Making Progress

Well that was fun. I started this painting today and I finished it 3 hours later. That's not like me. I fuss and fiddle and sometimes take 3 or 4 days to finish a painting. I tend to paint 'tight' and I really would like to loosen up. I adore the work of John Lovett and Karl Martens. They are loose, uninhibited watercolourists and I live in hope that one day I will use this medium as well as they do.

This little guy is my attempt at painting 'loose.' I had to resist my urges to fuss and fiddle.

I started by wetting the body and head of the bird with water and while the paper was damp I dropped in some Imperial Purple. wait! The very first thing I did was mask out the white spots on the wings and tail. You can see that as the little green spots in the image above. So, after I wet the paper..........I let the dampness of the paper disperse the pigment. I also dropped in some Brown Ochre and some Vandyke Brown here and there. Then I sprinkled some salt over it and sat back and crossed my fingers. There is a little bit of yellow paint on the back leg- I dropped that in while the paper was damp too.

When the first step was dry I wet the top of the head and the wing with water and I dropped in Vandyke Brown while the paper was damp. I picked up some Sepia and I added some darker areas where I wanted them. I let the dampness move the pigment around. I sprinkled a little salt on this area too.

I wet the tail and I gave it the same treatment with the same colors. I painted the eye in with Lamp Black. Again I dampened the paper first but I used a much finer brush. When the tail was dry I wet the fluffy area at the base of the tail with water and dropped in the same colours- starting with Purple first. I painted the bottom beak with a very faint wash of Naples Yellow.

I wet the front edge of the wren with water and I used some more Purple to darken that area. Then I re-wet the area around the rump and I dropped in some more VanDyke Brown and some more Sepia. I stepped back and had a look at it and I decided that it was way too purple. 

I knew I had to tone down the purple with some brown so I carefully re-wet the body as I didn't want to upset the pretty salt wash underneath. While it was damp I dropped in some Vandyke Brown here and there. I rewet the legs and I used Burgundy to add some darker areas. I wet the lower beak and used Brown Ochre and Sepia to add some definition to it. When it was dry I wet the top beak and I used Lamp Black there. I used an eraser to rub off the masking fluid and I softened the white highlights that remained by carefully wetting the paper around them and dropping in some Sepia.

I must thank Steve Lyddon from Paint My Photo for the reference photo. Paint My Photo is a great place to find photos that you can paint from without fear of infringing copyright. 

My finished painting is painted on A3 size paper which is 16.6" by 11.7" or 42cm by 29.7cm. Three sizes are available as archival prints and the original is also for sale.

I scanned my painting and cleaned it up in Photoshop. While I was waiting for Dom to come home from work I used it to make some product 'mockups' below. :)





Louise De Masi5 Comments