On waterbrushes and Triads

October 24, 2013 | 1 Comment

Warning: Tea cups ahead!

For some reason last night I had the urge to use my waterbrush. Now I really dislike using waterbrushes as they seem to kill all the exciting pigment interaction of watercolour (what I love the most about this medium!) and the colours always seem to look flat. In the past week I came across a great little DVD Beginning Watercolor Journalling I bought when I was starting my first sketchbooks and was very interested to see how good looking a wash Christina Lopp and Gaye Kraeger got from their waterbrush…. the secret seemed to be lots of water and fully loading the brush.

So anyway last night I got my waterbrush out and had an urge to draw with my brush. I REALLY enjoyed it and it was very pleased at the vibrancy I achieved.

Today I was in the Rocks casing the joint for my November classes and popped into the Tea Cosy tearoom for morning tea. Decided to try my waterbrush and I was VERY disappointed with the results. Look at the washed out colour – yuck!

Decided to do a comparison page with my #8 escoda sable brush but didn’t have it in my bag… but thankfully had a synthetic dagger brush in my brush container so used it instead. I hope that you can see the difference!

After doing my architecture sketching work I had a quick bite to eat… I was not going to bother sketching my food or the nice tea (too much effort!) but then thought of the waterbrush and decided to have another go… I was a lot more conscious of making nice juicy and watery mixes in my palette and it certainly helped. I was also struck by how convenient it was and how ‘quick’. When you work with ink and wash, sometimes the thought of doing the ink and then getting the colour out seems too hard – particularly getting the paint out. This approach of only paint solves that problem! Also don’t have to get the water container out and secure it etc etc. Getting excited with new ideas…

…. and this excitement is only increased by doing yet again teacup sketch tonight with my waterbrush. It is all about getting the right amount of wetness and pigment…. but I cant help thinking of how much nicer this would be with a real brush! The excitement is not just the convenience but the benefit I feel from working just with paint… stripped of my inklines my painting has to be stronger and my watercolour skills are inherently sharpened.

Ok… second half of today’s post is about triads.

So I have gone on a colour diet – using only a triad (plus maybe a burnt sienna occasionally such as the sketch on the right!) I am learning a lot about mixing … it is not hard to mix the colour I want but I want to be able to do it the most efficient way…so am having fun exploring and refining the order and quantities of the various paints. Still got a way to go before I am happy that I have achieved this.

I am not desperately missing some of my favourite paints like I thought I would … I am missing them but it is not a crisis not to have them. I am missing the granulation and I am not liking having so many over mixed colours…and really dislike how dirty my water is!

The sketch on the left for example would have been so much cleaner using my normal kit.
It is a worthwhile exercise but I don’t think I will ever be a true triad girl.

With these things being my own explorations this week… you can imagine how much I am looking forward to do a lesson on colour (watercolour) tomorrow at Balmoral.

1 Comment

  • Interesting experimenting with the waterbrush – I find that the convenience of not having to carry a separate water container wins for me. On the other hand at home I want to use good natural-hair brushes.

Leave a Reply