Winter 2011 Watercolor – Rock Demo
All classes we only have 2 more weeks of class and classes will start up again at the end of the month. Registration is now open at Torrance and pending at PV if you want to get signed up for any classes it is best to do it ASAP especially at Torrance where they close under enrolled classes the week before classes start.
The thing to keep in mind about most rocks is they are rough plus they have chips, dents, ridges and cracks. They also are not a solid color. While these rocks look gray at first glance if you look closer you will see all kinds of color in them. There are blues and greens, purples and reds, yellow, orange and sienna are also there so get those colors in you under painting.
I sketched in my rock shapes before I started painting so I knew where I needed to paint and I was using the photo of the big rocks, I will finish the small rocks next week.
With the excepting of a few tops of rocks I wanted to leave white, I wet the entire rock area with clear water and went over it a couple times to be sure that my paper was very wet. I painted around the areas I wanted to protect so they were dry. Into that wet I added all different kinds of color but I made sure that they were very watered down, I don't want the colors to be over powering. If they look too vibrant, quickly add more water and lift with your paper towel. These colors should be very pastel, I even splattered some color. Other options are adding salt or using the plastic wrap but it takes too long to dry in class.
These next steps are layers of subtle washes. Watercolor is transparent so each time you add a wash the colors will become deeper in value (light vs dark) and more intense in color (pale vs vibrant) it is a very important thing to remember when you are painting in watercolor because we have to work from light to dark so we need to save our lighter areas as we go. It is better to be too light than too dark because it is easier to add more washes to get the look you want but more difficult to remove unwanted color.
I mixed up a gray this time using yellow, a touch of purple and a touch of blue and lots of water, this should just be a tint but it should look gray, watch the purple because it is a strong color. On my DRY rocks, I added this color to everything EXCEPT to those few areas I left white at the beginning. Those will be the sunlit tops of the rocks so I want to keep them white by painting around them. Also note that I am not painting individual rocks just yet that will come next. If you want, you can splatter or drop more colors into the wet rocks just be sure that they are rather dilute still at this point. Let this step dry completely.
Each of the next steps you are going to need to really look at the reference photo so you can see the different shadows and colors on the rocks. I was still using the same gray color I just made it a bit darker by adding more color than water. I identified the NEXT BRIGHTEST areas and painted this color on everything else avoiding the bright sunlit and the next brightest areas. Just look for the shapes of the shadows and colors in the rocks don't worry about the rocks you should start to see rocks emerge from your paper with each new wash as the layers build and add value and color. When this paint dried I used virtually the same value of color and went over the next darkest areas now avoiding yet other areas. Build up your values and your colors – yes, you can add other colors to your gray mix – gradually to create the shape and texture of the rocks.
In the dark shadows I mixed my standard shadow color of blue, purple and a touch of sienna with only a little water, this should be very dark. This goes where you see cast shadows and the spaces between the rocks and the cracks, I used a liner for the cracks. You can also splatter more color onto the rocks or lift out some shapes in the shadow areas, just have fun finishing up the detail.
If you didn't do the underwater rocks under painting, you might want to have that ready for class on Tuesday. These smaller rounder rocks are a good exercise for not only river rocks but also for cobble stone roads, walls or any other place where people might use rocks as a building material.