The title is misleading b/c this painting wasn't primarily to paint a duck, but to conquer WATER....the great challenge for all artists, but especially watercolor artists! I've struggled with water for a while...BUT recently, I decided to just dive right into something REALLY hard and see what emerged. Sometimes that's the only way to learn a difficult subject...
Many people, myself included, hesitate to charge into a difficult subject, b/c what if they *gasp* ruin the painting and fail...but, as I remind myself constantly, it's only a piece of paper, right? A whole piece of paper costs me about $6 and I can get about 4-5 paintings from a 22 x 30, so I've really only lost a couple bucks if I ruin something (plus time and frustration) (which is technically priceless, but I digress...)
So, dive into something hard and challenge yourself! You'll be so glad you did!
I was working from a photo of a duck that landed in a fountain while we were visiting Washington DC recently. The sketching was rather tedious, but I wanted to give myself lots of information to work with, so I sketched every line and reflection.
This was obviously a political duck b/c he acted very self-important and begged for more resources. The Washington DC squirrels are the same way.....
I kept track of the reflections by adding the blue first to the largest areas so I wouldn't get lost in the shapes. That's always a good first step when you're painting complicated shapes. Choose one color and paint every shape that color and it keeps you on track. Then, I started adding the greens and darker colors.
I wet the whole area of the each shape and put color on. I used a small, round #4 brush for this whole process. Anytime I painted green into an area, I usually charged in Burnt Sienna while it was still wet, just to make it more visually interesting.
Colors are Cerulean Blue, Payne's Gray, Hooker's Green, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber
Now for the duck....I wet the whole head and laid on my first wash with Payne's Grey, Viridian Green and Purple. I did the same with the breast of the duck. The marks around the neck are masked. With a #3 round, I started patiently adding the feather details. A lot of the time, I mixed Burnt Umber in with the purple to get a nice warm color for some of the feathers.
I'm just gradually working by sections here on the back of the duck.
I decided to finish up the duck so that I could really concentrate on the water areas, so I've added about 2 - 3 washes to deepen his head and breast...finished up the feathers....and I'm happy with him.
You'll notice that the white of his feathers is just the white of the paper. There's a LOT of negative space going on there. I'm just painting around different shapes very carefully. At the end, I'll go back through with clean water and a brush and soften the edges of the negative shapes to kind of give them feathery glow.
I'm still working upwards with the reflections here. You can see, too, that I'm starting to layer a really dark wash of Hooker's Green and Burnt Umber (mixed) on TOP of the water that I've already painted...in interesting shapes and such. It really give the water that layered look.
Now, I know what you're thinking....you're thinking "Nooooo, it's too complicated! I can't do that!!! Noooo, don't make me!!!" To which I say, "quit your whining, please and get started....there are harder things in life and this isn't one of them"...in my mother's tone of voice.
Ha... YOU can totally do this! You'll surprise yourself!
I'm coming around the bottom here....and it was at this point that I was a bit stumped as to how to finish...I didn't want to paint ALL of the reflections b/c I felt like it would be too busy on the eye...there wouldn't be any place of rest in the painting. So, after consulting all of my amazing facebook friend artists, we all agreed to leave a large portion of the painting blank with just a tiny bit of detail in it.
Good advice! Thank you!
I'm getting towards the end here. I've really examined my photo and then added any touches that I feel are necessary for the painting to be balanced with lights and darks, soft and hard edges. I've softened up the edges of the duck and softened some spots on his cheek....He's a cutie bug.
Smiling away, I hope that he finds someone's wall sometime soon! I know he will make a lovely addition to any home. He's only $350.00! A steal for the amount of time it took to paint him.
He's 11 x 14 in size and can be mailed.
Happy Painting, everyone!
© Copyright Cady Driver 2016 - All Rights Reserved
I'm a wife and mother of four kids. I homeschool, paint, run, and garden! I am always interested in digging truths out of Scripture. Here, you'll find my thoughts on art, adoption, gardening, mothering, homeschooling, books and whatever else is on my mind. Enjoy!
Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum - like skepticism, it's a means, not an end. It cries out for a theme. To treat creativity as an end in itself is to assume godlike character for humans as though they could create ex nihilo. -J. Cheane