20’s go by faster these days…

[20 min, watercolor on canson 90lb]

Took the watercolors to the drop in short pose session at Studio Technique.  I used to be a fiend for the gesture drawing. Anything over 5 min was too much time.  I’d do 4 sketches in a 20 min pose. Lately things are turning around. As I become more interested in painting, (versus drawing) I’m less and less satisfied with what I can scribble down in a gesture. I’m learning more about the properties of watercolor as well – and I now realize that there are times where you must wait.  Where you have to let the wash dry at least partially – or you’ll be unable to achieve a hard edge.  So it follows – now I’m finding it hard to get anything out of a pose shorter than 20!

What I’m doing lately is getting at least 2 passes in the 20. First washes lighter,thinner – working the entire silhouette wet inwet – but in two ‘pools’ – one for the shadow shape, and one for the lights.  In the first washes I want to add the color variation in the skin – the red from sunburn, the cool in shadows, the stronger color at elbows and knees. I’m trying to keep major areas of color from touching (even the slightest touch will cause them to merge  or bloom together. But then – sometimes you want that :) – might only risk it when both items are ‘wet’ not actually liquid-watery if that makes sense). By the time I’ve worked the whole figure – I can usually begin the second pass of darker darks. What I touched first is dry-ish. (Check out her hair for instance. That’s a classic case of a dark where you need hard edges on top of color).

It’s takes some practice to know when you’re ready to touch a wash again. And when you can soften or alter a wash in progress, vs when touching it will ruin the effect. Generally adding water to a wash is a mistake – you can add more pigment, the stronger color will flow into what’s there – but adding weaker color gets you an unsightly stain.

7 thoughts on “20’s go by faster these days…

  1. I like them, there is a definite gestural quality about them yet having a basic understanding of water colour I know there was more time involved here. What I like the most is that I can tell these are yours, if I saw them with no other referance I would still know that they were yours.

  2. I’m happy that think I know exactly what you are talking about. Your results are really turning out great. Its a constant balance with that water, knowing when to lay down paint, and then hoping every decision comes out successfully like it has before.

    1. Hey Casey – For the line art you’re probably talking about I’m using a regular ballpoint rolling ball, gel writer, any of those type of pens from the stationary store. I do dark accents with a pentel GFPK brush pen, which is the most awesome brush pen known to man. I take one everywhere. I draw on ‘cover stock’ or 100lb photocopy paper – similar to bristol but lighter and cheaper. Usually I re-enforce the lines when I scan by multiplying the image on top of itself – sometimes with a little 2px blur.

      If the brush work looks really juicy, then it’s probably watercolor with some folding threaded travel sables I got from daniel smith a zillion years ago….

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