The subtle addition of cursive script to the smooth wash of the sky in May Poppies (watercolor on paper, 9×9) by Judy Morris adds a unique ﬁeld of texture to the composition and heightens the sense of place.
It’s no secret that painting with watercolor is exciting; with each brushstroke, we’re reminded to expect the unexpected. With practice, however, the committed watercolorist learns to control surprises and even transform them into results that can be repeated in future paintings.
Several years ago, for example, I learned to embrace one of my own happy accidents when I began adding patterns to areas of smooth washes in my paintings. The process made me smile and soon I wanted to introduce the technique into my overall painting style. Little by little, subtle patterns transformed into letter shapes.
That’s when my background as a calligraphy teacher came into play: collecting old script, business logos, computer fonts, interesting printed words on postcards and handwritten letters became a passion. Adding these letter forms as patterns to my paintings quickly became one of my favorite techniques for creating texture. If you give it a try, I think you’ll find it lends your paintings a unique sense of voice and conceptual clarity, especially when painting in a series.
JUDY MORRIS is an award-winning watercolorist who lives and paints in Lake Oswego, Oregon. You’ll find her step-by-step demo for bringing words as texture into your own watercolor paintings in the June 2012 issue of Watercolor Artist.
TRY THIS AT HOME
Add texture to your watercolor paintings by transferring letters or words to areas of smooth washes. Splattering techniques will serve to unify the work. Send a JPEG (with a resolution of 72 dpi) of your painting to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Creativity Workshop” in the subject line and tell us about your process. The “editor’s choice” will receive Land, Sea & Sky, a collection of 40 articles from world-class artists in searchable CD format. The deadline for entry is June 15
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