We hope you had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to picking up your paintbrushes again. When you do, here’s another great painting tip that you can find, along with many others, on the Friends of The Watermill web page. You can sign up simply by clicking here – it’s free and fun!
Our friendly and talented Australian painting tutor Charles Sluga today provides us with a very simple tip, but, he says, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
Charles says: “Over my many years of teaching watercolour painting, I have often had a student come to me with their work and in a despondent manner tell me that they are not very good at painting because all their paintings look flat and insipid. “Well the good news is that in most of these cases the solution is very simple and so obvious that it is often overlooked.
“Basically, if your painting looks flat, it is usually because it lacks any contrast: dark areas or accents. This often occurs because the student has neglected to squeeze out fresh paint.
“YES, IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT. SQUEEZE OUT FRESH PAINT!
“Every time I do a painting, I make sure that I have squeezed out fresh paint into my palette. This means that not only will I get freshness of colour in my work, but also those all important rich and juicy darks that often give paintings their punch.
“Look at your palette when you are about to begin and if it is full of dried up paint then give your painting a chance of success by squeezing out fresh paint. I know paint can be expensive, but the way I see it is that you have one of two choices – save money and leave the paint in the tubes and paint with dry paint meaning insipid and flat looking paintings……or squeeze out that paint, enjoy the rich colours and tones and give your painting some life. It is also much more fun!“The other disadvantage of using dried paint is that you often have to scrub the dried up blob of paint to try and bring it back to life and this is not particularly good for your brushes.
“If you look at the painting of the milkshake maker and flavours above you’ll see that it is generally a high key painting (meaning most of the tones are relatively light), but the few dark accents in this painting are very important. They give the painting a larger tonal range and a visual respite from all the lighter tones. If you look at the close up of the milkshake containers you will see some strong darks in them. Without them there’s no way you could get that feeling of shine.
Charles Sluga is a highly respected and sought-after watercolour artist in Australia who has gained a reputation for his versatility in both his technique and choice of subject matter. He’s a great teacher, with a friendly and enthusiastic approach and an eagerness to impart his wide knowledge.