Sunday, November 23, 2008

Capstone Building Detail

4.5" x 5.5"
Watercolor on Strathmore 140 lb cold press paper


Let's pick this apart, shall we???

First lesson learned: Architectural detail is not an appropriate subject to render in watercolor. It's like using a hammer to drive in a screw. Wrong subject for the medium. Sigh.

Second lesson learned: Don't shake up the friskit. I shook it to get the color to blend with the latex so it would show on the white paper. The shaking caused bubbles and when applied caused little bubbles on the paper. When they popped, it threw out tiny little threads of friskit where I didn't want them to be. I didn't realize it at the time because they were so microscopic. The result was little white tumors on the white capstones. I opted to not fix them because I figured the fix would look worse than the tumors.

Third lesson learned: When washing in the background sky, get it all over the area. I missed a small sliver of sky on the right side and tried to go back and fix it. I got a bloom for my effort. I wanted to add some purple to the sky. I saw that done in a WC video and thought it was cool. I don't have purple paint, so I added a touch of red and smeared it in. It looked OK when wet, but when it dried the purple color migrated to the edges of the space and ended up looking funny.

Fourth lesson learned: The first wash on the building should have been much lighter. I realized that AFTER I had added a bunch of detail. The light is coming from the left, so that face of the building should be much lighter. I fought with the right, or front, of the building trying to make it darker without messing up the details.

Fifth lesson learned: The pencil sketch should have been darker. When I washed in the building color, much of the sketch washed away with it. I was flying blind on where some of the brickwork detail should go. After I finished the painting I realized I mistook the face of the brick for the side of the brick simply because I could only see a few of the sketching lines. I ended up with only two vertical bricks under the front arch and there should have been four. Sigh.

Sixth lesson learned: I need one of those micro-fine liner brushes. My smallest brush is too wide.

Seventh lesson learned: I started out painting all the shadows blue, then had a brain fart and switched to brown shadows. I have no explanation for this.

Things that went right:

1.) The sky looks cool because it is blue and purple. I lifted out the clouds with a tissue and was pleased with the result. They're rather horizontal overall, a little variation would have been better.

2.) The shading and shadows on the capstones look great. I couldn't be more pleased with them.

3.) The blue shadows on the front face came out great. They might could be a little darker, but I'm pleased with the effect.

4.) I lifted out a highlight. I had painted part of the protruding brickwork dark where it should have been light. I was able to lift the dark paint off and fix it. This was the first time this trick has worked for me. It might have something to do with the quality of the paper I used this time. I see another place I should have done this to also, but I'm not going to try to fix it.

5.) The little tiny brown tic marks on the edges/corners of the columns give the impression of individual bricks. Cool. Made a mark on one by accident and liked the way it looked, so I did it all down the length of the column.

Well, this was a good exercise. I learned a lot while working on it. Now if I can just remember all the lessons learned the next time I try something like this, life will be good.

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