Sketchbook Page: Watercolor Practice

5 Jan

WC001_01Every week I join three to five  other local artists in White Plains, NY to paint a model at the Reilly League.  Sessions do not have an instructor, and the artistic backgrounds of the artists vary widely.  This encourages information exchange.  The model changes from week to week.  Participants use whatever media they want — oils, acrylics, watercolor, graphite, pastels, colored pencils are the most popular.

The image shown here is from a watercolor I started in the summer of 2011 and would like to continue.  Sorry, but this blog did not exist until mid-November 2011.

I typically begin work by doing a very light pencil sketch followed by an  under-painting to work out some of the values.  In this case I used burnt sienna.  The paper is a 140 lb. hot press d’Arches W/C block satin grain.  Time with the model was up when I had gotten that far so I continued work at home.

Next,  I glazed the pants with a couple washes of Payne’s gray and ivory black.  I dribbled clean water on the blouse area to create its pattern and charged it with cadmium red (Winsor & Newton).  I just love how a minuscule bit of watercolor explodes on wet paper!  When the red stripes were completely dry (not damp, bone dry!) I started the shading on the blouse with ultramarine blue. The shaded area under her left arm needs to be a little darker but I don’t want to disturb the red pattern.  I’ll work on that.

My next steps are to continue practice rendering textile patterns and various textures like polished stone, wood, metal and shiny vinyl on the objects in the picture.  Of course there are those cast shadows deal with as well.

I welcome your questions and comments so we may learn together.  Thanks!

Copyright ©2012.
Adrienne May and WinsomeWays, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
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12 Responses to “Sketchbook Page: Watercolor Practice”

  1. Pam Thursday,Jan 5, 2012 at 10:25 PM #

    I recognize Sheila from a Reilly figure drawing session. Nice work!

    • Adrienne May Friday,Jan 6, 2012 at 8:33 AM #

      Hi Pam! Hope you enjoyed the holidays. Thanks for the praise. It’s great to receive it from another Reilly League watercolorist. Hope to run into you at one of the sessions. Yes, it’s Sheila, a really fantastic model.

  2. Helga Pearson Friday,Jan 6, 2012 at 8:00 AM #

    Well done Adrienne! This is fantastic! I think I would have really struggle with that blouse, the detail is just fabulous. Also drawing from a live model, wow, I always struggle with that.

    • Adrienne May Friday,Jan 6, 2012 at 8:43 AM #

      Thanks Helga. I was afraid of the blouse also, and did a few experiments on scrap paper. What worked best for me was touching a loaded brush to a bead of water and then drying with a handheld blow dryer. Wish me luck on the cloth covering the stool and the other textures.

      I wish you were in New York as I think you’d really like the Reilly League. I hope you find a drawing session near you.

      btw I also have the James Gurney “Color & Light” book you recommend on your blog. He gives so much information and I just love his work.

  3. Helga Pearson Friday,Jan 6, 2012 at 10:07 AM #

    I wish I was in New York too! I always believe I was born on the wrong continent (laugh!) I LONG for Museums and conventions, double storey bookstores and libraries (sigh) what I wouldn’t do for it all! Ah well, Africa has alot going for it as well, I musn’t be ungrateful.

    All I can say is thank goodness for the internet! It’s my little window on to the world and if I can’t be there with you physically I’m there with you guys in spirit. 😀

    • Adrienne May Friday,Jan 6, 2012 at 1:36 PM #

      Many in the next year or so you’ll come to NYC. If you do, let me know, It would be great fun to tour some of the museums and galleries. 🙂

  4. June sidman Saturday,Jan 7, 2012 at 8:49 AM #

    Thanks for sharing your process around your painting. I look forward to seeing more, and hope to come to the Reilly league more.

    • Adrienne May Saturday,Jan 7, 2012 at 3:37 PM #

      Great to hear from another Reilly Leaguer and I hope to see you at a session. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Dana Atnip Saturday,Jan 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM #

    Hi Adrienne! Very nice watercolor! I like your use of highlights & shadows. I do miss painting live models! I look forward to seeing more of your watercolors.

    • Adrienne May Saturday,Jan 7, 2012 at 5:55 PM #

      Hello Dana,
      Glad you visited and left a comment. Thanks for looking a my watercolor. Working from a model is fun. The good ones, like the one shown on my post, are very creative and often come up with very interesting poses and attire.

      You have so much illustration experience. I look forward to seeing how you develop your blog and children’s book portfolio. Best wishes always!

  6. Naomi C Robinson Tuesday,Jan 17, 2012 at 7:20 AM #

    Great work, love the expression on your models face. Can’t wait to see the next one :o)

    • Adrienne May Tuesday,Jan 17, 2012 at 5:24 PM #

      Thanks Naomi. Hopefully I can build a narrative around this character.

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