watercolour on paper, 16 x 20 inches, my own photo reference
This blog post is a bit about how I'm spending my summer vacay......painting, of course!
I pulled this old-ish photo to work on, because a recent watercolour “crash and burn” was on my mind and I wanted to explore ways to work thru the problem of showing a crowd scene in watercolour. I wanted to show enough info to let the viewer see that folks were milling about in the courtyard, but not have it be the main event.
So I pulled an old pic I had, of the Southern Book Festival in Nashville's War Memorial building and courtyard. It had a lovely contrast of straight lines of the building, great shadows with figures popping in and out of the light, and a strong central figure set of the statue and the figure reading at the base.
So, I planned on making three washes for the painting. I masked off the courtyard, main figure and highlights of the shadowed figures, and poured away. As always with these full body watercolour pours.....it warps and bubbles up scarily! But I just go away and do something else, and air conditioning does it's magic and when I come back it's FLAT!
Then a second more intense wash....
And the final darker wash. The shadowed columns and crowd are beginning to contrast nicely with the lighter first warm wash.
After it was (totally!) bone dry I removed all the misket. I began to daub in the bright highlights of the shadowed crowd, the Greek statue, and the reading figure at it's base. I also blocked off the columns and did a small repainting to set the columns “straight” and adjust the values. I was especially pleased with the composition play of both the statue's sword and the crowd shadows "pointing" towards the main seated reading figure. With a bit of watercolour penciling to straighten up details and a bit-o-white gouche (opaque watercolour) on some lost highlights, I called it a wrap!