Green Man’s Progress

In the previous post I may have given the impression that I was done with the watercolor on this piece. It’s possible I may have even believed it. This is, however, a new process for me; this mixture of watercolor and gouache. And it is the first of several similar pieces I hope to finish this year. So I am paying a bit more attention to my working process than I normally might.

The preliminary drawings for the Green Man were very detailed. My palette was simple. I even thought I had a good handle on the technique to get it all done. For the most part it has gone according to plan. But once I started to get the dark green into the negative space, my concept fizzled.

GreenmanColor3Web

What I was going to do was finish the Terre Verte gouache in the negative space, then outline the knot with thinned gouache in a dip pen, probably a mix of Indigo and Prussian Green. I quickly realized this would severely darken the piece and focus too much on the knot rather than the Green Man.

Detail showing the base layer of watercolor (bottom), some shading on top of the base layer (middle), and the knotwork shaded with the negative space filled.

Detail showing the base layer of watercolor (bottom), some shading on top of the base layer (middle), and the knotwork shaded with the negative space filled.

So I started shading the knot, defining the over-under pattern. I’m using tiny dabs of Sap Green, then blending it into the green of the knot. It was a concern of my critique group that I would be lifting up the gouache if I put watercolor next to it (or picking up the watercolor by laying gouache on top). I’m not working very wet, though, and there’s only been one tiny area where the gouache lifted. I dare anybody to find it. I think the effect is going to be much better than had I gone with my first idea. And because I hadn’t finished with the Terre Verte, I have some places where I’ve shaded the knot without the negative space being filled in. You can see an example of this in the detail photo. It will be interesting to see if it looks the same once I fill in the Terre Verte gouache. If it works, I will probably use this technique for later paintings.

My next post should have the final art.

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