26 July 2007

Gold, Green & Purple

Here are some progress photos of my latest Knitting Art watercolour. Keep in mind that this may be completely stuffed up at some stage of the process, and I'd have to start again from scratch... watercolour's like that!

OK, after I finished the sketch, I paint masking fluid onto the fine white lines that I want to protect in the painting - either so they stay white, or so they don't accidentally get other colours on them. This includes the edge of the cup, highlights in the tea, the Addi Turbo knitting needle, and white lines in the tablecloth pattern - a lot of them. This took about an hour.

Masking fluid is sort of latex, and a pale yellow colour. When the paint is dry I will remove the masking fluid - it comes off easily, in rubbery string bits that get all over the floor ;) I have a special brush which is only used in the masking fluid (which ruins brushes) - I wipe it over a bar of soap before and after use, and wash it carefully.

OK, now the fun (and scary) bit - paint! I use a variety of artist-quality paints, choosing the best pigments from each brand. I have Art Spectrum (Aussie brand), Daler-Rowney, Windsor and Newton, Maimeri and more. Each tube costs from about $10 to $30, depending on the pigments.I have about 25 tubes of paint - yeah, it's expensive.

I try to limit the colours I use, so the painting harmonises better. I've chosen a French Ultramarine, Ultramarine Violet, Rose Lake, Hooker Green (Quiet you in the back, sniggering away, I know what you're thinking....) and Green Gold. I have a notebook with swatches of my paints, so I can see how they look on the paper - this helps me choose the best paint. I also need to take into account which paints are transparent or opaque, staining or non-staining etc. I'm still learning about paints - a lifelong study, I suspect!

Actual paint on paper! These are the gold-green areas of the tablecloth started... Gold Green mixed with some Yellow Ochre.

After about an hour, the gold's done, and now I've mixed the Hooker Green with Ultramarine to get an aqua, and have painted most of these areas. I make sure I paint the shadowed areas in darker green.

Next comes the purple - I mixed the Violet with some Rose Lake to get the colour I wanted. And I've done the first wash for the tea. Finally, I can use a bigger brush! The highlights have been saved with masking fluid - they will show up brilliantly once the painting is done, and the masking fluid is removed. I'm not happy with the depth of colour in the tea yet, this will get another wash or two.

All this took about 3 hours. It's important to work carefully and slowly with watercolour, thinking ahead about how the paint is going to react if I do this or that, and which part of the 'painting puzzle' do I need to do next. Each section needs to dry before I go on to the next part, too.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this little 'tutorial' so far - more photos soon, as the painting progresses! Please note that the painting has been photographed in a variety of lights (flash, nighttime, daylight). The last pic is probably the most accurate colourwise.


  1. Beautiful beautiful - you're so clever! Love the painting!

  2. I love this - I'm not in any way artistically inclined, so this is fabulous to see a work in progress and the thinking that goes into it as well. Looking forward to more!

  3. oooh thanks for sharing this with us!!!
    It is so cool to see how the painting comes together!!

  4. oh jejune its coming along so nicely. You must be so patient!

  5. I'm quite speechless with admiration. Im totally the opposite of artisitc (whatever that is!), so its fascinating to see how the process works and how you bring it all together. Can't wait to see more.

  6. wow.. it's incredible how the whole picture comes together. You are so talented. The time and the effort to do this....I could nvr paint a straight line. hahaha Thanks for sharing. :)

  7. That is just so, so beautiful. And in 3 hours! I'm amazed. You are very talented and I take my hat off to you - they are so original.

  8. Thanks for showing us how you do it. I really enjoyed that.

  9. I had no idea how much planning and forethought went into a watercolor painting. The art shows on TV have the guys knocking off something moody and impressionistic and 18X 24 inches in 20 minutes with two commerial breaks. The real thing is a LOT harder!!

  10. Wow. That is a great description of the process. I am in awe of the vision it takes to turn out a beautiful painting (and a bit jealous). My brain does not communicate with my hands well enough to do that.

  11. Yes, it's a painting puzzle - and looks like you have it "solved." Can't wait to see the finished product. Keep up posted.

  12. wow, so that's how the magic happens. That's wonderful to watch. I know zilch about painting. I never progressed past awkward looking people and houses with triangle roofs (rooves?). So you are marvellous Jejune. Can't wait to see the finished product.


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