Playing with watercolor provides a fast and easy reinforcement of the concepts I know, but sometimes forget.

Value Contrast Direct the eye to Focal Points

Once a month I have breakfast with X to toss around ideas and to discuss the latest ups and downs of our lives as artists.  This month the topic of teaching workshops came up.  We shared our ideas of how and what to present to our students that would give them a sense of having learned something useful that could easily be incorporated into their work, inspire them to learn more on their own, while at the same time making the workshop fun and satisfying.

The topic led to teaching “rules”.  As artists, we know that rules are made to be broken.  We also know that work is often strongest when breaking a rule is a choice or a recognized “happy accident” than when the rule is broken through lack of understanding or even knowing about the rule.

One rule is that the lightest light and the darkest dark should only be in the area or areas of the painting where you want your eye to focus or return to again and again. If you have the lightest light and the darkest dark in other areas, the illusion of space in the painting will be diminished and your eye will wander all over the painting, lost among shapes and colors and values (not necessarily a bad thing, but generally without emotional impact).

Painting: Drawn first with dip pen and black ink, followed by watercolor washes.  Painted while Roger and Rob were setting up for the Todd Wolfe Blues Jam on March 8, 2011