One of the participants at my watercolour workshops turned up with a copy of one of Alwyn Crawshaw’s books. He showed me a page with a landscape illustration and said he would love to be able to paint trees like that. Well for a beginner that is not an unworthy ambition and at least he had a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve.
Popular though Alwyn is my only reservation about emulating him is that through his entertaining TV series and ‘how to do it books’ the beginner is left with the idea that watercolours are dashed off in half an hour. This direct approach is fine for the plein air painter if that is the way you like to work.
Dashing off a response to the first compulsive eye catch is exciting but there is a deeper magic to be discovered in the studio
So there are sound reasons for taking a more considered approach in the comfort of the studio Elements of the composition can be rearranged and new colour harmonies explored. I’ve been surprised by the strength and depth of colour that can be built up by superimposing several clean pure washes by using more leisurely studio methods.
The oil painter can work up his plein air sketches in the studio – Monet invariably did. The watercolourist though has to begin again with a totally fresh vision.