Strasbourg: Watercolour Lesson | Marco Bucci | Skillshare

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Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. WatercolourInStrasbourg 1

    • 2. WatercolourInStrasbourg 2

    • 3. WatercolourInStrasbourg 3

    • 4. WatercolourInStrasbourg 4

    • 5. WatercolourInStrasbourg 5

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About This Class

40 minutes of 720p video.

This video lesson features a plein air watercolour painting on location in Strasbourg, France. 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. WatercolourInStrasbourg 1: Oh, hey there, fellow Traveler. Thanks for joining me in Strasbourg. Strasbourg is a beautiful French city that borders Germany. I was wandering around and happened to find this perfect spot for a watercolor sketch. It's got the beautiful half timbered buildings and the canals that are characteristic of the city to quickly go over my set up. It's pretty dead simple. I went to the art store and bought the cheapest, most lightweight easel I could find. The yellow sack you see hanging from it holds the water, which I pour from that water bottle you see on the right. I'll talk about my brushes, palette and paper in just a moment. But everything fits in that red hiking bag you can see leaning against the fence. It's all very compact and lightweight, and I can literally walk around all day carrying these materials. My palate is a foldable plastic pallet that I squeeze wet watercolors into, and I let those dry and then before the painting, I just spray them with a spray bottle to reactivate them. I'll show you what colors I've got on there going from, most important to least important. The most important are the primaries. So here they are. There's ultra marine blue, cadmium red and lemon yellow or cadmium yellow. I switch back and forth Next up are just warmer and cool variations on the primaries. So going from left to right, I've got Cobalt blue, which is a slightly different temperature of blue ultra marine violet, which, of course, is a more violet blue. I've got a lizard crimson, which is a more violet red yellow car, which is a more subdued, slightly earthier yellow and cadmium orange, which is, of course, orange. Now you can paint with just those, but for convenience, I have some other colors on their Let's start with the Earth tones. I find these very good for mixing with, say, ultra marine blue for a very nice dark. And they're also great for subduing more saturated colors like cadmium red. So my favorite one is burnt Sienna. If I could only pick one of those colors, it would definitely be burnt Sienna. It's got a richness to it, and it makes beautiful darks when mixed with ultra marine blue. I've also got Venetian red burnt umber, Van Dyke brown and neutral tent. I actually like neutral 10th as well. It is a very well neutral, cool color. So where burnt sienna is a warm, earth tone neutral tint is a cold earth tone. So if I could have two colors there that I would pick burnt sienna and neutral tint and finally, the frivolous blues that I love so much lavender, which is a pale purple e blue cobalt green turquoise, seems very useful for water as you'll actually see in this painting. Eso yellow is not blue. It's actually a very greenish yellow good for mixing fully age and stuff. Horizon Blue. That's a terrible name for that color, but it's basically a nice bright on the science side of blue. It's just useful for accents, maybe, and finally, cobalt turquoise, which inexplicably appears twice. So did Burnt Sienna, actually, and there is no hidden agenda or purpose or reason behind that. It's totally an accident, and lastly, I have some whitewash on the palate. Now go wash is not water colored washes like opaque watercolor. I actually don't use that wash in this painting, but sometimes I find it necessary because you know I want a pat something up or, you know, watercolor is such a fickle medium that sometimes I do want to go back in in just minor spots with some opacity again. I don't do it in this video, but it can be a very helpful thing. Just toe have in case of emergencies. Okay? And that about does it for the palate. But please don't go out and feel like you have to buy all my colors. I actually have too many colors on there. I could do well to reduce some of those. As long as you have access to the primaries and then some warm and cool variations of them , as well as a few earth tones and neutrals. You are good to go. 2. WatercolourInStrasbourg 2: all right, so let's get started. The first thing I want to say is this part is sped up the drawing part only because I want to get to the painting. My drawing is not very sophisticated when im sketching watercolors. I'm just putting things in to tell me where they go, so I've spent the drawing part up, but it will slow back down to real time once I get painting. So anyway, there's just placing some buildings in their notice. There's some Scotch tape around where the perimeter of the frame is. That helps the end result. Actually, it helps the sketch to have a nice hard edge, good for framing and anything else you might want to do with it. Notice the pencil is very un intuitive. It's like this short, fat little thing it's not very comfortable to draw with. And that's actually done on purpose because I don't want to spend too long thinking. I have to resolve my problems in the drawing. The Onley problem I'm resolving in the drawing is placement. You know how many buildings are there? How tall are they compared to the frame, you know? Where does the bridge ghost you can see that those questions are being answered, But by no means is this a good drawing. That's why I'm not really emphasizing it in this video. So I've spent it up, and in fact, even I'll even draw more basic than this. I'll mix the things like rectangles or circles. Sometimes you can kind of see that tree in the lower third. There, it's gonna be a tree. It's kind of like a basic weird sphere shape. That's all you need. Just placement. Here's some figures in there. I'm not even drawing them all. I want to find things in the painting process, not over commit in the drawing process. This is actually a trap. A lot of people fall into it, including me. I fell into it in my early stages as well, thinking you have to solve all the problems right away. So here I am, going right into the painting. Um, you're not going to see much of my palette, and that's not cause I'm hiding anything from you. It's just because that mixing color and water color, the color mixing happens on the paper because watercolors transparent so one color amplifies another, or maybe dolls, another it. It acts in conjunction with the colors on the paper. So just think of it in terms of warm and cool. When I go to my palette, I'm not really saying I'm mixing this super complex red color. I'm just saying I'm either mixing warmer, cool notice that sky has some warms and cools in the same sky. Eso block that in first, and then I'm just dropping some reds into that blue of the sky. You'll see how it all just kind of congeals into a nice statement later while the washes wet. That's really when you can add a ton of just nice little color varieties because watercolors magic, I mean it will. You can take a wet wash and just kind of mixed any color. You want into it. Seriously, just try and experiment with it while the washes wet, put any color, you have put it into that wash and watch watercolor do its magic. So now what I'm doing here is I'm blocking in the local colors of the buildings. Some of the buildings or more pink. Some of them are more yellow. Some of them are more white, and this is the time in the painting to really get those differences down. I find that as a rule, the first few colors, the first wash, really you put down in a watercolor painting that controls the entire harmony. Because, like I said a few minutes ago, watercolors, a transparent medium. Whatever you put down is going to stay down. You can't. It's not like oil paint where you could just paint over something or scrape it out with a palette knife. Whatever I put down your you are literally staining the paper. That's what watercolor does. It stains the white paper, and any paint you put on top of previously stained paper will just staying it more. Does that make sense? So notice. I'm trying to differentiate like that yellow from that pink, and I'm also doing something cool. I'm letting the colors bleed together. Notice the yellow building that I put down a moment ago. Once my hand gets out of the way, notice it blends in with the Pinker building that those washes, I allow them to mingle. That's another thing that is magic about watercolor. Let the water run, don't feel like you have to control everything. It's a very difficult thing to do because as artists and as people we want to control things on and we're used to drawings, let's say with pencil or with digital or whatever medium we have. Most mediums have a degree of control that you can reach with them. Watercolor will last that all that watercolor says, Hey, I'm in control, not you, the painter. Me, the paint is in control. You have to dance with me. I'm leading the dance. And that's what was one of the things I love about watercolor because the trade off, actually there is. If you condense with the watercolor, it will give back so many beautiful effects, just by way of the things that happened by accident washes, bleeding into other washes colors, bleeding into other colors and let watercolor do its thing. It's actually a very difficult, probably the hardest lesson to learn in watercolor is how to improvise with it in that manner, And I'm still working at that, you know, as I watched this very video as I narrate over the top, I see Areas Room like I and I wish I I just let go a little more in this particular moment or here. Maybe let this this wash blend into this wash a little more. I'm still learning in that area, but watercolor is truly a magical medium for that. Looking back at our reference, you can see it's an overcast day. Actually, when I started this painting, it was sunny, and I actually lay in some sunlight shadows very soon in the painting process. But then it switched to overcast, and it happened early enough in the process that I actually changed the overall design of the painting to be more overcast. You'll see me lay in some sunlight shadows very soon here, but I find that it's here. They hear that the shadows are right here in the shadows were there when I started, and then they went away. I find that it's actually not a good idea to chase light around like that. It's one of the biggest boons and frustrations of painting outdoors. As the light changes, you have to interact with nature and nature doesn't care about you getting a good painting . So it'll do everything from changing the light to changing the weather. Teoh blowing your canvas off. It's crazy in this case, the light changed, and it's up to me to decide what to do about that now. It happened early enough in the process that I was able to adjust to the new light, but sometimes I'll actually actually, most of the time I recommend not adjusting and actually trying to remember what it was that caught your attention in the first place. Of course, the best painting sessions are the ones where the light doesn't change and you get those every now and then. But when that happens, you should just consider yourself lucky. Eso I'm putting in some darks here. I'm establishing a full value range in the building's area, and that's kind of important thing to note. I have not touched the lower third of the canvas, mostly because I know that that's where my heavier darks will be, the bridge and the water, those air where most of the darks are those areas. So I kind of know that I don't really have to deal with it yet. If those were more of the lighter values than I probably would deal with that and you'll see as I produce more more of these videos, my approach changes based on the subject. So you know, I don't always work top to bottom like this, but in this case, the subject kind of allowed me to go that way, and I chose that path and not saying it's the right way or the wrong way or whatever. It's just the way I reacted to this subject that day on. And that's and that's also one of the best parts about painting outdoors is it's your immediate reaction. You have no time to second guess yourself. You have no time for undoing that. It's just you look, you react and you paint and, you know, guess what? You're going to fail if you do. If you paint outdoors enough. I mean, every painting is up for grabs, whether it's a success or failure, and I fail, I feel all the time this this one happened to be a successor or to some degree of success. It's not like it's either failure or 100% success. I might have like a 70% success or, you know, I might like some areas and not like other areas. I always evaluate my work on that level. You know, I'm very strict with my own, the quality of my own work. But in general, like the most beautiful part about painting outdoors is nature. Like I said doesn't care about you getting a good painting. You have to respond very quickly. Also, the medium of watercolor demands that you just get on with it. You can't sit there in noodle around on one area because it's a transparent medium. You only have. You know, let's say roughly three washes before things get unworkable. After three washes, that is like a stain on top of a stain on top of a stain. Um, the paper gets clogged E and you know you're the paint you put down is muddying up the colors that underneath it. So in my experience, you only get a few shots at any one area. Some watercolor artists work back to front front, back. In this case, I'm working from top to bottom, so in the next section will start laying in the bridge area 3. WatercolourInStrasbourg 3: So here we go. Here's some of the bridge coming in big dark line notice. I like the texture of the dry brush texture that happened there. We'll try and let that live on the page as long as possible and just going for it, right? My pencil sketches there, guiding me as to where things are placed. But then, you know, as you can see, I'm being very careful now when I draw these windows and stuff because that's the final word on it, those of the final shapes. So I have not yet talked about my brushes. The main brush I use in like 90% of this painting is this Raffaele Quill mop brush, specifically made for watercolor. It's very soft. It's animal hair. I really recommend sharp round brush is for watercolor. So the nice thing about it is if it comes to a nice point so you can get, you know, because you could see me doing right now very fine work. But also you can just push a little harder and get very broad brush strokes with the same brush so you can paint your stuff with just one brush. If you wanted to So again, that's a Raffaele Quil mop brush. The shape is round. I actually bought that brush in in Strasbourg is and this was my first painting with that brush, but I use round brushes for all of my watercolor stuff. And if you're an online shopper, I also like to buy brushes from a PV films dot com. They released a series of artists films, including tons of watercolor stuff. So if you want more videos from real master watercolor artists, a PV films dot com has got you covered. They also sell like signature. Siri's brushes. I love this buck vich brushes. I like the casting net brushes their all round with sharp points. So you know, it's a similar theme there. Anyway, I've blocked in this dark foliage. I find that foliage, trees and bushes they are great areas for dark. You can see the bush there on the left. It really helps frame those buildings. Getting some nice dark values into your water color is essential, and it's actually one of the faults of a lot of early like student work is, people seem to be timid of getting dark shapes in there. Now what I recommend is watercolor is a medium where people think you have to start very light and then work a darker and darker and darker. And certainly you can do that. But remember, it's also possible to just go in with a very dark mixture. And that is how I like to approach. Things that I know are very dark, like foliage like that bridge. Whenever I have something very dark that's intended to be a dark value, there's no real reason to go lighter. And then dark, dark, dark. That kind of just muddies up the paper. I would rather just state it as a dark mixture. What that means on your palate is you just have to mix things a little bit thicker with less water in order for the darkness to come through, the more water you have in a mixture in water color the lighter it's gonna dry. You kind of have to imagine the water evaporates off the page, leaving just the pigment right. So when you're putting it down and all the water almost makes the mixtures look darker than they are, and then when it evaporates, it becomes lighter. It's just a feel thing you'll have to get a feel for it with experience. You know, I can tell you that that happens, but until you experience it for yourself, you really won't start calibrating your own like mental gauge on how how thick a mixture should be. So I just let you know that that happens anyway. So I'm at the point now in the painting where I've pretty much got the top half more or less there. I mean, there's still a little more work to do, but it's it's there. And I'm only about 15 minutes into the painting, which is good. I'm at a good pace, right? This is a sketch. This is not a studio painting. This is me responding to the subject to never forget that. So very soon I'm going to kind of grow tired of the top half of this painting, and I need to move on to the bottom. But right now I'm just, you know, I've got a dark mixture on my brush, and I'll use it to stain the paper darker in order to find little window sills. And you know, areas of dark accent where the windows are little little dots and things that make it less neat. Here's some antenna as they stick out of the rooftops. Little chimneys would have you. Some of this is even made up some of its there. But if I see like one or two antennas, I'll put like five or six in just toe, have it have a bit of repetition and therefore has a place in the painting. So the paper I'm using is Saunders Waterford £140 cold press watercolor block. Okay, so let's break that down. Ah, Block means unlike a sketchbook, where you can flip the pages a block, they're all glued together. What that does for watercolor is it makes it so. The paper doesn't buckle when you know when washes air applied cause it's glued down on all sides. It's kind of like fake stretching, so that's a block, and I use 100 £40. You can use £300 but £300 a little thick for me, especially when I'm just sketching. £200 might be better for studio work, but I love £140 paper. It's just the right size for me, and also it's Cold press, which means that it's textured. Hot press is smooth. Cold press has tooth. Now in this video, you can't see that the camera doesn't pick up the fine tooth. But trust me. In fact, you can see it when I put those dry brush strokes down, like on the bridge there. See how that breaks up the paint. That's the tooth of the paper, really affecting how the paint goes down. Very, very nice for texture. Some of you are probably familiar with the process of stretching watercolor paper, and that's a beautiful surface to work on as well. But I find that for me, it's useful in the studio when I have so much time to do that. But when I'm working outdoors again, I just want to get to it. I don't wanna have to deal with pre stretching my paper. That, to me, is a waste of time. I want to get out there, and the Saunders watercolor £140 cold press block really allows me to do that. So anyway, what? I'm I've kind of slowed down here, and this is actually I'm watching this. I'm like I really should be speeding up, not slowing down But I'm I guess I'm trying to fiddle with some of these windows and just make sure my statement is right there on the buildings before moving into the people. And here's some basic washes on the figures, um, populating that bridge and just working at that area. Now this is a quick wash for the base of the bridge that feeds into the water. And while that's wet, I wanna work into that. And this is a good time to talk about wet versus dry, which we will do in the next section. 4. WatercolourInStrasbourg 4: when you work wet into wet watercolor gives you beautiful soft edges like Watch this as I put this color in for the water. This is that turquoise color, by the way, watches it interacts with the still wet wash of the base of the bridge. Those edges air going to soften ever so subtly as the water is still wet and it mixes one wash into the next. It's this beautiful, soft edged effect that Onley watercolor can give you. I mean, you could paint soft edges in any medium, but the way that watercolor makes soft edges with wet into wet washes is just inimitable. You can't get it in any other medium. You can't imitate it, and it's just I love it so much. I'm addicted to it. So here's some new darker washes. Going into the still wet water washing, you can see it's blending and bleeding in. It's beautiful, it's it's that area where I'm no longer in control. The only control I have is that I know it's wet into wet. But after that watercolor is gonna do its thing, it's gonna paint for me. The only medium. It does that, of course, when wash is dry when you allow wash to dry on your page, and then you put another Washington it that's called wet over dry. And then you'll have, ah, more predictable hard edge water. Good water color needs toe have both. It's very easy to avoid. Wet into wet is very uncontrollable and instead favor wet into dry because it's more controllable. But if you do that your watercolors will look stilted, they won't have life. Getting a nice balance of wet into wet with wet into dry is the way to go when you want a painting like this. I mean, in this particular style, I mean, you can, of course, paint however you like, But if you're watching me paint your you want to know what I think, then you know you and you need a mix of both in order to keep the interest up. It's about a very dark, the dark mixture I've got on my brush, which is probably burnt sienna with ultramarine blue with maybe a little A's Oh, green in It s a yellow That is sorry. Um, you know, nice dark mixture. You know, I don't really think of colors when I mix on my palate. That's why I'm not showing you my palette again. It's it's not that I'm hiding anything is I either think about warm or cool, and then you know maybe how dark the mixes that's going down in the paper and the mix you just saw me painting with. There was a very thick, dark mixture with a maybe slightly warm temperature. So here comes. The water is dry now, so here comes some reflections, so you notice as I put this washed down. It's not bleeding wet into wet cause that water is now dry and that will allow me to have more control over the shapes. Now, even in this area, notice that water is running down. That's because there's just a lot of water on my brush and my paper is vertical, so water will run down the page with gravity, and I'll just embrace that. I've learned to not be such a stickler about that. I will. If watercolor wants to do something, I will let it do it on, not fight with it. What I'm doing, you know, right now is I'm just wet into wet, getting some darks to bleed beautifully. together, letting watercolor paint it for me and just a couple little marks and there to indicate some basic reflections. It's an indication, right? I'm not trying to replicate reality what this is. This is clean water going into the still wet wash to give me just a basic impression of a reflection, a reflection of the base of the bridge into the water. So again, this is clean water, and, ah, well, actually, now it's just a very light wash, just getting a bit of form here. But you notice as that water, you know, drips down vertically down the page. It's actually removing some pigment, and there you go. You can just see it snapped into some reflections there. And that's just again that all that was was a clean water going into a wash that removes some of the pigment. It's a water covers a very interesting way of painting. It's ah demands that you think outside the box a little bit, and, you know, unlike oil paint, where you kind of mix exactly the color you see watercolors. Different watercolor is yet to be a little more clever, which is one of the reasons why I find it so challenging and why I love it so much. The brush I have in my hand now, unlike the quality Rafael Quill mop brush. This is a cheap $2 synthetic brush, and it's terrible. But I find that in some areas it gives me a nice dry brush look, and I'm using it to paint those timbered areas of the houses without them being so insistent. Six AM using a lot of the paper texture because that brush being so cheap it doesn't really hold pigment very well. But I'll actually use that to my advantage in some parts. So you know, I find there's a use for real cheap brushes as well. But in general the main brushy pain with like the Raffaele Quill mop brush. That's a fairly expensive brush, and I do find that with watercolor, you really get what you pay for when it comes to materials, and that includes paper and pigment. Oh, and I actually forgot to mention my paints are manufactured by Windsor Newton and whole Bine and Daniel Smith. Those were kind of the three that I use. I just find them all good. I mean, as long as you're not using student grade color use professional grade watercolor. All the brands are really nice as long as you're using professional grade. So continuing work just battering that cheap brush around getting, you know, Dr Rush textures. Here and there, things are looking pretty good. I'm about 20 minutes into the painting roughly, and you know I'm really getting there. There's there's not a whole lot more to do. I still have to resolve those people, of course, and maybe a bit of information in the distance. But when it comes to a watercolor sketch, remember, you're sketching. You're not trying to copy. I'm certainly not trying to paint every window on every building. I'm just trying to get an impression of this area because, after all, I'm traveling here. I love traveling and, you know, my wife is just off screen waiting for me. I mean, she enjoys when I paint as well. She sits beside me and reads her book, or in this case, she was monitoring what I was filming on the iPad. So thank you to Rene for that. But you know, if your especially for traveling with friends or with your spouse, they want to move on. They don't want to sit there and watch you paint for two hours, so I typically spend between 30 or 40 minutes on any one of these paintings. I find that if I spend longer than 40 minutes, I am overworking it. And that is my biggest weakness is overworking, and I think that's I'm not alone in that. I think a lot of people I noticed specifically in my students, people really overworked things. A lot of beginners do and even even me. I'm a professional artist. My biggest weakness is overworking. I don't know what it is. It's a psychological thing where it's very hard sometimes to evaluate honestly where you are in real time. You know, I can easily look at the painting right now from I'm a week removed from painting this Aiken easy. Look at it and say, I should have done this should have done that. But when you're in the moment, it's extremely hard to know what it needs. Um, that is a skill. I'm constantly working on decision making in the moment. It's kind of like, you know, being in a car, navigating really complex traffic or something, you're going to make movements on instinct. And that happens with painting, too. And sometimes your instincts are good, and sometimes they can lead you into a bit of an accident and other times complete Rex. 5. WatercolourInStrasbourg 5: So I'm at the point now where, like I said, the time is ticking. And I know I'm getting close to the overworking part of the process, so I'm just gonna try and get these figures in and see if I can call it a day. So I'm I've got some basic, you know, this is some red there for the skin tone. When it comes to figures, I'm being extremely impressionistic about it. I'm just trying to indicate, you know, red backpack here, a red shirt there. You know, I had read on my brush, so I just found areas of red in the sea of figures that are gonna be crossing that bridge and then also is to another color. I might find some blue pants or black jackets are You know, I find that Just keep it simple and keep those shapes really chunky and let wet into wet washes happen. The last thing you want to do is have these very sharp figures in a softer background. I mean, that can work, actually, but in this picture, the figures are not the focal point. The focal point is the buildings. That's why I stopped to paint I stopped because I really was interested in how those buildings interacted with the ravine with the bridge. I like those shapes. The figures are ancillary. They kind of need to be there for a bit of movement. But they're certainly not the main draw of this picture, so they need to be treated as such. And again, that's another skill of painting outdoors versus painting from photographs. Because when you paint from a photo, the camera makes everything equal. The camera is not an emotional thing. The camera shoots a picture and everything is equally hard edged and equally important. And it's actually quite difficult from there to form an emotional opinion about your subject. The temptation is to copy what the camera did versus when you paint from life and you're experiencing the seen with your own two eyes in your own mind, you automatically sort things out in your head like you know, I love the buildings. I don't really care so much for the figures, these air reactions you have emotionally, you know, someone else might look at this scene and want to pay more attention to the figures that be totally valid for me, though it's about the buildings. So I gave the buildings the most real estate on the page. They're the most interesting in terms of contrast, and likewise, I will play down the figures in order to cast them into their appropriate spot in the hierarchy. So training that kind of reaction is actually a very important artistic skill. It goes beyond painting and drawing and technique. Training yourself to understand your own emotional reaction and put that onto the page. That's why I paint from life and you'll find that discipline carries over directly to when you're working from your imagination. Because you have all this experience that kind of subliminally builds up in your subconscious. Almost. At least I find that with enough outdoor experience like this, when I'm trying to pull things out of my imagination, I pull from all these little areas of experience really alright. So back to the painting what I'm doing here, I put in that shadow cast shadow on the right, which was not actually there in real life. It's just I'm afraid of too much white space on the right side, so that shadow just helped subdue some of that. And while that washes on my brush. I'm dotting it around other areas. Just, you know, while while you have something on your brush, just see where else it can go. It's something I learned many years ago from a painting teacher who's I can't member who exactly taught me that. But I always remember that when you have something on your brush, see where else it can go. So I often like dot things around like that. The painting is at a point now where it's, um, getting close again. I'm inching my way to have finish. I find that at the beginning of the painting, the process is very quick. The things you put in the beginning, things evolve very quickly and you get a picture very fast. At least that's what I go for. But then, at the end, it's a It's a slowing down process where the question becomes okay. What do I need to dio to unify this thing and bring it to a finish? Because at the beginning you were bringing everything into existence, right? So you can actually work very quickly with literally the broad brush strokes. But you know, at this point the broad strokes are all in there, so now I have to actually make the smaller brush strokes and bring it to a finish. But you can actually ruin paintings here because you can put too much small stuff in, and that could be a huge danger. There's some nice wash of water that I'm just erasing out with my finger. I love that stuff I love when watercolor does what it wants to dio. I used to hate it. I used to be afraid of that. But now when the watercolor spills, it's a blessing. I'm stealing that from Joseph's Buck Fitch, who says, Ah, watercolor When it does what it wants to dio, it's a gift from heaven because it looks good when the when the water does runs where it wants to run, it looks nice. Looks organic because it's not human controlled. It's a It's like a natural phenomenon. Whenever you could get that into a painting, you kind of treasure those elements. So sometimes, you know, load up the brush with some water and just kind of see what it wants to dio. Sometimes you again, it's it's something you control. It's a bit of chaos you control into the process and, yeah, feeling good and just it's this constant stage of, you know, when you're watching a painting in real time like this. This is where the demo gets kind of boring, to be honest, because I'm not really doing anything that alters the picture, the pictures there for better or worse. And the way I evaluate it is, does it tell the story of what I'm looking at? Does it evoke the feeling of people you know, walking across the bridge amid these beautiful French buildings? It doesn't matter to me that I've missed, you know, 50 Windows and made some buildings wider and some buildings narrower, because when you take that sketch home, none of that stuff matters. On Lee. The feeling matters. These sketches for me are just It's kind of an extension of living, really. It's a visual journal. In fact, when I painted my sketchbook, it's literally a journal. I also write down just some thoughts of, you know, things I've thinking about while I paint in these larger sketches. I don't do that in these larger sketches. I just kind of label them, you'll see at the end. I label the place, put the date, sign it, and then it kind of just goes into a big pile of water colors that I have in my closet. And the coolest thing is, when I go over my old paintings, I look over them. It instantly puts me back to that place. I can remember exactly. You know what? I ate for lunch that day. I remember the smell in the air. I remember standing here. You know that this sketch will remind me of Strasbourg forever. And, you know, I know that's at least true to the extent of a decade because I have paintings from 10 years ago and I'm instantly put back to that place. It's kind of like a method of time travel, and I'm totally serious. This is really cool thing that I don't think I've experienced in any other way. Painting to me is a vehicle for traveling through time. So this what I'm capturing here is the time capsule. And then when I look at it, you know, in 10 years I will, you know, transport right back to this sketch or to this area, of course, is even more special because I'm actually making a video of it, which I don't often do right. I don't usually paint with a GoPro attached to my sketchbook, but yeah, it's a really cool way of almost chronicling your own life. Has weird is that sounds because it's so easy to forget things. We all know that, right? But this is one moment I will never forget, thanks to watercolor. So as I continue to noodle my way an inch my way around the paper I am noticing. As I'm watching this, I'm starting toe over. Work some things and this is good. You know, this is not a perfect sketch, and I'm glad you're seeing this. See how the paper around where the figures are. It's starting to get a little bit muddy. My colors. You can tell that the paper is thick with pigment where the figures are in the base of the bridge. It's not terrible yet, but if I do anything else there, I'm just gonna be ruining it. So I noticed that when I was there alive, and that's why I strayed from that area, because there's really nothing else. Aiken dio. This is where you can use some white wash if you wanted to pull up some highlights on the figures you can use some whitewash just toe lay over the watercolor, which I actually don't do here. I left enough white paper and painted around those figures. So the white paper that I left behind acts is the highlight. And the only thing I feel like I'm missing is the railing that's on the bridge. For better or worse, I feel like that should go in. It's a bit of a risky proposition now, though, because such a last minute ad, so I'm actually using a black marker here. It's again. It's a sketch. Anything goes. I've got a black marker, just lays right over the water color. Um, I'm at risk of darkening that area too much of this point, I think, and you can make your own decision as to whether this is working or not. Number. Earlier, I said, like success comes in percentages. It's very rare to have 100% success. This railing. I don't think if I were to go back in time, I don't think I would put it in, and I think it's a bit overbearing. One of my old teachers as Scott Christenson, Great landscape painter. He talked about this concept of What can the painting bear? It's not the same as what's in real life. Real life can bear infinite amounts of detail. Nature is infinitely nuanced, but you're painting is not. Your painting has a threshold and beyond. A certain threshold you're painting can no longer bear any more information. And I met the risk now of introducing new information that the painting cannot bear. So, you know, that's something to keep in mind. It's this constant balancing act. Ah, and you know that that bridge area might very well be slightly overworked in this sketch. I still think it looks okay. Like, I mean, I wouldn't release this video if I thought this painting was a failure. But I do want to emphasize that every time I sketch, I always evaluate, you know the whole picture first. Like, does the whole picture work? Yes or no? And I think yes in this in this case. But then it's like, you know, how well did I do hear? How well did I manage this? How well did I pull off that? And then you can really dive into your own minute successes and failures and subsets of brushstrokes and all these things that is, you know, viewer your own personal evaluation of yourself. You know, again, while I have that black marker in my hand, I'll just dot you know, little little dark accents here and there. It kind of helps pop certain things out. I kind of enjoy Ah, again, watercolor. One thing that people have trouble with with watercolors getting in some real nice darks. And you know, you could you could get a black marker and in, you know, afterwards, just put in some little dark accents here and there. And I think that really helps. Don't overdo this, though. It's very easy to overdo this stage, and in fact, a lot of the times I won't even do this. But in this painting, I felt like I could use a few dark accents here and there. In fact, accenting can be done not just with darks, but you can. You can do color accents, which I'll actually do in a moment. You conduce shape accents if you want to sharpen a certain shape here, there. This is the moment to look at the micro compositions like zoom into certain areas of your painting and just intensify the effect like you're some dark accents in the windows. Obviously, I'm still holding that black marker, so anything I do now will be basically a dark accent. It's not detail, though. I'm not adding detail. I'm just making certain shapes a little more prominent, the shapes already there. I'm not adding anything. I'm just deepening certain values and going back in with my cheap brush, just adding a few more of those dry brush strokes in this area that I've been kind of struggling with the whole painting. It was this blank area, so just putting those timbered structures in there, Well, I have that brushing my hand. I'll see if I can accent anything else with it. These air just super subtle tweaks here is some blue just loaded, just thick blue from the palate. There was some sign posts there in real life that added some nice color accents, So just throw some of those in to taste, you know, sometimes, actually, all a lot of the time I'll invent those accents, but when you're painting from life, you confined like really deep reds and street signs or blues and street signs. People's clothing. Um, I even like to put it in areas that don't make sense, like I'll make windows really blue. In other sketches, you'll see me doom or that this one because that the weather was so overcast, I felt it would be less likely to have a lot of color accents. But you see right now in putting some reds in the windows, just subtle stuff that you know, helps helps areas pop just a little bit more. It's the little things you can do to bring your sketch home, that that's what the goal is at the end here. And when I find myself doing this, I'm trying to train and alarm to go off in my head like a Pavlovian dog or something. I'm trying to train the alarm bell in my head to say, OK, you are overworking and you are finished, you know, don't do much more because you're at risk here. Finishing a painting, I think, is much harder than starting a painting, and this is something I only learned with years of experience. I always thought the hard part was starting because you know you're going from nothing to something when you start. But actually that's quite freeing because you can almost do anything at the start and your work your way out of anything. But when you're finishing a painting, the danger is you can't go back. Like if you put something that over does an area that's very hard to go back. So I'll stop myself and I will now peel off the tape. This is I love this. This is the magic, the final magic of watercolor peeling off that tape. You get that beautiful razor sharp edge and it kind of improves the presentation of your sketch like threefold at least. And I'm just labelling the place Strasbourg, Make sure I get the spelling right. I have sometimes misspelled the place that I'm at, which is always embarrassing. But anyway, now this sketch will be in my memory banks forever. And after completing it, I know that I have just a little more experience than I had before. Eso that's it. Thanks so much for joining me, and I really hope this inspires you to get out there with some water color