Splash 13: Alternative Approaches, the latest in the Splash Watercolor series, has arrived! More than 115 masters of the medium have contributed to this gorgeous showcase of art from today’s finest contemporary watercolor artists. It’s a must-have collection for artists and art-lovers alike. In the following excerpt, Splash 13 contributors Susan Montague and Robert Highsmith explain their unique approaches to watercolor:
“To find an alternative approach, I try to create visual tension in the composition.” –Susan Montague
Far and Away by Susan Montague
Watercolor on 300-lb. (640gsm) hot-pressed Arches
17″ x 21″ (43cm x 53cm)
I am intrigued with painting the common man and telling that person’s story. I try to get behind the mask that we all wear and catch a glimpse of a person’s true character. Therefore, I prefer to take candid (versus staged) photographs. The woman in Far and Away is from the island of Ambergris Caye, off the coast of Belize. When I saw her, I was drawn to her strong presence and attitude, and the intense light surrounding her. Working from black-and-white photographs, I used many layers of transparent color to bring interest and life to the painting.
“To find an alternative approach, I tried to make the viewer “fly” and give a sense of soaring, as a bird, through the canyon. I was happy with the sensation of loft you get in viewing the painting.” –Robert Highsmith
Above Furrowed Fields by Robert Highsmith
Watercolor on 300-lb. (640gsm) Arches
20″ x 30″ (51cm x 76cm)
This is a painting of the Canyon de Chelly National Monument in the northeast corner of Arizona. It is one of my favorite places to paint. I wanted to give a sense of soaring through the canyon, using some creative cropping and elimination of a horizon. The Navajo people still farm the canyon floor as the ancients have for generations. To indicate snow in the furrowed fields, I used liquid frisket applied with a rigger and pieces of mat board. Next, in large, loose, sweeping washes, I applied the ground and grasses that cover most of the painting. With dry-brush techniques, I layered over the washes to delineate the detail in the fields. I painted the storage buildings next with transparent layers until I was satisfied that they looked sufficiently worn. Last came the shadows and any tie-in detail to complete the painting.
Download free bonus art from Splash 13 artists and watercolor wallpapers from books 8 to 12 of the series and become inspired by new and innovative approaches in this celebrated collection of the best of watercolor.
Visit our competitions page to browse and enter our current fine art contests. We will begin accepting submissions for Splash 15: Creative Solutions in the fall.
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