October 26, 2013
October 26, 2013
I recently attended a workshop about the basics of watercolor and realised what I had been doing so dreadfully wrong all my life.
When you start to use crayons in school, the purpose is to develop your motor skills, and not to introduce you to art. The exercises involve colouring all over, keeping inside the lines, and not leaving any white spaces. Then you graduate onto color pencils which gives you a little more control, and its a therapeutic pass time to continue filling out all the white spaces with gusto, all the while ruminating about something else.
In most schools, the next step is to get introduced to watercolor. And then you tend to apply the same way of laying down color, first filling up the white spaces, and then thinking where to add the light and shade elements. This is the first big mistake. Watercolor is more about the white spaces rather than the filled out spaces. White spaces in a watercolor painting represent the most exposed areas in light, and hence immediately attract attention. For me, these provide respite for the eye, and are the most beautiful part of a painting. For this reason, before one touches the paintbrush to their paper, a whole plan needs to be first made. No stroke in watercolor is put down without deliberation. There's no way that you can spare mental space thinking about something else, unless you grow extremely comfortable with doing this, and are capable of multiple levels of meditation.
Watercolor is very close to Japanese Sumi e style of painting where what you put down on paper reflects your state of mind.
This was my biggest mistake, to ignore the concept of white spaces and to try and fill in color without thinking about my strokes.