Tricks of the Trade

It’s always a good idea to watch a professional at work. My evening class was taught by a professional artist, Chris Dearden, an abrasive character from Huddersfield who moved to Northern Ireland in 1973.

I had hoped to pick up a few tips on watercolour painting, and the evening did not disappoint in that regard. My fellow painters were using the same size and grade of paper that came in blocks of 20 pages, stuck together along the edges. This means that the page you are working on won’t stretch out of shape or flap about in the breeze.

We were instructed in the sponging technique, which is a good way of getting a mottled effect for trees, if you dab the sponge about a bit. Masking tape creates a neat border around the page, so you can be as  messy as you like. Saucers are recommended for mixing the paint, and you don’t need to squirt much out before adding water. This all sounds pretty obvious, but it’s in the application that the skill comes in.

I was very kindly given a couple of blank pages and a characterful piece of sponge by Maureen. I will be back this week to gain more insights and splash,dab, daub and draw images that will give me pleasure…hopefully.

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