Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Birds in watercolour

I'm a bit behind with my posting as I finally got around to finishing the page of birds I was doing but a migraine got in the way of posting. It  also took a while because instead of going with the flow, I was trying to make it something it clearly wasn't - i.e. a sort of nature journal page - and I left it for a few days. Once I decided to just enjoy it and not worry about composition and what sort of birds (!) it was finished in no time.

At least, it feels like no time compared to drawing in coloured pencil. One of the many things I'm beginning to love about watercolour, is how very dark I can go in such a short time. Unlike coloured pencil, which I have to build up in many layers and eventually it reaches a point where the paper will take no more, I can get close to the darkest value in just two or three washes. I don't have to worry about it looking waxy and uneven as the pencils are inclined to do.

With the Bowerbird, top right, I thought I'd try and make black from other colours but I couldn't get a dark enough mix. So I went over that with black (I use Winsor and Newton Ivory Black or a Schmincke black I've forgotten the name of) and then I put a light wash of brown over that which gave it a more realistic look - which of course is completely lost during scanning!

Something else I love about watercolour - and a surprise to me - is that I really enjoy the fact that you have to leave things to dry. I like to get up and walk away as this happens which I think is good practice for me. I'm inclined to 'faff about' with pencil, touching up here and there, thinking things over, whereas the act of getting up and walking away enforces a certain discipline. I like that watercolour dances to it's own tune. It seems to be a gentle rhythm too, which suits me just fine.