When teaching workshops focused on a variety of watercolor techniques, I present the students with a project that allows for experimentation and encourages a playful, curious attitude.

Abstraction From Traced Objects

Abstraction From Traced Objects

Why don’t I set up a lovely still life for the students to work from?  Because a still life requires drawing skills that many students have not yet acquired.  By the time the students are ready to add paint to their drawings, half the class is over and the students are already discouraged.  The poor results are blamed on watercolor being a difficult medium.

One cannot be either good nor bad at tracing objects.  By placing and tracing objects in a variety of positions on the paper, numerous overlapping shapes are created from which the students can easily extract an abstract design.  Within half an hour the students are still excited about painting and are ready to begin the adventure of playing with watercolor.

On January 14th I will present this exercise on the “Tools and Techniques” blog of my website.  This is just a sneak preview.

Sketchbook Image:  Watercolor  illustrating various watercolor techniques – Wash, glaze, splatter, adding salt, lifting, and wet in wet.

Color Scheme:  Extended Analogous with one complement

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