Experimenting With Watercolour

watercolour painting

A couple of years ago I was visiting the Unesco World  Heritage site of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  It is an amazing place to explore.  I was hoping to paint some watercolours of this place as soon as I got back.  I did some sketches while I was there but soon realized that it was going to be a challenge to paint.

This week I have decided to give it a shot and see what I come up with.  Painting moss covered, crumbling ruins requires some thought and a little risk taking.  Getting bogged down in all the detail would be very easy to do.  I have taken a more impressionistic approach to focus more on the mystery of this place.

I am not finished exploring the possibilities of this picture and so I will paint it over and post the results soon.

The Yin and Yang of Painting Portraits

Portrait Sketches


Most of the time I am painting landscapes from Canada and my travels.  The last couple of  weeks I have been focusing on watercolour portrait sketches as a way to practice accuracy.  I find doing these sketch book studies a lot of fun and at the same time challenging.  I think for the style of art that I do that drawing is foundational and always will be.  I believe it is really important to develop the spatial drawing skills that just comes from practice and close observation.

The Yin and Yang of painting portraits is for me a way of describing the relationship between accuracy to form and detail and at the same time keeping the pictures loose and allowing for the organic nature of watercolour.  I have heard it said of painting portraits that  “the soul is in the details”.  With that in mind I usually put more detail into the face and specifically the eyes.  While I am working carefully on the details of the face I am at the same time putting in loose washes in other parts of the picture.  It is a challenge to be loose and accurate at the same time. At the end of the day I am making a piece of art and so I am hoping to convey a little of the spirit of the person.