Saturday, May 16, 2015

Painting of the Week – "Spanish Aqueduct”

“Spanish Aqueduct,” 10” x 13” mixed watermedia.
Copyright Sara Light-Waller, 2015.

This painting was an interesting challenge. I was so inspired by the beautiful, blue sky in the photo reference that I decided to use that color as the unifying theme for the piece. To begin, I laid down a thin wash of Ultramarine Blue acrylic, then washed in areas of Quinacridone Violet (also in acrylic) towards the bottom of the paper. When this was dry, I started building the piece in watercolor. At this point I wasn’t sure how much gouache I’d be using in this final piece. Just enough for end highlights? Or more? As it turned out…I used gouache for at least half the piece, and I’m glad I did. The more opaque paint gave the rocky scene the feeling I was going for — solid, heavy, and old.

I’ve seen this remarkable location (Ronda, Spain) painted in the most gossamer of watercolors, creating an ephemeral look. I’m not sure I’m ever going to be that kind of painter…and I’m not sure if that’s a sad thing or not! As it is though, I’m pleased with the results, it’s not just a copy of a photo…I can feel the place! One day I’ll go there and see if I’ve caught it right.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Spanish Aqueduct, mixed media

Value study for Spanish Aqueduct painting

There’s a fantastical Roman aqueduct in Ronda, Spain that’s been used time and time again in fantasy and children’s book illustrations. I'd love to paint it en plein air some day but since I'm here and not there, I've picked out a good photo to work from. 
Early stage of the painting, showing acrylic underpainting
and rough blocking in of watercolor and gouache
This piece will be a mixed watermedia of acrylic, watercolor and gouache. My plan is to go slowly, creating a tighter rendering than I’ve done in a while. I'm going to rely heavily on glazing to create the colors and that requires a patient hand....typically not my strong suit in watercolor! But never mind...I'll turn down the throttle and make it look good.

Stay tuned…I’ll be back with more updates on this one…

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sketch/Painting of the Day - "First Iris"

“First Iris” 6” x 12” pen & ink and watercolor
in a Pentalic Nature Sketch book

I finally got outside for some plein air painting today…well, sort of. My first iris of the season had bloomed and I wanted to draw it before it faded. But the weather was a bit too chilly to paint it outside so I brought my drawing back inside to finish it.
The paper in this Pentalic sketchbook leans toward Hot Press, so I wasn’t able to work as wet on wet as I would have liked. However, because the paper wasn’t too “toothy” (in other words bumpy - a feature of Cold Press and Rough watercolor papers) it allowed me to make up in pen work what I wasn’t able to do in watercolor.

I went for a graphic design look in this painting, using ink strengthen the plants while keeping the background abstract.