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Kim Page Watercolour Demonstrations

See him at www.surreyartists.co.uk/kim_page_1.htm

Still Life
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Boatyard in watercolour, 23 March 2018
We were lucky that Kim could demonstrate this evening.
The life model we had booked had had to cancel.

Before the demo he had already scattered some examples of his work.
Watercolour is Kim's favourite. He stressed the importance of preparation. "Don't rush. Work into it."

Buy good paper, not one with wood pulp (tonight's was Arches 16" x 12")
You need only two or three brushes (sable is best and not as expensive as it used to be). Tonight's were a No.14 and a No.12
Choose your colours to suit indoor lighting
Make sure your paint is soft (prepare pans by spraying them with water in advance)
Decide what is going to be the centre of interest (start there) and plan the composition to support it
His starting point tonight was a photo taken at Walton-on-the-Naze, in Essex.

Kim had mounted the paper in a commercial stretcher. 140 and 200 lb papers are marginal for use without stretching but he prefers not to wash the sizing off by really wetting it. In really hot conditions he would wet the back of the paper only. This has the advantage of slowing the drying, too.

He aims to cover the white of the paper with only a single glaze. Watercolour dries paler than it was when you put it on, so the washes need to be strong. This means that he can't have too much water in the brush (just dip and shake). He rarely builds up pigment with multiple glazes..
The board often has to be upright when demonstrating, instead of flat. Runs need dabbing off (with kitchen towel)..

Kim does not like masking fluid so he puts down separate blocks of colour, leaving white between to avoid unwanted bleeding. You can still let colours bleed within a block of colour, of course, if you want.

He mixes his colours in a custom paintbox/palette with deeper than normal wells. This is because he likes to have exactly the same colour (unlike some other painters who re-mix frequently, sometimes even for each brushfull).
Starting with cobalt blue he dabbed in the sky (not a flat wash but leaving white for clouds). Alizarin crimson darkened it near the horizon.

Next he filled in the shapes he had drawn for the boats and other structures. Don't get rid of the white too soon - once it has paint on it you can't really remove it all.

Another thing is not to be obsessed with straight lines, even for things like masts. They are much more convincing if you do them with a fine, fairly dry brush (a rigger holds a good lot of paint), by eye, without trying to make them uniformly thick.
A pale ochre/ultra represented distant trees. Cadmium yellow lightened it a little and a slightly darker version (with added french ultra) served for the far bank.

Then the water. Kim started with big yellow/brown reflections. Then a red-brown (prussian blue and alizarin). Since this is wet-into-wet, remember to add paint to the brush, not more water (which would "cauliflower").

It is for big area like the open water that his big mixing wells come into their own. He mixed a blue and yellow-ochre "mud" for this and put it on, almost dry-brush, with fast horizontal strokes.

The final stage involves last-minute touches that can make or break the painting. A rigger adds crucial detail.
Eventually time was up but I should mention three points I noted out of context:

The finger is an invaluable watercolour painting tool but there is a place fordigital (computer) painting, too. This is taken so much for granted by younger people that exhibitions are going to have to face up to it.
Know your kit - only then can you concentrate on the art.
Learn to draw with a brush - particularly relevant if you do it for life-drawing.
Don't show watercolours without a mount.

Thank you, Kim, for helping us out so successfully - a great evening.
This is the photo I took at the end of the demo . . .

. . . but Kim did a bit more work on it in his studio and this is the completed painting.
Still Life
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Watercolour, Still Life, 2 March 2007
Webmaster's note: No camera stand. Blurry photo's. Sorry (but you should get the idea).
Whilst we were arranging the chairs Kim was setting up his still life and making a light pencil outline drawing onto unstretched NOT paper held to the board with clips.
He uses a very limited palette, mostly applied with a No.10, 12 or 14 sable brush. "Know your brush". He's not a believer in multiple glazes, preferring to get as near as possible to the final effect with the first wash (although you may get forced to use them for some of the later petal effects).

He advises:
- thorough preparation. "Know exactly what you want before you start to paint".
- avoiding working from photo's, if possible. "Sit inside the car to paint if the weather is bad".
- paint what the eye sees, not what your brain tells you. "If it looks a jumble, paint a jumble". "Don't go abstract until you feel comfortable with it"
Building up "Decide what is the most important part of the picture and start there". "Paint how you feel is right". "Take risks"

Since he was not intending to overglaze, he applied paint without too much water. Many deliberate strokes, including tiny dabs, gradually developed each area, wet into wet, observing the lines of the drawing where objects overlapped. The power of white paper cannot be faked with an applied white.
He mixes all his own greens, mostly with varying proportions of Burnt Umber and Prussian or Winsor Blue. "Flowers are good subjects to help men develop their (inferior) colour-awareness".

The dark background and sandy table surface highlight the pot and sit the arrangement solidly (important to vary the colours of such areas) - but note how careful he was not to lose the little areas of white paper.
More detail
Ready for final "polishing" Flower centres need close attention - like the eyes in a portrait.

Finally came a fairly long process of adding darks with the tip of the brush: negative shapes; sculpting the petals; shadows (cobalt and light red, perhaps a touch of ultramarine in the background); adding the small bowl etc.
End of demonstration

End of demonstration
Still Life
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