Time Out with Watercolor

The other day I began work on the drawing for my next pastel painting – charming Mick on a quilt.  The quilt is predominantly deep reds with a bit of aqua here and there.  I have a very small selection of red pastels and also just a few aquas.  So last night I put in an order for more pastels and won’t be starting that painting until they arrive.

In the meantime, it’s a great opportunity to work on something small – a few more ACEOs.  I was pleased that the rabbit I worked on over the weekend at the Studio Tour sold right away on eBay.  But then I had nothing listed – another reason to work on more of these tiny treasures.

I find that they’re great for practicing technique.  There’s not a lot of time commitment, so taking chances – with a medium I’m not comfortable with, for example – is no big deal.

Today’s effort is this little red panda perched high in a tree.  I began by masking out the light band on foreground leaves, the whiskers, and the highlights in the eyes.  Next came the background.  I put the sky in even where the trees would go.  This worked out well because the blue of the sky under the gray-greens of the trees gave them a bluish cast and so helped push them into the distance.  Then I added the deep greens at the bottom.  Thenon to the red panda.  I painted her in several layers.  I was hoping to achieve texture, but much of it ended up obscured in the build up of layers.  To be honest, this slow approach to building colors is partly a matter of hesitance on my part.  It’s a good and, I think, necessary approach with colored pencil, but I’m hoping that with practice I can become more direct with the watercolor.

Red pandas have a strange coloring with their bellies and legs being black.  I used very little black but quite a bit of a very dark brown – sedimentary rather than staining colors.  Even though they were dry when I rubbed the masking away, that action resulted in “dirt” over my white areas.  So in the future I’ll have to give thought to whether I want to mask the whiskers or paint them later with white acrylic.  The masking will give a brighter white and I was able to get successful very thin lines of masking fluid.  But combined with the nearby dark sedimentary colors it may not be a good choice – or perhaps I could avoid rubbing over white areas!

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