Today we will complete the table that we started in the previous lesson and is part of our cycle of readings entirely dedicated to the watercolor technique. In this two-lesson series, we have chosen a magical tree-lined stream as the subject, where the water flows quietly but unstoppable between stones and rocks. In particular, I will show you how to use and apply the sponge effect to give your painting a special touch. Finally, I’ll bring you everything you need to make this painting.
What are the objectives of this lesson?
· Application of the sponge technique
· Create texture with a sponge
· Create the foliage effect with a wet sponge
· Paint with layers of color
· Mix the colors
Let’s paint a stream together with watercolors.
In today’s lesson, we will practice the sponge technique. This technique is, in fact, very versatile and can be applied with different methods and colors. In addition, it will allow you to create genuinely original textures! Last time we have already dealt with applying this technique with simple exercises on the different sponges.
The water of the stream
In the first phase of the second lesson, I made the basis for completing our table today. Once you have painted the stones and the base of the tree crowns, we proceed with a mixture of Cerulean Blue diluted with water to paint the stream. Try to paint with a light stroke by making the first base of color, on which we will return later to paint with the technique of color layering. Next, spread the light color horizontally, intensifying the areas surrounding the boulders to create depth. Paint the stream with the diluted Paint, and with the help of the brush tip, make the color reach even the tightest corners between the stones. Do not forget at the corners on the end of the sheet, where the stream continues between the stones.
Also read about Drawing
Paint the stream with Cerulean Blue, leaving out the horizontal bands painted with Natural Shadow Land. Try to spread the color horizontally, limiting yourself only to the areas left white. To continue to paint the stream below the room painted with Natural Shadow Land.
This procedure is used to create a chiaroscuro effect and, at the same time, movement. Follow the horizontal trend with the brush, letting the color spread to develop lighter and more nuanced areas and other more color-laden areas. Once you have applied the Paint, wait and let it dry.
Let’s give a dark touch to the water.
At this point in the work, we have defined the base of the stream, but now we must try to give more depth to the water. First, dilute the Ultramarine Blue on a palette. However, it is not enough to use pure color for this step, as it turns out to be a very intense and bright color. We need a colder tone for our work by mixing it with a touch of Burnt Shadow Earth, bringing a style of blue tending to greyish. Once you have the color you need, spread it with the brush to obtain light shades of color on the painted band of Cerulean Blue.
In this step, we are painting with the color layering technique, proceeding wet on dry. Measure out the suitable component of water and color and pay close attention to the water dosage. Where the brush may be too loaded with color, dab the excess water with a piece of paper. Proceed by painting the entire stream and create areas with the meeting (where and if possible) with a more intense tone, particularly by contouring the stones more and blending with the brush. At this point, the part destined for the stream is over! To be realistic, applying the color with light glazes is advisable, letting the background color shine through at times.
The sponge technique for making foliage
Here we are. The time has come to apply the sponge technique to make the foliage of the trees in the background. Before proceeding, we need to prepare the green mixes we need. As the first color, dilute the Veronese Green with water. As a second color, I mix the Veronese Green with a touch of Terra d’Ombra Naturale to obtain a green with a natural and full-bodied tone. Mix the second green with Cadmium Yellow for the third color: you will get a brighter tone than the same green. Finally, mix Cadmium Yellow with a hint of Veronese Green to get a bright grass green.
These four blends of greenery will help you achieve the foliage effect.
At this point, you have to equip yourself with the honeycomb sponge. Proceed as follows: from the light green shade, moisten the sponge with water (drain the excess water into a container or onto a sheet of paper) and dip the tip of the sponge in the light green. Then, with firm touches, he begins to dab the green painted area around the tree trunks. Now that you have made the base of the canopy of the trees continue gradually with the successive shades of green.
The trick in performing this technique is to create overlapping layers of color. First, identify where you want the foliage to be most intense and dab with the darker green to create the desired effect. Congratulations, you have completed your watercolor “Tree Stream”! And now have fun creating different compositions and paintings with the techniques I showed you in this lesson. I can’t wait to see them!