The Knowle Art Group had a demonstration from Stan Kominski a few weeks ago, a wonderful energetic and committed demonstrator. Everybody enjoyed the evening thoroughly.
Stan gave a demo of how to paint using just three colours to paint an amazing landscape and then a portrait of a golden retriever. For the former he used dilute washes of gouache and for the latter he used paint with very little water added and also a white, the result was very much like an acrylic or oil painting. The main thrust of his demo however, was that he used only three colours in his palette. the colours were ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and yellow ochre. he explained that after experimenting with colours he chose these to keep things simple for sketching on-site and that these three colours harmonised well and gave a wide range of colour mixes.
He also staggered most of us by using very inexpensive brushes (or rather a brush), which was subjected to some quite rough treatment to achieve extraordinary textures. We had all been taught that we should buy the best brushes that we could afford to be able to control the marks on the paper, what a revelation. And to cap it he did not change his water at all in the evening. Something again that was the opposite of everything that we had been taught if we wanted our watercolours to look fresh. Stan argued that we rarely use pure pigments anyway and often end up adding small amounts of colour to make the mixes look realistic. His paintings definitely did not seem to suffer because of his technique. Check out some of his work on his web-site.
Stan also runs classes at his Warwickshire home which many of us were keen to find out more about, and if you can't manage that then his book is a must. Lots of demos of both techniques and something which is not too well covered in the litterature; making and using a tracedown sheet to transfer an image from a reference photo to your paper. The book is highly recommended.
This post actually creates a controversy over using colours as I wrote about in my last post and in this article, Painting the Seasons. However if you take things as they come and don't get too uptight, hey its only art - enjoy it!
Thanks for staying with me, see you next time.