Watercolor – Week 7: Borax Wagon
All classes, before I painted the dark shadow under the wagon, I used masking fluid to protect the sun streaks that are in the shadows. While this was drying, I worked on some of the detail on the wagon.
Torrance students you will need to look at last week's blog for the detail on the beams under the wagon and on the hub so I don't have to repeat myself, your photo will be your best reference, it is mostly doing what you have been doing – dry brush texture, adding intensity to your colors and shadowing – you can figure out what and where if you look carefully.
The bolts on the wagon and on the wheel are not long involved detail work, they are quick and simple shapes. We just need to suggest to the viewer that they are bolts or what ever and they will fill in the rest.
You may want to use a small round brush for this, I used my liner brush because it comes to a fine point and hold a lot of paint so I can do more than one or two bolts before reloading. I was using the dark shadow color and where I needed to suggest "bolt" I just drew 3 little lines like the shadowed side of a bolt and a small dot in the center. Notice where the blots are placed on the wagon: they are on the vertical boards on each side of the spaces between the long boards. I did the bolts on the wagon wheel later but in the same way. That is it! Don't get carried away thinking it is more than it is and all it is are some basic, simple shapes that suggest "bolt".
While you have that smaller brush in your hand, there are a few other things you can do with the dark color: There is a bracket on the wagon that holds the chain and at the bottom of the wagon there is a metal plate you can suggest with a couple of quick lines to indicate a shadow, this plate also has a could of bolts holding it on, two seconds and it is done.
Near the top of the wagon is an "M" shaped piece of metal, while we still don't know what it does, we did figure out that the metal bar slips over it and it acts like a lock or stop to hold the bar so the driver can handle the mules, at least that is what it looks like, anyway, with my ¼" in angled brush – you can use any small brush you feel comfortable with – I started in the dark shadowed side next to the bar with my very dark color. Near the top of the first point, I rinsed my brush and with just water, dragged tome of the color up to the top of the point. I then picked up a touch of sienna and touched into that wet area, rinsed and found some lighter version of the dark color on my palette. It just needs to be a gray color and I tapped this color almost down to the center, skipped the center then went up the side. Look at the photo to see where the dark and light areas are.
When that was done, with the same brush and the same dark color, I painted in the shadow that is under this metal strip. If you need to pencil it in before painting, that is fine, just be very aware of the shape of the shadow. I'm not so concerned with hard lines this time because the hard lines actually help give a strong sense of light to the painting. We are artists and we have a license and we need to use it upon occasion.
There is also a shadow from something off camera that looks like another metal bar you can paint in now as well as the shadow cast from the metal bar we can see. Notice that at the bottom of the wagon there is another hunk of wood that rests on the beam that hold the metal bar and the shadow from off camera changes position as it falls over it. Paint in that dark shadow while you are there that is under this hunk of wood, I think it is a support for the metal bar.
Detail isn't hard but it can be time consuming. Just keep in mind that a few simple shapes. a few lines here and there can bring a whole different look to your painting. Don't be afraid of it, just take your time.
On the beams under the wagon I suggested some of the paint on the beams, I kept it mostly to the sides and left the top light. The color was sienna, a touch of red and a tiny touch of purple and I just dry brushed it on here and there, leaving bits of the under painting showing to look like exposed wood.
There are several chains on the wagon and while it may look complicated, it really isn't all that hard. Using my liner brush again and a mix of sienna and a touch of purple, I made a series of loops and bars to create the chains. I didn't draw them in first but I did draw a line that I could follow so I knew how it draped over the bar. This "o-o-o-" looks more like chain than just doing a series of loops strung together (ooooooo) because the loop you are seeing the full shape of the loop and the bar is the loop on its side (see photo page). It doesn't matter if the loops are exactly the same, these chains were made by hand one link at a time plus they have been abused and used for over 100 years. When you get to the shadow of the chain on the side of the wagon, pay special attention to the distortion of the shapes as they fall on the wagon.
We managed to finish the wagon in both classes at PV (yeah!) at this point you need to be sure that all the shadows on the parts of the wagon are where they should be, we have a little more to do to finish just review the photo and your painting to see if all is as it should be at this point.
On the hub, there is a metal band around it, if you have your center painted you can paint in the shadow of that band on the recessed end of the hub. If you need to paint the center, it is red, orange and sienna and starting from the outside and pulling in creating a mottled look, let it dry before adding the shadow. There is also a shadow under the next band back.
Please look at the photo before starting the shadow on the center of the hub. The wheel is canted slightly in so we aren't seeing the wheel straight on. You can see a bit of the lip of this band on the right side that is in the sun and the shadow cast from the left side. There is also a slight shadow where the wood in the center meets the lip. Just make note of this before you paint.
The lug nut in the center is created by negative painting and lifting. I negative painted the shadow on the left side of the nut and lifted a highlight on the sunlit recess it sits in. I also lifted a little off a couple of the corners of the nut and it was done! No drama here, just in and out, simple steps.
If you want, you can put in some deeper grooves on the wooden rim using your liner brush and a dark color, this is just some extra detail you can do and you can also use it on the wagon if you want, it is up to you. Also add a few shadows behind some of the paint chips to give them depth if you want, do as much or as little as satisfies you.
By this time your masking should be dry so once again I mixed up a dark color of blue, purple and sienna keeping it to the blue side and painted all of the shadows I saw under the wagon. There is a stanchion right behind the wheel that I ignored and just painted in shadows, that was much more interesting than what was there. I used my ¾" brush for the large areas and my ½" for smaller areas. Refer to the photo if you need to and while you have this color handy, make sure that all your shadows are dark enough. Watercolor dries lighter and these shadows need to be pretty dark to get the contrast we need.
When the shadows are totally dry, you can remove the masking. With a damp brush, just soften the lines of these shapes just a bit. If you want to add texture of the dirt, use the shadow color and stipple some into some of the light areas.
Some final detail are the bolts on the wheel along with lines and cracks, I also added a long metal bar under the wagon because I liked it, do or don't, it is up to you. I think that is all and from what I was seeing in class, everyone is doing a great job. This was a challenge because of the detail but if you have patience with yourself and take it one step at a time and keep a positive attitude, you CAN do detailed subjects. Don't set yourself up for failure by saying it is too complicated, or it looks tough because you have already been defeated. It is a challenge or a puzzle you need to figure out but you can do this!
Registration is now open at both
PV students, I will figure out something for our last 3 weeks, Torrance students after the holiday we will finish the wheel and we will also have a critique so please bring in one or more paintings on our last day for critique, they can be your best or something you want a second opinion on what ever you want to bring. See you all soon.