter contains small exercises you can try at home to help you master that skill and a video that shows me doing that same exercise.

Watercolor is all about water, controlling water is the key to better watercolor paintings.

You will learn and practice the following  techniques : washes, painting wet on wet or wet on dry, blending or layering colors, preserving the white of your paper, lifting color, achieving a variety of edges quality, and fixing mistakes.

We will also discuss how to plan ahead your painting, the key to get confidence and avoid confusion while painting.

Available as a book and e-book from lulu.com:

 By Sandrine Pelissier

Paperback, 42 Pages

Price: $22.50
Ships in 3-5 business days
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.
learning to paint with watercolors

 By Sandrine Pelissier

eBook (PDF), 39 Pages

Price: $12.50
Download immediately.
Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

learning to paint with watercolors




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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Tom Beirl December 10, 2012, 5:32 pm

    Hi Sandrine,
    Love the demos! I have a question. When you state that you protect your brush with soap before you use the frisket. What type or kind of soap, as in bar or liquid?
    Thanks, Tom

    • Sandrine Pelissier December 10, 2012, 5:38 pm

      Thanks Tom,
      I am using a bar of hand made soap, but I guess it would work the same with a bar of regular soap or liquid soap. A bar is convenient for me because you just rub your brush on it before dipping it in the frisket. I think the soap makes the brush hair slippery and the frisket doesn’t adhere so much to the brush then.

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