At the beginning of each new class session, I discuss basic techniques we will be using and the lessons I hope to cover. I like to make sure the students in my class are familiar with my style of painting and hope no one is disappointed with my liberal approaches toward creating a successful watercolor. My focus is on patterns and impressions in nature rather than realism. I mention there will be times when I feel using white paint is necessary even though there is an ongoing debate amongst fellow watercolorists as to whether using white paint is appropriate or not (this topic comes up when I am reviewing everyone's supplies).
“The classical way to produce a white passage or line in a watercolor is to “reserve” the white paper for it, that is leave the paper completely untouched. This can be done by carefully painting around the area. And the classical way to lighten the tone of a paint is to dilute it with water and let the white paper show through the wash. There are some artists who consider themselves purists who would only support reserving paper or diluting with water in watercolor.”
(taken from www.channeling_winslow_homer.com)
I use Holbein's antique white when I need to add whites and lights to smaller areas in the painting. It sometimes is a solution for me when I have a heavy, dark area that needs to be broken up. The antique watercolor is not a gouache but is more opaque than traditional watercolor paint. When I am working in a small area (ex: brittle tree branches) I prefer responding with detail after the paint washes have flowed onto my paper rather than tightly controlling them ahead of time.
Above is my initial paint wash from the first class, I had established a general sense of composition and mood based on the placement and colors I chose.
I did not mask out areas where I wanted to show dense tree branches but instead I choose to use white paint after creating a greater sense of depth with layered washes.
Crispy burnt orange and yellows were my primary focus, combined with the impression of the dried out white branches, help me to convey the feeling of full autumn foliage. The linear use of white is my way of adding depth and pattern to the composition. Fall is my favorite color time of year.
This painting will be an addition to the Pathways and Transition series.