Workshop D: Exploration in Expressive Watercolor through Shape and Value
Instructor: Gail Wong (USA)
Location: Seah St.
I find that the act of painting itself can be an incredibly freeing and meditative experience…not worrying about the outcome but getting into the zone in the process of painting. For that reason, I am personally exploring a less literal representation of space to a more expressive and abstract representation. This workshop will explore the use of watercolor as a medium and how working directly in watercolor can generate an expressive interpretation of the urban form. By distilling what you see to simple shapes and values, and allowing the fluid quality of watercolor to be revealed, you can open yourself up to a more expressive and abstract approach. This workshop is intended to give you the opportunity to loosen up and see what you can do with this wonderful medium.
Exploration in Watercolor: 1 hr We will start with looking at artist examples of using watercolor in a more expressive and abstract way and talking about approaches to doing watercolor. Then I will demonstrate the different ways watercolor works and interacts with the wetness of the paper. We will spend a little time exploring the medium to see what it will do, how to create soft and hard edges, charging and mixing colors, getting values, seeing the beauty in simplifying your strokes.
Shapes and Values, Soft and Hard edges: 3/4 hr We will use our setting of Seah St. to look for major planar shapes and values in a scene. Starting with a simple value study using only watercolor and a brush, the participants will find the essential shapes necessary to define what we see. We will talk about how much information is really necessary and what information you could exclude. We will be working from loose soft washes to final hard edge forms bringing the sketch into focus.
Abstracting Form: 1/2 Hr We will look at how we can abstract the view with gesture, stroke and pattern. Can we get to the essence of a scene with a simple stroke? Let’s explore how simplifying form and composition can create a more abstract and suggestive sketch. The key is to stay loose and be willing to having fun without fear….experiment and let the medium express itself.
Seah Street as our jumping off point for expressive watercolor: 1Hr The last hour will be your opportunity to play with these ideas. You will use Seah Street and the environs as your inspiration. You will apply what you have learned to the urban setting of Seah Street. Paint the historic shops area or the Raffles hotel.
Create your own abstract expressive watercolor Gallery and Group Picture 1/4 hour
- At the end of this workshop the participants should come away with a better understanding of:
- The expressive potential of watercolor as a medium.
- How Shape and Value are key elements in defining form.
- The use of planar shape to define architectural form
- The use of value to define light
- Understand how and when to use soft edges vs hard edges
- Discover how little is required to communicate the sense of space
- How the simplification of form creates a more abstract expression of space
- Watercolor Sketchbook or Watercolor Pad around 7″x10″ preferred: You can also use loose watercolor paper taped on gator board.
- Paper 200-300 gsm will work better.
- Brushes: 1″ flat watercolor brush, #12 or #10 round brush
- Watercolors: I like Daniel Smith Ultramarine Blue, Quinacridone Sienna and Quinacridone Sienna or equivalent as a starting palette and then any other you want. Tube watercolors are preferred, but we will work with what you have.
- Other materials: Container with water, palette to mix colors, plastic mixing container to wash out brushes, pencil and kneaded eraser, a couple of binder clips to hold down pages or paper, two cardboard L’s for view finding, a small travel stool.
“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” -Joseph Chilton Pearce