David Rankin
Mastering Watercolor's Middle Values

Euclid Art Association
Three days Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday - October 21, 22, 23, 2016



We thank David Rankin for a fantastic weekend workshop.  One of our out-of-town guests, who is now an EAA member, said “David's workshop was one of the best I've taken”.  In his Friday evening video and lecture presentation, David asked us “How did these artists create such great paintings?”....without the use of fancy cameras and iPhones and Photoshop.  These artists had to rely on what they saw with their eyes....they developed an excellent set of observation and evaluations skills.  David tested our observation skills by showing and discussing the artwork of John Singer Sargent, Albert Bierstadt, Hiroshi Uchida, Alvaro Castagnet, Ted Kautzky (his mentor), and many more.  David’s storytelling kept us interested and wanting to hear more.  First, we learned to recognize how these artists created an amazing illusion of spatial depth in their paintings by identifying where they placed the darkest darks.  We learned to identify the ‘lightest, brightest, whitest’ part of the painting....everything else is middle value.  David cautioned that our artwork could look flat if using photographic references.  In photographs, all the darks are compressed to the same value!

On Saturday and Sunday, we learned how to make small gray studies....to try out what we learned....to try out new ideas quickly.  Using payne’s gray and Bristol card stock paper, we created small masterpieces in 3 to 4 layers.....in 20 minutes.  Then, practice, practice, practice!  These pictures tell the story of the weekend event.


Talking to the class about values and gray studies - how to determine the correct values to use

David discusses using middle values and demonstrates how to create a simple image.

Class participants practice the techniques.

Samples of the various images practiced in class - a variety of middle-value combinations


And as always there was a fine selection of refreshments at the side to provide energy
for the strenuous work of creating these masterpieces!