Two weeks ago I was lucky to be able to attend a five day watercolor workshop conducted by Cheng Khee Chee. It was a remarkable experience and I learned a phenomonal amount. Each day he taught a new process and over the last week I have been working with two of the processes. Before the workshop, he stresses that he wants you to learn the process and not to worry about creating masterpieces. (Believe me, I did not create masterpieces!) Cheng Khee is kind and generous and brings to bear both eastern and western styles and philosophies. I found his basic philosophy about watercolor to be fascinating. That is that you bring the media to its most natural state so you use watercolor best in a wet-on-wet environment. His work is lyrical, fluid, spontaneous and evocative. You can visit his website here.
The first day when we worked wet-on-wet with a realistic subject I made a mistake by working too small. I have been scaling up and painting large abstracts so I used only about 1/8th of a sheet of Arches. The painting of Eileen Donan castle is small, tight and very mediocre.
Eileen Donan Castle
I followed this up at home with a painting using a quarter sheet and with no preliminary drawing. I had prepped this paper with a green, yellow, gold underpainting with the intention of doing a sepia drawing of a tree. The paper was there calling my name so I painted something I have been thinking about for along time. My house is backed by large, old, sort of raggedy evergreen trees that are very nice for privacy and blocking noise. I watch their tops sway in the wind. Here is my more wet, more spontaneous painting. Much better I think!
Top of the Tree