Trying different color combinations with glazing. The sky is a mixture of indigo and Indian yellow. I was pleased with the effect of the glow in the lower sky that one can sometimes see when the sun rises in the morning. The hills and trees are mixtures of burnt sienna and ultramarine and some acrylic sepia ink and some dribbling of granulation medium.
It was very difficult getting the colors right for this posting. The watercolor is actually a little darker than it appears here, especially in the foreground. I wanted to paint an atmospheric night scene using a range of blues. It took about ten coats of glazing to get to this stage. I almost abandoned it halfway through because it looked uninteresting. For the last stage I decided to take a rough painters brush and using Daniel Smith's indanthrone blue mixed with neutral tint I swept the brush back and forth and left it to dry. I think it really made the sky come to life. I then had to come up with something interesting to paint in the bottom third of the painting. It had to be something simple that did not detract from the sky, which I wanted to be the focus of the watercolor. I was pleased with the end result of this piece. Size is 14" x 10". I used indigo, French ultramarine, indanthrone blue and neutral tint for the sky, and burnt sienna with French ultramarine, raw sienna and a little sepia ink for the land area.
It's that time of year again. One of the things I miss most since moving from the east to the west coast is how the leaves change color in the fall. What I don't miss is having to rake them up - but it is a beautiful sight while it lasts. I took photos at various stages while painting this watercolor. Got so involved though, that I missed a few stages but will describe the process. For stage one I lightly drew the tree trunks and a few branches and masked them out with masking fluid.
Stage 2: I wet 140lb Saunders Waterford CP paper and painted a layer of aureolin randomly over the sheet. Before it dried I splattered transparent yellow and quinacridone burnt orange mixed with aureolin into the wet paint for the first layer of texture and let this dry.
Stage 3: I proceeded to splash more Indian yellow, transparent yellow and a mixture of Quinacridone burnt orange and aureolin onto the sheet. I spritzed this lightly with a spray bottle which changes the round dots to random shapes that more resemble leaves. I let this dry completely.
Stage 4: For the next to final stage I crumpled up some saran wrap into a ball and dipped it into all of the same colors - plus some Daniel Smith olive green to add some darks - and dabbed this all over the piece. When this was dry I brushed off the masking fluid and painted the tree trunks and branches with a mixture of quinacridone burnt orange mixed with French ultramarine which makes a very nice grey. I added a few more dabs of paint to make the colors a little richer. The final step was making a darker mixture to paint the markings on the bark. The finished piece is what you see in the first painting above.
I often do small sketches to try out different techniques and color combinations before starting a larger painting. The one above is 5" x 7". I was playing around with the new acrylic inks that I bought and was experimenting mixng them in with regular watercolors. The cliff is made up mostly of the acrylic inks. The watercolor below is just a little larger but was also done to test color selections. I find it very useful to do these small sketches. It also is a good exercise in loosening up because I do them rather quickly. I usually use these as greeting cards for family and friends. I cut and fold watercolor paper a little larger than the sketch and then glue the painting to the front of the card. My friends and family love getting these original greeting cards. However, I really like these two and decided to put them up for sale on my web site.
Another watercolor using multiple glazes to achieve the effect I was aiming for. I'm going back to glazing for now because I enjoy building up a watercolor with multiple glazes and slowly seeing the depth of the piece come to life. I sold a number of watercolors this month using this technique. They all also are paintings of sunsets, dawn and sunrise. For this watercolor I used raw sienna, indanthrone blue, transparent red iron oxide and burnt umber. Size is 12.5" x 9.5"
I did multiple glazing for this watercolor to achieve the depth you can only get through this method of painting. The piece was inspired by scenes of the African Savannah, with it's vast unspoiled areas of grassland dotted with acacia trees that are indigenous to the area. For those who follow my blog on a regular basis, you know by now that I love to paint tonal landscape scenes depicting dusk, sunrise, sunset or dawn. I love the light at that time of day. I was rather pleased with the end result of this watercolor.
I just had to go back to using muted colors after my last exercise. It's more in my comfort zone. I'm sorry I didn't photograph this in the various stages to show how I painted this piece. I started out masking out the fennel flowers, drawing them very loosely with various dots of masking fluid and joined the dots together to give the appearance of fennel flower heads. I also masked out some branches and splattered some masking fluid randomly onto 140lb Fabriano cold pressed paper. Once dry I started adding the background colors of indigo and Daniel Smith's Pompeii red. After that dried I added more branches and spatterings with masking fluid. When dry I sprayed the watercolor in parts with water and added a darker shade of indigo mixed with a little alizaron into the wet areas and waited for it to dry. I then removed all the masking fluid and loosely wet the flowers and painted them first with Aureolin yellow and then, while still wet, I dropped in some transparent yellow to give them a bit of depth. These flowers are somewhat of a greeny yellow, leaning towards mustard color. I had to try out several yellows on a piece of scrap paper to get the right hue. Layering always helps to give a painting more depth.
Using such bright colors was something completely different for me. It was more of an experiment to see if I liked the acrylic inks I bought and to find out what I could do with them. Since my watercolors lean more towards neutrals and darks, I'm having difficulty getting used to these colors. But it was a fun exercise. The abstract leaves in the lower right corner were achieved using cling film over the wet inks. When the yellow and blue inks mixed together under the cling film, they created the greens you see. In my next attempt I will tone down the colors a bit. These inks are great to use in watered down small quantities in one's watercolors.