its daily world

When all goes well with the water colors

There is no more excellent taste than when everything fits. That feeling can be lovely with artistic and creative pursuits, especially if the trip has had many ups and downs, twists and surprises. Here, watercolor expert Annie Strack explains how it seems when all is well and how it gets there. Alongside her, we delve into some of these favorite moments and surfaces, mainly where these masterpieces live with discussions of methods and techniques about how they got there, one inspired stroke or one sign at a time. If you’re ready to try a watercolor masterpiece on paper that might give you the results you’re looking for, be sure to get a couple of free Hahnemühle paper samples while supplies last.

Is it a myth?

When you ask Annie Strack about a moment in the salon or drawing where everything went well while painting, she laughs aloud. It never happens. I make a lot of errors, and something forever goes reverse. Sometimes it’s ridiculous, like using a colored stain when she would lift the paint later. Or use a non-staining color under the frosting. Either I don’t plan my values ​​correctly, or I don’t plan my composition well. The list goes on and on. But she’s never that mad about it because she has the experience to know that hiccups, accidents, and mistakes happen. But the key when such a circumstance occurs is Annie’s adaptability. I’m constantly changing my plans and my paintings evolve as I go along.

The result is that her painting lotus flower drawing ends up looking very different from her initial concepts. For example, I was painting a stormy sky as a backdrop for painting an ocean liner and accidentally used a coloring pigment to create my dark sky. I couldn’t lift the paint to represent the atmosphere of clouds and rain that I initially wanted, but I had already spent too much time designing the ship.

The right way to start

Annie always prepares her watercolors with a very detailed drawing, sometimes two or three times more time drawing than painting. She stops her drawing in the glass, upside under and remotely overcome, to ensure you have a good composition and perspective before starting to paint. Annie knows herself well enough that erasing and redrawing long before getting it right is key to her method. That is why a firm cover is so great to her.

Mistakes and how to make them

Yes, the stables way to deal with blunders is to try to bypass them. Annie always warns students. Take time for each brushstroke and be careful not to paint too much or incorrectly position the brush. She also handles mistakes by holding a small piece of watercolor paper next to her palette and testing her brush strokes before applying the brush to her paint. Why? I want to ensure that I have the correct ratio of water to pigment and have the perfect amount of liquid in the brush to get the technique I want. I even mix colors on used watercolor paper to see exactly how they will look in paint. Even so, errors will occur. 

That is why I like the role of many dimensions, such as Hahnemühle. Quality surfaces such as Hahnemühle Cézanne and Harmony papers allow Annie to lift and remove paint more easily and correct mistakes without damaging the paint surface. I also try to place each brushstroke deliberately. People who see me paint always think that I paint fast and that my strokes are quick and random. I can be fast, but every hit is carefully thought out and planned short. 

When to stop?

Annie ever decides to end just before she believes she’s done. If I wait to finish, I have gone too far. It’s easy to paint a watercolor painting, and working too much on one painting breaks it each time. Many writers will try to paint and, believing it will make it better, but Annie says it’s weird and usually makes things worse. The trick to understanding when a watercolor painting is finished is to stop long before you think it is finished. I help my students use the partner system to watch them close to them and remind them to stop soon. Confidence in quitting early on their own comes with experience and helps my students know when to stop practicing that skill by observing others in the room.

The result is that learner’s help all others see their business with new eyes and that the paintings they think are almost there are well done. As a full-fledged painter, this means that Annie never stops believing that a picture is finished, but then she has to go back. I managed to do this a long time ago, but I haven’t made it for many years. I would leave them sitting for a week or two and contact them to modify them a little, but now I know when I’m finished and stop, and carry on.

Last steps

Annie’s final steps with a painting that has nothing to do with the actual painting revolve around applying her signature and documenting the details about it. I wrote the title and my name on the back of the painting, my name and the weight, the surface and the name of the paper I used. This last attention to detail is because Annie uses many different cards, which allows her to compare them later. She also allows you to show your students how various documents serve with a myriad of diverse kinds of painting methods.

Annie then photographs all of her paintings and posts them on various social media sites, where most of them are sold. A handful of paintings are reserved for entering the jury exhibitions. The competition is fierce and I only get my best work. These paintings are framed before they are sent to exhibitions, but I collect anything else: I prefer to sell my paintings unframed, since it is easier to send them. Customers can frame them however they want. I only state the painting states will exhibit.

Reflecting on the surface

By reflecting on the entire process of a painting, Annie confirms that her surface plays a vital role in the success of an image. I use cheaper papers for my classroom demonstrations, when I’m just demonstrating techniques and not creating a great work of art. But for the larger and more complex paintings that I start to participate in juried exhibitions.

A quality paper will work well under heavy wet washes and will hold its shape better. The surface will resist multiple layers of glaze and layered paint and will not wear away from vigorous rubbing or brush strokes. An excellent paper has a large quantity of glue, which prevents paint and water from penetrating, but not so much that the bond will chip or freeze to the surface.

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