I am always looking for something beyond basics ….technique/design/composition/color/value to sharpen my painting inabilities. Guess I like challenges like I’m not the major challenge….make sense? If not keep painting and you will arrive on your own front porch.
While reading a watercolor book written by Claude Croney the word tangent jumped off the page lightening fast. I knew what it was but hadn’t grasp the broader meaning of that little word. Tangents are common mistakes usually overlooked because we don’t recognize their importance. I dug out some old paintings, those hidden in a drawer only family will find one day, and had a jaw dropping moment. The ‘tangent connection’ had not been dissected to it’s fullest in the beholders eye when these paintings were conceived. If you paint from photos I strongly suggest taking some extra time examining your references for the ‘tangent connection’.
What am I looking for…..two shapes sharing the same edge….bottom line. A row of trees sharing the same edge as a mountain range/a vertical fence pale married to the tree trunk behind it….are a few examples. All of these unexpected surprises need to be dealt with by overlapping /shrink/enlarge shapes or eliminating what is not necessary. Enjoy the photo for what it is…. a nice photo then create a great painting. Print the photo out on computer paper then circle all the hidden tangents before you began the drawing.
Below is a nice photo of a lady selling her wares. The photo was copied to my computer where it was enlarged and carefully analyzed. The very first thing is the figure it is in the center of the photo. I don’t have a problem with her being the bulls eye as long as there is good balance with the other shapes that make up the composition. Circles are given to each tangent that needs correction and an X on shapes that will be eliminated. When I am confident that the Easter egg hunt is over I proceed to sketch my subject which is the second image.
This is the photograph…nice color and interesting shapes…with several tangents to recognize and alter.
This is the quick sketch with a gray watercolor stick…on cold press #140 watercolor paper. The figure has been moved off center and because I like the red chairs they were included. The steps needed to follow through to eliminate angels that would detract. Pots of flowers were added behind the iron rail and the window added interest. Only one column was needed and behind the lady would give a contrast for the head. Although color choices were not changed values were more important.
This was the first wash of colors of reds/orange/blue/turquoise/quinacridone burnt orange. The colors mixed and mingled on the paper leaving soft edges for the negative shapes to be painted after the wash is dry.
The paper is dry and ready for the negative darker values in the background. There were various color changes to work with using a little imagination. Although the original drawing is followed…I don’t always stay in the lines if color presents a different shape. Pigment is more important than water because of the dark values that are required for hard edges. When I am satisfied with the overall shape connection calligraphy lines are added with a rigger brush. These lines declare or connect shapes.