A few weeks ago I spent some time with Marc Taro Holmes and we talked a lot about sketching directly with brush, skipping pointy devices completely and jumping directly to a fuzzy stick. I even tried it that day and only moderately failed at it (grin).
Those small experiments told me several things. The first was that I had little control over a paint brush. After some analysis I think the problem is that I’m trying to draw with it like a pen, at too low an angle, and I lose control over line width. I also learned that I had no feel for paint thickness and when drawing you can’t rely upon thin washes to get the job done.
So I went away intrigued but also a little frustrated. I also felt challenged to gain better control over my watercolors, something I’ve been wanting to do anyway. I’ve spent some time mixing, drawing lines, experimenting with brush angles, etc. and it’s been a fun adventure. That’s a good thing because I’ve got to do a lot more of it before I’ll be able to draw directly with paint.
I was out for a walk, though, and decided to give the method a try with one of my favorite steeples in downtown Quebec City. Accomplished artists won’t think much of this as it lacks crispness and precision. But I was pleased with this simple sketch as it suggests I’m making progress. I have to confess, however, that I doubt this will become my way of working for the simple reason that I love drawing with my pens and don’t want to give it up. It is a wonderful way of getting me closer to watercolors and forcing me to stop viewing them like crayons.