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Field of Linseed – Step-by-Step DAY 1

Field of Linseed – Step-by-Step DAY 1

I am working on a new watercolour painting of a ‘Field of Linseed’ seen near Emmington last summer and making step-by-step notes as it happens.

DAY ONE – 18th Jan 2012

I have chosen to use a sheet of Windsor and Newton 300 gsm Rough Artists Water Colour Paper 760 x 560 mm, which I have stretched onto a sturdy plywood board.

The photographic reference is one I have already been working from to make a small gouache preliminary colour sketch for an acrylic painting I plan to do later. Actually I am planning to use the same scene in all three mediums of watercolour, acrylic and finally oil. It will be interesting to compare the contrast in style and treatment of all three at a later stage.

This morning, after stretching the paper I started pencilling in a grid and some simple guide-lines, which would help me to position the first wet-in-wet washes. Basically just the line of the field, hedgerows, tree-line and horizon hills. See Fig 1 below.

Fig 1

Before starting with the first washes I rubbed out some of the construction pencil lines which might have shown up through the lighter washes, in the sky and distant hills for example.

I slanted the board downwards towards the bottom and started at the top with the wash of the sky and then worked my way towards the bottom, changing and increasing the colour as I worked my way down. At this stage it is a good idea to put a white mount around the work to make sure the washes are dark enough. While the paper was still wet I went back and increased some of the colours where I wanted them darker. I overworked it a bit as the paper started to become a bit blotchy – I will take care of that later.  Then I left it to dry thoroughly – I sometimes use a hair dryer to speed this up. See Fig 2 below.

Fig 2

The next step, once the paper is thoroughly dry, is to decide what to mask out before the next stronger washes go on. I outlined some areas with pencil, in the background hills and the middle distance hedgerows where I need to preserve the first colour where small chinks of light show through. Also the small purple linseed flowers need to be kept purple out of the light blue/green which I intend to apply to the field tomorrow. See Fig 3 below.

Fig 3

In the details below, Figs 4 & 5,  you get a better idea of how and where the masking solution is applied, in some places with the ruling pen shown in Fig 6.


Fig 4&5


Fig 6

Read about day 2

If you like it or not  – leave a comment below!