Monday, July 13, 2015

Can We Keep Him? Step by Step to this Watercolor on Paper.

I wanted to share this painting along with a few photos of the progression for those who like to see the process. It is 17 by 14.5 inches on Cold Pressed Arches 140 pound watercolor paper.  Original is not for sale at this time, but prints, canvas prints, cards, tote bags of the image are available HERE

"Can We Keep Him?"  17 by 14.5 watercolor on paper Prints available HERE

 I start with finding a photo reference that appeals to me, and work out a sketch and any changes I want to make to the layout,  I knew I wanted to zoom in on the image, and make the little girl's hair longer than it was in the photo. When I am happy with the sketch, I transfer it to the watercolor paper with graphite paper, pressing lightly!

I have masked out some highlights to retain the white of the paper using masking. Then I can begin to add the color, working from light to dark.  Skin color is a mixture of yellow, blue and red, I used Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue and Permanent Alizarin Crimson.  I prefer Winsor and Newton watercolor paints.  My primary paintbrush is a pointed round Kolinsky by Rosemary and Co.

I continue to add more color, stepping back often to check for values from a distance, remembering where the light is coming from, here it is from the upper left. The horse is painted in Burnt Sienna, I will add some Ultramarine Blue, and Perylene Maroon to darken his color.

Adding darker colors, and dropping in a light sky background.  I used some masking tape to keep the fence line straight. 

I often prop the in progress paintings in my kitchen, to let them dry and look and see what needs adjusted, and I will jot notes on the tape to remind me of what needs work.  The arrows in the corner, indicate the direction of the light on my subjects.  

Finally I continue to fine tune and darken the colors, letting them dry completely in between.  I added color to the fence itself, removed masking to reveal the highlights, and soften with a damp brush any areas that appear to harsh.  

Please let me know if you have any questions!!


  1. love seeing your process and the explanation! Beautiful piece!

    1. Thank you Maria! I will try to post more, I have neglected my blogging lately, but really need to get back to it :)

  2. Great work, very well detailed step by step.
    Best regards.