Broad Strokes: A Class Demo
|A beautiful rainforest reference photo|
In this instance a student brought in a complex photo. Okay, I thought she was crazy for trying to paint this image, but we both learned some things. My demo was about seeing light, building a few layers of color, and suggesting and simplifying rather than rendering it in detail. Also exaggerating light, color and atmosphere and using broad strokes on a couple of levels. I used large brushes which kept me from noodling. Nothing like noodling to kill a watercolor sketch!
This was done in three passes. A basic wet in wet, warm and cool variegated wash to start suggesting light around the trees and blue sky reflected on firs in the background. I see a rainbow of colors in this photo, so ended up with that. Tried to keep the foreground warm; cools recede, warms come forward. The first wash was about a #3 on the value scale.
After drying, I applied more variegated washes with suggestions of shadowed patterns in the background with an occasional hit of light. Around a value #6-7. Then darks, merging and mingling colors and added a couple calligraphic brush marks suggesting limbs. I always vary colors on each pass, which adds movement and variety. Darkest areas hit around a #9 on the value scale. A few darks can add a lot of punch and create a little irradiation which helps make it glow.
Give it go, see what you come up with!