20. Negative Painting: Sycamore Leaves

Now that I feel a bit more accomplished in some of my watercolor skills, I have taken the time to think about a few things.  Specifically, what to do next.  I think negative space, or negative painting, seems like the next best step.  I am not sure why – it just feels right.  That is how I painted my two moonlit sycamores.  Now it is time to paint their leaves.  Below is a photo I took the other day, which is my reference point.

I started out with three primary colors:  Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Yellow, and Permanent Rose.  First, I wet the paper and then made a few distinct areas for each color.  Then I tipped the paper around (it’s mounted on a board) so the colors would blend and bleed.  As it is probably only 90# paper, there was buckling and pooling, but decided to just let things happen.  After it dried, I drew in the shapes of the leaves, and then worked around the leaves and twigs with a wash of varying strengths that combined Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna.  The veins were a bit of Hookers, Sap, and Cobalt Green.  Altogether, there are multiple layers of washes / glazes – some successful, some not.  The final overlaying wash was a mixture of Carbazole Violet, Cobalt and Ultramarine Blues.

This painting has a lot of problems – too tight, too overdone – but the problems also present future solutions, which I hope to visit in the not-too-distant future.  I feel like it is moving toward mud, too, which is something I always have to watch out for.

 

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