More from last weekend, rendered in watercolour. This is Cranberry Bog, one of the various scenic highlights of Cranberry Bog Trail in Killarney Provincial Park. It’s about 5k but packed with sights, the bog being one of them. The three of us, husband, dog, and myself, lounged on the smooth rock for a long time enjoying some bug free sunshine before moving on to the vampiric nightmare of the forest in June. Of course I painted this at home as my hands were too busy either swatting or scratching to hold a brush or pencil (actually, I did sketch a few dead mosquito’s as a bizarre twist on ‘life drawing’)
Image Notes: 9”x12” watercolour on Saunders 140lb paper. This is a far more literal rendition than I use when ‘painting’ with coloured pencils, but very good practice. As it has been awhile since my last 'pure’ watercolour, I forgot a few things. Mistakes are frustrating, but I try to remember they are always great learning opportunities.
Lifting: with a damp brush, you can remove colour to fix mistakes, or pull out highlights at the end. I lost my rock reflections and had to put them back with lifting. I dampen the area, then dab hard with paper towel. The higher the quality of paper, the more ‘lifting’ you can do. The more experience you have, the more you can plan to use lifting as a technique rather than fixing.
Sea Sponge: I keep tiny pieces of damp sea sponge on hand to soften the dry brush work as I’m not fond of too many crisp edges.
Cartoon or Thumbnail Sketch: this is something I didn’t do and really wish I had. I planned to use my reference photo without alteration and considered it an unnecessary step. However, as I worked from light to dark, the rocks at one point were an amorphous pink blob. I simply ‘forgot’ the major shapes at one point and started doing something else—you could call it painting yourself into a corner. It took major edits, both in adding darks and lifting things out, to get me out again. A cartoon thumbnail outlining major shapes left in view would have kept the major shapes foremost in my mind.
Next time I do a watercolour I’ll try to keep these things in mind, or will remain doomed to repeat my mistakes.