Saturday, August 11, 2018

Learn The Rules, Break The Rules

In my earliest watercolor lessons I learned the 'rules' of using watercolor. One of those was NO BLACK. Don't have it in your palette,  don't buy it, don't use it. Black kills watercolor's color. Of course, a few years in I needed a very dark background and decided just to use black. I reasoned it would be fine if it were a total blackout. Well, it didn't and I ruined a painting because I didn't understand the properties of black yet. 

You can see how the black looks dull and ruins any vibrancy the colors have achieved
Knowing the rules is an important part of learning to use your medium. They give structure and save one from disasters. However, once you know the rules and feel confident with your tools, you have the freedom of breaking those rules to suit your own purposes. That's valuable.

Putting color over the black changes everything

You can see from the photos I've attached that the black really did totally kill the colors of the flower shapes. However, knowing that I'd need to block the white of my paper to get the dark value I wanted, I decided to use black. The phthalo blue still shows on top of it, but now the light can't show through and lighten it. The black has become a tool in my painting kit instead of a mess-making no no. Know the rules,  learn to abide by them, then discard them on purpose to achieve what you want.  Cool, huh. 

Thanks for stopping by! Alice