Saturday, September 5, 2015

Windowsill of Leaves watercolour with just a pinch of colored pencil

Windowsill of Leaves
8 x 10 inches, 2 ply bristol board, various watercolour brands,
 liquid misket and a bit of Prisma coloured wax pencils, 
from my own photograph

This time around I'm showing a small-ish watercolour I did from a pic I took of a bunch of fall leaves piled up in my kitchen windowsill. I put a green cup in one corner and a bottle of olive oil in the other, to hold them in place. I adored how the sunlight filtered thru the different layers of the multi-hued leaves.

I was so in love with the leaf colours I just had to start right in on a leaf, the minute I had the composition sketched in. I decided I wanted to do a 360 degree turn from my poured wash technique of the past few watercolours. I “outlined” the first leaf in water, using the water's surface tension to define the borders for the orangey green colour. I then dipped in the tip of a color heavy brush into the water and pushed it around, then let it dry. I repeated that with the next colours and the following leaf.

I knew that I wanted the window to be dark to provide a foil for the sunlit leaves, so I ran a bead of misket around the upper leaves and the olive oil bottle. I also wanted to use some light coloured wax colored pencils to “reserve” lights for the veins in the leaves and sunlit halos on the edges of the leaves. I also drew in some defining lines in the olive oil bottle.

I continued on doing each leaf separately, and adding in the green glass cup over the background leaves.

After getting the leaves roughed in, I put in the dark blue/purple window background. The bead of misket kept the wash just where I wanted and not in the leaves. In a couple of the smaller bits of background, I just used the wax white coloured pencils as a resist to the watercolour wash.

Now that I had the darkest darks in the picture, I could see how I wanted to finish up on the further leaves and their shadowed forms. The olive oil bottle was coming along nicely. After I laid in the background shadowed leaves, all I had to do to recover the bottle's glow, was run a damp brush over the wax coloured pencil line, and the dark watercolour lifted off like magic. There were some spots, like the highlit veins in the leaves that were drawn in almost too thick with the wax coloured pencil. I just painted in the leaf colours right over the coloured pencil lines. After it was dry I just removed the thickness of the leaf vein that I wanted, leaving the rest of the too thick line underneath the darker watercolour.
I'd drawn so many leaf veins that I'd sorta forgotten exactly where they all were. Each time I finished up on a leaf, I'd try removing some watercolour for a vein, and was delighted to find a “saving” wax coloured pencil mark just where it needed to be!

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