Monday, December 5, 2011

Watercolor Project - Aspen on Watercolor Canvas

Aspen on Watercolor Canvas Demo4 LWatry ©2011
 I have finished the aspen on watercolor canvas. The following is a description of the final steps and the finished image. You can see the start of this painting at my post on November 11 - Watercolor Projects on Yupo and Watercolor Canvas.
Aspen on Watercolor Canvas Demo5 LWatry ©2011

If you have not tried watercolor canvas, it can be a fun surface to work on with watercolor because it is very easy to lift color back off. I also work a little faster on canvas because you have to be a little more direct with your colors and values. You can layer, but the previous layers might lift off if you are too vigorous with your brush.

Aspen on Watercolor Canvas Demo7 LWatry ©2011
I decided to mask out my foreground, large leaves because I wanted them to have clean hard edges. I could have gone back and lifted any errant color back off the leaves, but they would have had softer edges then and they may not have been as free of color as I wanted them. I finished up the shadows on the tree trunks before removing the masking on the leaves. For the distinct markings on the aspen trunks, I used a mix of French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, and Quinacridone Magenta. These three colors can be mixed to give gray blues, browns, and purples. I used these same colors on the small branches of the trees. I left the white of the canvas as the white of the trees accept for a very subtle brushing of a yellowing green in a few places to give the whites a "touch" of color.

The Demo7 image shows the completed painting. I used three shades of yellow and some green and orange to paint in the leaves. Sometimes while a leaf was still wet I would float in a second color to give interest to the leaves. I also left some leaves very pale so that they had the look of sunlight hitting them. The finishing step was to paint some purple/blue shadows on some of the leaves to give the painting more depth.

Aspen on Watercolor Canvas Demo6 LWatry ©2011

In the Demo6 image you can see the side of the canvas. I decided to paint the edge a dark brown with acrylics. Right now this painting is hanging just as it is with a brown edge and no frame. Some patrons like this look. So, I will leave it this way for a while. My other options are to frame it like an oil painting with a linen liner and a frame with no glass or you can get a frame that is specifically made for floating a canvas without a matt. (Here is one link to American Frame so that you can see what a floater frame looks like.)
Aspen on Watercolor Canvas Demo8 LWatry ©2011

In the Demo8 image you can see the edge that is now painted brown and the whole canvas was then sprayed with 3 or 4 coats of acrylic matt sealer. This will protect the watercolor from ruin if it should get wet.

Watercolor canvas works with masking and salt if you like those techniques and probably many other techniques. I have decided that instead of buying the pre-stretched watercolor canvases, I like to buy big rolls of the watercolor canvas from online stores and then stretch it to the dimensions that I want to work with. Also, I have found that the roll of canvas has a slightly different feel that allows for an easier time working with it, while some of the pre-stretched canvases almost resist the paint. Note: canvas is still not as widely accepted by the buying public because I think some are unsure if it is an original painting or a reproduction. Some shows you enter may not allow canvas, so read the prospectus carefully.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, I've thought about trying the watercolor canvas. After reading your post, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like it. Your aspen painting is lovely, great, fresh colors.