Creativity Workshop: Loosen Up Responses

The editors of Watercolor Artist magazine are delighted to announce the winner of our latest watercolor painting challenge! In the June 2013 issue of Watercolor Artist, Richard Stephens challenged readers to create two 11×14-inch or larger paintings of any subject and in any style in 90 minutes. The “editors’ choice” is Singapore artist Raul Saria, whose painting, Long Tail Boat, is an intriguing take on the challenge. “Loosening up is giving yourself permission to paint with freedom, to communicate in an impressive style rather than depicting reality,” says Saria.

watercolor landscape | watercolor painting

Long Tail Boat (watercolor on paper, 12×16½) by Raul Saria


The artist shares his watercolor techniques for Long Tail Boat:

Step 1

I drew a quick outline sketch of the subject using  pencil, deleting unnecessary shapes.

Step 2

I started charging colors to the large shapes in the background and foreground such as skies, beach and distant islands. I used light colors on the first layer, but as time went by, I noticed that I needed a second layer with stronger colors. I didn’t worry about the accuracy of shapes or colors.

Step 3

I used masking tape to ensure that I got the horizon line correct, and then I started painting the sea.

Step 4

I started painting the subject using dark tones and establishing the tonal values of long tail boats, including the distant island dark areas. The boat areas were so busy and their shapes so complicated that I realized painting them one by one would take ages. I let my thick brushstrokes indicate their shapes, figuring that as long as I have blobs of paint in there they will create the impression of aligning boats. The dark- and mid-tones of the boats created a contrast on hot beach in Krabi, Thailand.

Step 5

I finished by adding some dirt on the beach and a few wild birds over the island, and the impression of people enjoying the sand, sea and skies.


watercolor landscape | watercolor painting

Aonang Bay—Roof Top (watercolor on paper, 12×16½) by Raul Saria


Congratulations to Saria and to all those who who entered their ambitious watermedia paintings. Our esteemed winner will receive a copy of the Watercolor Artist 2012 CD archive.


Catch up on the Creativity Workshop exercises you’ve missed for other watercolor painting ideas here!




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