Charles Reid Exercises

So a little glum after yesterday I’m on a different tack.   After investing 10 dollars on the Kindle version of Charles’ Reid’s ‘Painting Flowers in Watercolor’ I tried some of the exercises.   Charles Reid has a very distinctive watercolor style which doesn’t rely on building up washes and uses a lot of barely mixed pigments which are allowed to mix on the paper.    This, combined with contour drawing (and admittedly a large dollop of talent) results in a very lively painting style that I think people might call spontaneous.

Whatever people may call it the paintings are extremely beautiful.  

So – fresh strong paint,  no washes,  minimal mixing – whatever he suggests must do me some good yes?
After a few pages of brush stroke exercises the results weren’t much to write home about.  I do have to say though he gives very detailed instructions for the exercises so no blame there.  Instructions include how to hold the brush, how much water to put on the brush and even where on the brush to put the paint  (from the tip to 1/3 of the way up the bristles if you must know).

Did it help?   Well – here’s the end result.


This is a rough, quick sketch so a lack of detail is to be expected.   On the whole it’s not so bad – it does have pretty much all of the faults Mr Reid warns us of but I think it has a certain charm.   It’s certainly made me much less prone to making big pools of muddy browns and more confident to throw the brush around a bit more.
On the whole I’m a little less glum.  It’s certainly fun painting like this and you’re not likely to end up with anything wishy washy which can’t be bad.
Oh – and for comparison this is what Mr Reid produces :

Yeah – those red things in the jug are flowers, not tomatoes on sticks like in my version.