Today’s watercolor experiment:
I have another photo of the ladybug from a few posts ago. My friend Liz told me that ladybugs are called ladybirds in England. I like that better, so that’s what I will call the subject of today’s watercolor.
In some of my previous watercolors, I started the process with a brief sketch. Today I did a detailed sketch, a kind of topographic map, with the lines surrounding areas of the same color or tonal value. As a kid, I remember seeing these paint-by-the-numbers kits of famous artwork. They actually looked pretty good, on the cover of the box in which it came. I built my own paint-by-the numbers ladybird masterpiece for today’s experiment.
Here is my detailed ladybird sketch:
I had a little trouble deciding the appropriate colors to use on my map.
This is the result of my first go-round with coloring inside the lines:
I found that I had to do a lot more manipulation of colors and shading than I would normally have to do with a less detailed sketch. Perhaps I should have made my topographic map even more detailed.
I mentioned yesterday that I use transparent washes to try unifying areas of different colors. Today I used a lemon yellow wash and several transparent red washes in an attempt to do this very thing. I couldn’t get it just right. All the washes dulled the body of the entire bug… I mean ‘lady’. In the end, I had to use white acrylic gouache to accent the most reflective areas of the carapace.
Here is the final result:
Painting by the numbers isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I think I should stick to painting outside the lines.