While I don’t scan my watercolors very often (I just take them pictures in order to share them on Instagram), a few days ago I had to scan the first one I show you here, because someone wanted to use it for a publication. So I decided to scan one more that I particularly enjoyed painting.
The first one looks like an umbrella out of a film noir that someone used to commit a murder. That was completely unintentional. As unintentional as the mess I did with the foreground. But that’s the way you learn, a lot of it works by trial and error. I made a couple of pencil sketches and a watercolor sketch before trying it, to figure out the colors, the values, the composition; although the photo reference I used offered me these, I had to make some changes. It’s the second time I plan this far, but I want to do it more often in order to learn to paint in larger formats (I just paint as large as 11×14 in), because the larger you get, you need to have more control over the amount of water you use (and bigger brushes).
I’m relatively new to painting (less than two years, and I haven’t been very constant), but I guess that just means I have some very exciting adventures to experience every time I move a tiny delta out of my comfort zone (I don’t know if I have one, I mostly experience discomfort). But, with watercolor, you’re dealing with water. And I’m a bit of a scientist myself to tell you how water behaves, but I guess you already have a grasp of that. You do a couple of splashes to add some variation to the foreground and see if it’s working, then another splashy splash and you decide if that’s enough (oftentimes it’s enough way after you decide it’s enough). And you let it dry. You have to wait a lot and have patience and let it dry, but now I’m just talking to myself because I haven’t figure out the basics of this exciting painting medium.
The second one was painted on location, in my home city, Villahermosa, in south-east Mexico, in a nice park just in front from where I studied high school. In the background you can see the 80-meters-tall towers of the Catedral del Señor de Tabasco.
With this watercolor, I was feeling sometimes insecure and sometimes bold; when I felt bold, I painted more in the left side of the paper with dry brush strokes, and when I felt insecure I overworked the water reflections and most of the right side. But, overall, I had a lot of fun.
I consider plein air the hearth of landscape painting, and it fits watercolor specially because you can paint outside your home with a relatively light setup inside your bag (so long as you paint in a relatively small format; I prefer 11×14 in, but you can carry a big board made of some light material). And, frankly, plein air painting is a must for me to not spend my time depressed at home. I share with you here one of my favourite videos from youtube, from the painter Richard Pikesley (I love his voice), talking about his watercolor gear and basic setup for plein air.