Paul Weaver  – Saturday 18th November 2017

Paul is a watercolour artist but dabbles in other mediums when needed. His demonstration was dramatic as he ‘thrashed out’ his basic idea for a painting in charcoal first. This was a quick sketch of a street scene but it was apparent that this was a much needed exercise to work out the eye line and to ‘carve out shapes’ on paper first. The initial plan he said is always to ‘work out what you want to capture’ if this is ‘light, warmth, etc and using a camera flattens this out so it’s best to remember it while you are in a place rather than rely on the photograph’.

Paul talked about being able to leave certain parts out of the composition and also remembering that you can also add (artistic licence), but keep your starting point at a part of the painting you are happy with and work out from there. He suggested that this usually helps the cohesion of the composition. Working on the idea first, ‘don’t use a rubber’ this will help you visualise better which lines work and which don’t and you have a comparison between the good and the bad. Paul went on to say ‘squint’ at the picture if it becomes too complicated, as this can help ‘simplify the tones and shapes’.

By keeping the shapes simple, this leads the eye back and helps background sit further back. Paul, when drawing out the picture initially he does not to use the point of the pencil as this will ‘dent or tattoos’ the paper. His paper of preference is Bockingford as this dries quicker than most and he can use it while en plein air painting, which he does often. If he wanted a picture to dry a bit slower, then he would use a cotton rag such as Saunders, this being better for painting in hotter climates.

What was amazing with Paul’s demonstration was that he used only one very large brush for everything, only using a finer (but still large) brush for three telephone lines. His use of a limited palette was also interesting as he mixed all of his colours from this, raw sienna, viridian green, cerulean blue, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre and the occasional other colours such as rose madder. But using the crimson and cobalt blue to give the darker shadows of buildings and burnt sienna for shadows of skin tones. Paul gave great advice to use hot colours for a ‘hot’ place and cool colours for a ‘cold’ place. But more importantly by sketching your composition first, this with give you more confidence in the final painting.

Paul demonstrated the result of ‘spraying’ the painting with water to give a softer dappled light and using his finger on wet areas to remove some paint giving the illusion of rays of directional light. In conclusion he said that we actually see things in and out of focus all the time and so the edges of most things could be softened in that suggestive way, which gives the painting a looser but more natural feel.

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