Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Watercolor Painting from Photos part 1: Clouds at Tramp Harbor

I have taken thousands of photos in the last few years. Literally. My computer says I've taken more than 8000! I love them all. Some are family photos, sure. Some record details I think I might use in paintings or illustrations later: the way ferns grow, moss on maple roots, how my grand daughter dances. Sometimes a landscape is just too luscious to pass by: some of these I've begun to use on calendars. Lately I've been attracted to more abstract compositions.

Clouds at Tramp Harbor
I was looking through my photos for these abstract compositions to use in my silk art, when I came across this photo. OMG! Beautiful! I want to paint this one.

So how do I go about it?

value study
  • First, a value study. That would be a thumbnail sketch in pencil showing where the darks and lights are. Where is the composition darkest? Where are the middle tones? Where is it lightest?

Next to decide what pigments to use. I have my favorites of course. I don't own black water color paint; I use indigo and burnt umber to make and almost black, or mix in a little green for a green black.

I make my own grays. Ultramarine mixed with burnt umber makes one gray; indigo and burnt umber another. Of course you can make your gray bluer or grayer. I like a blue gray for clouds, this time with ultramarine and burnt umber.

Now to do a small color study.

Hmm. My drawing skills need work. Time to put it aside and maybe do a full sized painting later.

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