Today I had another go at doing a variegated wash. I wanted the horizon very high in the picture and I knew I wanted a lot of still water so reflections would be important. I used Alizarin Crimson and Prussian Blue with a little Ultramarine and some Paynes Grey.
The wash looked like this originally:
But then I added a bit more crimson into the sky and the sky reflection in the water.
Then I used the grey and the prussian blue to paint the land at the horizon and then diluted that colour and used it again for the reflection of the land. Next I used the same mixture of grey and blue, but much darker and more concentrated to paint a crane and some reeds in the foreground. Originally I planned to have the reeds just rise from the bottom of the picture but this left the image looking ungrouded so I used another dark mixture of grey and blue to paint some ground in the foreground too. Finally I painted some round circles around the heron’s feet in a dark blue and added some gouche white to give them the look of small reflections of the sky.
It’s a really simple painting but I think, for me anyway, it turned out reasonably OK.
However… I did notice once I’d finished that although I had painted a reflection of the distant land I left out a reflection of the crane, apart from the circles. So I tried to put one in afterwards but I made a bit of a mess of it.
So I painted the whole thing again – trying to lean from my previous mistakes. This is the new one:
I’ve called it ‘Stillness on the Marshes’ . I really wanted the picture to convey that sense of stillness and silence there is on marshes sometimes. I used a really restricted palette with this painting and concentrated on using different dilutions of essentially the same colour to suggest the features I wanted. It was really fun to play with the paint like this. I wonder what could be done with just one colour? It might be interesting to find out.