When I work from a photo I set it always in B&W and print it out. Not to big, too much detail ruin a watercolour!
My way of working is more or less always every tim the same, I make a preliminary sketch with a big 6B graphite pencil, (Creta Color) just to know where the tones will be and if it works.
A subject is almost never 100% perfect, so you have to lie a little, we don’t copy scenes, we make watercolors!
That can go to adding trees or remove a few, bending rivers and change colors from houses. All for a better painting. The main subject has to be recognisable as the Windmill from that town you are painting. No one will tell you that you painted a tree to many!
In my opinion were that their were to many trees on the left so I left one out and made them closer together. The fine branches in the far distance I totally blocked out.
Now I have my plan, I sketch very light on my watercolor paper, just the horizon and the land, the trees I just give them a place on the ground, but I don’t sketch branches or foliage.In this case I use Millford paper, the texture and sizing give me a wonderful broken edge and the washes flow where I like them to flow. It’s really magical paper!
From this point I work only from my preliminary sketch, I invent the colors myself for the scene and only look on the photo if I missed something out on the sketch.
Take a big brush a round 22 or a flat 1/5 “
I wet the sky in some parts where I like it to flow, but never the whole sky, you lose every control when you do that. But some painters do, and that is fine!
I work my colors in the whole painting to a point I cannot do a thing anymore than wait for drying. The mood is set and the watercolor is for 70% done by now. The paper is covered with pigment, and a few preserved whites are making the watercolor sparkle. This is done with all very light washes.
The second layer is often to ensure the focal point, I paint darker tones around this, and at the trees, reflections and shadows. Still big washes and a big brush. No fiddling to this point. When this is dry, I am ready for details and last brushstrokes, I use most of the time a pointy synthetic no 8 for this work, or when I have a boat a rigger is the best!
I wished I left some space for light by the tree trunks, so I lie a little in the reflection to get some light anyway! .
Then I look if there is something I can add, a foreground shadow, or some trees in the back, just to make sure if it is pleasing the eye and balance the painting! Sometimes I glaze a weak wash over the whole watercolor just to make it all work together. You hold your breath and go for it! In this case a long foreground shadow so that the light behind it lights up even more
A limited palette brings harmony
Colors used from Daler Rowney:
I have been Doodlewashed with this article!
So happy and honored Charlie asked me to be a Doodlewasher!
I dont have doodles I said, well your watercolors are great so send those!
So I did, and now I am on Charlie’s very informative and good website!