Sunday, May 10, 2009

One fine Mother's Day

Thanks to my wonderful kids and husband, I had a SUPER day off today -
and was able to illustrate two images..
I have more to study, and experiment with because I've found that I just am not getting enough contrast with my watercolors - adding colored pencil helps, but I want to be able to get the contrast far better than what I'm doing now. Note the shadow of the reeds in the blue water (which isn't so hot, either)...I have to practice those washes, and add more pigment I believe..
anyone have some recommendations on contrast? Do I just start the color light, and let it dry, or should I try to just add a lot of pigment when it's wet? Hmmmm...watercolorers out there, please comment as I give it up to all of you who get it right!

Here's my little "Cheese Boat" illustration...
off to start a new week - hopefully posting tomorrow..!


  1. It's nice to see the sketch and then the finished work. Great job!

  2. Hi Shirley,

    I was just scrolling through your blog and saw your question about getting your w/c washes dark enough. You have had some really great illustration ideas btw. I really like the "Hope" for contagious, shaky and your cupcake parade. Anyway, I wanted to comment on your question about getting dark enough in your watercolors. I often use a value scale while I paint. To me w/c washes look fresher when you get them right the first or second time without too much layering. So my suggestion is to paint the shadow color on a scrap of paper, let it dry and see if it's dark enough before you put it on your painting. One of my painting role models taught me that the shadow side is always 40% darker than the local color which is why it's handy to have a value scale. You figure out what value your local color is and count 4 values to the right to see how dark it should be. I got this idea from Susanna Spann's w/c book - Take a strip of w/c paper and a quarter and trace the quarter 10 times. Leave the first circle white, paint the last circle black and then paint all your values in between. After it's dry, take a hole punch and punch out the centers of each of the circles. Then you can hold this over your painting to check the values. It's very handy. I hope this helps.


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