May I Have This Dance?

“Watercolor is alive,” says Brazilian watercolorist Eudes Correia. “It works in harmony with the artist. You take one step, it takes two. Watercolor is versatile, dynamic, dries quickly, and is easy to clean. If you carry a small case, two brushes, a pad of paper, and water, anywhere can become your studio: a café, a restaurant, an airplane seat, an airport. There are no limits. You can register an interesting place in a few minutes.
watercolor painting of couple
“Paris Couple,” watercolor, 22 x 30 in.
  1. My work starts when I go to the streets to do a plein air painting; I draw sketches and take pictures. It’s in these moments where I search for references. Lots of times, my paintings come from the pictures I took and lots of times from previous sketches I did.
  2. After that, I come back to my studio and select my materials. There, I separate everything I’d like to paint. I put everything in a computer folder and when I feel like painting it, I just choose whatever attracts me more at that moment.
  3. I often make small studies to search for a few solutions in compositions and, other times, I start to paint right away. Usually, the best paintings, and the most expressive ones, are the ones with no previous planning.
  4. I do a little pencil sketch. I trace every line from the most notorious, to the little details, always trying to keep the paper as clean as possible.
  5. Next, I begin to paint. I make the first layer more freely, I use lots of water, and it’s in this time where I try to be as free as possible, the most expressive as possible. In this first layer, I always seek to keep the colors connected and at low opacity, and at the same time try to create volumes and textures, preserving light.
  6. Then, I do a second and last layer, working on the shadows and details. In this step, I work more slowly. I start with a freer searching for shadows and contrasts and then I slow down and work on the little details on what I’m trying to focus on.
watercolor painting of woman
Eudes Correia, “Canadian Student,” watercolor, 15 x 22 in.
“I was talking with three other artists in a free market in Torres Vedras, Portugal. As artists do, whenever we saw a scene that has to do with the style of any of us, we called each other’s attention to that scene.
watercolor figure painting of two men
“Old Friends,” watercolor, by Eudes Correia
“These two gentlemen were talking and smiling, so one of my friends caught my eye and said: Eudes, look at your theme behind you. I watched the two talk, they smiled and were telling interesting stories between each other. I imagine that their friendship was many years long. They were very intimate. So I took a picture of them, without them noticing, to record the scene in the most natural way possible. Then I asked them for permission to take a picture, so I took one more. But I used the candid photo to make the painting.”
Follow along as watercolor figure painters Janet Rogers and Dylan Pierce demonstrate their painting processes and answer your questions live at Watercolor Live, January 24-26, with an Essentials Techniques Day on January 23, 2024.

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


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