“Contemplation” 11″ x 15″ watercolor inspired by the Contemplative Garden fountain at UTEP. Click on image to view larger. $99 unframed.
For today’s post I thought I’d give you a finished piece and its accompanying inspiration photo, and then a bunch of in process photos for you to see how this piece came together.
Photo of fountain’s surface
I took the photo at UTEP’s Contemplative Garden and it’s the surface of a fountain created by dripping water off of bells above the surface. You can see the fountain itself at the link for the garden.
image printed close to full size on two pieces of paper to transfer.
Initial drawing on paper, darkened so you can see the lines.
Because the photo was so dark, and I was using 300 lb paper (quite heavy), my lightbox wouldn’t work to transfer as I usually like to do, when I’m not freehand drawing on the paper. So I printed out the photo on white paper in a size big enough for the paper, taped the edges together and used Saral transfer graphite paper to transfer the lines.
I was inspired to do this because the painting group I’m in was watching a Soon Warren video on painting koi ponds and I wanted to paint from my own photo. So I followed her steps working with light washes put on with big brushes, drying it a bit with a hake brush, and then working on areas keeping some edges soft, some hard.
First light washes of color. Darker dots are masking fluid, a rubbery liquid that dries hard and protects the paper underneath. Later that will be removed.
after more washes keeping values in mind. darker at the top, in the shade.
Further on in the process, putting in the dark areas in the bottom right.
So you can see the piece take shape. Sometimes I lifted and softened edges, sometimes scrubbed out to get the texture of soft that the light on the water (front left) required.
I used many layers on this and lost some of the freshness that I want to get from watercolor, so I painted another in this, starting a series, with less layers, more wet in wet painting and I”ll show you that soon.
I didn’t use masking fluid for the highlights, because the edges dry so hard when you remove the masking. and it looks artificial unless you soften the edges a lot. It’s easier to just lift small reflections from the paint and/or scratch highlights at the end with a calligraphy nib or little razor.
I also didn’t draw all the detail on the paper, because I feel a lot more familiar with the subject. I got my circles placed and vague lines where I want the dark and light to meet. More on that in the next post!
Darker still but I don’t like the front left corner. edges are too hard.
After a lot of scrubbing on the left corner to lighten and soften the edges, and putting in the brighter blue hues in the bottom right.
Far along in the process, enough to remove the masking for the highlights of the water. the little white dots. Note the flower is still masked.
I enjoy hearing from you. Please let me know what you think, or ask any questions. I’m in a hurry to get this post finished, and get back to painting, so I may not have been as clear as I wanted to be.