Watercolor Without Rules | Nadine Charlsen Watercolor Gallery

When watercolorist Nadine Charlsen walked into Paul Ching-Bor’s class, his first words caught her by surprise: “I don’t have rules.” Foregoing traditional technique, he started dark and worked light; he liberally scratched parts off and scrubbed others out, “and I’d never seen that before,” Charlsen says. That class challenged her own tendencies, allowing her the freedom to experiment and explore. “Within three weeks, it changed everything about my watercolor technique, and I loved everything I was doing.”

In the process, Charlsen learned that some watercolors require more effort and reworking than others. “There are so many ways you can make watercolor work,” she says. “I believe in constructing and deconstructing a painting through many alternating steps. Each time, a new focus appears, and over the course of 10 or more phases, that focus becomes clearer.”

Erasing and making changes is key to Charlsen’s method. “If I had to leave everything that I put on paper right now, it would be a muddy mess.” She protects lighter areas by saving the white as she progresses, “but I use paper I can scrub, so I can go back to white as needed.”

watercolor_landscape_The Vatican and the Tiber (watercolor on paper, 40x26) by Nadine Charlsen | artistsnetwork.com

The Vatican and the Tiber (watercolor on paper, 40×26) by Nadine Charlsen

watercolor_landscape_columbus_circle_rain_23x30_nadine_charlsen | artistsnetwork.com

Columbus Circle Rain (watercolor on paper, 22×30) by Nadine Charlsen

watercolor_landscape_toward_st-_pauls_23x31_nadine_charlsen | artistsnetwork.com

Toward St. Pauls (watercolor on paper, 23×31) by Nadine Charlsen

watercolor_landscape_showtime_moulin_rouge_30x23_nadine_charlsen | artistsnetwork.com

Showtime, Moulin Rouge (watercolor on paper, 30×23) by Nadine Charlsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find out more about Charlsen’s techniques in the February 2017 issue of Watercolor Artist, available in print or as a download and on newsstands December 20.

 

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