Friday, June 27, 2008

Wetland Sketch

"Wetland Sketch", 5"x7", Watercolor on Daler-Rowney Langton 200# Cold Press Paper

I did the quick sketch yesterday but did not have time to photograph and upload it until now. It is a sketch of a wetland nature preservative where I live. There are plenty of wild geese, ducks and other water birds migrating here and stay in the wetland every summer, and lots of enthusiastic bird-watchers equipped with fancy gadgets including professional cameras and camcorders coming to the view. I also did a wild geese sketch at this wetland today, but haven’t finished it yet. Would probably post it tomorrow when it is finished.

I tried to practice brush strokes when painting this sketch, following the advices in the newest edition of Watercolor Artist Magazine’s Creative Workshop, limiting the time of painting from start to finish within 30 minutes. I did not have time to wait for the washes to dry and that forced me to work around the whole image, skipping back and forth to avoid disturbing the half-dried brush strokes. Some of the strokes actually merged together and turned out pretty nicely. I used raw sienna, sap green and hooker’s green for the grasses, varying the proportions to add interest, and warming up the color temperature when moving from background to foreground. The darker weeds and bushes are painted with hooker’s green mixed with different portions of French ultramarine as well as Payne’s grey. The sky is painted with a mixture of French ultramarine and burnt sienna, as well as cerulean blue mixed with Payne’s grey. Since the watercolor is mainly reflection of the sky, I just used a lighter mixture of the same color, using fast brush strokes to leave some white of the paper to shine.

I have tested a new kind of paper – Daler-Rowney’s Langton sketchbook with 200# cold-pressed surface. The paper is with medium surface texture, a little bit mechanical similar to Canson Montval or Strathmore Gemini Paper. It takes washes well but a little bit quite to dry, and color lifts really easily without much scrubbing, making corrections easy but a little difficult to glaze over. I also tested the new Niji water-brush in painting the sky – they are really fun to use! You just squeeze the brush handle to wet the hairs and lift the colors from palette. The only pity is the hairs are a little too soft, and the water stored in the brush handle are not enough quantity to clean the brush when you want to change colors, hence it is a little difficult to get clean, unsullied colors after 2,3 different color mixtures. Maybe there is a way to fix that, anyone knows?

"The Dusky Path of a Dream, WIP 3", 9"x12", Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper

I am also posting the progress shots of the “Dusky Path” painting. I have glazed over the closer mountain on the left, trying my best not to destroy the lovely rose-violet tones and all the subtle color changes achieved with the first wash. The color I used was mostly permanent rose and cobalt blue, with just a touch of aureolin yellow to grey it down a little bit.

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