Watercolor Painting

A Comprehensive Approach to Mastering the Medium

About the Book

The beauty of a watercolor painting lies in its diaphanous layers, delicate strokes, and luminous washes. However, the very features that define the beauty of the medium can make it difficult to master. This complete guide to understanding the relationships between color, value, wetness, and composition unravels the mysteries of watercolor to help your practice evolve. 

Experienced teacher and acclaimed artist Tom Hoffmann offers a unique, inquiry-based approach that shows you how to translate any subject into the language of watercolor. With Hoffmann as your guide, you’ll learn the key questions to ask yourself at every turn and time-tested methods to help you reach solutions.  

Hoffmann’s thorough explanations and step-by-step demonstrations delineate the process of composing a painting in watercolor, while art from more than thirty-five past and present masters, including John Singer Sargent, Ogden Pleissner, George Post, Emil Kosa, Jr., Mary Whyte, Trevor Chamberlain, Lars Lerin, Torgeir Schjølberg, Piet Lap, Leslie Frontz, and Alvaro Castagnet serve to illustrate and inspire. Whether you’re a serious beginner or a seasoned practitioner, this book will guide you toward the all-important balance between restraint and risk-taking that every watercolorist seeks.
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Watercolor Painting

"Having observed the progress of many watercolor students over the years, I can make a few informed generalizations about the limits we put on our own range. Most common of all is the tendency to stop short of the deep, rich, darks the image may require, This is why it is especially important to ask late in the painting process: Are the darks dark enough?
Of course, certain technnical concerns can affect how dark the paint can be, but these can usually be solved with a piece of practice paper and a spirit of inquiry. The trickiest issues seem to have more to do with psychology than technique. For example, all watercolor paint dries lighter than it appears when it is wet. This is always true. You knew it the first week you started painting, right? There comes a point after which it is just plain silly to use this as a reason for not getting dark enough darks. You've got practice paper. Do the work, and make sure. You are the one who is in charge of your paintings."

About the Author

Tom Hoffmann
Tom Hoffmann is a practicing artist and teacher who has been dedicated to the watercolor medium for more than thirty years. He received his BFA from Amherst College and an MA in Art Education from the University of London. His paintings have been exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum, the Frye Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, the Copley Society of Boston, and the Park Avenue Armory in New York City.  He currently teaches three levels of watercolor classes at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Washington. More by Tom Hoffmann
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