Painting in watercolors is exciting because the nature of the medium means you never know what will happen. As an addendum to my last post, here are photos detailing the process of the last painting.
I always start with a value sketch. For me, this the most informative tool to a successful painting.
The next step is to lay out the painting and put on the first mask. This mask will ensure that those big white shapes on both horses will remain white.
Then I laid in my first wash and added a second mask to keep the snow on the mountains shining.
After painting the mountains and sky, I began the final mask.
Because Frisket is hard to remove and it does affect the quality of paint below it, I didn’t want to apply it to my earlier washes, especially the sky and mountains. I liked the way the color grades from top of the wash to bottom. Instead, I tried using blue masking tape right up to the liquid mask’s edges.
My favorite part of painting is the pour. I made a few different green-blue mixtures for the tree and its shadow, adding extra color where I felt it was needed. I moved on to the pony in the back. He is a deep neutralized violet. Finally, the mare in front received reds and yellows. I tilted the board in different directions to send the color where it needed to blend. I soaked up the excess water, then walked away to let everything dry.
The next day, I removed the mask to reveal the almost finished painting. Removing the mask is the exciting part. Well usually. I look forward to those deep poured colors turning into an image from my imagination. As I began to remove the masking tape, I found ugly green streaks where the paint leaked through the tape. After removing all the tape, I proceeded to rub away the Frisket. I was pretty sure the painting was ruined, but needed to see the results of the pour anyway. The horses were lovely and glowing. I knew I had to save this one. I also knew that watercolor is finicky, and attempts to revive a mistake often result in areas that appear tired and overworked.
First I lifted the paint leaks. The poured colors included stainer-pigments, so I got ghostly remains of the leaks. I believed I could make those streaks and lines into weeds and flowers. I added another transparent wash in the field and again walked away to let all that dry. If I don’t walk away when I see a problem, I will continue to pick at it like a pimple, until the blemish becomes large and unfixable.
When all was dry, I went into the painting with a dry brush using pale greens, golds, and rose to create weeds and flowers. A few touches for the trees pulled the whole composition together.