When a Drawing-a-Day Becomes Four Little Paintings

Today I taught my introduction to Watercolour Techniques class. I love beginner’s classes — it’s like getting to show your beloved city off to someone who’s never been there. And like shepherding a visitor around, it seems like there’s never time enough to show them everything!

I always do a lot of little demos in class, and try to keep them quick and simple. Here are some that I did today, and I’m counting them as my drawings for the day. They are all 4×6 inches, on Arches 140 lb cold-press paper, and they took about five-ten minutes apiece to paint.

(Gratuitous Historical Art Fact: did you know that watercolours were not considered paintings until fairly recently? They were considered drawings, and are still filed as such in the archives of many museums and galleries.)

Demo to show masking (I masked off the blue areas), and how to draw people in about ten seconds! This is kind of a bizarre picture because the blue areas look like holes in the sky, but I kind of like that effect.

Demo to show masking (I masked off the blue areas), and how to draw people in about ten seconds! I also demonstrated using a sponge to make some texture, though it was kind of large for this little painting. This is kind of a bizarre picture because the blue areas look like holes in the sky, but I kind of like that effect.

This demo was to show lifting paint out of a blended wash (and add some more for shadows) to make clouds, and how to make aerial perspective by making distant things lighter and bluer. I wasn't sure what the landscape was going to be, it sort of evolved as I went along.

This demo was to show lifting paint out of a wet wash (and add some more paint for shadows and colour) to make clouds, and how to make aerial perspective by making distant things lighter and bluer. I wasn’t sure what the landscape was going to be, it sort of evolved as I went along.

This demo was to blend a nice sunset wash, and to show how to make very quick trees with brush scribbles.

This demo was to blend a nice sunset wash, and to show how to make very quick trees with brush scribbles. I added the sea after I got home, with some watercolour pencils.

The UFOs are coming! Or maybe they are flying hats. Suggested by one of the students, I thought it was a great idea. This demo used salt and gouache to make stars and the explosions (or maybe they are fireworks). The city is just simple brushstrokes with a flat brush.

The UFOs are coming! Or maybe they are flying hats. Suggested by one of the students, I thought it was a great idea. This demo used salt and gouache to make stars and the explosions (or maybe they are fireworks). The city is just simple brushstrokes with a flat brush, with windows and UFO trails added with a white pencil.

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