One of the key aspects of Tom Lynch’s watercolor paintings is that he offers viewers an overriding concept and not just an illustration of a place, person, or event. That is, he picks one or two words that summarize both his emotional and intellectual responses to the scene. Those words or phrases becomes Lynch’s guide in making decisions that result in the most effective presentation of the subject. They help him convey something special about the subject that goes far beyond a detailed rendering or a photograph, which he demonstrates in the watercolor tutorial below.
In order to explain exactly how a concept can lead to a stronger, more expressive painting, Lynch reveals the words or phrases that helped him create the paintings reproduced here. For example, he focused on color when creating the painting Jordan Road, and that helped him celebrate the striations of yellows, oranges, reds and greens in the mountains. The strong composition of darks and lights brought even more emphasis to the display of colors in the landscape.
Other example of Lynch’s use of singular concepts includes the paintings Botanical Garden and 5¢ Biscuits; which are based on the concepts of layers and dappled light, respectively.
Watercolor Tutorial: Focusing on Shadows
STEP 1: Lynch first does a detailed pencil drawing of the subject on Fredrix Watercolor Canvas.
STEP 2: In order to silhouette the porch, Lynch does a wet-in-wet application of colors around the structure.
STEP 3: Lynch then adds more layers of color around the porch and a cast shadow on its front edge.
Tom Lynch has written seven books and hosted several award-winning PBS TV Art Series.
This watercolor tutorial was excerpted from an article by M. Stephen Doherty in PleinAir Magazine.