Aug 2, 2018

Working on Over-sized Watercolours - Painting & Drawing Tips


It's great to be back!

Don't get me wrong, I had an awesome trip with Steve and Max camping on Texada Island but somehow when you get home everything seems new and exciting.

And for me, the Biggest Excitement is my BIG Picture!

BOY AND HIS DOG -  2 ft by 4 ft. Watercolour - Coming Down to the Finish Line

Yes, I have picked up my very large, half finished painting and I am back to work on it. I found this was a different experience.  (Not sure what is happening, My Project is a 2 foot x 4 foot watercolour painting.  See my posts starting here to catch up.)

Usually when you stop work on a painting it is because you ran into trouble.  Your frustrated, disappointed, defeated.  You do get back up and run at it again but sometimes that painting can sit for days/months/years before that happens.  I hear from acrylic and oil artists that those paintings can even get scraped off or painted over.  Definitely not a positive experience.

With my BIG Picture things are different. . .

I didn't stop because of trouble, I stopped because I had to.  Part of the competition was to have an "In Progress" Reception.  So I had to stop, even when I was on a roll and paint was humming.  The feelings are so different as I return to work.  Excitement. Joy. Impatient.  Get out of my way, I want to paint!

There are three main jobs left: Painting Max, my dog; painting my Grandson's hand and face, my little boy and reconciling the background.

Part 1: Bringing Max to life:

Max - Step 1 - here you can see how the layers build his body.  His back shows the gray undercoat.  His back legs show a finished section.  

At first I wondered how I was going to get Max's coat looking good and not just a black blog.  My solution was buried in the roots of my pencil work.  Lay down a mid tone value for the area.  In this case I wanted both warm and cold tones in my black.  I used Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna to make my gray.

Max - Step 2 - the layering is done in patterns that resemble what I can see on his body.

Once the first layer of gray is dry, I begin to build his fluffy coat by adding darker layers. Slowing increasing the value with each layer. And of course drying after each layer.

 I am constantly looking for some kind of pattern in the body shape.  This is done wet into damp.  Not really a full out wet surface but not totally dry either.  I want to keep soft edges for most of my hair.  Hard edges catch the eye and Max is not the star of my painting.  (I know, hard to believe, but Max is number 2, it is really all about my grandson.)

Max - Step 3 - I am constantly building by overlapping my strokes.  Keeping the colour similar but not exactly the same. 

Max is a phantom poodle and has great markings.  They are a tan colour.  I used my gray as a wash over the tan areas to tone it down and integrate it into his body colour. I also added green over some of the areas to pick up on the reflected light in the vineyard.

Max - Step 4 - Final - I kept his harness lighter than him in most areas as it really broke his shape up.  I didn't want him to be a black blob. 

Once Max was done I was ready to take on my Real Challenge. . . .

Part 2: My grandson's face and hand. 

I wasn't quite sure what I was going to use for the skin tone but finally settled on a combination of New Gamage, Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Rose, and my mixture of greens from the background.  Again I laid down a the midtone for his face. (This is not a mid tone value of 5 on the scale of 1-10, this is the midtone value for this area.)

Grandson - Starting to build the layers, focusing on the darks

As I put down the base I used a cloth to lighten the area on the back of his neck and the top of his head.  Then focusing on the darks I began to add layers to create the shadows and form his features.  Again working wet into damp. Lots of drying in between.   Hard lines on a young child can really age them.  (Actually you already know how mean those hard lines in your face can be!)

Check up top for my work in progress to see how the layers of grazing for the shadows are starting to sculpture his face.  I added a bit of the white highlights on his face as well to give you an idea how they will change things again.  Eye Candy.

The next few days should see my picture done.  Then Varnish, 7 Days to Cure and over for Jurying on August 16.  I am looking forward to seeing the finished picture as much as you!!  I will post the finished picture with next weeks post.   You can see the full process of working with Oversized Watercolour Paper starting hereAny questions about working with oversized watercolours and framing with varnish I will be glad to answer.  I have several more varnished paintings planned as I really enjoy seeing them on the wood panels.

How is your Big Challenge coming?  Are you ready to share?  I would love to see/hear what you did.

Etsy Store: WendyMouldsArt  is always open and new things added all the time.  Original Artwork, commissions and prints and cards of Art by Wendy's Work.

Try Your Hand at Plein Air Painting: 

Plein Air Painting Festival - August 17-19,  KilbyHistorical Site, Harrison Mills, BC

Great Opportunity to Paint on an Historic Site with costume models, farm animals, farm scenery, old store and more.  Painting Friday and Saturday, & Sunday Morning,  Prizes, Luncheon, and Sales on Sunday Afternoon.  Great Prizes for all levels - Beginners to Advanced Welcome.

$15  Register 604-796-9576 by August 15, 2018.  
This is an awesome event, there are juried prizes and draw prizes so fun for all levels.  Registration gets you on site for all 3 days.  I will be camped at the Kilby Campsite and there all 3 days so be sure and say hi.  

Drop-In & Draw Sessions: Last Summer Session
New people are always welcome.  Beginner to Advanced 

 Monday, August 13, 10-12pm & 1-3pm 

Expression Art Gallery, Valley Fair Mall, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge,
Choose a morning or afternoon session. Bring your sketchbook or project and come and work.  I will be happy to give you pointers.  $15 Pre-Registration Required.  Contact Wendy Here. 

Artists reading this also find the following valuable: 
The Story of a Painting in 3 Parts,  from start to finish - starts here
How to Paint/Draw Soft & Fluffy Animals, 2 Parts - starts here
How to Find Your Starting Point in a Drawing - here

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Have a great Artful Day,

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