Painting “Just Armed with Love”
Contributed by Daune Sheri, Brooklyn, CT - USA
My technique for watercolor painting uses Ampersand Aquabord, Daniel Smith’s Watercolors, Escoda Versatil Brushes in round, sizes 6, 2, 0, 0/3 and a scalpel blade. A painting can take several weeks to complete, involving many hours and many washes of color painted on a lightly water sprayed surface. Each color is diluted with lots of water so there is only a very slight hue when applied to the clay. This allows me to create depth and tonal change with the slightest gradation of color.
For this step-by-step instruction, I begin with a very light pencil sketch of my subjects being certain all proportions and features are correct before the watercolor process begins. I then thoroughly wet the entire clay board to allow any trapped air bubbles within the clay to escape. Once the board is nearly damp, I’m ready to begin.
I begin to deepen tonal areas of the subject’s face by continuing to add washes of Yellow Ochre and Permanent Alizarin Crimson, leaving light areas exposed. Choosing Payne’s Grey, I begin to block color in the fabric covering the body starting with the folds of material. I add Quinacridone Rose to the dog’s body to create an underlying blush, as well as a bit of Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna to the head, being mindful of emotion and expression between the subjects.
I work more diluted washes of color throughout adding Sepia and Van Dyke Brown in darker shadow and detail areas. I decide I would like to bring the dog’s tail up over the arm.
Finally, I work to deepen color and darken shadow areas. Then, using a small damp brush, I push or drag the brush in a certain manner to remove color and pull light detail back to an underlying color below or further to nearly clay color. For fine intricate detail, I use a scalpel blade to carve into the clay adding emphasis to the white facial hair and dog’s whiskers. Always being mindful of emotion and expression between the subjects…
The finished painting is put aside for a day or two to be certain no changes or details need to be added. Once I’m happy with the final painting, I varnish the clay’s surface, if it’s a cradled board, stain the cradle, add hardware and the painting is ready to hang!