Landscape with Fishing Barges at Low Tide
5" x 7" Watercolor and gouache on hot pressed paper
I'm experimenting here with reductive sponging and lifting out techniques to reveal highlights in the initial gouache wash background. This works to introduce atmospheric texture and depth, especially in the lower cloud sections above the distant water. I like this approach, similar to a solvent/medium wash on canvas with oils; then later pulling lighter spots with a rag. After this I go over the blocked out areas with progressive layers of watercolor washes and gouache delineation.
The roughly indicated foreground figures are in the spirit of 1600's staffage. Figures of different genres (workers, soldiers, farmers, etc.) that often decoratively populated Dutch Golden Age landscape paintings. These were typically done by other artists, collaborating with the landscape painter. The specialist staffage artists you could say added the right amount of scale and interest to scenes that would otherwise be empty. Adriaen van der Velde is one of my favorite ones and a great painter and draftsman in his own right. He was especially gifted with subtle transitions of tone on animals and artisan/farmers that would seem to step into the 'theatrical spotlight'.
On the workshop front, folks are signing up. Please reserve your spot soon so you can be part of my Intro to Watercolor and Goauche Painting - Workshop. May 3-4, 2014, San Francisco, CA
In sharing more insights on this exciting combination of water based paints, I hope to bring dramatic improvements in your painting and technical knowledge on the matter!