Demo - Calligraphic Tree with Landscape

Lesson Two Homework

Taught by Roxana Tuff, Artist

July 22, 2016, Friday
Cephas House, 217 MLK Drive, San Marcos, Texas 78666

Lesson Two Homework: Experimental Landscape

Note: Click on any photo and view a larger image.

Experimental Watercolor Landscape by Roxana Tuff
Goal: Create an Experimental Landscape with Watercolor.

Try to use: lots of water, including spraying, dropping in pigment, calligraphic lines, and splashing paint. You can use white paint to drop in points of light if you want as well.

Try doing one like the sample in this video by Rex Beanland.

Then do another one that is more unique. I want you to use your own "voice" to make these paintings.
That is, they don't have to look like what he did unless you want to do that.
Tape down all four edges of your watercolor paper.

Choose the location of the object that will the focus feature of the painting.

If you like, use a pencil to lightly sketch in your composition.

Sketch in your horizon line or background features, such as mountains, clouds, bushes, etc.
Start with a round brush and dark paint.

Freely and quickly stroke in areas that will be the shadowed side of your Tree.
Keep the shape of the Tree fluid and loose.

Use calligraphic strokes and different densities of paint to build up the shadowed edge of the Tree.

Leave the lighter side of the Tree untouched - the paper itself becomes the light areas.
Begin painting in the background areas.

Remember to leave the lighter side of the Tree (or your focus object) unpainted.

Let that negative space remain white.
Use plenty of water. Add sky and background features.
Below your horizon line, you can add grass, soil, rocks, etc. Daub with your brush and experiment with shapes and colors.
Splash or splatter some areas by tapping the loaded brush against your free hand. Keep the brush above the paper.
Turn the brush flat, having it parallel to the paper, and blot the color on. Your strokes will take the shape of your brush.
Keep all your brushes, water, paper towels,  paints, tape and ruler (if needed) handy to your workspace.
Finished piece, still a bit wet. Note how several areas of the paper are left unpainted. The whiteness of the paper defines lighter areas of objects and also establishes the horizon line.

Watercolor by Roxana Tuff

Watercolor by Roxana Tuff

I used a pencil to very lightly sketch lines where I might want a tree or horizon line, etc.

But then, I used lots of:
  •  very loose washes, 
  • dropped in color, 
  • sprayed water, 
  • a little India Ink, 
  • more spray, 
  • splashing, 
  • scraping with the back of a brush, etc. 
  • Leave quite a bit of white showing through. That helps contrast.
So, as you can see, I want these to be VERY elusive. Only an impression of the landscape that you make up. Make a few of these at home, experimenting with the spray bottle, lots of contrasting color, and maybe some lines of India Ink.

Use the 11x15 paper with a taped off border. I didn't stretch my paper for these because I wasn't worried about the warping. I didn't care about too much control.

Have fun. They don't ALL turn out, but if you make several you'll get more fearless in your approach.

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