WHEN A WATERCOLOR IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS
There is a bit of magician in most of us who paint. We sometimes use deception to suggest a a watercolor vision, or use misdirection for purposes of design, or artistic license.
A week ago last Free Friday I find myself at the American River Parkway, a favorite watercolor location. What to paint that I’ve not painted before? I thumb through a cache of value plans and select a sketch completed last August in Mount Shasta, California.
The four-value sketch is of a scene along the headwaters of the Sacramento River, in an area south of Mt. Shasta, called Cantara Loop. Here, the headwaters are more stream than river. The water flows slow and deep through a narrow region often referred to as Box Canyon.
The sketch depicts a sandy foreground, a bit of shallow water dropping off sharply into the mid value, deep water background. The darks are a rock, large cliff, a stump, and some vegetation at the lower left corner. Plenty of material with which to develop a watercolor painting (see image below).
An advantage of working from value sketches is that the actual watercolor can be done anywhere, at anytime! But wait, it gets even better. One value plan can be the stimulus for other creative ideas.
The end result? A narrow Mount Shasta stream becomes a wider, deeper river some 220 miles to the south. Thus, the viewer is visually entertained with the help of a watercolor painter’s creative friends, deception, misdirection, and artistic license