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Alwyn Crawshaw

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eBook - ePub


Alwyn Crawshaw

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About This Book

Alwyn Crawshaw has a very loyal following among amateur painters, and this book is an ideal introduction to this popular medium.

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You may have had a few funny experiences with the paint – losing control, or finding that runs of paint have broken away from the main wash and run down the paper on to the table or floor. But you will have learned a lot and can now use this knowledge to do some real painting.
If up until now you have been using cartridge paper or thin watercolour paper and haven’t yet tried stretching any paper, now is the time to do so. It makes an incredible difference. Refer to the instructions here.
Before you start a watercolour painting, you must always have clean water in your container. Remember, the paint stains the water to make the colour. If the water is dirty, obviously you will not get a true, clear colour.
To avoid breaking my rhythm when I am painting in the studio, I sometimes speed up the drying time of a wash by using a hair dryer to blow dry my wash. If you do this, don’t hold the dryer too close – what you are trying to achieve is a quicker, natural way of drying your wash.
First, draw the potato with your HB pencil. Then, using your large, round brush, paint the background as a wash with Hooker’s Green No. 1.

I have chosen the potato, above, for your first exercise. The drawing is not too difficult and if you put a bump in the wrong place, it will not look wrong. Also, although the colour isn’t bright or exciting, it can be matched easily. The colour of potatoes varies, so if you don’t match it exactly, your painting will still look right.
When this is dry, paint the potato with a colour mix of Yellow Ochre and Burnt Umber, adding more colour on the shadow side as you paint down. While the paint is still wet, dry out your brush and wipe out some highlights. These are only subtle effects but help to give the potato form.
You may now have the impression that if an object isn’t represented correctly, it doesn’t matter. Of course, this is not true. I am trying to make sure that your first painting of an object looks correct to your family and friends so that you will receive their praise and congratulations. This will boost your confidence which, in turn, will improve your work. Now you can understand why I chose a potato for you – because it has no specific shape or colour. When you can paint this potato, you will have come a long, long way. Now try some more vegetables – you will find that you enjoy painting them.
Before the paint dries, add French Ultramarine and Crimson Alizarin to your mix for the dark blemishes. As the paint is still slightly wet, these marks will run a little and the edges will be soft. Then put in the shadow. Don’t be fussy with the detail and, if it doesn’t work the first time, keep trying.

Opposite is a complicated pencil sketch I made of the River Hamble in Hampshire. I put quite a lot of drawing into this but, if you just wanted to paint it, you could manage by sketching only the key positions – the horizon, the wooden quay and a couple of the main boats – the brush could do the rest. I used a rough surface paper for this, a lot of dry brush, and I scratched out the light on the middle-distance water with a blade.
Although this painting was simplified, I made sure that the white yacht and the white rowing boat were carefully worked because these were at the centre of interest.

Next try this very simple approach to five of the techniques I described earlier. Draw five bananas on the same sheet of paper with your HB pencil and then paint the banana shapes, using the same colours for each technique.
Cadmium Yellow Pale; Burnt Umber; Crimson Alizarin; French Ultramarine.
Use your large round brush and let the brush strokes follow the shape of the banana. When the paint is almost dry, put on a darker wash and add some darker marks on top. Then paint a dark shadow wash to show up the banana (light against dark). Put in a few dark accents with your No. 6 brush to crispen it up.
Paint this banana in the same way. When the wash is dry, use a mapping pen and black Indian ink to draw the banana. Experiment to find your natural style. If you prefer, you can try drawing the banana with pen and ink first before putting coloured washes over the top.
Draw and shade the banana with your 2B pencil as if you were doing a pencil drawing. Then paint it in the same way as the first one but, this time, over your pencil shading.
Paint this banana using the same colours as before but this time add White to make the paint lighter and more opaque – don’t use a lot of water. You will find that the paint does not flow so easily and you have to work it more than usual.
Usually white poster colour or a tube of white gouache colour is used and you must wash it off your palette when you have finished with it. If white paint gets accidentally mixed with watercolour and applied to paper, and you put a wash over the top (or even a very watery brush), it will run and ruin your work.
Use your sponge or large brush to wet the paper and, while it is still quite wet, paint the banana with the same brush. The colours will run over the edge of your pencil drawing. Then paint the darker side and add some dark blemishes. When this is nearly dry, use the same brush to paint your background. Start at the left, above the banana, and follow its top shape in one brush stroke, then work underneath it.

This exercise is a little more difficult than the banana, but I am sure you can do it!
Cadmium Red; Crimson Alizarin; Hooker’s Green No. 1; Burnt Umber.
Use your No. 6 brush to put a wash of Crimson Alizarin and Cadmium Red on the flower. While this is still wet, wipe out some of the paint for highlights with a damp brush. Paint the stem and leaves with a mix of Hooker’s Green No. 1 and Crimson Alizarin and, while the leaves are still wet, add some Cadmium Red with the point of the brush.
Now paint the petals with stronger colour and, when dry, scratch out some highlights. With the same brush, paint the background – make sure your paint is very wet and use a colour mix of Burnt Umber and Hooker’s Green No. 1. Be definite when painting up to the leaves – let the brush stroke make the shape. Finally, add some shadow on the stem and leaves under the flower.
If you look at my drawing, you will see that ...

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