Tag Archives: moving colour around

Tutorial 6 – Moving colour around the painting.

Frame 1.

I am using another calla lily for this demonstration, and once again will be focusing on the negative space, and the importance of moving colour around a painting. 

I am working on a white surface, and have sketched out the lily using a watercolour pencil.     By adding a little water to the pencil mark, the line bleeds.

I then apply juicy paint around the lily, and then immediately start pulling the colour to the edge of the paper using a clean, wet brush.  It is important to note that several pots of clean water should be available at all times.


Frame 2.

In this frame I have covered all of the negative space, using a mix of Winsor & Newton Cotman series – Burnt Umber, Turquoise Blue and Dioxazine Violet.     Any colours can be used.

In an ideal world it’s best to work on two or three images at one time.      When you get to the point with one image where you don’t know what to do next….do nothing, and move onto the next one.    By the time you return to the original image, the answers will  be there for you.


Frame 3.

The only tool I use other than a brush, is a knife.    In this frame after the paint has dried a little, I have scraped out areas of the negative space.      This breaks up the area, and at the same time brings back some light areas, which help to balance the image.  A credit card also works quite well.


Frame 4.

I now begin to add small amounts of colour to the lily.    I am using Winsor & Newton Green Gold, plus some of the turquoise which is in the background.  I am also using Cotman series, Cadmium Orange and burnt sienna.     Moving colour around the image brings balance and a sense of integration.


Frame 5.

In this final frame, I have applied some Gold Green, Turqoise and Cadmium Orange to the areas where I have scraped out with the knife.    As I work any image, whether a small watercolour or a huge oil painting,  I am always aware of the whole, and am constantly moving colour around to achieve a sense of balance in the overall composition.


‘Play is the highest form of research’   Albert Einstein. 

More about some basic materials tomorrow.

A Bientôt