Watercolor Painting: Stunning Examples of Creative Solutions

It’s hard to imagine the difficult task that was before Rachel Rubin Wolf, editor of the Splash series on watercolor artists and their paintings. Each year, she chooses a select group from hundreds of entries that are then featured in the newest book. Now it’s my responsibility to share some of the images from the book with you, and it wasn’t easy to narrow them down. Each of the winners had works worthy of sharing. As you’ll see in Splash 15: Creative Solutions, the featured artists share not only their art and inspiration but, also, a glimpse into their own watercolor painting techniques. Here are two of the works you’ll find between the covers.

Watercolour painting

Snow Geese (watercolor on 140-lb. cold-pressed Arches, 22×30) by Grace F. Haverty

Snow Geese by Grace F. Haverty
How to depict thousands of birds in flight! I was overwhelmed. My love for the subject ruled, and I decided that if I used masking fluid at random, I might be able to suggest movement, light and the glorious soaring of those geese. Over the dry fluid, I painted a gray sky, typical of North Dakota’s winters, and then I brushed on suggestive strokes to imitate wings, feathers and motion. After I completed Snow Geese, I could almost hear the flapping of wings as the geese flew away from the winter toward the south through the icy gray sky. ~GFH

Watercolour painting

…At You (Frog) (watercolor with acrylic accents on handmade 800-lb. paper, 34×36) by Hugh F. Baker

…At You (Frog) by Hugh F. Baker
I started with a large white handmade watercolor paper imported from Spain. I used one of my large Japanese brushes to randomly splash waterproof colors to achieve an abstract effect that suggested a frog image to me. I researched frogs and a few sketches later came up with this guy. After experimenting with textures using gesso, sandpaper and a craft knife, the frog emerged on my painting. I wanted the dichotomy of an organic frog against a graphic background, yet keeping it free and loose. A fellow artist bought this painting out of my studio, paint still wet. ~HFB

The movement of Snow Geese is what first attracted me to it. It’s full of motion and a sense of chaotic urgency. The subtle colors, however, are calming. To contrast this painting, …At You (Frog) conveys the sniper-like patience and silence of the subject as it waits for an unsuspecting insect. Yet, the frog is surrounded by what appears to be water, which is all but still.

To see more watercolor paintings of animals, plus people, landscapes and more subjects that celebrate “creative solutions,” get your copy of Splash 15. Wolf says, “We will never reach the end of creative solutions. Watercolor artists will always find new ways to paint and express their vision.” (Like this? Tweet it!)

Until next time,
Cherie Haas, online editor**Subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and ideas, and score a free download on Watercolor Painting for Beginners: The Basics and More.

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