Fall 2010 Watercolor – Demo: Rocks
(Sorry, I just saw I hadn't posted this from last week!)
Like last week, looking at the picture is probably more informative than a written explanation so you might want to flip back and forth between the two to see what I'm talking about. You will notice that the rocks are a lot more detailed than when you saw them in class, the reason for that is when I'm doing a demo it is a challenge for me to get the general basics of something across to my students without confusing them and often times I stop my demo long before I would if I were working on something of my own. Detail is just more of the same but can get boring or confusing when you have to watch from a distance. I decided to take it a bit further so you can see just how real rocks can look using watercolor.
The first thing I did was to draw some shapes of rocks. I've painted rocks for many years and I kinda know how they look and how to get the look I want, also, rocks are sort of like clouds in that they come in all shapes and sizes so unless you line them up and make them all the same size pretty much anything you put down will work as long as it fits the place you are putting them.
My first wash was very light as usual for a first wash. I used sienna really watered down and if I were working on a flatter angle, I probably would have wet the area first and dropped the color into it. Along with the sienna I dropped green and blue, you can add salt (again working vertical slat was out for me, but I like salt when doing rocks), or any color you want because rocks come in all colors and combination. I left some of the white of the paper for bright highlights. Take pictures or clip out pictures of rocks for reference and have them handy when you want to paint rocks.
When my paint dried, I mixed a shadow color of sienna, blue and purple but with a lot of water, this is also a thin wash that goes over the shadowed side of the rocks. My light was coming from the right so that meant I added this color between the rocks and on the sides to darken the color. When I got near the sunny areas, I just used water on my brush to give me a graded color (no hard lines).
Each time I used a bit thicker mix of the shadow color and each time I would start in the darkest area which is usually between or under a rock and faded it up ward. I repeated this until I was satisfied with the basic shapes of the rocks then using the same colors and smaller brushes – my ¼" angle and my liner brush – added detail. This take time, practice, patience and a knowledge of your subject but once you have mastered rocks, they are no longer a mystery and easy to include into you landscapes.
I did start a wooden bucket and I will finish it next week. I do get on a roll and may be giving you more info than you can absorb at one time, we have 3 more weeks so we have the time. See you in class.