"Capitol Hill" watercolor study, 9x12 in.

I begin with an under painting in yellow ochre instead of drawing in pencil.

I have been experimenting quite a bit these days with watercolor. It has always eluded me as a medium, and I think I have finally found a way of working with it that captures the bolder, more confident colors and gestures that are the basis of my work in oil and acrylic.

While most watercolorists begin with a pencil drawing, I prefer to create an underpainting the same as I would when working in other media such as oil, acrylic or pastel. By choosing yellow ochre, or a similar neutral, “friendly” color, I am able to block in not only my drawing but also some middle and light values. Because yellow ochre is a warm color that gets along fairly well with most other colors, it does not create mud when transparent middle and light values are placed on top of it. Rather, it creates a glow that is a nice enhancement to the overall mood of the piece.

This fall, I will be offering a new course at Visual Arts Center of NJ called “Wet & Wild: An Alternative Approach to Water Media”. The class will include non-traditional approaches to watercolor, as well as using acrylics, drawing inks and markers to create exciting mixed media imagery.


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