Taking a Chance

Today’s watercolor experiment:

Directly after my warmup exercise (see Copying post) I decided to go out on a limb and try a large painting of the essence of the J.M.W. Turner composition (A Sunset Sky). I was less than successful in the small drawing that constituted the last stage of my warmup. I was very anxious.

The first stage, laying down the yellow ochre wash, was successful. I used a fairly wide brush for this 9×12 sheet and ended up with a uniform, smooth, warm surface.

Before drying, I applied the cadmium red light streaks with just the right amount of water (the loaded brush was slightly dry) to prevent blooming. I did the same with cobalt blue, causing red and blue to merge on the left side of the paper.

After the paper was dry, I tried dry brushing the cobalt blue and yellow ochre into the higher regions of the sky. I was ecstatic to see that I finally got the correct moisture/pigment ratio to successfully use the dry brush technique.

Finally I used water to remove pigment from a blot, which would be the sun and an area beneath the sun, which would be its reflection.

Watercolor: After a Turner Composition

After a Turner Composition

All things taken into account, I am happy with this composition. I can take these techniques to other compositions, particularly sunrises and sunsets, with more confidence that I had before.

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