So once I had my idea clearly in my mind I started to sketch it out carefully onto watercolour paper. I began with a border.
It may not seem very important but I find that it really helps me get my arrangement right if I have this drawn in.
Here is the start of the painting:
And below is what it looked like once I’d finished. I must admit that I kind of got carried away with exploring the watercolour pencil colours and ended up making some bad colour and tone choices. I like the way the sea turned out but all of the rest of it I really don’t like. On top of that, the block colour in the background does’t really work very well. I wanted a smooth transition between dark to light blue on the sky as you go inwards to the centre of the picture, and when that didn’t work I just went for plain block colour, but it still looks kind of patchy.
There are advantages of using watercolour pencils in that they offer great control of where the colour is going to be but for me this is outweighed by the difficulty there is in getting a smooth plain wash over larger areas and the limits to colour mixing which you can do. That said, I suspect that these problems are typical of someone who’s not used this medium before.
Anyway, because I quite like the drawing I thought I’d have another go, this time using plain watercolour with a little white pen over the top to add some interest. (I had intended to use black ink to highlight things but, after using the white pen I thought it was fine as it was.) Knowing when to stop with a painting is a difficult skill for me. 🙂
So here is how it turned out the second time around:
I think using a limited colour palette like this helped a lot to sort out the mess I made of it first time around. I’ve always had a thing about orange and blue together – they form my favourite opposite colour combination. This is the first time I’ve used a white paint pen – it was great fun but I’d like to get one which is gentler on the paper or perhaps do the same thing with some white gouche paint, a 00 brush and a steady hand. I also decided to rename the picture to ‘The Fish and the Sun’.