Thursday, December 1, 2011

Painting Process - Watercolor

Many years ago, I learned how to paint using watercolors. I started out painting traditional subjects like floral arrangements and landscapes. As I began to explore different subjects, I found I was able to convey my vision with oil paints. I hadn't really done much with watercolors over the last ten years. However, it has been very enjoyable tackling this new project using watercolor.

The early conceptual stages are the same whether in oil or watercolor. I start out with thumbnail drawings to visualize the idea. Then I make a more finished preparatory drawing to transfer. When the painting starts, however, the approach differs. In oil paint, I work mid tones and darks first, and add the highlights last. With watercolor, you must plan ahead and "save" the highlighted areas. The photos above document the process of working starting with light washes and then adding darks.

I was quite happy with the rhinobeetle painting. I feel that I have captured the spirit of some of my favorite natural history artists who inspire me, such as John James Audubon, Maria Sibylla Merian, and John Gould. I also admire a modern master, Walton Ford.

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