Yet Another Factor

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I am still in the abstract mode, as I have been for the past couple of days. Today, I decided to experiment in the same vein with peacock blue, a Holbein pigment made up of a green (PG7) and phthalo blue (PB15), quinacridone red and lemon yellow. In the color test strip I made yesterday, I found peacock blue and quinacridone red make a nice purple when they merge together.


I began my study with three concentric pools of water. I added lemon yellow to the center, quinacridone red to the middle ring and peacock blue to the outer ring. After joining the rings with my brush, and allowing to dry, here is the result:

Watercolor: Abstract - Rings around a Central Yellow: Red, Blue Green

Concentric Rings Stage 1

I did swipe the corners with lemon yellow to produce a very nice green color.

Although I like the above composition, it seems flat. I wanted to extend the tonal range, so I rewet the paper and put down more paint. As before, I brushed peacock blue around the edges, quinacridone in the middle ring and yellow in the center and joined the rings once again.

This time, I added cadmium red in the blue field. My color test strips from yesterday showed that this combination would yield a neutral gray or brownish color, which you can see near the corners of the finished study below. Also, since the quinacridone did not give me a saturated red, I added cadmium red at the edge of the rewetted lemon yellow center (when the blue was dry).  I also wanted to make sure that I included the purple, created by the mix of quinacridone red and peacock blue, so I combined the two at the upper right-of-center portion of the paper.

Watercolor: Abstract - Yellow Center, Two Shades of Red then Blue

Concentric Rings
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I like this composition. There is a lot more depth than its precursor (shown above, as stage 1). I did a little more thinking about color combinations with this study than I have with those of the past couple of days (Let Watercolor Be Watercolors, About Those Watercolors).

One variable that I have not been able to conquer is the degree of wetness of the paper and its corresponding drying time. During the painting process, I have seen wonderful streams of colors flowing into each other, a very fine thread of red creeping though a yellow field, for example, only to find a diffuse, monocolored strip after drying. One can see some of this in the figure above.  I suspect that if the paper took less time to dry (either by being less wet at the beginning or by drying with added heat – the sun or a hair drier), the threads would be preserved.

This will be a future project. I imagine that it will be exceedingly difficult to judge wetness and/or to  accelerating the drying process. Perhaps threads of contrasting colors cannot be done by leaving watercolors alone in their native (wet) state. Perhaps it takes a steady hand and a thin brush and perhaps, some gauche.

3 thoughts on “Yet Another Factor

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