Watercolour with charcoal pencil

I joined a Sustained Saturday watercolour class taught by my partner Barry Coombs for the afternoon, after a space opened up at the last minute.  These studio days run from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. several times each term.  The still life subject was predominantly brass and we were encouraged to compose our image by employing a very tight crop. I admire people who work in watercolour, and even though I’ve been working at it for about 18 months, my results are very unpredictable. That’s partly what makes it fun – and terrifying!

My original idea was to spend the afternoon drawing in black and white with pen and ink. Working on hot press paper, I sketched the subject lightly with pencil. Then, inspired by the work being done by others around me, I changed my mind and used watercolour to block  in the key shapes, adding some secondary washes to form the shine and shadows. Next, returning to my comfort zone, I  added value, structure and depth with charcoal pencil. (So much for planning!) I was surprised by how the charcoal seemed to melt when it touched the still-wet paper as I worked. I liked the effect, and for a while worked back and forth between the dry and wet mediums.  If you want to see more about the class, see Barry’s blog post about the day. 

Watercolour and Charcoal Pencil study 12" x 16"

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3 Replies to “Watercolour with charcoal pencil”

  1. Somehow I missed this post – beautiful work! I love the way the wet has softened the edges of the charcoal lines, everything works together. Strong composition and, as always, strong drawing. Love it.

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  2. I’ve been following Barry Coombs blog for a few months. You are very fortunate to take his class, but you shouldn’t be terrified, as you said. I think your style is wonderful. When it comes to drawing, I’m terrified. I’m much more comfortable just drawing with my watercolor brush. Love to see more of your charcoal and watercolor combinations.

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