If You Can’t Sing Good…

The saying goes, “If you can’t sing good, sing loud.” I know, the grammar is not perfect, but this is what I was thinking as I finished up today’s experiment.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

Soon after I finished yesterday’s watercolor I remembered something: glazing!  I had forgotten that glazing (layering a transparent color over another color that has dried) enables light to mix the two colors together, much like a filter on a camera lens. Aha! THAT would be the way to get the depth I sought.


I started my sketch on my larger format paper. I really enjoy this paper, for some reason. Drawing seems easier as is placing shapes in proper relationships to each other. Add the fact that when I’m done I can see the results from further away… and I’m sold on big paper.

Here is my underdrawing on my 12″x16″ paper:

Watercolor: Underpainting of Terre Verte and Green #2

Underpainting with Terra Verte and Green #2

Instead of beginning with lemon yellow, as I did in yesterday’s study, I used the opaque terra verte for the color of the leaves in shadow, with green #2 in for the sunlit portions.

I made the decision to use green #2 instead of yellow after making a test color strip. Since big paper isn’t cheap, I would rather find out if a color combination works on small paper first.

Here is the test strip:

Watercolor: Color Strips Testing Terra Verte, Viridian, Green #2 with Lemon Yellow

Terra Verte, Viridian, Green #2 Glazed with Lemon Yellow

Lemon yellow applied atop the green has a nice glow to it, as opposed to the green stripe painted over the yellow stripe. Even though the sunlit areas look more yellow than green, viewing the green through the yellow glaze should give the desired effect.

I used the three shades of green mentioned above, for different portions of the leaves. Since terra verte is an opaque, grainy pigment, I used it as the bottom layer (underpainting). For the darker areas, at the center and leaves in most shadow, I painted over the the terra verte with viridian. Viridian is a transparent green, which should act as a glaze. For the portions of the leaves in sunlight, I used a combination of green #2 overpainted with lemon yellow.  It is important to allow the previous layer to dry before applying the glaze and, after each stroke, clean the brush before dipping it in the glazing color. It is easy for the glaze to be contaminated if the brush is not cleaned.

Here is my study for the day:

Watercolor: Larger Format Portrayal of Unknown Succulent

If You Can’t Sing Well…
12″x16″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


Today’s composition is less flat than yesterday’s. Some of this may be attributable to the glazing, but I also tried to make the center of the flower the darkest, using viridian and terra verte. Proper glazing would have probably added much more depth than the use of other techniques.

I must admit, toward the end of my session I was getting a bit impatient. My brush strokes were less careful and quicker than those I had been using up to that point. Although unintentional, some of these swift strokes added texture to the leaves and, to the appearance of depth.

Maybe the lesson here is not careful glazing, but being bold. Does bigger equal bolder? Sing loud, I say!

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