Watercolor lesson


"Toes"  15 X 11  watercolor on paper

by Dianne M. Devereux


1. This little girl was so delightful playing at the local Water Park that I fell in love with her.  She was standing in about one inch of water with her dress hiked up and staring at her toes.

The first thing I did was a value sketch in pencil with softness ranging from HB to 4B in a small 9X6 sketch book. The drawing was detailed as far as light and dark patterns and shapes.

Working from a digital photo I then did a detailed full size drawing on tracing paper and then transferred it to the watercolour paper (at left) with graphite paper.  I lifted some of the pencil that would be against a light area and fixed up some of the drawing with a very sharp B pencil.  I used a kneaded rubber eraser and dabbed it on the areas I wanted to lift.



2. I used an architect's rule to mask out the white bird shapes and then I let the masking fluid dry.

Next I laid in the first washes of blues in the sky and water. Starting at the top of the paper I laid down delicate washes of Ultramarine Blue and beside that Cobalt and towards the horizon Manganese Blue with a touch of Phalo Blue.  I allowed the colours to blend and didn't manipulate them other than to lift a few clouds with a crumpled tissue. I let the washes dry thoroughly.

The first wash for the skin tones was a mixture of Permanent Rose and New Gamboge. I also wiggled a reflection of skin tone in the water.  I let a bit of Cobalt Blue bleed into the shadow areas of the skin.

The little sun hat had pink washes of Rose Madder Genuine.  I let it dry. Then I laid down washes on the dress area of the same blues from the sky. I put them down side by side and let them blend and dry.






3. I glazed in the distant mountains starting with the most distant using Ultra Blue and a touch of Magenta and Cad Orange (you may use a touch of Burnt Sienna instead of the Magenta mixture).  The mid range of lower mountains were Cobalt Blue and a slight touch of Manganese and an earth pigment. I made sure I varied the mixture and kept it fairly light. The low row of Islands had more manganese in it.  I let it dry then added the dark wind line.

Next I added shadow shapes to the hat, Rose Madder Genuine, Aureolin Yellow and Cobalt Blue for a very transparent grey.

I was bolder with the shadow shapes in the arms and legs.  Using a mixture Magenta, Cad Orange and a touch of Cobalt Blue I laid in the shadows. These colours fairly glow on the paper.  I left the angled shadow shapes hard edged and softened the longer shadows to make the legs and arms appear round.  I also deepened the blue of the foreground water and added some of the shadow skin tone to the water in places and softly put in the first ripples made by her feet.  I also deepened the Ultramarine blue near the top of the paper by glazing with Cobalt Blue and then running plain water around her for several inches down from that to keep from getting a hard edge.




4. I lifted the making fluid from the bird shapes leaving them as negative shapes and painted three more positive bird shapes.

Using more Ultramarine and a touch of Magenta and Cad Orange I deepened the sky a bit more.  I made sure I softened the edges as I didn't want any hard edges in this area.  Then I put in shadows and reflections in the water.

I ran in the shadow shapes in the dress using a mixture of Cobalt, Rose Madder and Aureolin Yellow then I dried these glazes with a hair dryer.  I gently lifted some of the blue in areas that I wanted to be the lightest in the dress.  Then I deepened the cast shadows in the dress more with another glaze of the above colours.  I repeated the glazing on dry paper until I was happy with the depth of colour.  I also deepened the shadows in the hat with the original shadow colours I used for it.

The hair colour was mixtures Phalo Blue and Cad Scarlet.  I painted around the highlights to indicate where the light hit her curls.

I decided the face in shadow was too light so ran another glaze of skin shadow colour with a touch more of Cobalt Blue on the chin area next to the dress to indicate reflected colour from the dress on her skin.  After everything was dry I put in the pattern on the dress and when that was thoroughly dry ran a wash of Turquoise Blue over the entire dress.


 Last Modified: 07/21/2012 08:59:15 PM