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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > June 19 > The way of the brush

The way of the brush

In the second of her three-part series, Hazel Soan urges you to resist intervening and instead observe how watercolour settles on the paper – literally watching paint dry – in order to control your brushwork

Watercolour is transparent in more ways than one, it has an uncanny way of ‘telling the truth’ about how it is painted. The expression in the brushstroke is the chief agency of this revealing aspect because the gesture of the mark encapsulates the spirit in which the paint has been applied and therefore the intention behind it. The more you rely on the brushstroke to deliver and the less you push paint around, the happier your watercolour pigment will settle on the paper and the greater will be the transparency and luminosity of the watercolour layers.

We saw in the first article (May 2019 issue) that attention to the brushstroke is a discipline of awareness, demanding 100-per-cent concentration. The attention required for making shapely and meaningful brushstrokes on dry paper, however, is different from that required for taking the brushstroke purposefully into damp washes. This latter technique is aptly termed wetinto- wet, and it can be scary, however much you tell yourself it is only paint on paper, simply because the paint is moving. Water on the paper will happily carry the pigment in any number of directions unless you take control of the consistency of the paint and the moment and position of delivery.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the June issue of The Artist. As we look forward to the UK summer Martin Taylor demonstrates how to paint a seasonal bluebell wood, whilst cover artist, Haidee-Jo Summers, invites us to join her in painting our gardens and focus on capturing light and colour. Learn how to control your watercolour brushwork with Hazel Soan, try sketching on the go with James Willis, bring your waves to life in your coastal scenes with Jenny Aitken, and know when and how to varnish your oil paintings with guidance from Graham Webber. Our top artist-contributors also offer advice, step-by-step demonstrations and inspirational practical features on working from different source material, painting characterful faces, how to select a core palette of colours for landscape painting, the benefits of working with water-mixable oils, the value of a positive wish list, and much more. Enter our various competitions with fantastic prizes up for grabs and understand how to use regular e-newsletters to promote your work with some great tips from our regular gallerist Mark David Hatwood. Enjoy developing your skills in all media with The Artist this month!