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Happy 2018 Everyone!

I started the year off by working on a new watercolor painting! Below are the various stages of “New Year’s Daisies”. I hope you enjoy reading about the painting as much as I enjoyed working on it!

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Stage 1: I know its hard to see but the painting started with a light pencil sketch. I can’t stress how important it is to start with a good drawing. It’s at this stage that I work out the design and composition. I use the rule of thirds and the “golden sequence” theories.

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Stage 2: At this stage, I apply the masking fluid to protect the areas I want to keep white. My goal was to use the white of the paper for the daisies.

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Stage 3: Next, I apply loose watercolor washes. I use the wet-on-wet method which is basically wetting the entire surface and then throw down various color washes.

I started top to bottom with my lights first. I use Lemon Yellow and then added Burnt Umber to deepen the yellow hue. Next, I moved to the bottom of the page and using Phthalo Blue, I applied the color moving up to imply long blades of grass. When the blue met the yellow wash, I got a nice shade of green.

This part is a bit scary because the colors can easily turn muddy. Even though it looks loose, there is a lot of control at this stage. While the washes were still wet, I threw some regular table salt on the blue/green wash. The reaction of the salt and water, creates wonderful bloom affects that imply small daisies in the background.

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Here is a close up of the salt blooms and the how the washes run over the masked areas.

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Stage 4: The next step is too carefully remove the masking fluid. This stage by far took the longest. Being super careful so not to damage the paper, I removed the dried mask with the edge of eraser. I’m not a big fan of using masking fluid but it works well to protect areas you want to keep white.

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Stage 5: … and we have daisies folks! After the mask is removed, I lightly go over my line work so I can start adding pedal details.

Stage 6: Now I move onto the yellow centers. At this stage, the centers reminded me of egg yolks! I start with my light color yellow and follow it with a Burnt Umber to create depth.

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Stage 7: Finally, its time to start working on the petals! I use a mixture or Intense Black and Phthalo Blue that is super watered down to create a bluish/gray wash. I work from light to dark and use a very light touch to ensure that I don’t go too dark too quickly. Daises are of course white so I use this light color mixture to imply shadows and give depth to the flowers.

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Here is another close up. I work on each flower individually and while it dries, I move to another flower. This part was actually the funnest part … adding the details really creates dimension and brings the flowers to life!

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Final stage: Finally, I work on the stems by adding a mixture of Sap Green and black to bring the composition together. I add a few more dark strokes of grass blades and dot the centers of the flower with Burnt Umber to imply the pollen.

I had a lot of fun working on this painting and learned a few new watercolor techniques!

Thank you for taking the time to read the post. Remember, I’ll be selling copies on my Etsy shop if you are interested!