I received questions about my watercolor sketches. This one is the Brick Hotel, on West Market Street. It was painted in a 9x12" watercolor journal, so the paper is 140# -- capable of handling a strong wash.
The paper had been given a watercolor wash in the studio, prior to my going to Georgetown. The first photo shows what the sheets look like before I begin the sketching. I use three cool colors -- they are 'atmospheric' and allow more of a feeling of unity throughout the sketch. As you can see from the photo, there appears to be a border around the edges. I taped the page to a backing to prevent the paint from bleeding around the edge of the paper and to allow the paint to run off. Because I am using a very wet technique, I don't want the color to puddle on the paper or the paper to buckle with the water. I apply all three colors at the same time, so they have a chance to blend on their own, without using a brush to manipulate paint.
This first sheet has cobalt blue, quinacridone rose and a yellow azo. The air around us has a cool glow to it, so I used cool colors to give a sense of what the day was like. The second photo shows the Brick Hotel, but I had used a quinacridone gold, a warmer color than the yellow azo.
I keep several of these prepped sheets in my sketchbook, "just in case." Once the pages are prepped and dry, they are portable, and ready to use. And, the bonus is that I don't have to wait for a wash to dry before I begin sketching.
Once the sketch is done, I can go back in with other colors enhance the drawing and be done, with a minimum of color mixing on site.
This technique does require some pre-planning, in studio, particularly. "Waiting for paint to dry" is an apt expression! And since the book is in a landscape format, I know essentially where I want the main bodies of color to be.
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