watercolor 6 x 9"
Paints used for this painting:
(Winsor Newton and M. Graham mostly, Holbein where noted.)
- Cadmium Lemon
- New Gamboge (similar to Cadmium Yellow Medium)
- Cadmium Orange
- Permanent Rose
- Napthol Red (similar to Cadmium Red)
- Alizarin Crimson
- Dioxazine Violet
- Peacock Blue (Holbein)
- Cobalt Blue
- Ultramarine Blue
- Hookers Green
- Burnt Sienna
- Burnt Umber
- Indanthrene Blue + Maroon Pyrelene = Black
Step 1 - pencil drawing on the paper.
For a complicated composition like this, I wanted an accurate drawing. I printed the photograph, then made an outline drawing using tracing paper. Using my home-made carbon paper*, I transferred the drawing unto the watercolor paper.
The drawing was quite dark, so I gently rubbed a kneaded eraser over it to lift up some of the dark pencil lines.
I put masking fluid on the small white highlights on each of the candies.
Step 2 -the color field
I paint in layers, so step 2 is painting the first layer.
I call this my “base layer”, because I am painting the color of the subject, albeit with some variety. This is done in sections, painting every item separately.
First, I put in a wash of clear water, then flood the colors into the water, using a variety of colors.
For the red candy, I used Permanent Rose and Alizarin Crimson
Remember, the pigments flow with the water, so let the water do the work!
You can tilt the paper to let the colors mix, but don’t do too much brushwork. This mingling of the pigments in the water is the beauty of watercolor.
Let each section dry completely before painting the section next to it, otherwise the colors will run.
Step 3 – Shadows
Once the first layer of color is laid down, I proceeded to paint the shadows.
I used Dioxazine Violet to paint the shadows on almost all the candies, except for Ultramarine Blue for the blue candies and black for the brown and green candy. I painted the dark shadow of the candies, then used clear water to soften the edge of the shadow.
For the cast shadows, I painted wet on wet, using clear water and flooding Dioxazine Violet and Cobalt Blue into the water.
I also added that touch of paint that makes the little glow of color from the candies.
Step 4 – Value adjusting
The darks needed to be a little bit darker, so I repainted them all using black (a mixture of Maroon Pyrelene and Indanthrene Blue), Burnt Umber, and Dioxazine Violet. Again, wet on wet, using clear water and flooding in the paint.
Look how beautiful these shadows are! You don’t get that by mixing colors on your palette. **
Step 5 – Deeper colors
The best part about painting in layers, is little fear of getting muddy colors. Again, the wet on wet technique, this time repainting the candies and the candy wrapper with the same pure, rich colors I used in the first layer.
Look at those yummy colors!
finished painting "Yummy"
Step 6 – details.
When the paint is dry, I removed the little spots of masking fluid. The hard-edged spots don’t look realistic, so I use a small hard bristle brush and water to soften the edges.
I also use a sharp brush to dampen the right edge of the candies, and then pick up a little pigment with a paper towel. Add a touch more color if you feel you've removed too much paint
The final analysis-
A problem with working from a photograph is that I can see too many details. I frequently step back from my painting to see if it is working: color, value, edges, etc. If it looks good, I don’t worry about how accurately it copies the photograph. In this case, I love the combination of hard and soft edges that keep my eye roaming around the painting.
*Home-made carbon paper-
I prefer this over the commercial art transfer papers I’ve used.
a sheet of tracing paper plus a very soft pencil, like a 7B or 8B. Draw dark strokes over one side of the paper until looks covered. Rub it with a paper towel to get off a lot of the loose graphite. This will last a long time. It does leave a lot of smudging on the paper, but I usually rub a kneaded eraser very light over the transferred drawing to pick up some of the smudged areas.
** Doesn’t the water wash out the color underneath? No, not as long as you aren’t brushing it too much. The dry paint will stay put for the most part, unless it is disturbed with a lot of brushing. Water, good, Brush, bad.