Here is the final image version of this watercolour.
The above image was taken outside in the shade on a sunny day.
Here is the same image taken indoors the night before with a flash:
The warmer colours are nearer to the actual colours of the painting I think.
The watercolour is 1100 x 1000 mm on Arches Cold Pressed – off a roll.
Based on Leslie’s last comment I am going to present these posts from recent to older as you read down. In other words, I will add the new versions to the top of the page rather than the bottom. Thanks for the idea Leslie. I will see how it goes. I have a new sheet stretched and waiting to go.
What follows is a brief journal of the creation of this watercolour. I have kept in the comments I made as I posted each step.
Tonight I was really keen to do the first wash on this painting. And here we are:
This new board is really quite unwieldy and I have to lean right over to do the washes. I have tried to do more saturated washes and introduce more chop into the sea near the horizon – looks OK I think – we will see tomorrow – now I am feeling kaput.
Here is what I did last night:
I did grey and orange boulder on the right in a single wash in which I felt like I was getting the hang of the whole thing. My concern right now is how to keep the whole painting together. And I started the figure but she needs bolder colours.
I am battling to get going today so I have enlisted the services of Olga Kern who is playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.
Well here we go now, time for a break:
I think it is working. The rocks on the left need a little work maybe. I must be careful not to put too much more colour in my figure otherwise she will outweigh the rocks. Here she is now:
I wanted the purples to react with the yellowy green water. Poor thing – maybe she needs a cozi.
I also added some detail to the skyline – I may darken the sky a little to soften the impact of the horizon:
Anycase I am going to put this aside for a while to consider the varnishing – thats what they called it in the old days ‘varnishing’ – finishing your painting.
A final comment on stretching
Last night I stretched another large sheet. But this time I wet the paper with a brush, possibly a little too much as the water was seeping from under the paper. The board had slight tilt. However I waited for over an hour for the paper to slake before I taped and stapled the sheet. I stapled about 100mm apart. This morning the sheet was tight and unwrinkled and is leaning on the board just to my side pleading silently for me to start another painting.
When I visited Keith Hornblower’s site last night he had a posting about a watercolour he had done for a commission which was 38 x 38 inches. He spoke about how he stretched the paper and gave some useful tips. I had just bought a sheet off a role which is 38 x 42 inches and was battling to flatten it out and eventually I joined two pieces of marine ply I found in my studio and wet the sheet and stretched it. I pasted it down with brown packing tape (the water glue one) and stapled it down with a staples about an inch or two apart. It all worked OK and was ready this morning. I am going to get a big sheet of marine ply for this for the next one – the join is not a good idea. As Keith agreed, stretching paper is not for me. I find it daunting enough sitting before a new sheet of paper with a loaded brush. Putting all the stretching effort just makes it even more precious.
I drew up my design and prepared for the first wash – here is the sheet waiting with a rare peek into my studio:
I don’t like using masking fluid but masked the figure on the rock out to make the rest easier. I also set up bowls for different colours as I reckoned this would use a LOT of colour. See my squirrel hair mop lying at the ready…
Here is the first wash which I did with the mop:
Mooi ne? I always have the sense that paintings go downhill from here – but this is not necessarily true is it. I would like the sea to have been darker. But I will do the rocks and see what happens next.
Now I have to go out to do looking after stuff – my whole family is down with flu – there have been cases of swine flu in the kids’ schools so we are monitoring – I am not sure why I have been spared this but it is good.
I will put the next steps up as I do them -
Here is the next step. I have tried to do the rocks in a single wash – but I will need to do more work on them. Working this big uses a scary amount of colour – eeek. I was going to do another glaze on the sea but decided not to. I will do another one after this. I have bought a piece of external ply as well as some 22×44 mm pine strips to brace it, some posi-screws, some glue and some varnish. I will do a DIY thingy and stretch another sheet. My family love it when I DIY. They call me ‘Die Nuutsman’ after a TV show where this guy did all these jobs around the house with complete skill and all the right tools – like a dream (A ‘nuutsman’ is a handyman I think). I got the name when I was hammering concrete nails into cornicing. How do they do that? They kept breaking or shooting off to the side. I got a nail almost right and put all my force into a blow (with the necessary expletives) and the hammer carved a massive gouge in the ceiling. I was so frustrated. Then I heard laughing and saw my whole family behind me, enjoying the show. Anyway – that can be another posting.
I have post-last-wash blues and am not sure if this is going anywhere – but I will snuz now and look tomorrow.
OK here is the final bar perhaps some last touch-ups.
I have loaded a bigger format – though hopefully not full size which is 37 x 44 inches.
I have also thought of a number of changes I would like to make in the next one. I suppose this is why people do value sketches:
- I will make the sea colours more bold. The sea is OK in this one but I would like more saturated blues. The bay in the foreground works well as a flat wash. The water is very shallow which accounts for the yellow colour.
- Also the white caps give a sense of perspective. Like clouds, they are closer together nearer the horizon.
- And I want to put in the horizon. It is just above the rock in the distance, that I think is called ‘Roman Rock” though that might be the lighthouse on a rock behind the big boulder in the painting. I thought the horizon would be distracting but I think it will make more sense.
- I also want to make the distant rock bigger and bring it lower in the frame.
- The small rocks in the left foreground are too small and I want to increase their size and get them to contribute more to the composition
I am also thinking of cropping the work – what do you think of this:
But before I can do the next one I need to transform my workspace from studio to carpenter shop.
I have been looking at this watercolour in my studio for a couple of days and it has been crying out for some more work. And today I had a short time to do what was needed. So this is how it looks now.
I have almost completed my new stretching board – it is lying under a pile of rocks for a final gluing. I hope to be able to give it a coat of varnish tomorrow and then I want to go through to Cathy in Observatory (where they have a roll of Arches) and get another big sheet for another shot at this. I will take some photos of my board to show on this site as, for me anyway, it is a massive achievement and a work of craft if not art.