Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I've been experimenting with how to achieve realistic shadows, using color blends. I referred to Anne Abgott's excellent book, "Daring Color: mix and mingle watercolor on your paper" (North Light Books, 2007). Her suggestion to use Verditer Blue is a good one -- it blends beautifully and is almost luminous in its reflective properties when combined with a complement, such as Brown Madder. I made a few test strips, allowing the two colors to mingle, according to Abgott's instruction. The resulting warm grey made me think of a photo I took this weekend, while visiting Old Sturbridge Village. It was "Wool Day," so the adult sheep were being sheared (the old-fashioned way, with clippers that looked like enormous scissors). They were penned up together, each awaiting their turn. The small lambs were adorable...

My goal in this sketch was to capture to shadow and texture of the wool. As you can see, I wasn't too worried about careful rendering. Instead, I worked quickly with a #14 Pointed Round brush, laying in the paint with plenty of water, letting the two colors -- Verditer Blue and Brown Madder -- mingle on their own. I put a suggestion of blue-grey barn board in the background, adding Indigo with a touch of Gold Ochre and Burnt Sienna. I used a thin wash of those two last colors for the straw on the barn floor, then added some cast shadows with Winsor Violet.  
It was a very quick study -- but fun to do. It reminded me (again) of how important it is to let go of the details and simply PAINT!!!

Wool Day at Sturbridge,  10" x 12"   NFS

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