Figures in a Landscape:
bold, vigorous and skilfully evocative
September’s fascinating demonstration by watercolourist, Rob Walker, was a perfect example of how to enjoy your painting.
The subject - figures in a landscape.
A challenging subject, a group of hikers with their backpacks walking down a track in a hilly landscape.
it would be tempting to get involved with too much unnecessary detail. However, a bold approach using a ballpoint pen created
a loose preparatory drawing, closely followed by a generously loaded number 12 filbert brush full of paint.
Before laying on some initial colours, Rob emphasised the need for close observation on body shapes, ignoring any detail at this stage, and making use of a limited palette – yellow ochre, cadmium yellow, a mid blue and a Paynes grey with very limited use of cadmium red. White is rarely used - and then only to lighten the hues of other colours.
An interesting innovation was the use of a matchstick, fixed to the end of a short length of cane, then dipped in dark, acrylic ink and spontaneously drawn into the painting to give it body and contrast.
Shadow areas were floated on in subtle blues and violets
(never grey) and some final detail work and highlights were applied with the judicious application of soft pastels.
An observation ... one rarely likes one’s own work when it’s finished but a good tip is to hide it from view for a few weeks and then look at it again with a fresh eye.
In addition, a mount and frame can add a completely different aspect which can sometimes significantly improve a work.
Following the demo, Rob spent time answering questions and to the delight of members, brought along a broad selection of his work including portraits, animals and landscapes.
Members may be interested in attending his workshops which are held at his studio near Hatherleigh – you can find more details and read about Rob’s work on his website: www.robwalkerartist.co.uk