Wulf's Webden

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This afternoon, I worked up a watercolour painting from a photo I took yesterday at Mapperley Reservoir. The subject is the same as yesterday’s digital painting but I was at home and had more time to work on it.

Time was what it needed. I started boldly, wetting the paper and dropping in areas of gamboge and pale green. As the paper started to dry, I sketched in the clumps of lily pads with the green paint and circular motions. When dry, I created a darker and slightly neutralised green by working in a bit of violet for the pads, reserving shapes for the flowers and also sections where some of the pads had started to lose their colour. Next came negative painting of the water, with a mixture of violet and some dark green. At that point, the result was rather disappointing and I was tempted to leave it there.

I took a break and decided to keep working when I returned and that is when it started to come together. I was applying more paint, including some glazing with green and violet (separately this time) but the magic happened when I began lifting paint out with a damp brush and blotting those sections dry. I built in texture to the leaves and made the flower stems less blocky. Inspired by the process, I also dropped in fresh colour in places where the lifting had made it too light.

The second bit of magic was dropping in some reddy brown (a slightly neutralised red from the palette). Some of that was evident in the original photo but, as a foil for the predominant green and yellow, I took liberties in applying it more widely. For this second session, I wasn’t referring directly back to the photo but looking to see what the painting needed.

It could bear a bit more working but I think I’ll stop there for this one. Two more paintings to do for this 30x30directwatercolor2020 project but, even with the 28 so far, I think I’ve got a few that might their way up to my wall in future.

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