April 10th, 2017

Paris Street Scene

Artist: Iain Stewart, United States
Artist Statement: This is a watercolor sketchbook page I painted last week at a workshop hosted by the Potomac Valley Watercolorists. The subject is a bustling street in the St. Martin Canal district in Paris created from a reference photo.

I start with a fairly strong pencil drawing. I rely on a dull point on my pencil to avoid overworking detail and explain to my students that we first look for large shapes and gesture before thinking of detail. I particularly enjoy how the Alpha Series paper reacts to wet media. The paper holds up wonderfully to multiple washes. The pigment stays on the surface which allows me to mix color on the paper and let it mingle.

My watercolor sketches are generally done in three major washes with a last pass to add detail and touches of opaque white where needed. All the washes are done wet on dry and then I drop in color or use clear water to fade in color and direct the eye to my center of focus. I will then keep working wet in wet until I have the depth I desire. I use an atomizer to keep the paper moist to avoid uneven drying and prolong the time I can continue to work. After each major wash I let the paper dry completely. I build layers looking mainly at tonal value and keeping the washes from looking too flat. I will work in water and lift pigment when I see things becoming homogeneous. At all costs I try and keep my washes from looking like a screen print. They should have character, lost and found edges, and most of all varied tone. I use a couple of pieces of artist’s tape to hold the page to the sketchbook and this keeps the paper from warping quite well.

MEDIA: Watercolor and gouache
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

Iain Stewart is an award winning watercolor artist and a signature member of the American Watercolor Society (AWS) and the National Watercolor Society (NWS) as well as other state and international societies. He has received numerous awards in international competitions. His works were included in the Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolor Biennial Exhibition and his watercolor “Apse End Notre Dame” will be on exhibition at the NWS/China small works exchange. His paintings have been published in numerous magazines, among others in the Watercolor Artist Magazine, Splash 15 and 16, and the French publication Pratique des Arts. Iain maintains a studio in Opelika, AL and is also an Architectural Illustrator with an international clientele, teaches watercolor and design drawing at Auburn University.
Website: http://stewartwatercolors.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @iainstew71
Instagram: @iainstew7


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