DRAWING ON A COLOURED GROUND
It was good to be going into this final phase of the Watercolour Course feeling confident about washes. I hadn’t appreciated to begin with how important this skill is for success in this medium.
Because so much depends on getting the tones right, I began as always with my pencil and spent some time with the image really analysing it and getting to know it. I enjoy this step as it allows me into the subject without any stress – I can just roam around with the pencil, finding its structure, simplifying the image, identifying the darks and seeing what it has to say. This was a particularly important subject for me as I had attempted to paint a flower study at the beginning of the course and found it utterly impossible. Would that be the case now after all the work on washes? I also wanted to spend time on the detail because I wanted the painting to be very loose and free and so felt I needed to understand the subject before loosening up.
The exercise asked for the image to be painted on a warm ground. I used predominantly magenta with touches of blues and greens as contrast. Several of the flower heads were done by lifting the wash off the surface. A quick lively pen and ink line helped to define the flower shapes. I like the immediacy of this painting and I think that much of the warmth comes from this aspect.