Thursday, September 23, 2010

Things I've learned: watercolor

Remember last week, when I had decided I'd better get off my duff and start on my Christmas card painting?  Well, this is the photo of last year's amaryllis that I'm going to base my watercolor painting on.  I don't know if you're familiar with how a watercolor is made, but I thought it would be fun to actually chronicle the steps.  It may be interesting for some, and deadly dull for others.  If you're of the latter variety, feel free to ignore this blog for a couple of rounds, and catch ya later. 
First I make a grid and lay out the initial drawing.  I used to draw everything freehand, but it took three times as long, and sometimes still ended up being not quite right. 
Another thing I used to do was draw directly on the watercolor paper.  By making the grid drawing first, I avoid doing a lot of erasing on the watercolor paper, which can destroy the "tooth" of the paper, and make the paint do things that will NOT make you happy. After the drawing is done I go over the major lines with a thin sharpie. 

Next I put the initial drawing down on my handy dandy light table, and put the watercolor paper over it.  And voila, I can see the lines, and draw them in with a 2H pencil. I usually have to turn the light off a couple of times to check that all the lines get done.  I don't like to use a pencil that's too dark, so it won't show so much through the paint.

 Here you can see the drawing actually showing through the watercolor paper.  I just love my light table.  I never had one before so I was always taping things to windows to do that particular process.

After the drawing is finished I tape the paper to my board with masking tape.  I tried painter's tape for awhile, but I use 300 lb. paper which is pretty thick, and when it's wet the painter's tape won't hold it. 
See the yellow marks on the paper? The next thing I do is put masking fluid where I want to make sure it stays white.
Now I'm ready to paint.

Leaving Saturday morning to meet my sisters in Vegas for a little down time, involving NO TILE.  Catch you guys next week.  

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