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Old 01-31-2012, 12:31 PM
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MtLookout MtLookout is offline
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Cincinnati, Ohio
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

Occasionally, I paint on a drafting table with a slight slant. Most of the time I paint on gatorboard sitting on my lap. I do utilize the more vertical angle when I'm trying to let the leading edge of a large wash stay at the edge. It makes for a much more even wash tone.


...got me a date with Botticelli's niece ...
she promised she'd be there with me when I paint my masterpiece...Dylan
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:50 PM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Boerne, TX USA
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

P, if you already have a camera tripod that is reasonably strong enough to carry the weight of a backing board and watercolor paper, here's one source for an adapter to fit the tripod. There's numerous other sources of similar products:

http://www.sun-eden.com/index.cfm?fu...& ParentCat=3

Here's what I use for plein air and travel painting, attached to a medium-duty camera tripod:


Sling paint!
Virgil Carter
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:15 PM
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watercolourfanatic watercolourfanatic is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

I originally painted at an angle then changed to painting more or less vertically - partly through a misunderstanding. Most workshop artists who do demos paint more or less vertically so that the watching crew can see what is going on. I've been to one or two demos where the artists, well known in some cases, painted flat and no one had a clue, or could see, what they were doing.

If you paint vertically you do get a different effect for obvious reasons - drips and whatever! Some like the effect others don't and certainly it's tricky if you are after realism.

Charles Reid paints vertically at his demos but told me, and the rest of the class, that his preferred angle was 30 - 45degrees. As a result Ward has started tilting the board once more. You never stop learning in this painting game or making mistakes. Speaking personally that is .

`loosening up is a state of the mind not a state of the brush' - Charles Reid

"The Watercolour Log"
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:29 PM
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artdreamer1 artdreamer1 is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

I've done both--at a slight angle (not totally vertical) and flat (most of the time); heck, right now, I sometimes don't even tape my paper to a board. I do like Nicholas Simmons does--leave it loose so it can be tilted easily for blending color.

To each his own...

"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine."
--Ludwig Von Beethoven

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Old 01-31-2012, 10:48 PM
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Cyntada Cyntada is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

Now remember, there's more than one way to sling a tripod! This is optimized for astronomy, but I'm sure it would not be hard to adapt the crutches tripod for painting purposes. My Dad made me one of these for my small telescope, and it is hands down the sturdiest tripod I have ever had (Mine looks just like that one, minus the handy tray down below.) Light, strong, and cheap, who can beat that? It's even somewhat height-adjustable, to the extent that the crutches are adjustable.

For the record, I paint flat in the studio, but hold a sketchbook rather upright in the hand when plein-aire sketching. Never even thought about that until reading this thread.
CK =)
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:52 PM
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kate252 kate252 is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

i really think do what you feel like- you may find yourself painting it flat and then finding yourself wanting to prop the picture up more so you can see it- or you may find that your work becomes more watery and bigger and you may want to see it dribble down a bit more. i think your ideas and intent should come first- and then whether you want to paint flat or vertical will come to you out of that.
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:12 AM
Neeman Neeman is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

Standing at a vertical easel is very freeing

I wet my paper and control the wet of my brush and I do not get runs ( mostly )
I have full control of my brush for easy gesture marks as my shoulder is free
Even the small marks are easier as I can see what I am doing

Last edited by Neeman : 02-03-2012 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:40 AM
writes4cmt writes4cmt is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

Technically speaking, on a half sheet of watercolor paper 15" X 22" the angle of the board should be about 3 degrees which is great for washes. Use a roll of masking tape to lift the board slightly above the table. This question is the one I've always wondered about too when I first started. I've been a custom of using a angle of 15 degrees for painting now. It's just step enough to make the water move on the paper, but no so steep to make long vertical runs, I hope this helps.

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Old 02-20-2012, 11:31 PM
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manfrommerriam manfrommerriam is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

I usually watercolor outdoors with an easel at a nearly vertical angle as it feels "right" to me but in the studio I use less of an angle and just pick up the support when I need a steeper angle. Painters working with a bead often have steeply angled paper. I've seen instructors who can't or won't use a mirror paint vertically so that their students could see what they are doing.
The angle depends on what you are doing and how you want to work.
Have fun, Dave
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:19 PM
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nimbus_cygnet nimbus_cygnet is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

I almost never paint totally flat - from the angle of my drawing table to almost fully vertically on an easel. I guess this is mostly because my early training in oils was always done on a vertical easel. For me, the perspective advantage to keeping the paper vertical outweighs having to be a bit more careful to control the amount of water on the paper when I don't want drips - I usually paint with a kleenex or paper towel at the ready.
Anne H. Blog: Right Brain; Right Lane

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Old 02-22-2012, 09:59 AM
blissofsilver blissofsilver is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

Depends on the style you're looking for. I paint vertically to let the water drip on to the page or allow the water to create a gradient. It's a little messy though. ^^;
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:01 PM
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Horsa Horsa is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

I use both and any angle in between. My advice would be to find the position and angle that works best for you and use that. If that turns out to be thumbtacked to the ceiling be sure and send us pictures and let us know how you deal with drips.

One thing I have found is that the larger the piece I am working on the more up right I like to have it.
My Painting Blog: http://adkpainter.blogspot.com/

This is our ART: useless, boring, impotent, elitist, and very, very beautiful.
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:58 PM
WaterSlusher WaterSlusher is offline
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Re: Paint vertically or not?

I've been taping my watercolor paper to the wall fullsheets, elephant sheets and even 4 full sheets overlapping each other, I say before going out and buying and easel just try a small sheet of watercolor paper and tape it to the wall and try that first, it will give you some ideas of what you personally like about painting this way and you will find out if you physically like painting this way.

The first couple of paintings I did this way I found that I like standing when I paint & for me it was very freeing.
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