Rough Water Exercise 1: #1

I didn’t quite understand how to paint the waves according to the instructions in Ron Hazell’s book for this one. After painting the waves I found a video of him demonstrating his technique and I think I understand it better now. There were two mistakes I made at the outset that I can fix on the next attempt. 

1) My brush was too wet. I need thicker paint and less water in order to get the effect Ron demonstrates.

2) I painted the waves too small. At first the waves were short and choppy. They looked like some weird argyle hills or something. I ended up going back with some thick pigment and merged some of the waves. That improved the composition a bit, but it’s still not what I wanted.

On the next one, I’ll try to follow the example in the video a little better. However, the video I found ends with the waves pretty distinct from one another. Almost like they are stickers sitting on a graduated wash. I know that’s not how he leaves them, but I don’t quite understand step two.

I think the trick is to soften the base of the waves, but I want to keep some of the texture you can get with the dry brush work. I’m curious to see how I can get that to work. 

The other problem is the Ultramarine Blue I’m using stains a little too heavily to pull it after it dries. I think I’ll need to try pulling into damp paper? Maybe? 

I also used Hansa Yellow to get the greens. Looking at it now, I think the colors are reversed – like the waves should be dark in the valleys, and green at the crests.

I’m going to have to get some pictures of the open ocean to see what those waves look like.

When I was done, I stuck that ship in there just to try it out. I actually think it’s ok.

Then, I decided to try to get some spray off the wave crests with white pigment. I know. I know I know I know. Here’s the thing… I’m not John Singer Sargent. He used a lot of white (or so I read on the Internet.) In order for me to get better with Transparent watercolor, I need to continue to avoid using white. But, in this case, I was done with the painting and it needed some help – so I tried to sprinkle it with white. It did help – I would like to try again without white paint this time, but I think I have decided that I’m not going to “avoid white on principle.” I’ll stay away from it for the purposes of learning, but not because white paint is “wrong.”

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