Workshop J: The Structure of Light in Watercolor

Instructor: Matthew Brehm (USA)

Location: Armenian Street


This workshop will focus on techniques for using watercolor to achieve sketches that are bold, clear, and dramatic. The major goals will be twofold – first, approaching watercolor as a process of subtraction that reserves specific areas of “light” intrinsic to the page, and second, effective brush/wash handling to achieve a reasonable degree of accuracy and precision, and therefore “structure.” If we treat the blank   page as the only “light source” in our drawings, and if our brush-handling skills allow us to confidently structure the washes, our sketches can be infused with the warmth, clarity, and crispness of bright, dazzling sunlight, and we’ll be more able to represent the volumes and depth of architecture and urban space. This approach to structuring light is founded on the notion that value contrast is far more important than specific color, and it requires some advance planning before painting, which is best practiced through the regular use of thumbnail value studies. We will go through a series of straightforward, useful exercises that can become part of the participants’ regular sketching practice, so that their learning process may continue long after the conclusion of the Symposium.


Learning goals

Participants will complete the workshop with the following understandings and abilities:




Supply list