Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Purple Coneflowers in 5 Steps

Process. It's fun to watch; watching someone create something out of nothing is exhilarating and gives us confidence that we, too, can transform something ordinary into something more. Here's a few snapshots into how I build up my paintings. (If only I could stop myself more often I'd show you more steps in between!)

Step 1: Figuring out where the heck you're going. I use to do detailed pencil sketches and comp's--sometimes I still do--but more often than not I just seek a direction in which I want to go in. I believe that we creators are little conduits of the big Creator. And (as it often works out in our figuring out our next steps in life), we don't have a clear or accurate picture of the final destination. What I can map out at this point are some goals: some colors, some inspiration, and a general hope. 

After that, it's watery brushwork. I first did a light wash all over (Step 2 not shown). I played with the colors I planned to use throughout the piece. It helps in getting your paper prepped and in seeing these colors in their light forms interact. 

What you see on the left are close-ups of Step 3. These were light silhouettes of the flowers and stems. I could use these to add depth, resembling flowers in the distance or as loose sketches for the flowers in the foreground.

I utilized the wet on wet method for this. I painted with highly watered down strokes and occasionally dropped in color and let it bleed its magic. More details for wet-on-wet are in a blog below.

Here's the full shot of that third step of light silhouettes. Not much to write home about but I could stare and stare at  how these colors mingle. Yep. I. Heart. Watercolor.

Step four: Time for some "real painting." In medium tones, using a bit more paint in my brushes, I made some foliage. I strongly believe in maximizing our strengths and I treat art supplies no differently! Each brush's unique shape enables it to create distinct shapes with very little effort. I capitalize on their little virtues. 

Step five: Linework, time to define these babies. A lot of pressure here since I'm using dark colors and bold lines. Watercolor painting is not for sissies, you've got to be willing to plunge forth at the risk of having to chunk it and start over. Don't miss this: it's not a fail to chunk a piece, consider it part of your next piece's process. (I say that now... ha!)

Final! As always, a photo or scan just doesn't do the real deal justice. But that's part of the charm. 

And lastly, step-by-step's are great to learn from, but they're not likely where you'll land in your personal style. I should also add that I allow the paint to dry between these steps (and often within the step's layers). I'm no more patient than my fellow man. I work on other things in the meantime.

Keep painting! 

Other Posts You May Like: Tips for Painting With a Toddler | Loosening Up | Playing With Brushstrokes