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One Watercolor a Day by Veronica Lawlor

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PATTERNS A ND DIG ITAL WORK 7 3
(Text)
EXERCISE 25
Choose a culture that inspires you visually, and do a little
research into the traditional textiles typical of that culture. In
this case, Margaret used Japanese kimono print designs, but
you could use Indonesian textiles, Peruvian weaving,
anything that appeals to you. Choose a few elements of the
textile print—a shape, mark, or decorative element. Then
pick a limited color palette inspired by the textile you’re
looking at. Create small thumbnails as Marg has done,
mixing these elements to come up with something new.
If you are not close to a museum that displays textiles, your
local library or bookstore will have books that you can work
from. Try not to be too focused on results; just play around
and see what comes up. It’s a beautiful way to appreciate
other cultures.
TIPS
• Whenworkingwithmultiplecolorsandlayerslikethis,it’sa
goodideatoputdownlighterorless-saturatedcolorsrst,
andletthemdry.Thenaddyourdarkercolorsanddetails
overthat,keepingthebrushprettydry.Athinbrushwill
helpyoutocreatethelineareffectsyouseehere,anda
smallamountofwhitegouachecanbemixedintoanycolor
foralittlemoreopacityinthedecorativeaccents.Thegold
lineyouseeinMargaret’sworkwasmadewithagoldpaint
marker,availableatmostartsupplystores.
Cultural Patterns, detail
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74 O NE WATERCOLOR A D AY
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DAY 26
“These are from a series of watercolors I did years ago in the
Japanese gardens at Epcot. Then influenced by the patterns
presented in traditional Japanese kimono designs, it was
hard for me to resist exploring what can happen when the
natural patterns a garden makes and the theatrical patterns
kimono-clad women make merge together.” —Michele
Patterns Inspire
TIP
• Choosecolorsforyourpatternthatwillstandoutagainst
thecolorsofthegarden,asMichelehasdonewiththered
kimonoagainstthegreen(above).
Japanese Ladies, watercolor
EXERCISE 26
Visit a manicured-style garden, and make some studies of the
shapes and patterns you’ll find in the landscape. A local
botanical garden or green public area would be perfect.
Notice shapes of shrubbery and trees, and how leaves, twigs,
and rocks create patterns within those shapes.
Include figures walking by as shapes in your study, or add
them with the help of a photo at home. Combine these
paintings with your pattern experiment from Exercise 25,
putting your own designed patterns on the figures you’ve
observed. Using kimonos or robes is fine.
This is an advanced exercise. If you are a beginner, I would
recommend starting with one figure and a simple garden
background.
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PATTERNS A ND DIG ITAL WORK 7 5
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Japanese Ladies 2, watercolor
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76 O NE WATERCOLOR A D AY
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DAY 27
“While creating illustrations for the Cinderella story, I got really involved with
eighteenth-century European textiles.” —Veronica
Decorative Textiles
Cinderella at the Ball, watercolor and
gouache, with pencil and cut paper
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PATTERNS A ND DIG ITAL WORK 7 7
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EXERCISE 27
Create several colored papers for use in a decorative picture
you would like to make. It doesn’t have to be a fantasy
like my Cinderella at the ball illustration; it could be another
version of one of the still-life pictures you did earlier in
the book, or maybe a painting of holiday symbols for a
handmade card.
Use your watercolors to paint on various sheets of paper.
Apply the wet paint in a fairly loose style, and try dripping
other colors in for a varied look to the color. You could paint
analogous colors together, mix primaries, and so forth. Play
a little. Once the pages have dried, copy some eighteenth-
century European patterns on top, for a textile look. Use
your gouache and a small brush for this, so that the designs
will be opaque on top of the watercolor sheet. Once the
pages are dry, cut shapes out of them and assemble them for
your picture. (I would use fairly thin watercolor paper for
this exercise.)
You can find many old European patterns online, or get a
book from your local library or bookstore.
TIP
• HenriMatissefamouslycreatedcutpaperpaintingsatthe
endofhislife;youmightlookthemupforsomeinspiration.
Cinderella at the Ball, detail, watercolor and gouache
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