Atmospheric Watercolors: What can be Seen by the Unseen

There’s something to be said for subtlety, whether it comes to a hint of garlic in a delicious Italian dish, a trace of perfume lightly dashed on one’s neck, or the suggestion from a flirtatious smile that leaves you wondering, just smile at me?” Art can have the same effect and–like any great novel–should leave you wanting more.

Have you ever listened to someone telling you a story and you have found your mind drifting because the narrative was taking too long or you were becoming bored? It really can be an embarrassing situation when all you want to do is walk away and find something or someone far more interesting. Isn’t that exactly what we do when we visit as art exhibition? It isn’t quite so awkward as you can easily walk past the art that doesn’t appeal to you and enjoy the paintings that do. When we visit a gallery, we will all be attracted to very different pieces. I wouldn’t expect an artist who enjoys paintings full of detail, for example, to be interested in my work but, strangely enough, that his happening. I have many art friends who paint beautiful, exquisitely detailed masterpieces, but they’re as fascinated by what I leave out of my work as by what I put in, if not more so!

When I paint I’m telling a story but with as few words as possible. I’m aiming to capture the essence of my subjects alone. I want to gain a feeling of excitement and life in my results by not putting every detail in, and for everyone looking at my finished paintings to enjoy filling in the missing sections for themselves. I want to avoid being like the most boring of story tellers; I want viewers of my work to come back for more, not walk away uninterested.

So how do I do this? First, I fall in love with my subject and try to paint it in a simplified way, using colour to set the atmosphere and directional brushstrokes where appropriate to give a sense of movement. You want to know exactly how the old Europeans did those large-scale frescos. Graffiti and spray paint in fine art paintings sounds intriguing. You want to learn from the old masters like Paul Gauguin. Matching skin tones is a struggle…the secret is in the colour temperatures! You’re excited by new mediums like water-soluble graphite.

What else does Haines do? Find out when you get your copy of Atmospheric Watercolours from North Light Shop, which also carries Haines’s World of Watercolour.With these resources at your fingertips, you’ll be able to conquer the art of expressive watercolor painting techniques.

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