Watercolor Technique: drawing vs painting approach


Edward Lear, "Abu Simbel", 1867
Watercolor is a versatile medium which is extremely responsive to a personal touch. Each brushstroke is visible through transparent layers and it is also possible to incorporate drawing into the finished painting. Over the course of the Watercolor Workshop, the goal is for each student to develop their own individual approach. We looked at a broad range of watercolor artists, with a focus on landscape painting, to get ideas for different approaches. In order to focus the discussion, we attempted to put each artists into one of two categories: artists with a Drawing Approach and artists with a Painterly Approach.

How would one go about defining these two approaches? That is of course up for discussion, but here are some of the characteristics we looked out for.

Drawing Approach:
- The painting started with a drawing, parts of which may still be visible.
- The foundation of the painting is tonal, meaning if you were to see it in black and white the image would be clearly defined.

Painterly Approach:
- The painting started with brushstrokes, no drawing is visible.
- The foundation of the painting is color and definition comes through color relationships, such as complimentary colors.

Edward Lear 
Edward Lear
Edward Lear
Paul Cezanne
Paul Cezanne
John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent
Emil Nolde
Emil Nolde
Arthur Dove
Arthur Dove
 Georgia O'Keeffe 
David Hockney
David Hockney 
David Hockney 
David Hockney










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