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Gerry & Liz Seward demonstration (1/7/2005)

Webmaster's notes

This was two demo's in one, of the same scene, Greywell Mill, near Odiham.

Liz, on the left below, worked primarily in Liquitex Acrylic on hot-pressed w/c paper and Gerry, on the right, in conventional watercolour on "Not" w/c paper.

Each had done a light pencil guide, so the difference in approach was already visible with more detail from Gerry (although he did say that if it was not a demo he would have done no pencil drawing at all).

(Note: I've not bothered to straighten the images this time - why hide the fact that they were working almost vertical on easels).
Liz pencil drawing Gerry pencil drawing
They both started by brushing water all over the paper and then went in with the cold yellows and then the warmer colours (orange and red) and finally blues (which in Liz's case went right round the picture).

Although modern watercolours don't fade as much as old ones did, as they dry, one still has to be more daring in watercolour if a rich enough result is to be achieved.

Once the first layers were dry Liz introduced heavy-bodied white (tube instead of bottle), with a touch of yellow, to lighten selected areas. Gerry, meanwhile, roughly drew in the important lines in waterproof ink.
Then more colour was added. In Liz's case this built up the strength of the foliage and exploited the way the underpainting can put the house at the right distance within the picture. In Gerry's case to bring interest into the house and foreground. They both made very heavy use of flat/chisel brushes, not least to carry colour down through what were to become reflections in water. Liz had already introduced Neocolor water soluble wax crayons to add glazes over existing areas.
It was about here that the differences between the two approaches really appeared.

Liz was still applying colour with the wide flat brush and covering wide areas with Neocolor to frame the house within the foliage. Although Gerry also went to some trouble to keep the periphery darker and less eye-catching than the house, he was using the Neocolor mostly to add detail (to windows, tree-trunks etc.)
They both went on with Neocolor, sometimes into wet areas (for strong colour) and sometimes just as a source of pigment to be distributed with a wet brush.

Liz, however, still used her big flat brush whilst Gerry started in with a rigger, to establish branches and foreground grasses. His final foliage was dabbed over the branches.

Liz felt hers deserved more work. Gerry didn't comment, but the state of play at 9:30 pm is shown below.

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