Monthly Archives: August 2012

Ways to create texture with neutrals

The array of neutrals is infinite. There are so many options. For many painters this can be frustrating while for others it presents wonderful possibilities. As you observe nature you should become keenly aware of the vast number of neutral colors that pervade the landscape. All too often we are busy looking at the brighter, contrasting colors while ignoring those other colors that help promote the vibrant reds, yellows and violets etc.

The nature of texture

In this session I want to talk about how we can use neutrals to create convincing textures.   Ideally you will try these tips out for yourself to see how they can be used.  Basically we can confine texture to one of two categories. Texture is either real..that is you can feel it or implied.  If it is implied then it is an illusion. As an illusion it has the appearance of texture without the feel. Most textures are created by the use of repetition. In watercolor, we can make use of splatter, sponges, brush work  and other creative approaches.  Neutrals can play a powerful role in the creation of powerful harmonious watercolors.  As you examine Creek Village take note of the neutral colors and how they react with the surrounding colors.

Creek Village

Creating texture with brush stroke

One of the first methods of texture is the use of brush stroke. In this case focus on the tree trunk. I am often drawn to these beech trees for the smooth yet distinct texture of the trunk.  As they age and the sunlight strikes their surface they often remind me of  concrete pillars. Too much brush work will spoil the illusion here so every stroke counts.

Compare the base of the trunk with the upper portion.  Then examine the roots themselves. As you look can you see the different techniques that have been employed to convey a sense of texture?

  1. Can you identify splatter techniques?

2. How about sponge work?

3. Is all of the brushwork identical?

Hint: If you want to enlarge the image; just click on it

You can find more techniques  in Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, Volume I  by Dr. Don Rankin

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