Artist's Back to Basics



Fine or H Staedtler Mars 780 thick lead mechanical pencil Paints:

Aureolin Yellow

New Gamboge Yellow

Quinacridone Gold

Sap Green

Burnt Sienna

French Ultramarine Blue

Winsor Violet

Alizaron Crimson

Winsor Violet

Permanent Rose

Step One

I grid both my reference photo and my watercolour paper into 16 rectangles and draw freehand with a Fine or H Staedtler Mars 780 thick lead mechanical pencil. The grid lines keep me from getting too far off base, and the slightly hard pencil won’t smudge as much as softer pencils. Just avoid pressing too hard or you could create depressions in the paper that will trap the paint later.

Step Two

I want to keep this whole painting delicate and soft, with little bits of light dappling throughout both the background and foreground, so I deliberately keep my colours fairly pale and muted. I don’t want the yellow-greens, in particular, to dominate over the pale pinks in the flower. But I still want that sense of sunshine. So I used greyed down colours and quite a lot of water on these first background shapes. Aureolin Yellow, New Gamboge Yellow, Quinacridone Gold, Sap Green, and Burnt Sienna are my warm colours, with a bit of French Ultramarine Blue and Winsor Violet added for the darks. On the left, I kept the edges of the flower sharp by wetting very carefully around

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