Watercolour life studies


The fluid, fast-drying nature of watercolour makes it an ideal medium for capturing the beauty and dynamic movement inherent in the human form. The most subtle effects of shading and colouring may be possible through the careful layering of delicate washes and glazes, and controlled use of ‘wet-into-wet’ brushwork. I usually begin my watercolour life studies by making a careful contour drawing in pencil - this establishes the overall composition and serves as a framework for laying down the initial washes. Occasionally I may dispense with a preliminary drawing and begin painting straight away, starting in just one small area and working outwards from there. Whilst my work falls squarely within the tradition of ‘pure’ (i.e. transparent) watercolour painting, I endeavor never to let my painting become too ‘tight’ and overworked, but rather work freely and intuitively, and allow the picture to ‘paint itself’ as much as possible. I find working alongside other artists in these life sessions also of particular benefit, since it provides an opportunity to discuss techniques and share ideas with fellow painters, and learn from each others' work.      

Most paintings measure approximately 11" x 7.5" (28 x 19 cms) and were painted either on loose sheets of 140lb (300 gsm) Saunders Waterford hot pressed watercolour paper, or in bound sketchbooks filled with Saunders Waterford 90lb (190 gsm) hot pressed watercolour paper.

© Richard Bond 2019