Revisiting Watercolor Paints with a Red Poppy Painting

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I was struggling with a larger project as described in my previous post. So to change up the pace a bit, I decided to go smaller. Like, 5″x7″ small.

I was feeling like I hit a wall with the mentioned larger project that I wanted to feel like I was able to complete something quickly for just a short stint. So this was just what I needed.

It’s red poppy season in my sweet little city of Georgetown, Texas. They are popping up everywhere! I’m not kidding. And they are a great source of inspiration as they have so much character swaying and bending around with the wind.

The pencil drawing on watercolor has been inked using fine line markers.

I hadn’t done a project like this in a long time, so it took a little longer than I had hoped, but it was still manageable. Plus, I was recording everything with plans of a future video (maybe… my video editing skills are not great), so that took some extra time. It started with a reference image from Pexels by photographer @adonyi.foto. From there I did a pencil sketch, which I then traced onto watercolor paper. From there I inked the line drawing using fine line markers. I allowed that to dry for a little bit before proceeding to paint in watercolor.

I started the watercolor treatment by using greens and blues to give the impression of grass and sky. I used some salt while the paint was still wet to create some interesting drying effects.

Materials used:

  • Prismacolor Premier Fine Line Markers
  • Sakura Pigma FB Brush Pen
  • General Pencil Co. Kimberly Drawing Pencil HB
  • Pentalic Sketchbook
  • Alvin & Co. Drafting Dusting Brush
  • Canson Tracing Paper
  • Strathmore Watercolor Paper
  • Daler-Rowney Watercolor Paint
The finished product along with various supplies used.

It was so much fun to play with watercolors as it can have a mind of its own. I love watching the colors float around and interact with each other while wet. Watercolor paint is also interesting in that you can work in light layers to build up intensity of color. I did that with the red on the poppy petals and I am very pleased with how that turned out.

Another fun aspect of working with watercolor is the challenge of not being able to recover the white parts of the paper. In acrylic painting, you can continue to layer white if you need to bring back a lighter part. But you can’t do that while painting in watercolor. So there is a bit of pre-planning advised with regard to preserving the highlights. I did this by using masking fluid. You can see the bottle of masking fluid pictured above. It can be tricky to apply if you intend to mask a very fine line, but that’s party of the fun!

I hope you you all are taking care of yourselves these days. It’s a strange time for us all with the current pandemic, but we must persevere. Stay calm and stay home when possible to protect yourself, your loved ones and the public. Together we can flatten the curve swiftly. In the meanwhile, I hope there is light in your heart and inspiration in your days.

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