Capturing movement with watercolor

Capturing movement with watercolor. These artists use the natural properties of watercolor to depict people and animals in motion. Read his tips and tricks for trying to control falls, runs, and splashes, along with his efforts to provide the joy and ease of the medium’s current toward entropy. Both have their position in this repertoire of paintings full of life, movement, and movement.

Stephen Zhang’s Haircut

In Stephen Zhang’s Haircut, figures abound, even if you don’t immediately notice it. The parent and child in the forefront dominate the view, with the girl’s silence accentuated by the contrast with her mother’s work. Upon closer inspection, the bottom vibrates with a movement of its own.

Two types of movement

There are two types of movements in Haircut, says the artist. The first is the literal movement, represented mainly by the mother cutting her hair. Her posture, the lines of her arm, and her jacket create a visible tension in this otherwise stable composition. The second move is deliberately implicit. On the back wall, blocks of color, variations in value, and wavy brushstrokes create a dynamic, non-linear mosaic; horizontal and vertical lines act as stabilizing elements. In general, I meant that a stream fell from top to bottom, like a waterfall, leading to the main character – the boy.

Color restriction

The purples, pinks, and oranges of the girl’s barber coat, reflections on her face, are linked in the background, grounding her in the scene. While the color is quite saturated, it appears realistic from careful placement and containment, just as Zhang witnessed the scene. I think you can capture movement both outdoors and in the studio. I mainly paint in the studio; however, it is essential to experience training with observation and sketches and document it with photography. Of course, not everything in Haircut has been planned, and, like most watercolor painters, Zhang knows for a fact. The movement of water and color is not entirely controllable. One must be open to spontaneous events and respond accordingly to the result. It also affects the direction of the paint.

By Charles Henry Rouse


Little Italy Pizza Brigade by Charles Henry Rouse is a study in contrasts. Colorful and modern figures pass through a black and white background with an old-world vibe. The difference in styles makes passersby appear more active.

Crazy idea

Rouse received many questions about this particular painting. I wish I could say it was brilliant. I liked the setting, so I had to find some interesting characters to populate the first floor. He had planned to paint it in sandy colors, as he had done in other scenes in New York. But I came up with this crazy idea that it would be even starker in black and white with the main subjects in color and two different styles or techniques. Added to the shock is the waiter, dressed in a period style, interested in the restaurant behind him. “A little old, a little new. It is a challenge but a lot of fun.


Rouse argues that the backgrounds of the paintings are essential in creating the overall flow. Handling paint can make them an integral part of the mission to improve movement around the paper. Blurs the background to varying degrees of softness or blur. Like acrylic, gouache, and gouache, watercolor can also be dry-brushed over the surface with much greater control than transparent washes, creating a smoke-like haze to soften the color underneath.

Lines and belts

If a spectator tries to look at a point in Crosswise n. 7, your eye may fall somewhere on the dog’s sitter or its small tied loads. Although the image is fragmented with layers of edges and color, the figure is impressive, painted with several red lines carefully placed on the hat and bag to complement the background, which is also accented by red and orange lines? The eye is naturally drawn to dogs as it moves from the subject’s head towards the diagonal lines drawn by the leashes.

Crossing borders

I don’t consider myself an outdoor painter. However, I draw what surrounds me: objects, flowers, and above all, figures. I have been fascinated by the daily life of people for a long time, and I try to capture their transitory moments and movements and everything that catches my attention. I like to reverse the traditional way of composing an image, breaking the rules and crossing borders to present something new.

Small abstract shapes

Ted Nutgall taught me to use a bigger brush. This way, I avoid painting too tightly or getting involved in too much detail. The artist painted the Communal Table in this style, using small abstract shapes to compose a larger scene. The conditions make small changes out of the corner of a viewer’s eye, creating the illusion that the subjects are doing it at the table as their friends and family are doing. I chose to paint shapes rather than individual features. For example, I accentuated the movement of the arms on the hands and fingers. Although the arms and hands are suspended, their position shows activity.

Another trick Becker uses to make his figures more vibrant is to use different edges to his advantage. For the standard table. I chose to change the subjects to a softer, more abstract composition, making the various edges blur or blend Even on faces, blurred shapes, and smudges. The painting suggests a sense of movement.

A living palette

Another Painting suggests out in Becker’s painting is the palette. It seems that each little abstract shape has its color, blending with all the others to create a dynamic scene that is a little more vivid than natural. I always paint the figures red, yellow and blue. At the Communal Table, I did this to connect the figures. The setting for this painting was indoors, and the light was coming from above, so it was a challenge to keep the image warm, including the shadows. I chose a warm color challenging yellows, sienna, and mineral purple accents. The strong shadows under the slabs confirm the lighting from above.

A relaxed mind

A lot is happening simultaneously in Calvin Chua Cheng Koon’s lighthearted Swing 1506. Two girls fly through the air, holding onto the swing handles as one looks to the side, indicating more activity away from the gaze of curious onlookers. That gaze acts like the winding country road in a landscape, drawing ideas and the viewer both on and off the scene. The subject’s purple T-shirts stand out against a full spectrum of their half complement, green, ideally focusing the girl’s activity. Blues, oranges, and pinks burst across the page, ideally picture full of life. What is Koon’s best tool to represent so much movement? Ironically, he says it is a relaxed mind.

Controlled chaos

However, Koon is not immune to good technique. Swing 1506 overlaps wash after wash and paints wet on wet, so the natural patterns and paint drips help with some of that final controlled mess on the paper. I convey movement through the force of the touches: the pressure exerted on the report, the direction of the strokes, and, a personal favorite, the tonal and color changes. My technique for showing movement is applying solid strokes with a flat brush and focusing on details with sharp, precise strokes. Each stroke can be found throughout the Koon composition, perfectly balancing heavy and light applications.

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