This time I am using my watercolour pencils in a more “traditional” way: first dry, and then wetted with my tiniest brush. I’ve got the impression that the butterfly is talking to the kitten – maybe trying to show him or her the way home. Or persuading him to climb done this steep hill. Or trying to seduce her to follow it away to some wonderful place where there’s plenty of delicious milk… Nobody knows…
Here’s the final version of the butterflies painting. None of these colourful insects exists in reality – I just went for the colours which came to my mind.
By the way: This time I used q-tips for wetting the paper. I’d read somewhere that with those q-tips it is easier to control the amount of water you’re putting on the paper and wanted to try it out. It was okay, but I found no big difference between them and using my tiniest brush.
The watercolour paper I’ve got has two sides – one very rough, the other a bit smoother. With this painting here I used the rougher side. The advantage is that the paper is still fixed on the pad, and there’s no danger of the paper buckling. However, I am not 100 per cent satisfied because in my opinion there’s a wee bit too much of the texture to be seen on the painting.
I had no reference for the painting. Of course I had a look at some butterflies, but I took my artistic license regarding the colour of the butterfly as well as the colours and shapes of the blossom. I had a tropical atmosphere in my mind with rich vivid colours.
I decided to have a go at a female portrait, after having done abstracts and surreal landscapes. Of course paintings done with watercolour pencils need a lot more time than for example acrylics or paintings done with soft pastels. I even discovered something like a zen attitude – focusing on each and every dry pencil stroke, and then touching it with the wet brush, watching how colours change and become vivid. Moving onward to another part of the painting in order to let the paper dry, repeating the same process, adding one pencil stroke to the other, wetting it carefully, letting it dry.
I don’t know how long it will take to be finished, but I’ll let it take its time. No hurrying. It is something to look for at the end of the work day, something to come home to.
You probably will ask: “Why can a tree be called ‘naked’?” Well – I was thinking of the structures of the wood beneath the bark, of the smooth surfaces, smooth on one hand, but twisted, gnarly and maybe broken on the other hand. I have no clue whether a tree like this exists at all – but I can feel the wooden structures under my fingers.
I hadn’t done a preliminary sketch before painting this abstract image. First there was the ornament in the middle, then the rest followed. I also didn’t plan the colours in the beginning – I so to speak followed my intuition.
I learnt one important thing doing this: be careful about the direction of your brush strokes! Always do them in one direction, otherwise you’ll get patterns of paint which are not so desirable. The other thing I learnt was that black tends to be a greyish black with wet watercolour pencils. You really have to press hard with the black pencil and wet your brush only a wee bit.
I had no specific reference for the painting, but of course I’ve looked at many, many pieces of wonderful abstract and decorative art, and so my imagination has been inspired by many artists.
There’s lots and lots of trolls in the internet, mostly very evil looking creatures. What I had in mind when I did this was the story of the beauty and the beast – with the beast being very unhappy about his beastly shape and looking, and a desperate desire for beauty.
The troll in the drawing above is angry and desperate; I leave it to you to imagine his relationship with the orange red flower. Is the flower bowing down to the troll in order to uplift him or in order to mock him? Everyone is invited to invent his or her own story…
This piece is the result of some experiments.
- I first did a very raw sketch just to get an idea of the painting. I then did a fine sketch on a piece of copy paper the size of the final watercolour paper (17×24 cms). Copy paper is quite cheap, so there would be no problem with not being satisfied with the first version.
- When I had done a sketch I was satisfied with I fixed a piece of watercolour paper on top of the copy paper, went to one of my windows and traced it on the watercolour paper with a pencil. I then traced the pencil strokes with an ink pen and then erased the pencil lines.
- The third step consisted in using the watercolour pencils for getting an underpainting. I used q-tips and not a brush for applying the water. because I had the feeling that doing it this way let me have more control.
- The last step was to draw/paint the details with coloured pencils.
I am quite satisfied with how the painting turned out. I like the intensity of the colours, something I now know cannot only be reached by applying baby oil on coloured pencils but also by applying water on watercolour pencils.
I hope you don’t think I’ve gone mad, but somehow I could not resist. No reference. I placed various glasses and other round objects on the watercolour paper, went around them with a pencil in order to get circles. Then I coloured them with dry watercolour pencils and applied a wet brush. At the very end I applied some dry coloured pencils. It was fun!