The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year. Tonight I created two really bad sunsets. (The second attempt was less bad than the first…)
I did a sunset project from Mako’s new book: No-Fail Watercolor: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Painting with Confidence. Surprisingly, this is nothing but neutrals: Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, and Payne’s Gray. My first attempt ended up being horrible, so I painted it again. It definitely worked better the second time.
Here are some of the changes I made with my second attempt. (I must admit I departed from the instructions a bit, and that worked better.)
- She suggested using a round brush to apply the graded wash. I realized that didn’t get the paint down fast enough before everything started to dry, so I switched to a flat brush on the second attempt.
- My initial graded wash was too light, so I increase the ratio of pigment to water.
- I added more streaks of the initial color (burnt sienna) to the waves and sky, which wasn’t suggested, but I thought it looked more like the book.
- My burnt umber is lighter than hers. On the second attempt I added Payne’s Gray to darken it.
- I used straight Payne’s Gray on the front leaves the second time with barely any water. (The first attempt is too light.)
- The book suggests free painting the palm fronds. I’ve only been consistently pushing my art for… Oh, what does the top of the blog post say…? 27? That’s right, 27 days. Anyway, mama don’t free paint yet, or you get attempt #1. For my second attempt, I ended up drawing the leaves with a pencil first, and that worked better. My strokes are still shaky, but I’m sure as my confidence builds I will improve.
You can see I’m still struggling with the paint to brush ratio with the wet on wet. If I had to make any changes, I would probably add just a touch of cadmium red to the burnt sienna wash.
I’m starting to think I should start veering out on my own with some of these exercises. Isn’t that how we learn and remember new skills? I think I want to paint this same picture but with a moonlit sky instead. I may try that tomorrow.