Tuesday, August 9

Notebook or Sketchbook Watercolor Style

A Pen&Ink Drawing
from My Sketchbook
I have been looking at the paintings of various watercolor painters recently and noticed the wide variety of styles that artists use to render their work. This is, of course, no surprise, as there is a (very) wide variety of styles.

But, in looking at particular artists’ watercolor paintings I began to notice a certain style of which I could not put a name to. I know what the terms photo-realism and representational and impressionistic mean--even the less descriptive term, loose.

However, the watercolors I like all had a particular “style” that, as I said, I couldn’t put my finger on.

To me, these paintings certainly appeared loose, but at the same time they are also full of specific elements or objects that are rendered rather precisely, although not photo-realistically. That is, they appear to be loose washes of color used for the background colors of objects, but followed with more precise brushstrokes used to show detail—or maybe vice-versa—I don’t know.

I decided to look at some of my watercolor reference books to see if I could figure this out. In Watercolor Tips & Tricks by David Norman, I think I found what I was looking for. In a section on initial sketches, he says sometimes pencil lines from a sketch are left to “create a notebook style.” He says this can be effective but should not be over done.

Then I Googled “notebook style of painting” and, of course got a slew of hits. Wikipedia has an entry called Notebook (style), which primarily discussed how writers use notebooks to jot down thoughts and ideas. But in the last paragraph, it said notebooks used by artists are referred to as sketchbooks and then talked about Leonardo da Vinci’s use of sketchbooks for his art and sculptures.

Of course, I then had to Google “sketchbooks in watercolor paintings” and found the entry: Sketchbook . This entry has a really good discussion on sketchbooks and their uses. In addition, it has links to the sketchbook art of many famous painters (not necessarily watercolor painters), such as Rembrandt, JMW Turner, and John Singer Sargeant in addition to da Vinci. But the main takeaway was the ability to quickly record impressions through sketching and I suppose, watercolor.

There may not be an official style of watercolor painting called “notebook” or “sketchbook.” However, look at the work of David Norman or Eugen Chisnicean. You may agree that this light and airy watercolor style looks as if paintings were rendered on the spot.

If anyone has more or better information on this “style,” please leave a comment.

Happy Painting!

No comments:

Post a Comment