Abstract Watercolor Painting Demo 4

Abstract Watercolor Painting Demo 4

For this non-objective (no reference to subject matter) painting I will be utilizing complementary color combination of violet and yellow. Violet will be my dominant color and yellow will be my accent color.

QoR Watercolor; 300lb Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper-Cold Press (half-sheet, 22x15); 2” nylon brush; 1” Kolinsky Sable brush; corrugated plastic sheet backing board.

The Painting
I begin the painting by wetting the back and front of the paper, then I sqeegee out some of the water using a damp sponge. This leaves the paper damp without a wet surface.

I have a rough value study that I will use as a jumping off point for the composition, but I will not strictly adhere to it. Once I get the main shapes in, I only look at the painting, because that’s all that matters.

I mix up a variety of violets to use: Quinacridone Violet, Dioxazine Purple, a mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Quinacridone Magenta, and a mixture of Quinacridone Red and Cobalt Blue.

I begin adding the violets randomly across the page (I even throw in a bit of yellow here and there), using the value study as a guide. I am careful to begin constructing the shapes as I lay in the color, saving some areas of white that will serve as areas of interest. This first wash of color is all middle value.

I then lay in some darker values, again roughly according to the value study. I also introduce some light value Yellow Ochre in the areas that will become my centers of interest. Once complete, I take time to dry the surface of the paper with a hair dryer, leaving the core of the paper still damp.

I then reinforce my dark values so that they really pop. I then add more Yellow Ochre and some red violet in and around my centers of interest. I lay in those colors based on the placement of the dark values, trying to get the greatest contrast of dark value against my accent color. I then put multiple yellows on the palette, mix them as needed and apply them to complete the centers of interest. These yellows are brighter and more intense than the previous washes so they pop off the page. I add some scraping for linear elements, and the painting is complete.

While I edited the video for time, the painting only took me about 15 minutes. You saw nearly the entire process. Note that I used a 2” brush for everything except the center of interest color. I kept the painting and colors loose and fresh, and allowed the watercolor to do what it does best.

It was great fun to paint, and I hope the demo was helpful for you.

If you'd like to learn about abstract painting, then please join me for a painting workshop: (You can view a list of 2019 workshops HERE)

  • April 24-26, 2019 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration. FULL-Waiting List

  • May 10-12, 2019 New Braunfels Art Center, New Braunfels, TX. For information and registration Click Here.

  • May 16-18, 2019 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. Mentorship Workshop. For information and registration Click Here.

  • June 12-14, 2019 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here.

  • June 20-22 Floyd Art Center, Floyd, VA. For information and registration Click Here.

  • July 10-12 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. Mentorship Workshop. For information and registration Click Here.As always, thanks for your support!


P.S. If you you'd like to learn more about Abstract Painting in the comfort of your home or studio, I have a great course called Abstract Painting Academy available for you:

Abstract Painting Academy is the next best thing to a live workshop event. You can find out more by Clicking Here.


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