The Accidental Colorist

Perhaps you’ve seen a cartoon that’s been shared quite a bit on Facebook recently: It shows a picture of a person on a bicycle, going forward on a straight path to a goal, with the caption, “Your plan.” Under this image is the person on a bicycle, only the path goes up and down, across water, over bridges, and through a storm. It’s labeled “Reality.” We never really know what our paths are going to look like over the long haul, and the watercolor paintings of Ron Thurston, featured in Watercolor Artist (April 2014), are perfect examples.

Flight of the Dragonfly, watercolor painting by Ron Thurston

Flight of the Dragonfly (watercolor on paper, 19×25) by Ron Thurston,

The Accidental Colorist by Michelle Taute

There are plenty of reasons to spend time looking at Ron Thurston’s watercolor landscapes. They’re fresh, loose and impressionistic, capturing the energy of the subjects as much as the shapes. But it’s his use of color that adds even more interest and drama to the scenes, with choices that are at once unexpected and harmonious, such as the bright red of an umbrella bleeding into the grays of an asphalt street or the shifting shades of green across a large field of grass.

These wonderful effects are even more amazing when you learn of Thurston’s path to watercolors. “I didn’t set out to be good with color,” he says. “My plan was to become a famous illustrator known for working in black and white. Truth is, I was afraid of using color and of any talk about color theory.” Ironically, it was his work as an illustrator that taught him the finer points of color and eventually led him to the world of watercolor painting. ~MT

Footloose, watercolor painting by Ron Thurston

Footloose (watercolor on paper, 19×25) by Ron Thurston

“My simple plan of attack for watercolor is to try and make it look like I was in a hurry,” Thurston says. “I might spend hours and hours trying to make it look like it was easy.” His feature article goes into more depth about his transition to watercolor, as well as his techniques. Get the issue here, and learn how to subscribe to Watercolor Artist today.

Best regards,
Cherie Haas, online editor**Free download: Landscape Art: 4 Lessons on Creating Luminous Landscape Paintings
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