Lesson In Color and Design

Streetcar Korea.

I draw numerous sketches starting with thumbnails. Working a few compositions, I decide on one gradually work a nine by twelve drawing and complete a color study. Sometimes I work a collage study because this is very helpful in creating shapes and patterns. Also depending where I am; meaning, if I’m far away from home I will take a number of photographic references.

Some studies of mine describe an underlying abstract design. In other words within my realism of my art you could see abstraction. Strong vertical forms against horizontals showing a geometric arrangement. This helps create a pleasing group of shapes and colors. I need to materialize my conceptual vision and have it appear natural and fresh. Gesture drawings are very helpful in creating liveliness to the piece.

When I’m not sure on a color when working the finish piece I tend to use gray. I credit this to Mario Cooper he always said when in doubt gray it out. Another thing I do is leave the white of the paper. I never use Chinese white this is also credited to Mario. I remember once I had my paint tubes out on the table and Mario was walking around and stopped in front of me and asked me about the tube of white. Bottom line  he confiscated my last tube of Chinese white. My response was I paid $4 for that tube. He had no response!

Payne’s gray is a great color and mixes with all the other tones giving a good sense of value. This also very helpful when correcting values by darkening or lightening them, adding more color in some instances.

Once I choose my color and design I draw out my finish drawing on watercolor paper. There are many types of watercolor paper I prefer Lanaquelle 140 weight. As you become more a custom to the medium of watercolor choosing the paper will be easier.

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