Light effects by washing out the watercolours - with HORADAM® AQUARELL

How can I create light effects in watercolour paintings? Günter Haslbeck shows us with his painting "Rock Concert in the Groitlstodl" how he succeeds in doing washing out HORADAM® watercolour.

You will need:

  • Colours: HORADAM® AQUARELL tube colours in lemon yellow (215), cadmium red light (349), permanent carmine (353), Prussian blue (492), ultramarine finest (494)
  • Watercolour paper: e.g.. Hahnemühle or Fabriano Artistico, raugh 640g/m2, 56x76 cm
  • Brushes: Synthetic round watercolour brush size 16 by da Vinci and a flatbrush, width 5 cm
  • White plate as mixing palette or palette
  • pencil, 2 glasses of water, kitchen paper
  • thin aqueous gum arabic solution (50302)

I paint after a self-made photo, as it was too loud and too narrow to paint a picture in this size.

Step 1

The silhouettes of the people in front of the stage are drawn with a pencil. I take care to leave a gap between the people to give the viewer the opportunity to have a look at the music stage. With light pencil strokes I also sketch the activities on stage and thus realize depth levels in the painting. To give the watercolours a special luminosity later, I now prime the 640 g/m2 paper with gum arabic. Due to the thickness of the paper it does not wave, although it is not fixed.

Step 2

On the right side I paint a group of concert visitors in ultramarine finest and permanent carmine.

Step 3

By applying intense colours I highlight individual persons, figures in the back are darker, figures in the front remain lighter. This creates depth. With the flat brush I apply lemon yellow, given a slightly warmer shade by adding a little amount of cadmium red. The yellow colour used must be applied in a colour intensive way, except for the stage.

Step 4

On the yellow background I paint the left group of visitors with blue tones. Now I create the shadows, starting from the light of the stage. 

Step 5

I now turn to the music group. It is emphasized by strong repainting. The white becomes even brighter when framed in negative painting. Later, I will paint the musicians and audience more detailed. 

Step 6

In the foreground I add a person who has the task of guiding the viewer into the center. Now I arrange the background in strong colours in an interesting way. 

Step 7

In order to create the concert light, I let all watercolour applications dry well. Then I wash out straight light beams with the tip of the round watercolour brush.They shine from the stage light. The light becomes more intense due to the juxtaposition of light and dark. If you let the first applied colour of the underground dry well, it shimmers through and gives the light its specific colour. With this technique you can create lighting atmosphere very well. A large part of the HORADAM® watercolours can be washed out very well and is ideal for this technique.




Tip: Pay attention to the staining symbol in the brochure or on the label (unfilled triangle stands for "non-staining" and can be washed out easily).



Staining und Non-Staining

Staining means the property of pigments to stick to paper. The staining effect depends on the pigment, not on the opacity of a colour. To test the grade of staining we apply watercolours to 160 g/m2 paper and try to rub them off with a wet brush after 24 hours of drying.

So we can classify 3 categories: