Twenty-five were in attendance last week to watch Louis Copt, reknowned Kansas painter, demonstrate a variety of techniques and materials he uses. He started by making a tree, then demonstrated the effects of a “cat’s tongue” brush and finished by painting a barn before our eyes—start to finish—in just under an hour. It was AMAZING to watch!
Louis stressed the importance of using quality paper (he likes Arches), well-made brushes and good paint (Windsor Newton, Daniel Smith, Holbein and Utrecht were cited examples). Other advice included standing above your work as opposed to sitting at an angle. This allows you to “breathe” and back away from your work so you don’t hyper-focus your energies into one area.
Copt also suggested having a hairdryer handy. As you apply paint, you can accelerate the drying process. Your paint won’t bleed (unless you want it to) and you can layer faster.
I took some notes as he spoke. Some of this is paraphrased, so forgive me, Louis, if I misquote you:
- “Let the paint work for you.”
- “The key is to dry your work as you go. Drying between layers is very important.”
- “Work back layer to front layer, and light to dark. Start with the distance and move to the foreground.”
- “Think about the white spaces. You can’t undo them.”
- “If you want to get good at this, do it a lot.”
Suggested reading and viewing:
- Watercolor Basics—Let’s Get Started by Jack Reid
- The Watercolorist’s Answer Book: 425 Tips, Techniques and Solutions by Gina Rath
- The Watercolors of Winslow Homer by Miles Unger
- Art Lessons for Children v. 1: Easy Watercolor Technique (DVD)
Now for some barn-paintin’! See below.