Saturday, July 22, 2006

Darkness & Light

Regardless of its other advantages or disadvantages, watercolor canvas definitely makes it easy to play around with value. You can use thick, dark paint without fear. You can make it lighter, if you need to, and lighter still until it's almost gone. Recently I was using a sandstone-red alongside a sagebrush-green, and when they blended they made a particularly nasty-looking dark grey-green. No problemo! I lightened it, then I lightened it some more, and a little more. It actually turned into a very nice tan. "How Buddhist," I thought. "All anything really needs is a little more light."

And then there's the "problem" (why are aesthetic questions always "problems"?) of balancing darkness & light in your composition... if you're using watercolor on canvas, you can go back & "fix" things forever as long as you haven't varnished it.