The Charles Reid way, described in his many books and demonstrated in his videos, is to dip the brush into the water pot, roughly one third of the length, and then give it a good shake ( or two) before digging it into the paint. Don't take too much water out by wiping on a tissue for example. He suggested we think of the brush as a fountain pen water + paint. Don't stroke onto the paper and avoid the errors of too much paint not enough water and the reverse. This is one of the keys of getting things right. Place paint adjacently and don't smooth things out! Be cruder! Charles also demonstrated the way to see if the paint is the right consistency.
Hold the box near vertically and if the paint runs it has too much water.
We then had a demonstration of what this meant in practice and how to get the balance right between hard and soft edges, plus combining colours wet into wet. In my view the two best books explaining these tecniques are the most recent `Watercolour Solutions' and the 2001 `Painting Flowers in Watercolour'. ALL his tecniques are fully explained, contour drawing, brushwork and paint mixing. The flower book is accompanied by two very good videos.
The discussion became quite lively with him saying there were too many `strokers' amongst the students and many denied doing it. He is adamant you must not stroke with the point of the brush because, apart from anything else, it will quickly wear out. One student comment, very good humouredly, was that `we're all liars and strokers then'. This evoked a gust of laughter but he was getting his points across in a quite forceful way. I thought it was a very useful session and so did the others. We then departed for Trelice.
A closer look - combining colours
Charles and umbrella
When we arrived at Trelice the weather was still marginal. It was heavily overcast, some wind and very light drizzle. Only two or three had brought painting umbrellas, so the choice for others was paint and brave the elements or watch Charles. I elected to watch although this wasn't easy as you can see from the photograph. Those that painted in the morning suffered very light drizzle which accumulated on the paper and made painting a real problem, still several battled on. Charles, under his umbrella gave a masterclass in painting a complicated building in adverse conditions.
First steps. The stone lion, which you can just see in front of him was the starting point together with one of the party who had set up much nearer the house. He made the lion much larger than the actual statue which was considerably worn.. When painting outdoors Charles draws a section then paints, draws then paints, not completing the drawing before painting. The rational for this is that conditions are always changing when outdoors. They didn't change much here but he still followed this procedure.
This sequence shows how the painting developed
Two closer views
Note how there are no large washes. Quite a lot of splashing! See how colour has been introduced into what is a largely gray building even though there is much texture in the walls. Variation at every turn and simplification. Considering the conditions it was a brilliant effort and one my wife thought excellent, when she saw the finished painting back at the hotel. The way the subject was tackled gave me (and others) considerable food for thought. He used his small Craig Young Sketchers box and Escoda 1214 Kolinsky retractables. He has tried Escoda in the last two years and likes them. The normal equivalent is the1212 series.
After a break for lunch at the cafe in a converted barn people soon began to drift off back to the hotel, and by about 3.30pm that was it. There was no critique that night. It wasn't the best day of the course but had its moments.