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Roger Burnett Art Blog

Stretching a watercolour to its limits

by rogerburnett , June 9, 2013—09:22 AM

Topics: painting

As a watercolourist, I am most comfortable working to a paper size of 20ins x 16ins. Anything less feels restrictive, anything larger can be daunting. I might not always fill the sheet, but at least it gives me the freedom to manoeuvre. Without that freedom, I find myself constricting an arm or leg to fit the page.

To work larger than 20 × 16 means pulling out more stops than there are stops. The washes have to be thrown down at twice the speed and with an unnerving confidence. Moreover, there is the fear of spoiling a very expensive 100% all rag of watercolour board. When the page size is increased to 40ins x 30ins, I really have reached my limit.

Recently a long admirer of my work requested the impossible. Well, the impossible took a little time, but here it is.

Incidentally, I find that photographic reproductions enhance small paintings but diminish large ones. This is true of all media but especially so with watercolour. In the photograph, the eye takes in the reduced image at a glance and the interplay of suggestive brush strokes is lost. On the large original, the eye wanders and selects passages as it may.

For the technically minded, I used was a No14 pure sable brush and that is as big as a sable watercolour brush gets!



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