I‘m Lisbe, 56, from South Africa. I am not a professional watercolour artist yet, but working hard to become one someday. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I am dedicated to making a success.
I used to paint in oils, but 5 years ago, I took part in a watercolour workshop, with one of South Africa’s best watercolour artists, Bill McGill. From there, I’ve become addicted to watercolour, because it can produce painting effects which no other medium can match.
I am an outdoor person, grew up on a farm, from there came my love for nature. My husband, Hennie and I travel a lot. We love camping. While travelling, I took a lot of photos, in this way I get a lot of images for my next paintings.
Painting and my love for wildlife says it all. My focus on painting wildlife is the animal itself. I’ve learned “what you leave out is just as important as what you put in.”
In a piece of work, I aim to capture the natural state of the subject, whether it be in motion or resting, whilst adding my own interpretation which I hope to be recognisable.
Painting wildlife or landscapes takes patience, good luck and timing. I want to draw the viewer into the painting through the use of color, perspective and drama.
My Thoughts On Watercolor Painting
- If you’re using photos to sketches from, make sure they are your own.
- Composition is key. The most technically accurate animals won’t make a good painting.
- Refining a drawing first can pay dividends later on. Begin by blocking in basic shapes. I try to represent as much of the animal as possible in just a handful of shapes.
- Choose focal point, such as an eye, check horizontal and vertical alignments too.
- Plan your painting, when constructing a scene, many elements must be considered, especially if you are assembling several animals in one picture.
- Light is of primary importance. It brings out the true story of a painting. The sun is an integral part of my work.
In watercolour, it is often best to lay in a wash of the main colour of the animal and then add the markings in later, wet on dry. I use a minimum of drawing in my landscape paintings, to try to paint as loose as possible. For my wildlife paintings, I add a bit more detail in my drawings.
For my paints, I use Winsor & Newton artist watercolours. For watercolour paper, I use Fabriano, Bockingford 300gsm and Arches. A spray bottle, specifically for my landscapes, helps me to control the dampness as I need.
I try to get the right colours immediately. If I am not satisfied, I start all over again. Sometimes, just one out of 5 paintings I will be satisfied with.
Thank you Charlie for inviting me to be featured on your inspiring blog for watercolour artists.
Lisbe van Wyk
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!