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Monday, August 07, 2006

Watercolor with ink line

Fun, fun day in class today. Before I did the ink lesson, I showed them my latest treasured tool. A genuine, Nita Engle Windex spray bottle that I bought at a gas station along the Interstate on my trip to Michigan. I had given up on ever finding one after my last one broke. Most stores sell the big pump sprayers, which don't allow you to do the little spritzy things that create interesting textures. Nita Engle uses one to make trees without a brush. The class was delighted to see what you can do with the sprayer. There will no doubt be a run on Windex at truck stops and gas stations everywhere.

The ink lesson was fun, too. I took some India ink (permanent, lightfast pigmented ink) and several tools: a crow-quill pen, a bamboo pen, a broad-nib pen, a piece of mat board, some flexible bamboo sticks from a placemat and a 1/2" flat synthetic watercolor brush that I use only for the ink. First, I taught them what I learned about using ink with watercolor: You use watercolor lightly to tint ink drawings or use ink lightly to enhance watercolors. You don't let the two compete for dominance. I don't know if this is an actual "rule," but it seems to work.

It doesn't matter which you put down first, but the first layer should be dry before adding the other medium. I like to do a loose, splashy watercolor and add light, feathery lines using the flexible bamboo stick. This gives a fresh, spontaneous look to the watercolor. If someone prefers to do a detailed drawing, then they make a better picture if they just tint areas of it, rather than trying to color inside the lines.

Those who tried the ink-and-watercolor technique had great fun with it and did nifty paintings. Some of these folks have struggled finish paintings that satisfied them, but they were well pleased with the results of the new technique. The variety of work in this class--subject matter, techniques, colors--continues to delight me. Each student is growing at his or her pace; they have, for the most part, given up comparing themselves with others and have started to see how they are progressing on their own.

One student had a big problem with shadows this week, so that's the lesson for next week. Stay tuned. It's the last class of this session, but we're going right into the next session the following week, with the class more than half full already. It's a great group and they enjoy each other tremendously. One student brought pineapple-upside-down cake to share today. It was sooooo good.

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Blogger Lesly said...

I was so interested to read this post about pen and watercolour. And I hope you don't mind but I have linked it to a post of my own.

Your book The Creative Artist is a great source of inspiration and comfort! I am very glad to read on your blog that the launch of the new edition is going well.

best wishes

6:08 AM  
Blogger Nita said...

Thanks for the link, Lesley. I'm glad you've enjoyed the original Creative Artist. Have you seen the sample pages of the new book? http://tinyurl.com/grxyh

8:11 AM  

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