Since I graduated from University in 1972 with a Fine Art Major, I have been teaching myself watercolour. Because I didn’t have any watercolour teachers or books, I developed my own style. Instead of the usually watercolour approach of light washes working towards the darks, I started with the darks. I found that with one layer of dark over the white paper, the darks were more intense and luminous. Also by working towards the whites, there was the maximum range of contrast because often the highlights of the painting were just the white paper. My compositions were always well planned with small sketches proceeding the paintings. The paintings themselves were started with a pencil drawing. The paint handling was tidy and direct.
Recently I finished a watercolour of flowers that I didn’t preplan. I started in the middle and just gradually added flowers. This was both exhilarating and worrisome because I was making composition decisions all the way through the painting. I wasn’t sure I could pull it all together. The paint handing though was my usual dark to light with a very controlled approach.
When I finished this, I started a small oil painting out by our pond. I pushed and pulled and eventually the painting came together together.
Now I have used this oil painting approach in my current watercolour. Instead of preplanning the composition, I just started painting. In this case, I started with the two lilies in the foreground. Because I started with the lights and no drawing and not being sure of what the background would eventually be, some of the petals were muted and dull. Instead of using my scrubber to go backward, this time I am using white Pepeo gouache, some times alone and sometimes mixed with watercolour or Winsor and Newton gouache. There is much charm and stress by doing a painting this way. I am engaged artistically and also worried all the way through. Here are the results.