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.