Learning Control

This is another exercise from Jean Haines’ Atmospheric Watercolours book. This exercise is all about learning to control watercolour – getting it to move in the directions you wish it to…..

I started with a blank piece of paper and imagine a white circle in the middle.  I next painted two lines around the edge of this imaginary circle, roughly top and bottom with gaps….

Watercolour Control 1 - NB

I then bleed the colour away from the circle with a wet brush. I dropped in more pigment and then bleed the colour away again in the direction you wish it to go. The colour only goes in the direction you invite it to with the brush and water….

Watercolour Control 2 - NB

Watercolour Control 3 - NB

The colour will not enter the white circle unless you “invite” it to with your brush and water….

Watercolour Control 4 - NB

Above you can see that the edges of the circle are blurred because I invited the pigment into the circle with a wet brush.

This was a very simple exercise but I found it very useful. Again, this was not about producing a “masterpiece” or finished piece of work, but simply to learn how we can control watercolour using brushstrokes, placement of water and pigment….

I like my circles and I used Khadi paper for these exercises. From the top, the colours I used were Yellow Ochre, Phthalo Turquoise, Phthalo Blue, Indigo and Prussian Blue.

21 thoughts on “Learning Control

  1. Lovely, Evelyn! And you are so polite to your paint, “inviting” it in lol lol!

    Sorry not to be around much. We are going through a lot atm. My hubby has broken his leg and after 10 days is now in hospital having it pinned as it’s not mending properly, and on Sat. evening my mum died.


    1. So sorry to hear about your husband’s broken leg and about your mum too – very sad. With all this going on I’m surprised you found time to comment on my post, but thank you for your comment Shoshi – I love this Jean Haines book, it’s so inspirational! I hope in the new year things will be better for you….

      1. Hi Evelyn, thank you so much for your reply, here and on my blog. Yes, we’ll get through it somehow. It would help if my dear hubby would behave himself and do what he’s told, i.e resting his leg, not messing about finding papers etc. – things I could easily do! Enough hassle in my life atm without my having to sit on him. Do you think Ebay sells lead wellies?! As if a plaster and not being able to put his foot down weren’t enough to immobilise him!!

        We are definitely looking forward to things improving next year. Since we moved here 4 yrs ago we seem to have had so many problems and difficulties and I long for a period of normality and peace and quiet, and the opportunity for the time and energy to do some ART!!!

        Shoshi x

  2. Lack of control is one reason I’m frustrated with watercolours, even though I love them! I always say I have a love-hate relationship with them. You’ve achieved some beautiful control with your circles!

    1. Thank you Zsuzsa – it’s not easy to control wàtercolour but it càn be learnt with practice and perseverance….. apparently !! I think it’s about understanding the nature of watercolour and working with it rather than against it. This was a fun exercise to do…. !

  3. Hi Evelyn,

    Great to connect with you! Lovely blog.

    I’m Jo – artist, writer, traveller, mental health advocate, music lover, wild west nut intrigued by science, and renaissance soul with a potty sense of humour.

    Four years ago I began a three-year journey towards miraculous full recovery after thirty years of depression – a medication crisis was the catalyst, I’ve never felt this good – and I’m chronicling the rebuild of my polymath and adventurous, creative lifestyle on my blog, Creating My Odyssey

    I’m networking with creatives with mental health issues and reaching people with a voice, and those with depression in particular, to show that depression is the most treatable of mental illnesses.

    By enormous good chance through my medication crisis and wonderful neighbours, we met the brilliant mental health team, who, with a combination of medication (known as California Rocket Fuel – love it!) and cognitive behavioural therapy, brought me to where I am now. Which proves that provided sufferers know where to look, help is available. That’s the hard part, which shouldn’t be the case.

    I’m also posting blog links on my site and would love to exchange links and guest posts with other bloggers, particularly on mental health matters, so if you’re interested, I’d love to hear from you. Also, if possible, to collaborate with other creatives who suffer or have suffered from mental health problems. Possibly exchange blog posts about creative lives, whatever ideas anyone may have. I’m open to (almost!) anything!

    Jo UK

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog Jo. Thankfully, I have never suffered from any mental health issues and hope I never do. So I can’t offer any practical or personal information on this topic.

      I’m pleased you’ve found a path that let to a full recovery for you and I hope through your blog you can inspire others who suffer in a similar way….

      1. Hello Evelyn,

        I’m so sorry I never saw your response! The result of my forever bulging inbox and total disorganization. Thank you so much for responding. Where are you in the west country? One of my favourite parts of the country. I’m in Hampshire.


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