I was rooting around on the bookshelf this morning and came across one of my favorite watercolor books: John Lovett's Textures, Techniques and Special Effects for Watercolor.
Now I think the title is a bit misleading as it's a first rate instruction book for watercolor full stop. Never mind the special effects. As i was feeling a little jaded I thought I'd start at the beginning and go straight through the book doing all the exercises. It'll keep me in practice but without troubling the brain cells too much. And frankly it's too hot for the brain cells to do anything anyway.
First up - landscapes. Start with a loose drawing :
No problem here. Trying to keep the shapes interesting and uneven without sacrificing what the subject it.
Next the sky wash :
Yeah. This was meant to be an even wash over the whole sky and I screwed this up royally. I should have my watercolorist badge stripped from me for this. But never mind. Onwards.
Light washes over the foreground to indicate some foliage and a little detail around the road (or is it a river?). Remembered to keep things pretty light and used my 1/2" bristle brush to keep the edges scruffy. Pretty happy so far.
Distant hills in a slightly greyed purple. Nothing fancy here and it'll be mostly covered by trees anyway.
Now the trees. It's amazing how hard I have to try to keep the trees uneven. It's almost as if the brush has a will of its own and physically resists me. I'm also building up the foreground a little here - again with the 1/2" bristle brush.
We're actually almost there now. Amazing how quickly things come together. A little shadow detail on the houses followed by some dark doors and windows. The foreground has yet another layer of detail. This time some red for interest and some dark lines for fences/grass.
The only remaining thing was to *very* delicately put in some white lines for branches in the trees. So easy to ruin everything here with some clumsy marks so less is more.
I'm liking the foreground very much. Feels good.