this is how the painting looks when i begin to do the bold thing with my darks. it’s frightening how little control i have, and how much abandon i have to unleash in order to do it right.
the spots i worked on during this session were to the right and left of the boy. the darks in the vines and the plastic fencing they’re running up over. i spent most of my time looking at the source photo, and then when i can see it on the paper, i dash it in with a dark, in this case burnt umber, quickly connecting the darks (most darks connect; most negative space connects) while i could still see it. this is the point at which i overcome the bad drawing i did in the first place. but it’s not at the point of the lights that i’m choosing to correct it, but at the point of laying in the darkest darks. which means i’m riding roughshod over everything i did underneath that.
which is breaking a rule. you’re not supposed to change things once you’ve got them down, not in watercolor. but if i’ve got the drawing wrong, then i have to change things. that’s when a toothbrush is your friend.
you can see on the left that i’m finally beginning to work up the courage to tackle the foliage. i went back to the source photo and looked for patterns, then sketched them in over and in between what i had before. in some cases i have to change them, and in some places i have to scrub them first.
but this is the beginning of the end stage of the painting, when i start putting on great swathes of color in glazes. from here on out you’ll see much more drama, very fast.