Edinburgh: Watercolor Lesson | Marco Bucci | Skillshare

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Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. WatercolorInEdinburgh 1of5

    • 2. WatercolorInEdinburgh 2of5

    • 3. WatercolorInEdinburgh 3of5

    • 4. WatercolorInEdinburgh 4of5

    • 5. WatercolorInEdinburgh 5of6

    • 6. WatercolorInEdinburgh 6of6

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About This Class

51 minutes of 720p video.

This video lesson features a plein air watercolour painting on location in Edinburgh, Scotland. You will see my process unedited, from start to finish, complete with a voice over explaining what I am doing and thinking as I work.

Meet Your Teacher

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Marco Bucci

Professional illustrator & teacher


Hello, I'm Marco.

I'm a professional artist with 15 years' experience in the film, TV, game, and print industries - primarily as a concept artist and illustrator. I also happen to believe that it's the duty of experienced artists to pass on what they've learned, with no BS and for as low-cost as possible. It's for that reason that I'm a passionate teacher. I currently teach at CGMA, and have previously taught at Academy of Art University, Centennial College, and more. 


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1. WatercolorInEdinburgh 1of5: Well, Hey there, fellow traveler. Thanks for joining me in Edinburgh. Edinburgh, as you know, is the capital city of Scotland, which is part of the UK. And I'm here on an incredibly windy day, actually sitting on the pavement because I couldn't even stand or outs. My paper would blow over on the easel and I'm sketching this street scene. I block it in with a pencil. It's a very uncomfortable pencil. You can see the very fat, you know, kind of short pencil having eraser that you can see. I'm just working in my drawing. I originally placed the horizon line a little too high, so I adjusted accordingly. It's very important for me in the beginning stages Teoh block in the placement of things. Now this is a street sketch, which means there is some architecture and architecture, of course, requires perspective. So you can see I have a bit of ah perspective, great in there. And my goal is to not draw anything specific. I am on league looking for placements, you know, relative placement of things. You can see some cars in there now, so you know how bigger those cars on the paper and then how bigger the cars compared to the buildings? You know where I see a few main buildings on the street that intrigued me? You know, where do those buildings go? And I will not be hesitant at all to edit riel life, you know, like those buildings that I've drawn on my paper are not exactly where they are in real life. I've moved them for composition. 2. WatercolorInEdinburgh 2of5: Okay, so now we're back in real time. That was sped up. But we're in real time now. Um, and I'm painting. So I've got a watercolor palette out there. And unlike my Strasbourg video, where I did a full palette breakdown, I figured I would just talk about my colors as I paint in this video, you can see because I filmed it with a wide angle lens. You can actually fit the palate in the frame, and that's kind of nice. The Edinburgh video didn't have that, but so you could see the colors I'm mixing. But because I'm mixing or not very precise at all, look at the mess. My palate is right. How could I possibly be precise with that? It leaves me to think of just warm vs. Cool. So what we have in here now is just cobalt blue for the sky for the top of the sky and then working wet into wet and just a bit of yellow Oakar going into the bottom third of the sky , um, again, wet into wet now because it's wet into wet watercolor works. Its magic and that is watercolor is very, very good at, um I guess mixing color for you Mixing color can happen on the paper itself. Unlike, say, oil paint, where mixing color happens on the palate in watercolor, the mix happens on the paper. So as you watch this video, please don't spend much of your time looking at my palate. Onley gauge whether I'm mixing something warm or cool and then you know it's obviously a relative thing. So if it's like Super Blue like these rooftops are now, you'll see the end of the finished painting. That's a cooler passage. Then you'll see in a moment I'll start blocking in the the buildings themselves with a warmer color. I really don't know the colors I'm mixing. I look at how it's like hitting keys on the piano. You just kind of go for it. Mixed different colors, you know? If, like I'm or a warm it up with yellow car, there are warming up with cadmium red. Warm it up with Vermillion. Um, that, by the way, is some white wash as well. The whitewashes. They're just had a bit of body, which on a very windy day where the colors don't dry quite as fast, it just helps the painting, it's hard to quantify. It's hard to explain how it helps. I just like the feeling of that'd wash. And actually, I didn't intend to use much washing this painting. For those who have seen my Edinburgh video, I don't use any wash. But in this one I end up using quite a bit. And so it's kind interesting. You'll see how that works. And if you've watched both videos, you kind of see the difference washes just opaque watercolor. So it's still very much a wet media thing, and you'll see how the gua shaken layover with opacity over these washes anyway, Right now it's a very, very wet wash. When I dip my brush down to the right side of me there, I'm just dipping it into a ah little water can, which you unfortunately can't see. But it's just a little water. Been. Usually I have these all on my easel standing, but like I said, I couldn't stand on this day because the wind was too strong. Uh, so I have all my stuff strewn about anyway, So I have I'm blocking in, Ah, warm wash warmish. It's kind of neutral warm for the buildings, and this is just the first wash. This is not the final color. This is kind of an undercoat, I guess, under coat of paint. And, um, just working at this, you know, put some blues in there. The best part of a watercolor is because, like I just talked about earlier, it's a what you can work wet into wet. And when the washes air wet, you can almost you can get away with anything. Put any color into any wash and watercolor will do the rest. It's really a magical medium that can paint for you. Unlike, say, oil paint, where you have to kind of manage all that color mixing yourself, which is a whole other discipline. I paint oils as well, but watercolor is a completely different experience. It's more like a dance where you put colors down and you let water color, you know, dance with it and you have to give and take. You know you can't control everything in a watercolor, and you know you'll see this painting kind of goes in and out of control. It might. I don't know if you'll be able to notice that, but remember, you know as I was painting this, if you were actually to hear the real audio in this video, which, of course muted to do this voice over. But there's a point in time where I tell my wife, I say, You know, I'm not sure this is gonna work out because I I was improvising so much that it was so windy and the conditions were just not fortuitous. Um, you know, there's a lot of improv in watercolor, so here's a bit of dabbing of water, just some clean water on the brush. That's just a bit of a whitewash, just while the washes wet and on a windy day. Ah, you know, non a non sunny day. You're gonna get a lot of time with that wet wash, just kind of nice. You can really work in colors, notice on cutting around the cars. By the way, those those cars are going to be white. And when there's an object that's white in the painting, you have to cut around it with watercolor, so you leave it the white of the page. That's how you get whites with watercolor. In fact, watercolor is has a magical look to it because it's so transparent that you're actually seeing the white of the paper through even the colors. And it just has this keep using the word magic, but this special quality that no other medium can can have. You can't mimic it. You just have to use watercolor to get it on, not even digital pain and can't do it. So look at this warms and cools in the street, right? There's some blues, and then there's some agendas, which are both kind of cool colors. But, you know, the magenta, I think, is warmer than the blue. Look at how wet the brush is letting that water run again, I said earlier. This is just the first passage of the washes. In my opinion, you get about three, maybe four tries with your washes with water color. So, like this is the first wash. That's just some whitewash here, going down just to establish my perspective, let it bleed right into that wash. Anyway, I think you get about three or four washes in a paint in a watercolor painting before the paper can no longer take it. So the first wash is very important to me. I try and get as much down as I can. I try and vary the color as much as I can. Actually, in this one is pretty reserved. But the more variety you have in your colors with your first wash, the more vibrant color will be in the final. In this painting, it's This is not really a vibrant painting. It's more. It depends on accuracy of value than, you know, going crazy with color. So we'll see how this shapes up. And that's just the thing with with any plane air painting. Of course I'm paying this from life. You has. No, that you really have no idea how it's gonna turn out. Um, I fail all the time and, um, you learn maybe more from your failures than you do from your successes. And it's a matter like in this one. I had to really wrestle with this one to bring it into fruition, and I hope that I'll try and narrate that as I go. But I remember sitting there in real life as I painted this thinking. I like I said, I even said to my wife, I don't know if this is gonna work, you know, I just don't don't think this is looking very good. And then, thankfully, I pulled it, pulled it back around. Those are the kind experiences you have from life. You know, reacting to the subject is such an important part of being an artist. I would argue that that's why we are artists. What we do is react. We react to any life thing, anything we experience. Our own emotions come from life experience. And, you know, the more experience you have with life, the more you can put into your art and, you know, in a small way, actually probably in a big way, painting from life like this is a way to sharpen your connection with your emotional residents with how you're living. And it's that sounds weird. That was terrible words. And see if I can rephrase that. You know, when you're sitting there looking at a scene in real life, you have to decide on a whim right then and there, how you feel about everything that will determine how you paint things. You know, you are those buildings special to you? Are the cars special to you? How about the figures? Were Tobago all these little subsets of feeling. You have about a scene. They come out in your painting and it's, you know, these are these air emotions. It's not the same kind of emotions, like loving your wife or your husband or something. That's it's different, but it's the same. It comes from the same place, and a good painter is someone who can you know, who understands that level of feeling and then can put that into the work. OK, so that's why I paint outdoors is to constantly hone my own ability to understand my own reactions to life. And then, of course, secondarily to that is to increase my painting skill. That used to be my primary purpose when I first started was to increase my painting skill, and that's still a huge part. But after a certain point, I mean, I've been painting for about 15 years now, maybe about 10 years outdoors. I didn't start painting outdoors, but after about 10 years of painting outdoors, I I learned I've learned that that it's really the painting. Skill is actually secondary, and you know you'll see throat throughout this painting. I'm constantly just playing with washes and just skirting the edge of completely messing this thing up. I'm trying to, you know, constantly be reacting to something rather than, say, rendering a building. I know a painting is dead when I'm sitting there rendering like the highlights on a building. That's that's never where I want to be, because you're no longer reacting then. 3. WatercolorInEdinburgh 3of5: Okay, So what I'm doing here, I'm mixing. Ah, slightly warm color. That's a bit of Magnin. Ease blue. Actually, that's cobalt turquoise. Sorry. Cobalt turquoise mixed with a bit of cat red. Um, there's the cat rad going in cobalt turquoise mixing. Ah, I don't know. What is it? Neutral. Warm. The thing with mixing blues and reds, you can balance it. It doesn't go more blue. Or does it go more red? Doesn't go more warmer. Doesn't go more cool. I would say this is kind of it looks cool in this shot, but honestly, the sun was coming in and out during this painting that the painting changes exposure. Like I say, the camera changes exposure so many times throughout this video that sometimes it's hard to say what's warm and what's cool. I think this is actually a little warmer than it appears on camera right now. Still, with the very wet wash, you can see the water running. Um, I love letting watercolor do its thing. Also notice. I leave, you know, just accidental bits of whites behind those air not done on purpose, like I'm talking about in the buildings there. The cars were done on purpose. But in the buildings, there's little spots of white that are just accidents left behind. Just leave that. Let that happen because you know it will pay off in the end, you'll see the hard part with watercolor is you have to look into the future, say again. With oil paint, you can kind of mix the exact color you see and put it down like bam! There's the color there's the value, But with watercolor, it's not like that. With watercolor, you have to kind of sneak up on it. You have to do it in layers, and we don't have to. But I find that it's better if you dio and, um, it's tempting to try and control each stage to reach some kind of self appointed degree of perfection. Um, I find that that is never the way to go. Instead, let things let accidents happen and work with, um, it's a discipline that is hard to. It's hard to control, but that's exactly the point you have to. Instead of controlling it, it's like a dance. Like I said earlier, you have to dance with it and improvised with it. Watercolor is more like playing jazz than playing concert piano. So, um, continuing with the wash in my building area, the wash is still wet, and I mixed some whitewash with some blue with some cobalt, I think. And, um, but a yellow better read, you know, warming it up a bit warming that blew up. Just getting a hint of those pillars. And this is where the white glass can actually help. So Gua Sha adding the opacity to it. I can go lighter over darker, so usually with just pure water cover. That's impossible. But with the addition of white gloss just a little bit into the mix, you can add a little bit of that body color, which means a bit of opacity, and you can go light and light over dark. Now I don't want to turn this into a quash painting. I still wanted to be watercolor like 95% watercolor, the gua. She's just gonna be used for those kinds of overlays and special touches, and you know, you'll see as this goes on, because wash is still a wet media thing. It's, you know, mixes with water. It's still very much a part of the same universe, and you can get a very cohesive look with it. You can paint in small sketchbooks this way, and I dio or you can paint larger like this. This is Ah, the book I'm using is a 12 by 16. Yeah, that's a good time to talk about my paper. It's a Saunders 12 by 16 inch cold pressed watercolor block. That means the paper the watercolor paper is glued together can tell in the camera. But there's like 20 pages there, all glued together on all four sides. That means the page doesn't buckle as much, cause it's glued on all four sides. It has nowhere to go, so the washes it can really take a hammering. £140 is a nice wait. That's my preferred Wait. I prefer even to £300. I like £140 cold press meeting. It's not smooth. It's got a bit of tooth to it, but a texture to it. But it's not super rough. This is actually the Saunders fine grain block. You can get rough grain to which I don't like is much. I like a bit of tooth, but not a lot of tooth, and that's what this is. Okay, so still more wet washes that those buildings. By the way, what I'm doing now is mostly I'm arriving at the final darkness, value wise of those buildings. Remember, I said to get about three or four washes. This is the second wash, so I'm well within my range of appropriate amount of washes. That's just a bit of drawing. I just took out a paper towel. Just drive some of those washes. I want to encourage non uniformity in my washes. Sometimes, like I just did. I spattered clean water on their sometimes will smudge it with my fingers sometimes will smudge it with a paper towel. I just want to create organic variety, which gives the painting texture. It takes away repetition. It adds interest. So many little things that benefit a painting by by doing things that a kindergarten child would do, you use your fingers use, Ah, rag toe white paint. You know, don't don't try and control everything if you try and control everything, and I'm sure if you've watched this video, if you have tried painting outdoors or if you've tried any painting, to be honest, you have tried to control everything. We all start there, you know. Certainly me included. What this is is a very dark value for a tree. Um, the tree is behind the foreground building, so I'm using it as a way to kind of show you where that four round building separates itself and it's a dark value. So it's a using a cool color here is in shadow, so I'm thinking it's a Zambia cooler shadow, but they're still warms within that cool shadow. You could see some reds in there, and the wash is still wet. Eso even the building wash. It's kind of halfway dry, so it's a good time to block in a tree so the watercolor will soften out the edge. You can see it's softening right before your eyes, right? And, um, this will help create A You know, I love exploiting the wet wash while it's available, because once that wet wash is gone, once it's dry, I should say you can't get it back. I mean, yes, you can re wet the paper, but you can't re wet your wash. Its once it's dry, it's done. It's on there. You gotta live with it. You gotta work with it. So when it's wet, you can modify it. This is just some architectural detail being placed in over the ah, the dry sky. Sorry about my camera exposure. You saw it just changed their it just because I guess my little GoPro had a tough time handling the different lighting scenarios. And I tried to color correct in post to make the painting as uniform as possible. But you're gonna get little cuts like that. But it's OK. You can still clearly see the painting process. 4. WatercolorInEdinburgh 4of5: so I'm actually see how have slowed down this. Is it not a good thing? I am questioning myself here. Whenever I slow down, it means I'm questioning myself at a perfect painting To me would be gung ho from start to finish. Ah, with not up nary a pause for concern in this case. You see, the sun just went way up. I was a shadow. Never mind. Um, in this case, I do question myself right around this stage. You know, I'm not quite sure if this is working. Um, of course, we've seen the final picture. Now we know it does work in the end, thankfully. But this case, in this stage, the sun is going in and out right now. Look, there's no more some might you can see on the top left of the frame, the sun is gone, and that is a huge bother. That's a huge irk. Something as a painter. When that son plays games with you, it's maddening cause you're what you're doing is painting the light, your painting, the effects of light. Um, and when the sun goes in and out, you're just ripping your hair out As you assess like, Do I go with the sunlight effect? Or do or do I go with the overcast light effect? Generally speaking, what I like to do is I like to stick with the one that got me to stop in the first place. So in this case, it was actually sunny when I sat down, and I liked some of the light that was hitting the architecture, and you could actually see it in the painting. Right now there's just little strips of light hitting those buildings now. When the sun went in, that was gone. And honestly, if the sun were in the whole time, I probably would not have stopped here. It wouldn't have been is interesting to me. So I'm going with sunlight effect, which means that I'm gonna have to start casting some shadows on the road. But actually, right now, in real life, I was so mystified by the sun going in and out on me that I almost forgot about the shadows in the street. You'll see them come in and they play a huge part of the composition in the end. But right now, in real time there, I'm barely thinking about that and I'm kind of just struggling with the fact that the sun is coming in and out. You know, I'm doubting myself, and while that's not so apparent in the video here, it actually is happening. So anyway, here come actually some of those shadows in for in the first case there and putting them on the sidewalk shadows on the sidewalk. And then I start realizing that I should probably designed those shadows to encroach more onto the road just to give the competition some depth. Look at that. There comes the sun right back. You can see in the top left of the frame and the bottom right of the frame. You can see the sun coming in and out. Is it really Obviously Edinburgh is famous for, you know, overcast weather, just like most of the UK. And you know, this day was certainly no exception to that rule. That's some neutral tint, with burnt sienna going in for the dark underneath the cars. When you're painting cars, it's it's really important to get a solid shape of dark underneath. Um, it almost sells the car just with that one shape CIA's as I do that now, to that one car. It automatically looks like a car, and I haven't even put light and shadow anywhere else. Just the dark underneath. And that's just the windshield. And putting in a value on that helps it also read like a car. And then, while it's wet, I'll just put in the shadow side. Which, of course, same is the buildings, the lights coming in from the left, so any plane that's on the right is gonna get shadow. And, ah, just while that washes wet, I'll have all kinds of fun with bleeding shadows and just letting the forms bleed and melt into each other. Melting is a good word to describe what watercolor does. It really looks like melting like one color, you know, hits another one and just goes into it like if it were wax that were just wet Anyway, back up of the buildings. Now that washes dry, at least I think it is. It looks a little wet at the bottom where that tree is, but up here, where I'm painting now that washes dry, and this is a good time for some more hard edged Um, let's call it detail, but it's certainly not meticulous detail. It's still sketchy, you know, you still see I'm doing things in one brushstroke where I can and then moving on and just trying to get some dry brush so that the paint is loaded on a pretty dry brush. You know, literally, there's not a whole lot of water on that brush. And what that will do is it allow the watercolor paper texture to come through now. I should also take this moment to talk about the brushes I'm using. I always use very good around. Brush is for watercolor. In this case, I'm using Alvaro Casting Nets Signature Siri's, which I bought off of a PV films dot com. They sell a whole bunch of brushes, and they're very good quality. This case is the Alvaro Casting Net signature. I also like the Joseph's, a Buck Fitch signature, Siri's and then I also like in the Edinburgh of painting. If you've seen that, I use this. These Raffaele brand round brush is the whole point is any round brush you use in watercolor. It should be very high quality because you need to. The brush needs to be able to hold pigment and water and low quality brushes do not do either of those things very well. Pigment water. And also they have to have a sharp tip because you need to be able to work very fine marks and also very broad marks with the same brush. Because watercolor depends on your ability to work with time like wet into wet. You know, your washers are not going to stay wet forever, right? You need at least I find it very beneficial toe. Have one brush for everything s so I do have a few different brushes, but this painting is largely just done with one or two brushes. I have, like, a medium size in the small size. The Alvaro casting net Siris of brushes I ordered actually has three different sizes of the same kind of brush in one package. So it's kind of nice to have that in your tool kit. This is I'm back to the medium sized brush, by the way, which is, I say, medium size. It's a pretty big brush on. I use that for most of the painting, but because it has that sharp tip, it almost can act like a smaller brush when you need it, Teoh. Okay, So finally, I'm starting to realize that I got to get some darks in the bottom third of that painting. Almost as a vignette effect. It helps lead the eye inward. This is not really a shadow. It's more just a darkening of thestreet tone. The value of the street is darkening. It's, ah, kind of a photography thing, Really. A lot of photographers do that actually learned it from the world of photography. I'm not a photographer, but I used to live with them, some very good photographers, and they would they would do this to their photos a lot in the dark room. It's kind of dark and down some of the edges just for a subtle effect. And I've incorporated that into my painting. It just helps. I will still be overlaying shadows darker shadows onto the street. But that's to come later again, watercolor. Like I said earlier, you have about 45 washes. So on the street I've kind of used one or two, so I can still go back with some darker shadows, and it'll still work just fine. I mean, depending on the paper, you use these, these papers or good quality the Saunders that I'm using, very good quality. You can take a hammering, but just the fact is, as pigment builds up on pigment, there's only so much you can dio before. Any more pigment you put down just looks like mud. It just doesn't work. You know, watercolor has a pretty that way. Oh, here comes some shadows. Here's the first shadows from the buildings cast onto the road, so my mixture was ultra marine blue and a bit of a lizard in crimson, maybe a bit of burnt sienna to neutralize it a bit. And, um, fairly strong pigment in that mix. There's a bit more vulture Marina just mixed in, and I've got one shot at this. So I'm putting in some shadows. You know, these rectangular shadows being cast by the rectangular buildings. Now this was not actually there in real life. These shadows shapes were not this pronounced. I'm inventing here to a degree. They were there, but not that large. So there's some Radames mixing Mormon cool. So you know, a bit of warm. Going into the cool always works there, muddying up my initial wash with a bit of warmth, still keeping it overall cool. But you know, I play with warms and cools all the time. That's the key to good color. The key to good color is not like Do you have the right pigments on your palate? It's Can you play with warm and cools? And how suddenly can you do it? So anyway, overall to cool shadow and I'm blocking that in now actually is not really a block in it's It's the final, Um, I might play with it a bit, but these shapes and putting down unlike an oil painting again where you can block in and then fix in a watercolor painting, you can't really do that. The shapes you put down, you should try and go as directly, like go for the heart or they go for the throat. Get that shape right as soon as you can. If you can get it right the very first time. Good. That's what you should dio. It takes you if you try as well, you're probably gonna be compromising your shape if you keep going back into it. So those shadows, for example, I try to get that right. And if you look at the bottom left of the paper of my painting. It's very messy shape there. I actually want that area to kind of dissolve into nothingness. Notice. I'm painting the rear tail light of that car, letting that red bleed into the shadow. Let watercolor work. Do not suppress it. It's like, uh, well, I have no experience with this, but it's like raising a teenager and telling them what they can't dio. Guess what the first thing is, they're gonna dio the thing you told him not to. If you tell watercolor not to do something, it'll disobey you. So just let it let watercolor do its thing. 5. WatercolorInEdinburgh 5of6: working away. I like where that shadow is on the street right now. Let go. Probably let that dry and then I'll do the next phase. So this is a bit of wash whitewash. There's a nice blue stroke in the building, a bit of whitewash mixed with some water color blue to get a bit of opacity. I love the effect of putting cooler blues over top of neutral warms, so the buildings are neutral, warms and then just a bit of blue on top, especially because it's in shadow. There's gonna be a lot of ambient light coming in from the sky, and that's blue light, right cause the sky's blue So we get a lot of blue light coming in from the sky. So there's a bit of glass with a bit of cobalt blue or altering blue really works well on top of those neutral warm washes. Again, don't overdo this, though. Just a couple hits here and there will really help sell the effect of ambient light or reflected light skylight coming in from dealing now with the building on the far left, I realized I hadn't really dealt with it, and I kind of shied away from it, and I don't like to do that. I never like to leave one area blank because you know, composition. Everything relies on everything else. And if you leave one area too long, it's almost impossible. Toe work it in in a way that satisfactory. It almost always looks tacked on. So I'm dangerously far away in the process here in dealing with this building. But hopefully I can pull it together and actually do run into some problems with it. I'll show you that next. I'll talk about that as they arise. This is more of that blue wash mixture. Whitewash with blue. There it is with a bit of yellow Oakar warming it up a little bit. You notice I don't clean my brushes that much. Sometimes I'll dip it into the water just to wash it off. But in the nature of warm and cool, it doesn't rely on exact mixtures. You can have like a read on your brush and then, you know, give it a quick swipe with a paper towel so it still has some red on it, but then go into your blue mixtures and kind of cool down. But read. Um, I love doing that. I like I like dirtiness like Look at the palette again. My palate is filthy, and I love it like that. I never clean my palette. It's always like that. Um, the only time I clean my palette. If if I have too much of a buildup of white watch, I don't want whitewash infecting the palate because it changes the nature of the watercolor . Here's some strong whitewash coming into that building with a bit of cadmium yellow deep in there, getting some of the yellow of the sun hitting the building. And this is a This is probably the thickest mixture of wash I've ever done on this painting because it needs to be opaque. I want this to look like sunlight on the building, so it has to be opaque over top of the shadows. You can see them, you know, they put those white strokes down there, sticking their not diluting into the shadow mixture. And that's that's where the whitewash can come in and help you save the day just a little bit. If I were working without that whitewash, I could not do that, and I don't think it's cheating. I mean, I've heard some watercolor artists are very purists, and they say, I can't use wash. Um, I'm not in that camp. I'm a painter. I don't I'm not a watercolor artists. I'm a painter, so whatever I can do, I will do now. I do think that you can overdo wash It just starts looking a little tacky and muddy when you use too much watch, not money but like tacky, like glue or something. So I don't like that. I do like the transparent look of watercolor. So certainly watercolor dominates this method of painting because I prefer the look of it. But I'm not afraid of using some wash in terms of ah, rhythm of workflow. Noticed that I've been using the whitewash mixture for a few minutes now. That's because I like workflow related thought. Whenever I'm doing something like a task in this case, you know, mixing with whitewash. I'll continue on that path so I'll tackle more than one area with the white wash. It helps the painting have a bit of cohesion when you apply certain techniques, you know throughout rather than, you know, doing a spot here and then returning to do a spot there. I try and chunk my process like that. So you know now I'm painting with a dark value, for example, and painting getting a bit deeper with that tree. The tree washes dry, and when washes dry, they lighten up a little bit. So I'm going in with another wash getting in just a couple of dark accents in that tree. Nothing too strong, but just a bit of, ah, dark accent for form. And now what's coming up here is just a couple spatters just having some fun spattering some pretty wet yellow mixtures that's again cadmium yellow deep over top of that tree. It certainly will dry. It's that's pure water color so it will mix into the wet washes. Um, it's fun to do that, just just for a little color variety. Again, it's another form of randomness and letting the paint do some of the work for you. So look like we're digging back into that white wash with some blue, and I'm getting back those cool rooftops. I noticed they got a little warm on me as I started working, and ah, the wash is a nice savior to help me get back. What? I really want to be cooler rooftops. It kind of is a just a color relief. Color temperature relief from the warm buildings and the buildings in real life did have those cool rooftops. And ah, that's one of them. They were hit by sunlight. So when blue is hit by sunlight, it still has the appearance of blue. But it's like a gray down blue because the sun is warm. Summers right, yellow, right. So when you're yellow light hits a blue surface, it grazed the blue down, and it doesn't turn the blue yellow cause it's not strong enough for that. But it will gray the blue down, and it'll be like a neutral cool against a neutral warm for those buildings. And I really, really like that effect in the final painting. It just makes the buildings interesting. Just that one little contrast of, ah, cooler rooftops with warmer buildings, facades and just a bit of whitewash. Help me get that back. All right, so now we're going into the shadows again. Um, I'm being messy in this area on purpose. There got some water on the brushes, letting that wash bleed This is probably passed number three in this area in terms of washes, so I'm reaching the limit of what I can do here. But I like I want the painting to fall in and out of rendered nous, I guess. Okay, look at this. Here's a shadow coming in. I'll get back to the thought in a second about the rendered nous. Here's a shadow coming in that I completely do. It's too big. There's no way a building would cast that long of a shadow onto the street. So look at this. I realise that while it's wet and I grab a well, I will. In a second green, I grab a paper towel and get rid of it while it's wet. Thankfully, I caught that problem while I could still fix it, because if I let that dry, you can just can't fix that. Uh, there we go. Now that's a better length of the shadow. It just be completely unbelievable for a shadow to be that long the way it was previously over top of the shorter shadows, like two completely different lighting scenarios. So I fixed that thankfully, and I will continue to work into that lower left area of the paper with just some messiness might even be doing it right now. No getting some flagpoles or some flagpoles in that building. And I thought it was nice to have some really straight lines against, like, diagonal straight lines, I should say against the vertical straits. And those flags are, you know, not intended to be any detail that all their their afterthoughts in this painting they're not. The painting is not about those flags. That's actually a good question to ask yourself when you paint outdoors to kind of keep you grounded, Ask yourself a simple question. What is this painting about? Is it about those flags? Clearly not. But if you haven't ask yourself that question, you might find yourself working in all the little details of each country's flag and then, you know, 10 minutes later you're like, Why did I just do that? That didn't add to the painting. What is the painting about? This painting is about the atmosphere of the street, so that means that everything needs to interact with everything else. And that means that no area can beam or can be like hyper detailed. Because if you imagine a flag? We all know what flags look like. There were different country. Those are different countries, flags in real life, which means they had different patterns on them. And I was like, you know, 50 50 yards away from them, I could see the patterns, and here I am just just mimicking just basic shapes to indicate that they're different. But what I'm saying is getting back to that emotional tie in. I'm not reacting to the flags. I I like the shapes of them. I like the diagonal nature of them, but I don't like. I also like that. One of the flags is light over the dark of the tree, but I don't care about each country's, you know, flag pattern. That's not what's going to sell this painting. In fact, if I did that, it would detract because it would be to an area of hyper detail against areas of no detail , and that would just would not jive. So you have to, you know, understand what the painting is about, and part of that can be emotional. Another part is just informational to like, you know, I don't need the information of each country's flag in order to sell those as flags. Anyway, um, that's just all part of it. You know, it changes when you paint from a photograph. There's a huge temptation to copy detail, cause all the camera does is capture detail. The camera doesn't capture emotional stuff. Like, how many times have you been on vacation and saw a beautiful sight? You took out your smartphone, take a photo and the first thought you had was man, that just doesn't capture how I feel. All of us have had that right, too. Smart phones or cameras are not emotional. They don't care how we feel about something. They care about each individual brick and each individual speck of dust on the ground. That's what a camera captures each individual license plate on a car. That's what the camera sees. And when we paint from photos were actually doing ourselves a big disservice. We're painting from, like, terrible secondhand information. Um, it's almost unusable. Photos air good for exact reference. Like if I'm painting a chandelier of photos greats, I don't exactly know how a chandelier looks, and I could use a photo for that. But when it comes to painting like a scene, an entire painting. I really despise painting from photos because I'm by definition not there to experience it myself. The only time I'll ever deigned to use a photo is if I have already been to that scene. Like, if I were painting in Edinburgh Street in my studio, I would look at this painting first and foremost, and then that maybe load up a couple of photos and see exactly what kind of architectures there. Because what my painting captures is emotion. What my painting does not capture is exact detail, like, I don't know how many columns on each building, for example, it's all indicated. So if I were to do, ah you know, higher resolution studio painting, I still would want captured emotionally like this. But I might load up some photos in that case just to see what exactly the architecture was . And then I can combine that with my experience there from life, you know, and I can paint from that and I'd still and even in the studio, it's still want to come up with the painting that looks like this just maybe a little larger. Maybe a touch more refined in its shapes. But certainly I don't switch toe like I don't switch from emotional stuff like this to super detailed stuff in the studio. It's not what I dio. I always keep it like this. You know, if any of you are familiar with my digital work, it's all like that. It's all very broad. Brush E Sorry, you can see my wife's hands in the spin, the pack ground there, that we didn't catch that on film. That's my wife, Renee who? Ah, well, she's my obviously my life partner, but we travel where she's my best travel partner to, um, it's funny. We she's not an artist at all. She's a business person, and so we're completely different in that regard. Um, but where we are identical is we both put the same amount of importance on travel, and we actually recently moved to Germany were from Canada. But we moved to Germany a year ago because she got a job at ah large company here and I freelance so I can work from anywhere in the world. So I just brought my computer and we've lived in Germany for a year and because now we're in the EU. Any of you fellow Europeans now? Well, well, actually not officially European, But any of you Europeans will know this. You can travel anywhere, quickly and cheaply. So we've been having a heyday just traveling to you know, every country we can in Europe while we're here. We're only here for three years. So you know, we've been traveling steady for a solid year now, this is our first time in Scotland, though, and Edinburgh was It was great. Was one my favorite cities. There's so much rich history to it. There's I love tales of the macabre, and Edinburgh has you covered if you like that stuff Just the night before this, we went underneath the bridge where people sought refuge and shelter, people who couldn't afford housing and it conditions down there, just horrible People would survive maybe six months down there underneath the bridge. And I don't mean underneath a bridge like outdoors. It was inside a bridge underneath the traffic and no lights. People were murdered in the dark. People caught, you know, all kinds of communicable diseases. And and we had took a tour down there. Of course, it's said to be haunted, but that's not actually. I think that's what drew me, and I love ghost stories. But when you're down there, the true haunting is the sickness is they're all plagued with. Edinburgh has tons of that stuff, and it's just a beautiful city. For so many reasons, there's grave robberies. I love that stuff anyway. And if you like Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling wrote the 1st 2 books in a near cemetery there we took a tour that showed us where she got some of the names in the Harry Potter series. 6. WatercolorInEdinburgh 6of6: anyway, back to the painting. I'm slowing down here because I'm nearing the end, maybe about 10 minutes to go. This is just a bit of neutral tint. If you look at the top of my palette, there's a bit of neutral tent there, neutral since a nice, neutral cool. It's a purple e cool but not purple, like cobalt, violet or ultra marine violet. It's a neutral meaning. It's close to gray. It's a greyish purple. It's great for starting. Your mixtures actually recommend that when you start your mixtures, think about gray. First, start with values first, So if you use graze, you can look at values closer cause you're not distracted by color, right? So start your mixtures, getting the value correct, and then you can modify for color. So if you need to be warmer, well, I can add some cadmium, red or yellow, ochre or burnt sienna or whatever. I feel like cadmium orange, which I have on the palate as well. Or if he needs to be cooler, you can add cobalt blue altering blue, cobalt, turquoise, cobalt green, turquoise stay low blue, all of which I have on my palette. Um, I was in crimson, maybe is a cooler red. It's all based on your temperature decision. Rather than you know I'm never mixing an exact color. That's actually a trap. A lot of beginners fall into thinking they have to replicate exact colors. I've even seen products that where you can compare the mixture you mixed on your palate. You can compare it to the actual thing. That's a complete waste of time. And here's why. The second you think you have to have an accurate color, you know, comparable to the real life color, then what that means is all of your colors now have to be indebted to real life. They have to replicate it, or else your relationships don't work right. Like if you have one exact color in your painting. But all the other colors are not exact. The exact color means nothing. It all happens in relation. So what I like to Dio is instead understand the relationships of warm vs cool that are happening in real life. And then I replicate that on the paper on the paper on the palate. So it's not that, you know, the red of the flag has to be the exact same red is in real life. I just need to know how warm it is. So if it's red, it's gonna be a warm color. But how warm is it? A very warm red is a neutral warm red. How warm is it in relation to the facade of the building? Well, in the case of the red pattern on the flag and the red lights on the cars, those are the most saturated warm colors in the painting. Those reds compared to a a cooler warm on the front of the buildings. The front of the buildings still a warm wash, but it's neutral, warm vs saturated warm of the reds. Can you see what I mean about relationships? It does not matter that the flag is exactly that. Read or the buildings are exactly that warmish wash. That's not what matters. It it's the relationship. So So in this case, sunlight being a warm light will make everything it hits warmer, which is why the things that are in light appear yellowy. And by contrast, everything in the shadows will look cooler because they're more influenced by the skylight . So all they have to do is replicate that basic relationship. Warmer stuff in light, cooler stuff in shadow. You can see Look at my shadows on the road, see how blue they are, how cool they are in comparison to the neutral of the road. That means that the blueness of that shadow is going to make the neutral with road look warm by comparison. Okay, if you rewind before those shadows on the street were in there, you can see the street looks pretty cold because there's nothing to make it look warm. But the second I put those blue shadows in that neutral that used to look cool now looks warm. It's a ah, a completely different way of thinking of color. And if you're not used to thinking about it that way, this might actually revolutionize your painting like it did with me. Once I learned to think relation. Aly. Is that a word? Relation. Aly. Anyway, once I learned to think about the relationships of color that revolutionized my painting because no longer did I. No longer was I concerned with replicating exact colors and sampling photographs from the computer or something. Um, I was just concerned with relationships, and it's so freeing as well. It's what makes a good colorist is the ability to understand relationships of color, not necessarily, and not care at all about exact colors. So just working into I put some figures in there while I was on that spiel about color. Just a couple of just quick strokes of whitewash mixed with some cobalt blue, maybe mixed with Failla blue and a bit of red in there. Look at this. I'm still having fun with spatters. Even though I'm so far ahead in the painting, I'm still trying to have a levity about it and approach it like it's a sketch because it is a sketch, it never goes beyond. The sketch is not like you have to go, you know, more careful and refined as you go. I always want to keep the mentality of a sketch. So even here I'm letting myself pick an area that I want to be messy, like that lower left, like I said earlier, and I will continue to sketch in that area, you know, even as I paint up here, see how free my brushwork is. That is something I continually have to work at. We all fight an urge Teoh, tighten up and stiffen up as the painting moves on. I'm sure you're you watching this have been guilty of it because you have to be a your human being. Everyone does this. Everyone tightens up too much. Um, and I have certainly been guilty of it many more times than once. And I've learned that if I catch myself being too up tight, a little alarm bell goes off in my head and I had to work years to get that alarm bell. And they are about says, Hey, stop! Just show the painting who's boss and move that swing that brush around like it was the beginning of the panning. Don't feel like you have to tighten up too much, Um, work as quickly. It work as loosely as good shapes allow meaning that you should never work so loosely that you can't make good shapes. But the more practice you get. I've been painting upside for 10 years, painting for about 15 years. I know like my hand just knows how to make decent shapes. I'm still the victim of bad shapes in a lot of work, but I know how to make good shape so that means I can work a little bit more quickly and still make good shapes. But you know I have a handbrake. If I am working too quickly, I'll stop myself as well. If you don't want work so quickly that you're making bad shapes, OK, I'll probably do Ah, if you're familiar with my YouTube. Siri's 10 minutes to better painting. I'm considering doing Episode four about good shapes and what is a good shape, and how do you qualify a good shape, and how do you workshop your own shapes? So you know that you might be watching this one that's already been released, but we'll see. I'm just tossing around that idea, making some notes on it now. Being a teacher has helped me a lot because I have to take lessons that I've learned about painting and they might be emotional lessons or abstract lessons, but have to put them into words and you don't have to be a teacher to do that. Teaching is forced me to write my ideas down, but you know what? I think it's really helpful to write down in words. Write down what you think, what you think about painting. You know what you think? You know what you think You don't know. Writing in words is a great way to explore what's in your brain. And I love writing. I'm on a professional writer, but, um, I I'm a hobby, is I'm a serious hobbyist writer. I'm also a very keen reader, and I love the power of words. Pictures are certainly powerful, too, but they're powerful in a different way. I think words are actually the quickest way of getting your thoughts into physical form. They say it Paintings worth 1000 words, but a painting takes a much longer time than writing. So by the time I've written 1000 words, maybe I haven't yet done a painting. So maybe writing is actually faster. Anyway, in planning lessons, I've been able to think about this stuff and even recording narration like this. I'm able to, you know, take thoughts and, you know, give them tangible form. What? This is just a very light wash of yellow Oakar, which is a warm color. So I'm just warming up the road just a little bit to emphasize the warm, cool relationship that I want. And this painting is almost in the books, folks, I should say. Now look at this. A big stroke of yellow Oakar just to warm look of this. I'm still sketching, right, taking risks, putting big swaths of yellow card down just to warm up certain passages. Actually, take the paper towel out and erase some of it. There's a bit of red going in, but while that washes wet, this is just a bit of cadmium red going into the mixture. Here's a little too much cadmium red. While that washes wet, I actually decide to take a little bit of it away. Here it is now, just a couple dabs. I felt like I was a bit overbearing with that. But if you look at the left third of the panting, you can see a big drip of water of that yellow ochre wash I put down. Um, it helps. It just helps give the sketch some vitality and keeps me light light of mind. Look at it. Look at it. Run down the page. Look at this. I love that. I saw that in real life. I saw that happening, and my first instinct was to be like, Oh no, no, I got to stop that. But then I said, no, let watercolor do what it wants to dio. Now I'll stop it there because, um I don't want it. I don't want it to run into the shadow, but I do Let it I did let it run down the entirety of that building, which I swear is no small mental feat. If any of you painted watercolor, you know what I mean? The second watercolor wants to do something. You you have an instinct to stiff enough to say no, don't do that. I didn't plan for that. I've just learned to fight that and just let the watercolor do what it wants. So many magical things will happen if you allow for that. So the painting is at a stage now where it's finished. I'm still putting brushstrokes down. Collect. Probably don't know it's finished yet, but looking at it, you know, a week removed from its actual painting, I can tell now that everything I'm doing now is unnecessary. It's another skill to develop, By the way, when you're outdoors is knowing when you're done, I evaluate things on a brushwork level like our my edges. Nice or my brush strokes. Nice. Is anything too tight? So I need more information anywhere I evaluated on that level. But even before that, And I knew this, you know, 30 minutes ago isn't working like on that emotional level, is it? Capturing the scene as IRA motion, we react to it. And I talked about that earlier. That has to be the very first analysis you make. But that happens early. I find that I get that initial feeling in there quite early at this point. It's more like, you know, is are there any areas that aren't pulling their weight that need to put a little more weight? Um, and once the answer is no. I peel off the tape just like this. And of course, that gives me a nice hard edge around the paper, which is very nice for framing or any kind of presentation you want just moving my camera so I can get that top layer of tape and, uh, thank you again for joining me. I really hope this is instructional for you. And I really, really encourage you to get out there and experiment with watercolor, experiment with watercolor and wash. It's a beautiful medium toe work in and I think you'll find, just as I do that it's enriching on an entirely deeper level as well. So that's it. Thank you for purchasing this video and from Scotland. I wish you happy painting.