This past week I got the opportunity to attend James Toogood's workshop in New Orleans. I always find it fascinating to see how master artists paint, their methods, and procedures. Mr. Toogood was fascinating to watch. He is extremely detailed, precise and knowledgeable about the medium of watercolor. He begins the process with a perfectly accurate drawing. He plays with the composition adding things in to a photo reference, taking things out and sometimes making things up. He is after the perfect composition. He also has a little whimsy and fun adding in funny text on signs. He also likes to play and make little abstract paintings where he can within his perfectly precise image (in reflections of the water or in chrome or metal). His passion for paints shines through. He talked in depth about the actual make up of the paints. Read the labels you will be surprised, it will help you to understand what color you are actually using.
I took away a lot of great info and was fascinated with his process. A few things that I will be incorporating is more underpainting. He also would put a light on top of a dark, which for watercolor is a little different. I have to say I was a little taken a back when I saw him do this. He is not afraid to use a full body paint and really apply heavy paint. I will also be utilizing my ruling pen, which I haven't used since my Graphic Design days in college. Another good tip I picked up is to print out your reference in different versions, a lighter, medium and darker photo. Helps you to see what's in the shadow and let you make better decisions in what effect you want to achieve. His workshop was also a nice refresher in perspective, particularly thinking about atmospheric perspective.
I didn't get very much painting done during the workshop but I'm anxious to put these tips to use. I have a commission piece to work on first, but will soon get to my workshop painting.
Mr. Toogood didn't complete a painting in class he showed us different techniques as his demos, so I found this on-line. Here is the link to the article.
Hope everyone has a fabulous week.