Poured Watercolor Demo

%22Riding for Rain*%22
“Riding for Rain” poured watercolor, sold/private collection; copyright Cheri Isgreen

Why Pour?

Painting wet-into-wet is so much quicker and uses far less paint.  Why would I bother to mask and pour?

  • Because the amount of paint applied to the surface of the paper is so saturated, (even when making early light value layers), spontaneous color mixtures combine in unique ways that can’t be achieved any other way.
  • Layers can be built undisturbed by any brushwork, resulting in luminous, clean colors with neutral mixtures occurring without muddy passages.
  • Though it appears that masking would restrict the element of spontaneity, pouring allows the artist to exploit the unexpected by controlling how the pour will run.  This is particularly effective in areas with large passages of color where there is potential for  a great variety of subtle variation in color, value, and texture.
  • Pouring allows the artist to emphasize shapes and negative space, as well as to imply meaning through the use of lost and found edges.
%22Out of the Shadows%22
“Out of the Shadows” poured watercolor, sold/private collection; copyright Cheri Isgreen

 Critical concerns to Ensure a Successful Painting

  • The artist needs to make studies before painting.   For each mask layer to be successful, a careful drawing must be executed with accurate shapes and values .  Additionally, the artist needs to consider all the elements, (line, color, texture, form,  and space, as well as shape and value), to insure a balanced composition.  Though pouring is primarily a studio technique and not suitable for pleine aire painting, poured watercolor develops technical skills, habits of mind, and the awareness of compositional elements that are critical in the field when an artist must work quickly to capture the light.
  • When developing compositional studies, develop your ideas into connected shapes with three or more values.
  • Edges matter- draw and mask shapes very carefully, so the painting will read when the mask is removed.  Buy the best brushes you can afford for masking, (you will need a variety), and take good care of them, so the mask doesn’t destroy them.  Mask brushes and water containers must be dedicated for masking only.
  • Exploit lost & found edges, negative space, and counter-change when developing compositional studies.
  • Avoid details until the end, when the mask is off.
  • When the mask is off, find areas where the edges must be softened.
%22pause in the day's occupation%22 *G
“Pause in the Day’s Occupation” 21″x28″ sold/private collection; sold/private collection

To schedule a workshop for your organization or find out where the next workshop will be held, comment below.

Tomorrow: steps for completing the demo painting begun at the Brush and Palette Club demo


Author: Cheri Isgreen

I have been a lifelong rider and horse lover. I got my first "horse" at a yard sale; it was a pony actually. It was sometime in the early 60's. I was in 3rd or 4th grade. The pony was perhaps $10. My sister, brother, and I pooled our money and led him home. At the time my parents were traveling, and my Uncle Bill promptly made us return it. (stay tuned...more to come...)

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