If I don’t have a particular idea in mind as the next thing to paint, I find it useful to spend a bit of time just playing with the pigments. Here is a session from Saturday in Schmincke Pthalo Blue and Royal & Langnickel Crimson Red Lake:
As it dried, it put me in mind of my earlier attempt to work up clouds at sunset (see The Other Side) and so I set out to experiment. Using a small test sheet, I painted two rectangles of water. On the left, I filled it entirely with Pthalo Blue before dropping in streaks of the red; on the right I left gaps to apply the red in the same pattern, which is why the colour appears more vivid. You can see the dampness of the paper at the point where I decided to leave it:
For comparison, here is the same sheet completely dried:
I expected the patches of water at the bottom of each to possibly form a heavier patch of colour but, left flat, the water seems to have migrated back into the picture, pushing the pigment before it.
Which one will work for the picture I have in mind? Probably both: red over blue near the top and then red dropped into white spaces where I want the colour to be more intense near the bottom of the piece.