Anza Geo, 05.16
I’ve been feeling the need to create some original artwork as something of a creative outlet lately so decided to take on a full-sheet (30″ x 22″) watercolor project. Its been years since I’ve worked this scale in watercolor. I had experimented with some smaller geometric watercolors and knew that I wanted to take this bigger. So, here we go…
The image began with an image I captured out at Anza-Borrego and I’ll outline my process and results in this post.
From the original image I started ‘slicing’ it into geometric patterns in Photoshop, eventually leaving me with only the lines.
Next, I borrowed a LCD projector and projected the image above onto a pre-stretched sheet of Arches 120lb cold press watercolor paper. You’ll note in the pic that the projector color was way off, but for my purposes that didn’t matter. I’m only using it as a guide for the initial sketch.
From there I roughly traced the lines in pencil, and then inked the lines with a .05 pigment liner and straightedge and then erased the graphite lines which left me with a linear version of the landscape.
Then began laying in layers of watercolor, one by one. Mostly brushwork with an occasional wash on larger segments. After that, I let it sit for an evening and looked at it in the morning to decide on the next step. While I liked the flat nature of it, it felt unfinished so I began masking and spattering. It was scary at first, but once the first big ‘glop’ landed that freed me up to proceed with some controlled abandon. Once I got over that glop, I made a few more moves along the way.
I’m pleased (but not entirely satisfied) with the final painting. Learned a lot along the way, and knocked the f’n rust off of some skills. Will definitely be approaching some existing and new landscape photography with this in mind in the future.
Rather than show 20+ frames of the work in progress, here is a fast animated GIF of the process.
And finally, a cropped version of the finished watercolor.
I would make some changes here and there to this image but believe that it is more important to move onto a new piece than keep ‘fixing’ one – as Steve Jobs said: “Real artists ship.”