Hi, my name is Dhruba Mazumder and I am a watercolourist. I live and work in Bucharest, Romania. I started painting with watercolours around 8 years back. My first inspiration about watercolour painting was when I visited an art event called Chitra Santhe (meaning Art Fair) in Bengaluru, India, in January, 2009.
The medium intrigued me with its bright, dynamic and spontaneous appearance. In spite of watercolour being considered an unforgiving and complicated painting medium, I took the challenge of trying my hands on it. I immediately fell in love with this beautiful medium. Ever since then I have been learning a bit more about watercolour painting every single day.
Art Materials For Watercolour Painting
The two most important art materials in watercolour painting are good quality pigments and papers. The watercolor pigments I use are Kokuyo Camel, MaimeriBlu, Mission Gold and Gouache from Winsor & Newton. I paint on artist quality, acid free, 100 percent cotton watercolour papers.
The watercolour brushes I use are made both of natural and synthetic hair. These are flat and round shape brushes of various sizes depending on the measure of the artwork. Any round brush with a fine point and water holding capacity is good to work with. I prefer a watercolour palette with big mixing areas.
My painting style is modern impressionistic and I love to paint landscapes as well as cityscapes. Vast and wide spaces are always interesting to be captured in paintings. Yet it is not the subject but the mood, light and atmosphere of it that inspires me most.
Light creates amazing magic when it scatters over different surfaces creating beautiful abstract shapes. These shapes as a design are the first inspiration for me to create a visual composition.
I get inspirations to draw and paint everywhere. I keep a sketchbook, a few pens and pencils always with me and try to sketch. These sketches help me in observing and solving visual designs. Later on, some of these sketches become resourceful for bigger paintings.
Importance Of Sketching
I love to sketch and paint live which gives fresh and spontaneous results of a scene, rather than from a photograph, be it on location or inside.
Unfortunately, photographs average out everything from tonal value ranges, colors to edge quality, reducing depth and space. These are vital elements with which to create a successful visual composition.
My Painting Process
My painting process is simple. I prefer to paint on a quarter or half of an imperial size watercolor paper depending on the subject. Watercolour is a dynamic medium. The pigments diluted with water need enough surface area on the paper to move and mingle to do their own magic. Working on smaller size papers reduces this opportunity.
Before starting a painting, I try to have a clear idea of the three major aspects of the composition:
- The tonal value shapes of light, mid-tone and dark.
- The color scheme.
- Lost & found edges.
As we know, watercolour is either a transparent or semi-transparent medium. Laying a layer on previous layer(s) results in changed hues and tonal values. Painting without a basic plan may lead to an unexpected and often unsatisfactory result.
I start with a HB/2B mechanical pencil to do the initial underline drawing. I put only the main and important shapes as suggestions. Our minds tend to hold on within shapes. It is easier for our minds to paint beyond and over boundaries when less drawing is used.
Depending on the subject and technique, I either pre-wet the paper fully, partially or at times not at all to achieve edge variations. Mostly I paint from lighter to darker tones and bigger to smaller shapes from the start to completion.
I start with a big wash laying the basic underlying colors and tones as per the initial design. Within the wash I add various thin and thick consistencies of pigment to the water mix. During this wash, various effects can be achieved depending on the moisture level of the paper and the consistency of the paint. I let the paper dry completely before adding the next layer to define more positive and negative shapes.
I try to keep the number of layers to the least possible. This results in a painting with fresh and vibrant colors. The darker areas of watercolour become muddy and opaque if painted with many layers. The best way to paint these shapes are with fresh and vibrant dark pigments in one single go. My painting should work as a whole conveying the correct feelings.
The elements in it should complement each other without competing. During its progress, many times I look at the painting in reverse in a mirror and from a distance. This immediately helps the mind to observe it with a fresh perspective identifying any flaws.
At the end, I add some directional lines, any highlights lost from the previous layers and spots of saturated colors to move the viewer’s eye over the painting. Finally, the time arrives to add the signature and complete it. I review my paintings after a couple of days with a fresh mind to check if any further adjustments are required.
Only a few basic techniques are necessary to do a successful watercolour painting. It is better to practice and know very well the effects of these few techniques than trying to paint with many. But it is also important to learn new techniques from time to time.
Watercolour deserves respect. It is unpredictable and cannot fully be controlled. Once we accept these facts, the fun of painting begins. The fresh and spontaneous results of the watercolour medium show when it is painted with courage and with less control. Only then the medium reveals its potential, energy and starts connecting to the artist.
Thank you vey much Charlie O’Shields for featuring me as a Guest Artist on Doodlewash.com!
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!