My name is Diane Klock (Follow me on my blog, Facebook and visit my website!). Thank you so much for letting me share my passion for watercolor and sketching with you. I am a city mouse/ country mouse of sorts as my husband and I split our time between New York City and Litchfield, Connecticut.
I am self-taught. I did many, if not most, of those exercises in all the art books that we all collect. I am grateful to the wonderful workshop teachers God has placed in my path throughout the last 15 years to further my painting journey and now my focus on teaching, inspiring and encouraging others on their own art journey. Those that have influenced me the most are Charles Sovek, Pat Weaver and Eric Wiegardt.
I love the transparency and feel of watercolor; the fact that it travels well. We all have to paint what we love and love what we paint. I love the energy of the city and the pops of color everywhere. I also enjoy cafes, landscapes, the shore and marinas that I find throughout our travels. We travel quite a bit now that my husband is retired so a sketchbook and small watercolor kit are a must. I paint and sketch rather quickly and try to just record my impression or sense of place.
I use a limited palette when painting in watercolor. Cobalt blue, Ultramarine blue, Permanent Rose, Aureolin, and Quinacridone burnt orange are my basic palette with candy colors used for punch (vermillion and cobalt turquoise). Using red, yellow and blue, learning to mixing your own colors is the way to go. Rather than looking for Burnt Umber make a dark brown with red, yellow and blue. You will learn to mix color, think in terms of warm and cool colors, light and dark and save money. An added bonus for plein air painters is that you carry less paint.
I use Arches 140 pound cold press bright white paper regular or rough. I often paint without drawing after doing many sketches and little practices and just go for it. I also usually use a timer for say 45 minutes to 1:15 hours for a ¼ sheet. I finally burnt out the timer on my microwave and now have a little timer I use. I find painting quickly leaves less time to noodle around. I am a direct painter and “Lay it and Leave it “is my motto.
I paint wet paint on dry paper and then work into it; very rarely do I wash on top of wash or glaze. I also tend to start with a mid value to dark and work backwards compared to most watercolor painters who paint light to dark.
The best advice I can share that you can start using tomorrow is: practice, practice, and practice. Make an artist date with yourself. Do lots of little practices making sure you have light, middle and dark values in your painting, put your focal point in the right place and use fresh tube paint. Most of all have fun and enjoy the painting process. The more you paint the better you will become.
I painted for two years with just cobalt blue, aureolin, permanent rose, an 1” angular flat brush, an 8 round and 1/8 watercolor paper. It is amazing what you can learn with limited supplies. I now have a few more colors but not many, as you can see, and do like larger round brushes and ¼ to ½ sheets of paper. Just give it a try and have fun.
In the last few years I have become addicted to sketching with a watercolor wash after joining Sketchbook Skool online. It is a wonderful site started by Danny Gregory and former Koosje Koene (a former Guest artist on Doodlewash), after taking a 6-week course I was hooked and now my sketchbook is attached to my hip. When you take the time to sketch your day or travels you will relax and observe things you never noticed before. You will improve your hand-eye coordination and the better you draw the better you will paint. The best part… your sketch will bring back memories of your travels years later far better than any photo can.
I usually use a Canson Montval Field watercolor sketchbook, an ultra fine Sharpie marker, a small watercolor set of my usual colors, a water brush and 1 small round travel brush. I sketch quickly just trying to get a sense of place and impression of my day, where I am. Then I put a wash of color over it, many times, not until I get home. When using a sketchbook, it is fine to use dry paint and a water brush or small travel brush. You don’t need fresh paint like you do when doing a watercolor painting.
I hope I have encouraged you to try some new things. I have been seriously painting about 15 years and know life gets in the way, so have your gear all set up and ready to go. I have a plein air kit ready and an easel set up in the corner of my apartment and, of course, my sketchbook near my purse. Have fun, enjoy the process and if I can help you in any way please just email me via my web site.
Charlie, a huge thank you for letting me share my love of watercolor and watercolor sketching with your Doodlewash readers.
“Keep your brush wet and your sketchbook by your side.”