Saturday, April 25, 2009

Progression of a Painting: Moonbathing (part 4)

Part 1: Concept
Part 2: Painting the Background and Setting
Part 3: Painting the Main Figure

And here we come now with Part 4: Finishing up the Details!
Final installment, continuing from where yesterday's post left off...

10x15 inches
Strathmore lightweight illustration board
Colors used in part 3:
Winsor & Newton pan watercolors: Burnt Umber, Payne's Gray, Ultramarine Violet, Lemon Yellow, Reddish Brown, Naples Yellow
a few Kremer Pigments: Elderflower Purple, Stinging Nettle Yellow

* * *

Step 13 - Upper Tree Trunk
I finish painting the tree trunk. The upper portions are more exposed to the light source, and so would be more bleached of their "natural daylight" color (i.e. brown). And so basically I'm repeating steps 9-11 in these areas, except limiting my palette to just purple tones, making it more monochromatic with the sky.

* * *

Step 14 - Closer to the moon
For the branches that fade into the ghostly light of the moon, I use Stinging Nettle Yellow to paint those in. I'm careful to maintain those white arcs of "light" I've created while laying in the background even now, by avoiding painting directly on them. Essentially I treat them as a hard edge.

* * *

Step 15 -
Masks & Nails
Starting in on the final details now.

For the nails I use a no 0 round and paint them in with Payne's Grey. I leave the nail heads white, and lift a little around them to just soften the brightness a bit and help them blend in more naturally.

The shadows on the masks are painted in with Ultramarine Violet.

* * *

Step 16 - Finishing off the Masks
I finish off the details in the masks by adding the last touches of shading and highlights to them. I'm using a mixture of pretty much whatever is on my palette at this point -- which is purples, Payne's Grey, Burnt Umber, bits of random yellows, some of what was left over from the previous painting I worked on.... My palette doesn't ever really get cleaned out unless I want a really pure or pale color and I don't want it to be dirty. Then I'll scrub it clean. Otherwise, I like it to be a mess like this for picking out random neutral tones.

The ribbons on the masks are painted in with a mixture of Reddish Brown and Naples Yellow.

* * *

Step 17 -
Okay, back to the hair now which I had postponed earlier. After completing the rest of the piece, I can get a better idea of what overall color schemes are and determine what would work best. In this case, white is actually looking pretty good. So just to finish it off, I go back and add a few more shadows with Elderflower Purple, and define some strands with Stinging Nettle Yellow, and on the tips of those little trailing tendrils, clean them up a bit with a white gel pen.


  1. On the white arcs of light... Do you just leave the pencil sketch outline to define the branches?

  2. Yeah, I rarely erase my pencil lines. But because I work in so many layers and I start out with pretty light sketching, most of the time my pencil lines are almost completely gone by time time I finish a piece.

  3. Loved being taken through your process on this piece. Enjoyed absolutely every minute of it. Thank you for taking the time and so thoroughly documenting. Very inspiring.

  4. Magnific! Very thanks! You are the best in Watercolour!!!