Choosing Our Subjects

Heidi Willis
A free video tutorial from Heidi Willis
Renowned Watercolor Artist and Art Tutor
4.5 instructor rating • 5 courses • 14,469 students

Lecture description

Choosing our subjects comes down to refining what we've collected to some specific choices, and in this case the focus was on manageability and exploring specific focus techniques in the watercolour medium as an introduction. Narrowing our swag down to 7 leaves, I have selected each for the learning opportunity each presents.  

Learn more from the full course

Paint Realistic Watercolour and Botanicals - CHASING AUTUMN

Exploring the incredible colours and textures of Autumn in the watercolour medium and botanical illustration genre

03:49:44 of on-demand video • Updated August 2016

  • Practice putting what we've learned from 'Paint Realistic Watercolor and Botanicals - STUDIO BASICS' into action
  • Understand the development of a simple idea or painting from start to completion
  • Identify suitable colour choices for a simple subject or element
  • Have a better sense of using basic watercolour techniques ~ washes, glazes, dry brushing, masking fluid
  • Understand how a botanical painting can be approached as a beginner
  • Feel more confident and strategic with the watercolour painting process
English [Auto] We all know that choosing the right subjects and reference material is critical to achieving successful outcomes for our paintings no matter what stage of development we are at. We always need to be mindful about choosing the right subjects that match our ability. Every subject can be approached in an impressionistic style using just a few simple lines but we can take that same subject and break it down to the nth degree of hair splitting howl and complexity. What you choose to sit on that scale is a personal choice. In botanical painting we are working just by the nature of the genre. In the more complex end of the scale to start with and with this in mind it can be quite challenging to find a practical place to start and to know what that might even look like when we are beginning. We're looking for simple elements that are manageable for us to tackle and to work with things like simple drawing simple palettes that are harmonious that tend to belong in the same family groups and we're looking for elements that are not insanely complex to render. As far as technique goes we're seeking something that exposes us to the simplest of these considerations. And for something that allows us to explore and concrete these simple techniques without us becoming too overwhelmed and frustrated as a. I was looking for simple Fang's subjects that would expose you to as many elements of watercolor painting as possible and present them to in a developmentally incremental format or inlays are ideal to begin with on so many levels. I selected seven leaves in total which can be approached individually or as a cohesive group. So it's a fairly comprehensive exposure to the watercolor techniques their application. And it's a great opportunity for you to see feel and understand the relevance of each of the techniques applied to a specific subject. So let's take a look at each of the elements I've selected for us to work with and see how they're relevant to your progressive development. Lafe one we're exploring simple shapes simple Cayla simple techniques and a simply beautiful subject is definitely a perfect place for us to start. In life too when looking at a more intricate shape some simple Qala and some simple techniques but the introduction of some simple text just now and some linework that makes this subject a little bit more involved in the last leaf three we're investigating a little bit more of an involved shape much more involved college use. We stick to plenty of simple techniques but we explored more involve textures and linework and were learning to work with and manage larger areas of Joash leave for we we're looking at a little bit more involvement in the techniques that we're exploring. That's a little bit more diversity in our palette as far as color goes. And we're exploring much more complex textures and we stepped this up again because we're managing all of this information in a much larger area. In late 5:3 progressed to more diversity in our Kallah more diversity in our tone the introduction of highlights and we start to understand how to approach Losh of veins when they appear on a darker background moving into life 6 we're definitely exploring more involved Cayla much more complex shapes smaller areas to understand and navigate. We'll be working with overlapping elements in the slate and understanding how to maintain fine faces in our subjects rendering this life will require far more refined brush control. And Lafe seven starts to explore the combination of several elements techniques and approaches into one subject it's a more intricate road map much more complex colors lot spots that appear over a darker background. We have light veins over a dark background but the veins are now a different color again and we have some extended incompatible colors to work with. It's not the most complex subject in the world but for a beginner it would be fair to say this subject as a fairly complex one to tackle. You will see with the right techniques and logical approach how this can be achieved it's important to understand that this tutorial is not so much about painting lades as it is about learning to understand the medium with the right perspective. We begin with the right attitude the right approach and purpose in mind and we're more able to leave our anxieties behind us and we start opening our minds up to the thorough exploration of this medium which is the purpose of this tutorial. So give some thought now to your own composition choices decide whether you want to work with single ladies as single paintings or to illustrate these in a more cohesive group. So let's move on now to finally put brush to paper and start painting leaf one