Blank Canvas: I’m starting a little painting exercise. It’s been a while and I realize I’m losing some of my instincts when brush meets paints plus water and paper. So here goes:

A Sketch: It’s always a good start. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Just something may be fun to capture. Sometimes I scour pictures on Flickr of a pretty scenery and use it for reference. Scenery allows for a multitude of different watercolor techniques from wet-on-wet washes to dry brush.

Wet on wet wash: What I love most about watercolor is the control chaos with a splash of spontaneity. Part of that requires trusting one’s instinct. I feel I’m losing some of that when I go thru hiatus. At this point, I feel I messed it up already because the edges aren’t perfect and the color bleeds too much.

Wet-on-wet technique consist of laying down a layer of clean water across the page before laying on a thin wash of colors to create the background. It’s very important to let each layer dry before apply more or else colors will become muddy.

I keep reminding myself it’s OK to make mistakes. Working with negative space can be challenging but also refreshing. When in doubt, take a step back, evaluate and keep glazing with a thin layer of color over the negative space until the feel is almost there.
Glazing: Glazing uses a thin, transparent pigment applied over dry existing washes. Its purpose is to adjust the color and tone of the underlying wash.

Foreground: Moving on to the positive space, filling in the warm bark of the trees. Tomorrow, I will add more texture. And each day I will add more until the painting is complete. It’s important to allow each layer of paint to dry completely before adding another layer to avoid muddy colors. Watercolor is transparent so each layer should adds depth.

Another layer of glaze: Building more texture and adding some branches to the foreground. It looks like a mess up close, but I’m working from the background to foreground so I’m saving all the finer details last.

Details: Added another layer of texture to bring the foreground up a bit. At this point, I’m not sure if I want to continue or moving on. Since this is an exercise, I feel comfortable enough to stop here. Next time, I’d like to add another blue color to the palette and tighten up the brush work a lot.

Colors: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine, Raw Sienna