Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Watery Portrait of Nikolaas

Hard at work in my July-long watercolor class.

My three goals for this class:
  1. Go Big
  2. Don't lose my sketchbook style
  3. Let the watercolor do more of the work for me

I've been looking at the books by Jean Haines for some guidance on how I might let the watercolor do more work for me.  I highly recommend her World of Watercolor, and other books, for looking at amazing use of color and letting the water do its thing.

Of course, she makes it look much easier than I found it to be.

Still, I gave it a whirl, working with my dog, Nikolaas, a Dutch Shepherd.

When I started I chose only a few colors, none realistic.  I started with the outline of the ears and then placed the eye and the nose. Then I worked with a whole lot of water and the colors I had chose, to shape his head and try to catch some of the modeling of the light on his head.

I intended to only do one eye; I wanted the other half of his face to fade into shadow.

I think, perhaps because of the quality of the paper I worked on (decent, but not great), I had a lot of trouble getting the water to simply flow.  I just wouldn't.  It soaked in too fast, and so the colors didn't move and mingle as I'd hoped they would.  

So, I am definitely going to try this approach again.  When I do, I'm going to start with the eye and probably the nose, then try to flow out from there.  I'm also going to do it on Arches cold press, which I think will flow better.

I don't think I'd hang this on the wall, or anything, but I am so pleased with the experiment and the results!  I love the use of the unrealistic colors, which do capture him some.  I'm pleased with the eye and the nose and the depiction of light.  I'm also pleased with the contour--yes, his ears are really that big! 

Fun experiment.  I learned a lot and can't wait to try it again.

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