Plein-air pen and wash on paper



When weather conditions drive me inside, I like to experiment with various aspects of drawing and painting in watercolour. This one concerns values that one can build-up with glazing; overlapping layers of watercolour washes. I found this exercise on a website by David Rankin. It is a still-live of blocks on a shiny surface with a light source positioned to get the various lights and darks, shadows and reflections.

The value of glazing

The value of glazing

It is a fun exercise on a half sheet of Strathmore paper, using 4 different colours and a 3/4″ flat brush. The diagram in the top left corner shows the procedure.

One starts with a thin wash over the whole picture leaving out the whites. Next, under “B”, the background and shadow surfaces receive a wash over top of the first one, and so on; you could call it “paint by numbers” to get the hang of it. I repeated the same process a few times as I like to play with colours on good quality paper, using the backside of an old painting that did not work.






Author: John Hofman

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4 thoughts on “Exercise

  1. What a great exercise, especially when one wants to paint but is not feeling inspired to create an image. I think that doing daily exercises of this nature, where there is no pressure to be creative, is a great way to kickstart the creative process. Thanks for the idea!

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