Watercolor Basics, Watercolor Project

Trying to Capture a Moment in the Pennsylvania Countryside

So, I was on TV watching Stone House Revival and saw this beautiful scene of a Buck’s County Pennsylvania barn in the mist.  I loved the way the trees where off over the horizon in the distance.  It immediately caught my eye.

I took some artistic license and began my drawing, concentrating on composition.  I want the background, barn and trees.  I also wanted to add some livestock and a pond just left of the main tree.  So here is the drawing rendered.

In my drawing, I focused on composition to include livestock, a pond and the big tree to the right of the barn, which is further back in the distance. The rendering had 3 parts: 1) the background and fog, 2) the barn and 3) the livestock, tree and pond.

In the drawing, I’m trying to lead the eye from right to left. It also has a “Z” in the picture, which draws your eye across the painting.  I didn’t want to overemphasize the livestock. However, I may have made this work a little busy by adding those things.

In the wash, I concentrated on the background and sky first using Cobalt blue for the sky with yellow as I worked it down. I wanted to keep the barn clean and the livestock so I could fill those in at the end.

In the wash, I focused on getting the distant trees and sky with a fog look.

I let this completely dry and then began working on tying the work together. I found myself getting a little too worked up over the barn. I wanted to capture some of the greys and blues and then work that left.  I also used a small natural sponge to give the work some texture.

The final is tied together with rich colors at the forefront and a reflection in the pond. The piece should make the eye wander from right to left and then back.

In the final rendering, I didn’t really like how the barn turned out, so I used a wash turning the painting upside down and using Chinese white to add some depth to the fog and the barn. This unfortunately washed out many of the colors to the barn. Next time, I’ll have to keep those middle tones rather soft and bring most of the color more forward.

Here is the painting before I used the Chinese white.

You can see before the final glaze, there was too much color to the barn. This produced a flat look to the final work.

You can see in this rendering, I used too much color for the barn and then the middle distance was lost. This made the work appear flat, so it’s important if you have a work with 3 distance subjects (background, middle distance and front) to keep the colors softer and less prominent.

Painting in the little fence and pond was fun. The sheep proved to be a little challenging. I had to use a reference picture for my rendering since I made them up. Overall, I was happy with this work trying to capture some fog and atmosphere.

I’m pretty happy with the way things are going.  It will  be April 1, 2017 that I picked up the brush.  June 1st will be first 2nd month anniversary!

On to my next project. Happy painting!


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