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Monday, January 20, 2014

Tips for Loose Up Watercolour = Show, Don't Tell

This week, I'll chat over "Show, don't tell." It is famous advice for writing. We know the difference between writing that involves the audience by showing what’s happening in stories and simple telling/reporting information that holds the reader back. I keep "Show, don't tell" as a guide for my art work. 

Technically, this is my way to loose up work. 
1. Value study of selected theme. One topic per work.
2. Simple drawing. Lines are the fewer, the better.
3. Colour use, as above. Limited palette. Play up contrast and play with paints/water.
NOTE: If you're confident to use many colours, go for it! The point is how to handle value with colours.
4. Quick brush strokes, the fewer, the better = enjoy washes.
5. Play with water and paints. Use "plenty" of water.

Below, when I started sketching the busker at market, I thought, "Wooops, did I make a too strong contrast and a too thick colour?" But it went not bad! The player's face expression was my main interest. His fingers and body movement were my second interest. I sang and danced together with the band, while sketching!
In my view, the beauty of a loose up watercolour style is the beauty of omission that comes from ambiguity created in soft edges. Technically, in order to loose up work, an artist is very selective of visual information. I choose one topic/interesting thing and omit or delete a rest of others in sketch and work. Too busy information never works for a loose style. When I wonder if I should put more or not, I stop brushes. It's hard and a great temptaion, but I try not to do overwork. The simpler, the better. No trick. (*I hope even little kids understand my work!) Brush strokes and colour use are the fewer, the better. Value study is the key for a successful loose up style. When I get stuck, I always sketch in black and white and check my value.

Below, my sketches of other buskers in the band.
That's enough for my painting. You'll find very a few lines. I always sketch only necessary points. Later, the band members said, 'Wow, it's me!" "Hey, that's you!" and we had a cheerful laugh together. Nice! Having fun is very important for happy watercolour!
Interestingly, once, my Mentor Ann James said, "You're a painter, rather than a drawer." I think she understands my playing with colour paints in water and her say implies I put on weigh on paints more than lines in watercolour painting.  Also, I've realised that my eye remembers value and does correct drawing mistakes in colour painting! Does it make sense? My colour use and value compensates my drawing mistakes and amends drawings. Yes, my brush strokes fix drawing lines.  So, I do not care drawing mistakes and move on colour asap, before a subject has gone out of my sight. A work results in freshness, my most strength. 

I also assume a loose watercolour style provokes viewers imagination and involves viewers like "Show, don't tell" suggests. When I play up one interesting topic, I leave work to readers imagination. We know when artists tap viewers imagination, work will become rich than simple facts. When artists try hard to "explain" about something in art work, art work results in very poor and not so interesting nor touchy.  

I'm exploring watercolour, while working on the picture book project and so ons. Now, the picture book project's colour is more than a half way through. I want this picture book to stand between imagination and reality or come and go between mood/emotion and fact.  It's very challenging for me. Oh, I've made lots of messes in a studio. It's really good to check them again to create good illustrations. It's worth trying experiments. Of course, I sometimes feel down and out. But your warm cheers through this blog really lift me up. Yes, your cheers always remind me, "Joy must come first."

Thank you, Friends!!!
You, too, enjoy drawing. I'd send you my warm cheers, too! I hope we will enjoy "swimming" DEEPLY in watercolour.
Friends, Happy Painting!!


 













    
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26 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful, thoughtful, knowledgeable post! Thank you for emphasizing the importance of value contrast, rather than color contrast. I think that's the mark of a more advanced artist, to concentrate on value first and foremost. Your style is gorgeous Sadami. You truly have mastered the concept of show don't tell, making your work very appealing and interesting!

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    1. Dear Katherine, thank u so much! No, I have not mastered any skills yet. I explore other techniques, too. I've grown up with Western art and kept drawing along its value centred style. So, when I looked at Japanese "ukiyoe" that does not have value, it shocked me! Sensation, so fresh, an eye opener for me. Ukiyoe has so fascinated me. I easily imagined Impressionists' overwhelming!! I'm a life long learner.
      Your work has a different style. So beautiful, amazingly sensitive and painstaking -- I'm certain people love your work. Enjoy drawing!!!
      Best wishes, Sadami

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  2. Hi Sadami, I'm reading in your post a lot of the things I've been thinking of lately. The ultimate goal for me is to find out how to express the most with the least means - the least lines or brushstrokes. This is the most difficult thing. You have mastered this with faces and facial expressions. Just like your base player, so concentrated in his music. And yes, leaving the details out, more suggested than depicted, makes for a much more interesting painting.
    Have a very nice and productive week!

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    1. Thank u, Balga. I'm sure your goal would be your staring point -- alpher and omega for your artist life. Technically, tips to handle value is simply, "Draw"! Tens of MILLIONs of drawings enable you to draw confident and simple lines in relation with value. So, just keep drawing. A few minutes quick drawing evryday is enough. Not a big deal. Do one drawing of something that interests you. It never needs to be a masterpiece. Just have fun. In 365 days, you'll find your amazing improvement. That's what I've been doing for years. I often look up great artists' sketches -- such as Rembrandt and Lautrec. They kept drawing anything and everything interested them. So, I picked up their way. No magic.
      You, too, have a wonderful and creative week!! Best wishes, Sadami

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  3. Tu dibujos y acuarelas son fantásticos. ¡Gracias por esta gran lección, Sadami!
    En acuarela... ¡menos es más!
    Un abrazo.

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    1. Gracias, dulce Onera! Sí, tienes el punto! Tú también, adelante y disfruta más que nunca de acuarela. Mis mejores deseos, Sadami

      Thank you, sweet Onera! Yes, you've got the point! You, too, go ahead and enjoy watercolour more than ever. Best wishes, Sadami

      >>> Onera said...
      Your drawings and watercolors are fantastic. Thank you for this great lesson, Sadami!
      In watercolor... less is more!
      A hug.

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  4. I have long thought that any maestro of an art (whatever that art is) can make their work seem effortless. You are that maestro for loose, lively, fresh watercolours.
    Although it seems effortless, I know there is lots of practise involved - and more than a little talent!
    It's a joy to watch and cheer you on :) xx

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    1. Oh, so sweet Pat, thank you! (*although I'm not a maestro at all), yes, maestros work seems effortless. Most people do not realise famous artists's hidden hard work. You know it, well. Me, too, feel your very hard work at the same time. You, too, take care and enjoy drawing and writing!!
      Best wishes, Sadami

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  5. This is a very interesting post, and my views on watercolour agree with yours. Like playing golf, the few strokes the better, and limited palette lends itself easily to harmony in a painting. I can just imagine you joining in with the musicians !!!!!!!!

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    1. Thank u, Polly and appreciate your brilliant sense of humour. I assume you're a very good golf player, too. Yes, art is another form to share joy with others. For me, no difference between music and drawing, only the matter of a "chanel." Cheers, Sadami

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  6. Sadami thank you for this encouraging post you say: drawing every day and yet I do not seem to move forward and sometimes backward. there is so much to know. luckily drawing enormously brings pleasure and yours are a real pleasure to watch
    take care of yourself

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    1. Thank u, Isabelle! The best way to practice is "do what you like." I've loved drawing since childhood. It was not a big deal to draw favorite subjects -- for me, figures and something moving and alive. Exciting and so fascinating. I make a drawing in a few minutes and finish painting for less than twenty minutes. I do not like landscapes that do not move around. I try some, but always it bores me. Painful hours. So, I've decided to be honest with myself. Do figure! Find your own way, Isabelle. You, too, take care.
      Best wishes, Sadami

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  7. Disfruto y sigo mucho tu blog, Sadami.
    Y aprendo de ti mucho. Gracias por enseñarnos tanto. Un saludo desde España.

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    1. Gracias, Jose! Su obra de arte obtiene más rico y hermoso. Por favor sigue.
      Mis mejores deseos, de Sadami bajo el cielo azul de una Australia

      Thank you, Jose! Your art work gets richer and beautiful more and more. Please keep up.
      Best wishes, from Sadami under an Australia's blue sky

      >>> Jose said...
      I enjoy and I follow your blog, Sadami much.
      And I learn you a lot. Thank you for teaching us so much. Greetings from Spain.

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  8. Dear Sadami,
    You're getting wiser and wiser. Excellent advice about loosing up! I wish you a year filled with inspirational moments!! Hugs

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    1. Oh, dear Anna, thank u! Your work gets better and better!!! I've just submitted my dummy book at the final stage and will take a short break. You, too, have a creative and productive year. Hugs, Sadami

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  9. nice post and sound advice sadami .. no mistakes in your dwg ...your dwg enriches your painting ...have a good week sadami

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    1. Thank u, Jane! Oh, my drawings have lots of mistakes, but I do not care it too much. You, too, enjoy your artist life!! Best wishes, Sdami

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  10. You bring out the essence of the scene with your energetic strokes and gestures as well as the color and values ! Great advice that you are sharing so very generously! Looking forward to your picture book. I can imagine how hard work it must be as I too am doing a personal project with illustrating and very scared and excited at the same time! Thank you for your wise words!

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    1. Thank u, Meera! I've always learned lots from others that has enriched me. In turn, I'd share what I have with others. The picture book is going well, but, yes, very hard work. Editor, Mentor and Author are very pleased with my submitted colors today (=I'm waiting for feedback.) You,too, enjoy illustration and painting!!! Best wishes, Sadami

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  11. Voy a seguir paso a paso tus instrucciones... pero seguro que no haré nada, ni remotamente, parecido a los estupendos dibujos que nos muestras.
    Un abrazo.

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    1. Gracias, Tina! No necesitas hacer otras formas. El punto es "Encontrar su propio camino" y de la floración hacia fuera. Vaya, vaya, Tina!!
      Mis mejores deseos, Sadami

      Thank you, Tina! You do not need to do other ways. The point is "Find your own way" and bloom out. Go, go, Tina!!
      Best wishes, Sadami

      >>> Tina said...
      I'm going to follow your instructions step by step... but sure I won't do anything, even remotely, resembling the great drawings that show us.
      A hug.

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  12. I almost missed this wonderful post, Sadami, sorry for my late comment. Your way of finding the best way of painting/drawing in a loose way is much like my journey of exploring watercolour. I recognize a lot. It is hard to stop in time and not to overwork, and I often paint the subject several times until I know how to simplify it. Your work is always a joy to look at!

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    1. Thank u, Judy. Please do not say sorry. I trust in you. Friendship is not obligation. Your style is different from mine. "Work on your style," is only I can say at the end. Find who you are and work to be who you will be most fully. Best wishes, Sadami

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  13. Hello Sadami, Your drawings are quite lovely, juicy and loose.

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    1. thank u so much! i'm preparing for 3 publications, balancing hands & work. u, 2, enjoy beautiful wtercolor! xxx sadami

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