December 01, 2013

How-to make an abstract watercolor painting of a female

We are taught a creative technique at my art school, and I thought I would like to share it with you.
It is a way of starting the abstract painting, and it is also very fun to do too.
First you do a series of sketches as a  study. It can be whatever subject you want. We´ve done both flowers and a mannequin at the classes. 
Start your studies with lots of paper, a pencil and a pocket watch. You will now do 30 seconds sketches. My art teacher told us to be like ants. Trace the subject or model onto the paper and walk your pencil on the paper like an ant. You can´t go back, and you cant jump. Just walk really fast, and trace your target all around the edges. When you have done this exercise several times, put your pencil in the opposit hand and do the exercise again. You can do one minute sketches now. Keep doing this, and then try to shut your eyes. See if you can imagine the subject in your minds eye, and let your hand trace on the paper like an ant. You don´t need to worry about details. Just trace around the edges.
Your drawings will perhaps look a little like this: 

Please, don´t judge my artistic accomplishments by these sketches....

Now you are done and can choose among yoursketches and then transfer them to your watercolor paper. You can do this any way you want. I just did some freestyle sketching. Others would perhaps use a projector.  
Your drawings will only be a part of the background structure, so please don´t worry about the aesthetics. In the end, nobody will be able to see your bodies in the painting anyway. Not very much that is...
Tape your watercolor paper onto a non-absorbent surface. I taped it in four equal squares. This allows you to work on all of the squares at the same time.

Okay, now the really fun part starts. I used:
  • black ink
  • clean water to dilute and clean the brushes with
  • watercolor brush and acrylic brush. Also a very thin liner brush
  • two complementary colors (I used turquoise and red-orange)
  • salt
  • straws
  • aquarelle pencils 
  • acrylic liner (white)
  • coffee or black the (yes, that´s right. Works wonders!)
Now you start with the black ink. Just paint like you want, and add colors as you go. Blow the very wet paint with the straw to create the fun shaps and "runners". Put salt in the wet paint too. Remember to keep it there until the painting is completely dry. Then brush it off. Use the acrylic liner in the end, and keep it simple! Remember the frase: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!) Easy to say, but so very hard to remember ;-)
Also, remember to keep parts of the paper blank. 

Here are my paintings:

See that you dont recognize the female body anymore? I mean, there is a hand and a breast and such, but you don´t see the complete figure. I like my paintings so much that I am having them matted and glass framed! What do you think? 

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