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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > April 19 > Conserve the light

Conserve the light

Hazel Soan describes various methods and techniques for conserving the white paper in your watercolour paintings

Hazel Soan

The Silent Heard, watercolour, 11x15in (28x38cm). The irregular patches of untouched white paper representing the light are what bring this painting to life

Though light itself cannot be painted, watercolour has a variety of methods and techniques for conserving, preserving and representing different kinds of light. Bright highlights are generated between washes with untouched white paper; the sparkle of light on water can be mirrored with fragmented strokes of a dry brush; slivers and halos of backlight can be protected with masking fluid; soft lights can be lifted out from dark washes and speckled textures implied with wax resist. The watercolour medium is adept at portraying light because its ground material, the white paper, is the source of the light. All you have to do is conserve it!

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About The Artist

Welcome to the April issue, packed with practical articles and demonstrations designed to inspire artists of all levels to develop their skills in all media. Our top artist-contributors this month include Hazel Soan, who suggests techniques for creating light and shade in your watercolours, Ian Sidaway who encourages you to paint a self-portrait, and Paul Talbot-Greaves who shows how to paint colourful boats in three easy stages in acrylics. Practise your skills as you learn how to loosen up and be more expressive in your drawings, use coloured pencils to create a found still life, simplify a busy harbour scene to create a composition full of light and colour, and achieve clean colours in your acrylic landscapes. This issue we also welcome back Geoff Hunt, who begins a new series documenting the results of his painting trips. Plus Roger Dellar offers tips on how to secure an artist-in-residence position and Mark David Hatwood explains how to reach potential buyers by working with partners. Enjoy trying new ideas in your own work with help from this month's artists and tutors.