Watercolour Plein Air - Andy Evansen


Watercolour Plein Air

Artist: Andy Evansen
Language: English 100 Mins
Format: PAL DVD
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Price: £28.55 Inc VAT where applicable + P&P worldwide

Andy Evansen paints in a loose and impressionistic style and in this film the emphasis is on painting en plein air. Working in the Cotswolds in the UK, he stresses the importance of doing a value study before embarking on a full painting and shows us how to simplify and connect shapes. He emphasises the importance of painting outdoors, gaining essential information from the experience. Subjects include rural scenes with church spires, water, boats, bridges, trees, buildings, figures, animals and a village street.

“It's so vital to go out and collect information on the spot. It is an important process in your growth as a painter"

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There’s so much to like in this engaging and informative film that it’s hard to know where to start.

Let’s begin with an introduction: Andy Evansen is an American artist who paints in the classic English watercolour style, with muted colours and plenty of wet-in-wet. Although that mostly demands larger brushes, his is not the broad-shapes, evolving-composition method, but rather the more holistic approach we’re used to, where the starting point is a general outline that builds on overall composition and colour. He frequently starts with a value sketch which is used establish both the shape of the final work and the way the elements of the picture relate to each other. One of his particularly interesting tropes is unification of shape, where the main elements of the picture effectively merge into each other, creating the line that leads the viewer through the painting.

He is also interesting on the role of the viewer, talking at one point about “the illusion of detail”, where a few clues – in figures and animals, for instance – prompt the eye to fill in the rest of the structure. Overall, too, his way of working is to suggest rather than tell and he is very good on ways of simplifying complex shapes.

This is a film about painting on location and Andy explains why this is important. He shows how colours and composition can be adjusted to reflect the developing scene, how the value sketch can be used as a record when lighting changes and why a photograph can’t capture the subtleties of colour and hues. He also has a trick of leaving the work about 90% complete so that the final touches can be added in the calm of the studio. A quick closing section shows how subtle these can be – small marks that highlight form and structure or clarify some of the smaller details. This is not about fiddling, just tidying up when the overall vision is clearer.

Theses reviews are often peppered with quotes, but Andy isn’t that sort of demonstrator. There aren’t forehead-slapping, “Oh gosh” moments, but rather a growing sense of being informed and of watching what I can really only call the magic taking place before your eyes. It’s hugely entertaining, but strongly and subtly instructive as well. I hope we can see more of Andy.


American artist Andy Evansen gained recognition after winning an international competition organised by the American Artist magazine in 2005. Since then he has become a sought'after workshop instructor. This DVD, Watercolour Plein Air sees him painting in the beautiful Cotswold countryside and villages in the quintessentially English watercolour style - loose and impressionistic. In a series of demonstrations painted on the spot, Andy shares with us his technique of working on a value study first, before embarking on a full painting, to establish shapes and composition. Concentrating on simplifying and connecting shapes, he often leaves areas of his painting suggested rather than complete so that the viewer fills in gaps with their eyes. Andy's demonstrations include rural countryside and village scenes, with church spires, boats, bridges, water, figures and animals added for interest.
THE ARTIST - August 2019

Andy Evansen is an American artist who paints in a quintessentially English watercolour style, using muted colours and loose brushwork with plenty of wet-in-wet. This is one of the most thorough guides to the art and technique you could wish for. Andy explains the importance of working out of doors and of capturing the essence of a scene – the subtlety of its colours and the changing effects of light. He uses value studies to establish tones and to create a unity of shape that holds the composition together. He explains how to leave the initial work slightly unfinished so that the final details can be added in the calm of the studio. This is an engaging and informative film in which Andy gets to the heart of both watercolour and the English countryside.

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