This week I explored a new technique that I hope might help me with some of my students who would like a little more reality to their watercolors than the way I usually paint. In the spirit of understanding the process I wanted to share with them, I gave it a go. I first suggested they use a tool I introduce in my drawing classes. It is a clear piece of plexiglass with horizontal and vertical crosshairs drawn on it. You place it over your photo reference like this:
Next I drew the same cross hairs on my watercolor paper and used the quadrants to draw my line drawing as close to the original photo as possible for my skill level. Have to be careful to not draw the lines too dark as they must be erased before painting.
The following steps are not of my design but shown to me on Sandrine Pellisier’s Blog post here. If you have not visited her blog, you may wish to take in some of her posts. She uses many different media and demonstrates the steps she goes through when creating her art.
The first step is to lay in a monochromatic value study using yellows. Sandrine suggests yellow ochre. I used naples yellow, new gamboge and a touch of halloween orange for the eyes and hair and darks in shirt.
The second step is a layer of reds.I used permanent rose and cadmium red. I worked varying values of these two reds over my yellows and chose to carry them into the shirt. I used cerulean blue in areas around the skin tones such as the shirt and darks in the hair, eyes and eyebrows. This helped me to see the skin tones a little better during this stage.
In the third stage I added cerulean blue for the shadows. I painted a layer of yellow, red and prussian blue for the background, allowing each layer to dry before adding the next.
For the finished painting, I darkened the background with more prussian blue, deepened the tones in the shirt and finished the details like shadows under the upper lid and upper lip and detailed the darks around the eyes and in the darks of the hair with permanent rose and prussian blue.