It’s Risky, But Entertaining | Watercolor Landscapes

As artists, we take risks every time we sit down to work on a new piece, be it a drawing, painting, sculpture…you get the picture. It can become second nature to continue practicing the same styles and techniques, but isn’t it most exciting when you try something new? That’s the theme for today’s post, which features two artists who create watercolor landscapes that were born out of pushing limits.

The first is Jean K. Gills, whose work I discovered in Spash 17, The Best of Watercolor: Inspiring Subjects. Then read on for a glimpse into Thomas W. Schaller’s painting process and view a watercolor landscape from his ArtistsNetworkTV videos, which are included in the Masters of Splash collection (click here to learn more).

Watercolor landscapes | Jean Gills, ArtistsNetwork.com

Yellow Rain (transparent watercolor on 300-lb. rough paper, 18×18) by Jean K. Gills (PIN this!)

“Every October I shoot reference photos of fall foliage because the beauty of autumn inspires me to paint,” Jean says. “The photo provides a blueprint, and my technique allows improvisation. I enjoy methods such as painting on vertical paper, using gravity and strategic misting to facilitate and direct downward flow. This fluid process is risky but entertaining, and it encourages color mixing, varied edges, granulation and spontaneous expression. In Yellow Rain I kept the intense autumnal hues and exaggerated value contrasts. The square format and suggested fencing add some geometric elements. The splendor of peak foliage is ephemeral, and for me, drips and blurs represent energy, motion, transition, and the inevitable release that wind, rain and time will produce.”

Watercolor landscapes | Thomas W Schaller, ArtistsNetwork.com

Watercolor landscape by Thomas W. Schaller

“For decades, Thomas Schaller built up his watercolor paintings slowly and methodically, letting each wash dry before tackling the next,” says Michelle Taute in Watercolor Artist. “This formal and detailed painting process meant it took days for him to complete a single painting. But several years ago, he made a conscious decision to reinvent his entire process, a choice based largely on a gut feeling. ‘I just had to change the way I was painting,’ he says.

“Schaller found himself drawn to a faster, looser and more emotional style. And after honing his watercolor technique for so many years, he initially thought the switch would be easy. ‘I hate to admit it, but it was mind-blowingly difficult to train my mind to be able to switch techniques,’ he says. ‘It was like learning a new language.’

“These days it only takes Schaller two or three hours to complete a painting, and he never lets a wash dry before putting down the next one. He’s constantly training his eyes to paint the most essential details of his architectural landscapes as quickly as possible in hopes that his works will appear “alive” or still wet long after they’re dry. Through this style re-adjustment, Schaller now arrives at a classic look with a fast and loose painting process.”

My hope is that these watercolor landscapes leave you ready to pick up your brushes and start painting your own meaningful and beautiful scenes, maybe even in a brand new way that you’ve not yet tried. One way to learn new techniques is with the Masters of Splash collection, which includes Splash 17 and SIX video downloads: two on landscape painting from Thomas Schaller, two on watercolor painting from Soon Warren and two on more watercolor techniques from Anne Abgott! This bundle may sell out, so reserve yours today.

For more watercolor painting inspiration, browse ArtistsNetwork.com, and share your work with us on our Facebook page!

No guts no glory,
Cherie

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