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I’ve heard that learning watercolor techniques will help in other types of painting because watercolor is such an unforgiving medium. Every stroke is visible;  no covering up to correct. Once you mess up, you might as well toss it. So I signed up for a class at Cordovan Art School. Here are a couple of the projects I worked on in April.

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Barn

          I started by sketching out the main lines using a watercolor pencil. Then I used wet-on-wet for the background and most of the vegetation throughout the painting. After that dried, I came in to add lines for the building, fences and trees. At first, I had trouble making the shadows dark enough. I wasn’t used to how the color lightens as it dries. I also realized partway through that I should have added a wash for the walls and roof before painting the window & door details. At the end, I added a few grass and windmill details using a watercolor pencil.

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Weird Doll

          I used an illustrative technique to paint this creepy doll. I started by drawing every little detail, including the beads, folds in the dress, and designs on the belt. Then I worked on one section of the painting at a time. I had a lot of trouble making the fabric folds look right. The deep purple of the dress didn’t show a lot of value differences, so it came out looking very flat. Also, the face on the doll had faded away to almost nothing, which looked strange on the doll and even stranger when I tried to recreate it.

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Scooby Doo Stuffed Toy


          Scooby was my second attempt at using the illustrative technique. I chose this stuffed toy because it had a lot of folds in the fur. After drawing out all the details, I again ran into problems rendering the folds into believable art. I’m still trying to use watercolors as I do oils with short, repetitive strokes instead of making looong, flowing lines. The plastic eyes showed a lot of reflective areas, which I tried to recreate, but only succeeded in making Scooby look strung out on Scooby Snacks.

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Bubbles

I experimented with masking fluid for this bubbly painting. I drew out some random shapes with a watercolor pencil first. Then I applied the masking fluid to where I wanted the bubble reflections to be. I used a pointed wooden stick instead of a brush. Then I just slapped some water and various colors on top of the masking fluid to give an underwater appearance. After letting it dry, I added layers of the same colors to shadow the bubbles. When everything was dry, I used a rubber cement remover (looks like a little eraser) to gently rub off the masking fluid, leaving lovely white highlights. Oops…near the top left, you can see what happens if the paint isn’t totally dry when you try to rub off the masking fluid.

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