There’s No Faking It

“Found in a number of western landscapes, hollyhocks look simple to paint at first, but the characteristic leaves and stalks can be a challenge,” says Buffalo Kaplinski. “I find watercolor the best medium for capturing their crisp edges and shapes. Grown in a variety of colors, they seem to thrive in dry places of my garden.

“Scarlet Hollyhock” (watercolor, 12 x 17 in.)

“Most of us who make representational art are interested in drawing and take time to hone that skill; in watercolor especially, there’s no faking it. The trick to a crisp, fresh, and believable watercolor is making a careful drawing without detailing every shape; watercolor is a fluid media after all.

“Harmonics in August” (watercolor, 16 x 12 in.)

“I prefer an HB pencil for drawing, but before putting in even the lightest values, I think carefully about the color I want for the painting. Even when I’m painting en plein air, I use the best brushes I can find to get the best results in my work — most often a No. 7 (or No. 8) long handle professional red sable by Winsor & Newton, a Princeton No. 6 liner, a No. 4 by Black Velvet, and a No. 6 Silver Brush script. I also like Cheap Joe’s Dream Catcher brushes. I never use any masking fluid. I prefer painting around negative and positive shapes the way I was taught by Irving Shapiro.”

“Columbine” (watercolor, 16 x 12 in.)
“Columbine 2” (watercolor, 16 x 12 in.)

Join Buffalo Kaplinski and other top watercolor artists including Michael Holter, Barbara Tapp, Dan Mondloch, Iain Stewart, and Vladislav Yeliseyev at the Plein Air Convention & Expo, May 21-25, 2023 in Colorado.


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