Mary Jane's Watercolor Trick

OMG! I have been running around like a headless chicken since I got here. It has been NUTS! But so fun! Let's see if I can catch you up...
     Classes started Tuesday in my awesome, cozy little classroom, where I've set up my studio for the summer. We've already had two classes and they're going swimmingly well. Meanwhile, our newest faculty addition, Mary Jane Begin has been rocking along with her class too. Friday, she taught her students a great watercolor trick. After seeing what she'd accomplished with it - the transparency and depth and sheer richness of color - I was keen to find out how she'd done it. So, she let me sit in on the demo - YAY!
     I'm not going to tell you what the image is called, because if all goes well, you'll be hearing a lot more about it. She starts with references to come up with the composition.
Then creates a pencil drawing on tracing paper.
She transfers this (via copy machine) to Arches Watercolor Paper. Then she swipes a thick watercolor underlayer of Raw Umber.
It looks like this.
Then she pulls out the highlights with a wet brush - it is watercolor after all. She let the students try it out to see what it feels like.
She uses a wide range of brushes for the different taskes.
Then she blocks in large swaths of color. Her palette is simple - cadmium red, cadmium yellow, ultramarine, violet, rose matter, chinese white, antwerp, raw umber, and burnt umber.
Here's MJ with the image, not quite finished yet.
Then she spray fixes the entire image to hold down the watercolor paint. Then mixes gloss varnish medium with the paint to go back in with more opaque color - basically now using a home-made acrylic.
Another seal after it's done and here's the result.
It's not a great photo, but seeing as it's still a little bit under wraps for now, this is all I'm going to share. Just know - it is gorgeous and looks like an oil painting done by the old masters. But it's not! It's watercolors! Can you believe it!? Awesome. Consider my mind blown. I can't wait to try it myself! :)


Kristine T. said...

I'm totally going to have to try this - and its watercolor? That's amazing.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

I know - right!?