My studies from Cathy Johnson’s watercolor book Creating Textures in Watercolorcontinue with a boulder and herringbone fabric texture. These two subjects spoke to me, and I wanted to see how close I could get to her versions.
It’s when I try to mimic her paintings when I see the nuances of Johnson’s skills — her paintings look rather carefree and loose, but recreating that is challenging!
I keep seeing tutorials that suggest using ultramarine blue for shadows, so I’m trying to get a handle on that technique. Mixing ultramarine and burnt sienna is apparently a go-to combo and I’m starting to see why. The range of colors available with just these two mixing together is quite extensive, and very useful.
One of the keys for these two paintings was to set them aside to fully dry before going over with details. I could have used a smaller brush on the cap to get finer details with the paneling and texture.
So far for me, achieving a loose, casual look hasn’t been loose or casual at all! I wonder if I’ll reach an ability to actually feel more spontaneous with my painting and drawing strokes…
Her loose, confident, and sketch-like style is what I’d like to get to with my own skills. By following her examples, I hope to learn what it feels like to emulate her style as a way to develop my own.
One thing I’m struggling with is being patient enough to let the layers dry before adding details on top of them. I keep ending up with a mushed-together blob like in the dark areas below.
I love the way my little red building turned out! The wet-in-wet variegated wash was intentional with this one, not the result of rushing layers.
Apples have become my achilles heel…there’s something about the red color and highlights that is ellusive to me. But the peach and strawberry turned out well. The strawberry was better for me because it has small, controlled highlights. And the peach doesn’t shine and features softly blended shades. Which was totally fun to do.
For these, I’ve been using Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper in Traditional White. It’s stating the obvious, but the experience of painting on this paper is hugely different from using my Stilman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook.
When I signed up for Ana Victoria Calderón’s Skillshare class Modern Watercolor Techniques: Beginner’s Level, I honestly didn’t expect it to be so much fun! I figured I’d be getting some intro to watercolor techniques, but she took it way beyond those basics.
The class starts with good watercolor fundamentals, like how to become familiar with your paints and brushes, and how to gain control over your brush strokes. After a basic project is complete, it moves onto super fun “experimental planets” where we used a variety of materials to make little circles with varying effects. (This was my favorite part of the class).
There are a couple more activities she teaches as well that build in complexity, all with an element of play and experimentation. So much great stuff!