After painting non-stop for 40 minutes, I generally need to step back and check my work to see if I've misjudged an aspect of perspective, or if I have focused too closely on details. My goal when working outdoors is to capture the general mood or feel of a scene, without worrying about a completely accurate rendering. Recently I was painting at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, and discovered that the color values in my sketch were too uniform and the scene lacked depth.
|Before adding deeper colors...|
Rather than "fix" the problem right then, I set it aside and reached for a second watercolor block. When I got home, and my problem painting was fully dry, I thought about which areas needed deeper color, and how to make the background recede which would give the bright foliage more emphasis.
I started by mixing a wash made of Mineral Violet with a little Burnt Umber to darken the background foliage on the right. Using Burnt Umber and Sepia and a 1/2" flat brush, I dropped in dark shadows where the lawn met the gravel roadway, I added a few strokes of Mineral Violet wash to give depth to the road. Finally, with Shadow Green and Sepia, I added more deep green foliage. The changes I made were subtle, but the results are sketch that is more dramatic, and the eye is drawn to the vivid trees on the left at the front of the scene.
|"Bend in the Road" transparent watercolor 10" x 7"|
Available for purchase at my Daily Paintworks Gallery