David Rankin
Essential Watercolor Skills Training
Euclid Art Association
Three days Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday - June 2, 3, 4, 2017



Essential Watercolor Skills Training was another fantastic weekend workshop with David Rankin.  Thank you, David!  And thanks to everyone who participated.  We had a full class...members came from all over northeast Ohio, from New Jersey, Michigan and even British Columbia!

We learned....and for some of us....relearned the broken stroke, twisted-torso stroke,  flawless and graded washes, wet glisten skies, plus the value of the darkest darks in a painting.  The importance of using Arches Rough Paper and Steve Quiller’s 1-inch wash brush became obvious as David showed us these techniques.

David said that if we couldn’t explain to him how we did ‘it’, we really didn’t ‘own’ the technique.  How many times did he ask us to repeat “how to lay down a glisten?”  Do you remember?  Do you also remember....dip, lift, touch your brush in the water for a graded wash or drag and lift for a pine tree.  And another reminder most of us needed.... “use your arm, not your wrist” to move the brush across the paper....no dabbling!  We put it all together into three completed landscape paintings.

Also, we thank everyone who brought in all those goodies to share....mini bagels, cherries, fruit bowl, cookies, donuts, brownies, hummus & chips, coffee, etc.  The Euclid Art Association is becoming known for it’s good food as well as its talented artists!

Day 1:  Friday Evening - The Basics

Learning the broken stroke, then combining a broken stroke with a graded wash


Class participants practice the broken stroke and graded wash techniques.


Day 2:  Saturday - Gray Study Painting

Saturday begins with a review of broken edges and graded washes, and how to use them to build a gray study painting


Learning how to do a reverse graded wash for the sky Adding the middle value, broken edge, and graded wash for the background mountain, then going right into the foreground to define the stream.
David shows how to add a second and third mid-value mountain, each slightly darker than the one before.  There must be a broken edge at the bottom of the mountain to give the illusion of trees at the horizon.  And don't forget to tape off the horizon line at bottom! David adds textured details to the foreground.  Next comes the make-or-break pine tree.


Making pine trees - be sure to set your trees into the ground! Adding a pine tree . . . darkest dark.  It can make or break the painting.
Drying the painting at each step guarantees fewer smudges! David completes the painting by adding a glisten into the stream, leaving a strip of white along the edge.  Then, while still wet, he drops in the dark reflections.


Deb, Cathy and Karen practice what they've learned. Mary Ann works on the graded wash Adriana, Kim from British Columbia, and Deb, await the next lesson.


Class participants show their gray study paintings...

Ginny's painting Karen's painting Tom's painting
Sue's painting Laura behind her painting


Day 3:  Sunday - Dramatic and Super-Simple Skies


Reviewing the twisted-torso stroke - use your whole arm to make the stroke, don't work from the wrist. Day three first lesson, adding soft trees in a glisten. Adding the darkest element, the pine tree.  It makes the soft trees drop back for more visual depth.  At the right moment, David uses his credit card scraper for texturing.



Almost done, David added a bit of bright yellow and rose highlights to the foreground. David glazes over the lower left with Permanent Rose, to force the eye towards the middle of the painting. Starting sketch for workshop's last painting, dramatic and super-simple skies.  David says, "Do you think you can sketch this?



Step one: Lay down a glisten with clean water, no puddles.  When you can see the paper's texture, paint in the sky with pad flat on the table. David adds the darker foreground mountains to create visual depth. Laurie from N.J. and Yogesh from Mich. watch David at work.


Final Student Paintings