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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > FREE Sample Issue > From technique to interpretation

From technique to interpretation

Watercolour is a beautiful, expressive medium but if we are not careful, we can master the technique without really exploring its creative possibilities, says Jake Winkle, who invites you to enter the realm of artistic interpretation

Starting out in watercolour: part 4 of 4

The Oxpecker’s Friend, watercolour on Arches Rough, 140lb (300gsm), 181⁄2x121⁄2in (47x32cm). This painting started as a doodle of mark making and shape building without an underpinning sketch

Watercolour is addictive and if you can’t wait to put paint on paper but don’t know where to start, then explore a bit of mark making, spattering, linking colours and linking shapes together. If you have a reference in front of you, you can do this whilst studying both it and your emerging composition. A starting point like this needs no preliminary sketch because through mark making you are exploring your personal response to the subject and to your design, be it abstract or real. In this way I started out on The Oxpecker’s Friend (left), which began with a little spattering to break the paper before swirling pale shades of colour in a crisscross fashion that gradually got stiffer and darker. In places, the brushstrokes followed the form of the rhino and in others they were completely abstract. Paint was literally flicked and scribbled on to the paper and it was the loose wandering brushstrokes that really dictated the result, rather than being the consequence of a pre-conceived plan. The emphasis of the painting was on its design, meaning that I evaluated my composition as it developed, more than I did any accuracy to the reference; after all, it was my interpretation and no one was expected to see the reference for comparison.

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About The Artist

Paint lively watercolour landscapes using the hard and soft edge technique, learn how to capture the movement of water in your watercolours, become a wedding sketchographer, depict the figure in pastels, improve your compositional know-how, develop your colour-mixing skills - all this and much more in this month's issue! Hazel Soan encourages you to you paint informal portraits, BBC1's The Big Painting Challenge winner Suman Kaur shares her top ten tips learnt during the series and David Gould explains how he combines digital and traditional techniques to create contemporary artworks. Soraya French is back to invite you to discover the joy of mark making and create a mixed-media landscape, whilst Jake Winkle reveals the importance of interpreting your subject for more creative results. Charles Williams talks about the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Ian Sidaway tests the new Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour Paper range, Glyn Macey shows how Andy Warhol's work can inspire new approaches, and Adebanji Alade offers his regular motivational tips to keep you painting with energy and confidence. Enjoy!