Plein air artists often paint in watercolor; a versatile, lightweight medium that virtually anyone can learn.
In this class, we created watercolor sketches.
We started by looking for an interesting subject to paint. The goal isn't to find the perfect subject; just a scene that catches the eye. We search for forms, shapes, textures, and colors that appeal to us.
Next, we set up our art media and supplies. As an option, a very light pencil sketch is okay; or the artist can simply begin sketching with the watercolors.
Using a light touch and the tip of the brush is often the challenge.
It also helps to squint your eyes and observe the subject in its simplest form. Keeping our paintings small, we painted quickly without attempting to achieve perfection, just as though we were creating a pencil sketch.
Once the main subject is competed, we painted a simple wash of color around it, leaving varying amounts of "sketchy" white space and ignoring any distracting background shapes or objects.
Again, it helps to squint and simplify the scene, looking for basic shapes and colors. Then add a bit of texture and additional color, and finally, a wash of background colors.
Sometimes the background is best left alone, as in this painting of a bush featuring scarlet red leaves.
These watercolor sketches can be done directly in one's sketchbook or drawing pad.
It is not necessary to use watercolor paper or to tape the paper to your board (as opposed to a more traditional watercolor painting).
This artist chose to place four small watercolor sketches on one sheet of paper. Three of these illustrate a variety of bushes seen from one vantage point. The fourth is a lovely closeup of a dandelion!
We have two windmills in our yard, which serve as popular subjects for our plein air paintings.
This artist refined her watercolor sketch further to create this detailed painting of a rose. She mixed an impressive variety of reds and maroons to depict each individual rose petal.