Nicky Hunter gave us a watercolour Demonstration on 22nd June 2023
What a wonderful evening watching Nicky paint and learning about how she creates such beautiful work.
About 18 members attended a very interesting and instructive session. Nicky told us something of her background – covered in the website information – and said that she uses a variety of water colours, all from tubes, sourced from Sennelier, Cotman, Windsor & Newton and Van Gogh.
Nicky painted on a large sheet of cotton rag paper which she wetted before use with a large brush. This was particularly necessary as it was a hot and humid evening. She had the paper set up on an easel at about 20° from the vertical. She had drawn an outline of the painting in pencil first, then painted in a light blue/green background, leaving white paper showing for her picture of an iris. She uses mostly quite large brushes for the first stage of a painting, and recommends using sweeping strokes to apply the paint rather than dabbing it on. Because it was such a hot evening she used a fine water spray to soften edges.
She explained the two main rules of water colour painting:
1. start with light colours and work through to the dark ones.
2. start with thin colours and progress to the more opaque ones.
She uses a variety of “colour temperatures” to give her pictures balance, ranging from cool greens and blues to warm reds and yellows. For more information see https://charlenecollinsfreeman.com/blog-montauk/2018/11/28/understanding-color-temperature and the chart below.
Once the main outlines are down on the page using large brushes, Nicky started using smaller brushes for the fine detail. She continued to use the fine spray to keep the paint moist and to produce softer edges. She could visualise what she wanted from the final picture even though she was really too close to it to get the full effect; we in the audience could see the complete picture more easily from several feet away. One of the techniques she sometimes uses is to wipe off paint either with a wet brush or a piece of kitchen towel if she is not happy with the brush marks. Keeping the paint moist helps her to achieve this.