The Night Watchman – Watercolour

This week I decided to try to paint something quite quickly since I’m still unwell. So I painted this forest scene with no sketching, no planning (except some planning in my head) and three brushes –

  • a hake brush for the background wash (this is a big flat brush which is great for covering big areas).
  • an old mop brush for the undergrowth and bushes (this is a scruffy blobby fat little brush which is great for textures).
  • a rigger for the trees (this is a brush with really long thin soft bristles and is great for drawing lines).

I painted a graded wash for the background going from a French Ultramarine (dulled with a tiny bit of Payne’s Grey) through a Winsor Blue (with a hint of Phalo blue) to Paynes Grey (with a tiny bit of Phalo blue as well.)

Then, once it was dried I added some bushes with dilute paint and gradually worked forward with the undergrowth using darker and more saturated paint as I went.

Once this was dry I painted in the trees, again working from the trees furthest away first using very dilute paint and then working on closer and closer trees with darker more distinct lines. The rigger is such a good brush for this. I love it. It makes them look good without any effort on my part.

Finally I added a Great Horned Owl in one fo the trees and gave him some fierce orange eyes – he is the night watchmen of the picture. It took longer than I expected to finish because I had to dry different layers with a hair dryer and my hair dryer kept on overheating and stopping. Overall it was about 40 minutes. Then I went back to bed.

Here is the final picture…

A Short Digital Light Exercise

This week’s art is a digital lighting exercise. The aim was to try to find a way to show light reflecting off a wet surface in a really simple way. I gave myself 30 minutes for this exercise and no reference materials just to see what I could come up with from imagination alone.

I decided to draw a city scene at night in the rain. Here’s the sketch I began with…

Once I had my basic drawing mapped out I painted in the colour from the back of the scene to the front. Like this…

Once I had all of my colour in I pulled the image into Photoshop. Then I added some rain in blues and yellows and reworked my tonal values to produce my final image…

The drawing and painting did take half an hour and then I spent another 10 minutes or so playing about in Photoshop after that.

I was pleased with the way the light shone through the material of the lady’s umbrella and the relative brightness of the street lamps. I would have like to do something more for the headlights of the car but without reference I could’t work out how that would look. At the time I gave myself an excuse that the lights were nearly head-on and dipped for in-town driving so I didn’t have to do much, but thinking about it now, just putting some light in front of teh car ont eh road would have helped.