Saturday, August 4, 2018

Searching for a Focal Point

"Up with the Birds" watercolor


In the Beginning....

Often when I am teaching a watercolor class a wash technique I end up with a number of watercolor "backgrounds".  Often I am able to develop these demo pieces into finished paintings. The backgrounds are generally soft colors subtly blending into each other to create some type of backdrop for a landscape painting. This background was done in warm reds, purples and yellows; my intention was for the class to create a sunset type of painting. Since many were beginners and hadn't had much drawing experience I encouraged them to work with the idea of a silhouette against the sky. No details, just shape. Keep it simple.

My demo piece had the three colors pictured above blending subtly, but it needed something else to give it some interest so I dropped bits of yellow paint onto the wet paper and let it spread. After the paper was dry I added the silhouette of the land with a few stray weeds waving in the breeze. The end result is this painting below, a soft rather dreamy end of day (or is it the beginning of day?) landscape.


Focal Point?????

But I felt like it needed something else. Like maybe a clear focal point. The weeds seemed to be the focal point, but I felt that the sky provided a space to hold another shape or two-- or more  (remember, I'm working with silhouettes). So I added the outline of five birds in flight.  And then a sun or moon shape coming up (or down) over the horizon. One more layer of vegetation in the foreground created more of a sense of depth to the final piece.


Title

The title "Up With the Birds" now leaves no doubt as to the time of day and identity of the round shape on the horizon.