It has been a couple of weeks since my last post. In that one I described how tone and colour are used to create the impression of depth in a painting. In this post I share my experience of trying to paint in a loose manner.
When I began studying art seriously I started with pencil work, a medium in which I became reasonably proficient. Pencil drawing requires a strong degree of detail working and provides a great way to develop skills in tonal value.
In my non-art career I became focused on detail to such an extent that now I find, in my art work, great difficulty in doing loose sketches and paintings. While there are a few great artists who can produce great realistic and detailed work in watercolour I find it hard to do the same (owing in part to an issue with my eyesight) so I prefer the idea of loose painting. Yet I have difficulty in painting loosely as I naturally aim for details. This frustrates me.
The thing for me to do, to remedy this, is to take time out with a sketch book and to paint a series of subjects against the clock. The more I practice the greater the chance I will have of breaking old habits. In theory at least.
In a recent pen, ink and wash painting (published this week) I managed to achieve an acceptable level of looseness. I may build on this experience but my fear is that I will fail in producing an impressionistic effect with paint only, as opposed to pen and wash, and merely switch the way in which I handle looseness ie badly.
Time will tell, and the coronavirus lockdown provides the time!
In the oil pastel sketch (above) I achieved the sort of looseness that I would like to see in my water colour painting. It was, I think, the first or second oil pastel that I have drawn, so not very good, but at least it provides me with a compass for my watercolour landscapes.
The following is a watercolour painting of the same scene (painted while I was in Trapani (Sicily) last year. Sketched in ink (uni Pin Fineline) then painted with water colours.
The school where I studied art (plus Maths and Physics at A-Level) was next to a canal (the Shropshire Union canal) so I would often paint canal scenes. My art teacher had painted many scenes of the canal but I never got close to his style and quality of brushwork. The painting below is one I did last year.
This effort is definitely looser but still not where I want to be. I may use this as a subject for 5 minutes timed watercolour sketches.
And finally, a section of a painting of Bassano del Grappa (heart of the grappa liqueur region of Veneto, Italy). The last time I visited Bassano was in 2008 when I took my mother, who lived near Venice at that time, to take part in the annual Alpini gathering. The Alpini were a regiment that are a specialist unit of the Italian Infantry. The veterans and serving soldiers hold a reunion each year in different cities. The subject of the painting was the bridge, but I just want to illustrate the background in this post (the bridge that I painted was horrible!).
So, lots of rapid painting to do … hopefully getting techniques in order … to achieve a loose style.
My next post will describe what I do when preparing to paint a subject.
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