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Figures in watercolour

Part 2 How to incorporate larger-scale figures in your paintings, from quickly described summaries to detailed renditions, by Brian Smith

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Identify what matters in a figure and record it well

Understand the role of tonal values and shadows in creating form

Think about and practise timing

Musical Interlude, watercolour, 12x81⁄2in. (30x21.5cm). There were lots of lovely interplays of light and shade in this subject. For the girl’s thigh I dampened the surface with a little water first and laid a mid-strength mixture of cool blues partially into it before finishing with a slightly richer stroke of blue to create the shadow.

Last month I looked at the problems associated with painting figures in the background and middle distance. The object was to break down some of the barriers, which often seem to put figures outside our comfort zone and to learn to incorporate them without breaking stride. If you want to try this, the main headings for study are the same as the recipe for success in all things watercolour. I have practised all of them throughout my professional life. They are:

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About Leisure Painter

Brighten up your winter painting with the February issue of Leisure Painter. We begin the issue with a look at 'more than just paintings' where Claudia Myatt demonstrates how to use a combination of planning and playfulness to create lively and modern designs in watercolour. You are also invited to follow our 31-day challenge, where Steve Strode offers advice and inspiration for an entire month of creative activities. The rest of the issue is packed with demonstrations, practical advice and tutorials on how to draw and paint in watercolour, acrylic, gouache, line and wash, pastel, coloured pencil, scratchboard and more.