Red Spiny Flowers – October 3, 2016 Progress

I promised I’d be back, and here I am. I have just been incredibly busy during my classes and have neglected writing a post because I had no energy left to muster up the effort needed to gather the pictures and organize my thoughts for this one.

Now I have both the material and the mustered strength. It’s not a long one, but really just a few pictures that include a focus on a single technique I made great use of here.

I started this by trying to really remain loose with my brushstrokes and the colors I used, really hoping to have the paint “paint itself” for me. That is what some of the more seasoned masters say to do, anyway. Nothing ever comes of no practice, either, so I took a chance and experimented a bit. I took a sketch and started to pour in some color.

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After I had the focus of the painting done, I realized that I had many little pieces that would drive me crazy to paint around with a blended, soft background, so I decided to try masking out the whole figure and little details with masking fluid that I have not nearly used enough. That took a bit of time, but it was worth the pain I would have undergone had I gone the other route. So I think it was a fine call.

Next, after it was completely dry, I just dropped in some colors, really trying to make them dark in an effort to make the bird and flowers pop out more. This took me several layers, eventually. Then I also added some negatively-painted details here and there, that aren’t as garish as some of my former attempts. What can I say, I just evolve as I go. đŸ™‚

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Finally, I removed the masking fluid (once the painting was bone dry) by using a small piece of masking tape, literally picking it up and pulling it off the paper. In my experience, a plain piece of tape works far better than a finger or some sort of eraser. I have no experience with a pick-up, but I assume it gets dirty and worn (from what I have seen in pictures and videos) and has the poor fortune of being easily misplaced now and then. That’s why I stick to a small and fresh piece of easily-accessible masking tape for my needs.

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I added some more details and just about belabored and covered all of the looseness I made earlier because I just haven’t learned to quit early without overworking a piece. However, I redeemed a few areas with some lifting later. Looking back at it for a few days, I realized that some masked areas looked too clean-cut and pasted-on, so I took some clear water on a brush and just rubbed those areas lightly, having the surrounding colors tint the glaring white and soften the edges.

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At that point, I called it finished. I just didn’t want to ruin it. I don’t dislike the result, I wasn’t sure what I was getting at in the first place. I think my main intent was really just to try a more loose style and see how it suited me. I can tell that it needs some work, but it is also incredibly fun during the process of its creation and watching the colors develop and meander across the strokes of water on their own. I learned how to sit on my hands to keep from fidgeting with the process too much.

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As always, here are the materials I used:

8×10 inch piece of 140lb Arches hot press watercolor paper

paints

  • Phthalocyanine blue (M. Graham)
  • Alizarin crimson (Winsor & Newton)
  • Permanent Yellow Deep (Holbein)

 

As you can see, you can get many colors out of a blend of three primaries. I love trying out the combinations. Let me know what your favorite primary combinations are in the comments below! I would like to try them out. I am still developing my own taste in them, but as always, that is a work in progress.

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