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Tea, Milk, Honey – Getting Ready for Santo Domingo

July 9, 2012

A few weeks ago we had rain during a sketchcrawl. Our backup plan was drawing in the Centre d’histoire de Montréal. I liked the looks of the old firehouse/museum, so when we needed a second location after Le375, well, perfect chance to go back for this.

The museum is helpfully placed right across from a cafe – so one can sit under shady trees and sketch in comfort. Which we did, for about three hours.

I thought this might be my last trial run before leaving for the workshop – but I had some time yesterday, so I whipped up some cheat sheets for my workshop. Just some notes for people, in case I’m not able to articulate it well when we’re painting in 40 degree heat :)

I figure I’ll post them now, and anyone who’s sketching from home can try out the exercise. Perhaps at the 36th World Wide Sketchcrawl, going on July 14th, at the same time as the group sketching event in Santo Domingo.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2012 8:23 AM

    Looks great Marc. I was a witness to the first beauty of the fire station!
    Have a great trip. See you there!

  2. Sharon Fox Cranston permalink
    July 10, 2012 9:23 AM

    Get info, thanks for sharing!

  3. July 10, 2012 4:05 PM

    Hello, your sketches and watercolors are so lovely, I like the way you do your trees and the folige.if you ever put any videos on you tube would you do one on how to do tree folige with brush ect I m teaching myself and would like to see how you do your trees,
    Have a great dayLinda

  4. Tom permalink
    July 11, 2012 12:25 AM

    Great info, I’m going to print them out and give it a shot. Many thanks!

  5. July 20, 2012 12:19 PM

    Marc, these are WONDERFUL…I’ll bet your workshop was a great success! May I link to this page in my next newsletter, please?

  6. Mr. O. permalink
    August 1, 2012 10:42 PM

    Thanks for sharing these fantastic and concise sheets. I can’t wait to apply them in practice. BTW, however unlikely, I do hope to make it to the Portland workshop.

  7. August 8, 2012 9:52 AM

    Thank you for posting these, I love that you just ‘whipped them up’… you have a great blog, I appreciate your work and the tips! I am curious, do you separate your transparent from opaque pigments for the different steps? Or is it only the application that matters?

    • marctaro permalink*
      August 9, 2012 9:27 AM

      I don’t end up needing gouache for every sketch, just in instances where I have to bring back small brights I couldn’t reserve for whatever reason – so if it ends up happening, it’s only at the very end, in the “honey” stage. The most common instance is probably mixing a little white gouache with cerulean blue to poke in sky holes in trees or put sky reflection on windows.

  8. September 6, 2012 12:43 AM

    Marc. Really helpful advice! And beautiful paintings to boot. Some publisher is missing a really great book here.

  9. February 4, 2013 7:05 PM

    Thank you so much for the tutorials.

  10. July 11, 2013 11:04 PM

    What a generous and wonderful person you are. I am new to watercolour (and art in general to be honest) and often am stuck on how to get depth into my work. This has really helped me understand the process enormously. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. April 10, 2014 10:56 AM

    Dear Marc,

    I absolutely love your “Tea, Milk, Honey” notes on watercolor from the July 2012 issue of Citizen Sketcher. I absolutely love watercolor but am perplexed at staining, transparent, opaque, and semi-opaque colors. There’s so much to consider when you’re under the clock (drying sun). I’ve heard of the “tea” and “cream” analogy made by Joseph Zbukvic. I also own Jeanne Dobie’s book Making Color Sing that sheds some light on the subject of transparent colors. I think I get what you mean by applying the area of local color during the tea stages.

    1. Are you using the same colors for the “milk” and “honey” stages with less water (hence the names milk and honey)?
    2. What kind of “(new-ish) ‘springy’ synthetic brush” do you use (size and type) to get “great sharp calligraphy”?
    3. What colors do you carry along in your travel kits?

    • April 10, 2014 11:55 AM

      Hey Alex – yes it’s just a matter of the amount of water versus pigment. The right ‘viscosity’. Color is whatever it needs to be – tends to be just a darker, stronger mixes of whatever you used initially.

      Pigments are listed here: down the middle of the page a bit.

      Brushes – I’ve actually just switched to sable brushes across the board. The Windsor Newton “Artists watercolor sable” for the large ones (cheaper) and the series seven for the tiny). So, sorry to say, the are very much superior! But It was a big step – quite expensive :) I resisted for quite a while. But a good sable, around a #10 can do almost all the work. They have such a superior point they can be used for surprisingly small detail. So you can start there with one $50-75 brush and then make the big decision to get a full set later on.

  12. April 10, 2014 1:26 PM

    Hey Marc! I actually own a range of those Winsor 7 brushes and some nice squirrel brushes. My problem is that no one in Los Angeles (that I’m aware of) teaches watercolor in a loose fashion that way you do. Feedback is much more critical as opposed to tools as you already know. So I’ve been meandering around getting books and DVDs based on word-of-mouth reviews trying to piece together my own curriculum. Watercolor is an amazing medium and very frustrating. So thank you again for sharing your tips!

    By the way are you into mop brushes or are they too large for the scale of work that you do?

    • April 10, 2014 3:15 PM

      I’ve used them (mops) for skies and foliage sometimes, but yes, on location, half sheet – not usually something I bring. I mostly like rounds so I can draw with them. Well – keep on practicing! I assume you have the Zbuckvick DVD’s? From APV films? They’re pretty good I think. You might look for a Nathan Fowkes workshop – I think he’s in the LA area.

  13. Francisco Garcia permalink
    July 28, 2014 10:17 PM

    this is so awesome! I am just playing catch up on these techniques and this blog, thanks for sharing!


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