Preparing for a watercolor painting

I’m planning a large painting—a full sheet of watercolor paper—of a figure. As eager as I am to start slopping paint around on such a large space, I know I”ll be happier if I first paint some smaller studies. I often make lots of studies before beginning a painting; with watercolor, it helps to know where you’re going.

Watercolor sketch of coat
Watercolor sketch of coat 8″ x 10″

The painting is based around an old coat of my mother’s. My grandmother made it in the 50s, and as a testament to my mother’s care and thoughtfulness with her things,  the coat is still like new. Getting the right red-orange color is difficult. It’s an unusual shade of red.

Watercolor figure sketch
Figure sketch in watercolor 10″ x 8″

I got my niece to pose for me in the garden and I sketched, took photos, and made color studies. She’s a lovely young woman and I wish she would be my model always, but sitting still for so long made her feet fall asleep. It’s hard work to be a model.

Watercolor painting of a young woman's face
Watercolor portrait study 7″ x 5″

This is much larger than it will be in the painting, but I couldn’t resist painting a close-up of her face.

2 thoughts on “Preparing for a watercolor painting

  1. I love the layering of family arts here: your grandmother’s sewing, your mother’s caring, your niece’s sitting, your painting (and appreciation of it all), and then sharing it with us. In sitting (and painting, and writing) this way, one can experience “deep listening.” Beautiful!

    1. Chris, I never even thought of it that way! Thanks for helping me see that. And thanks for your beautiful posting on deep listening; since I read it, I’ve been trying really hard to listen more mindfully.

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