I am working through the Tate Watercolour Manual, Lessons from the Great Masters by Tony Smibert and Joyce Townsend in an effort to refine my craft. I fully intend to paint like the masters when I finish the book. I’m not quite sure how long after I finish the book but I know it will come to pass some day.
Today’s warmup exercise:
The master whose style I copy in this lesson is John Sell Cotman who began with a drawing and added a series of washes. Corman was very detailed in his work, as told by the authors of my manual.
The book lesson begins with a pencil drawing of a bridge over water, behind which is a mountain and a dwelling. Next, the student washes a very light tone over the entire sketch, save for a bit under the bridge, to preserve the white of the paper.
Here is the first stage:
Note that I forgot to preserve the white in the first panel. I wet the area of the panel and applied a light wash of Payne’s gray, not thinking about the area under the bridge. I corrected this in the other panels.
The second stage requires another wash, this time a bit darker. I darkened the mountains with this wash, leaving the sky and white under the bridge alone:
Again, the first panel is not correct.
The third wash targets the bridge and separates it from the mountain.
In the final stage, the darkest shadows are washed in.
I did a second warmup using sepia:
I do like how the composition builds. One of the difficulties I encountered was gauging the darkness of the washes.
I could not decide what to paint after this warmup. Maybe I’ll think of something tomorrow.