Ever wondered about the process of creating a watercolor?


This watercolor started when I took some photos of daffodils in my garden one sunny spring day. I wanted to pick a time of day that allowed some areas of the flower to appear backlit and some areas to be in soft shadows.  The photos I took had a lot of daffodils in them but I ended up cropped one photo to just these two daffodils to evoke a sense of intimacy with the flower.

Next I picked my paint colors. In this case I just used three colors -- a red, a yellow and a blue -- the other colors were blended from those. Sometimes a painting will be more cohesive if we limit the color options to just a few instead of twenty different colors that don't have any connection to each other.

I also had to decide what I wanted to leave white. I don't use white paint so the whites are just the white of the paper showing through.  In this case, I only had a few small areas that I left white and just painted very carefully around those areas.

The daffodil was painted with several very thin layers of watercolor, each applied after the previous one had dried, until I was able to build up the depth of color I was aiming for.  Sometimes I would paint one color on top of another but the transparent tendency of watercolor still allows the lower layers to show through, creating interesting colors that have some depth to them.

The background utilized a technique called "negative painting". Instead of painting the leaves, I painted darker paint around the outside of the leaves, making the leaves "magically" appear.  This also required placing several layers of watercolor until I got the effect I was after.  This painting was the first time I tried that technique and I was very happy with how it turned out!

The hardest part of painting for me is knowing when to stop -- trying to avoid overworking it.  In watercolors, overworking a piece can make the watercolors look dull and less luminous.   That's something I struggle with on every painting I do!

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