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!