Marion Chapman’s Watercolour course 3

Autumn leaves

Watercolour on 185gsm Arches rough.

Objective: Use masking fluid and washes on separate layers
Colours: ‘Earth palette’ yellow ochre, Raw Sienna, Dark Umber, all from tubes but we could have mixed them from Ultramarine Blue its complimentary Cadmium Red and a splash of cadmium yellow. I also used a contrasting highlight colour Alizarin Red.
Technique: I created my composition by tracing the leaves in as few pencil lines as possible.  On 1/3 of the paper I painted a single detailed specimen leaf. 1st layer an allover wet on dry wash. When dry a 2nd darker wash leaving the curled over parts exposed. then added some details. I masked off this 1/3 of the paper with waxed paper to protect the leaf while I painted the rest.

I painted masking fluid over the foreground leaf, let dry, brushed on a wet on wet wash, at the same time added the wash to scrap of test paper. I tested the dampness on the wet scrap paper before dropping on other colours and tilted the board to use the water to disperse and mingle colours. Marion said to avoid using a brush which tends to muddy the colours. When very dry I repeated the same process for the other leaves. Mask a leaf, add wash in one pass of the brush to avoid agitating pigment on the previous layer. Repeat until all leaves have been masked and covered with a wash. I left mine for a few days to dry before removing the dried masking fluid. Marion warned us not to use a hair dryer on the masking fluid. I finished by adding some detail to the foreground leaf which had been masked out to white.
Note to self: I went a bit overboard with the random splashes of masking fluid. One or two elements in the background washes don’t work to well. But given that you can’t see the whole thing until the dried masking fluid is removed it is not too bad.


2 thoughts on “Marion Chapman’s Watercolour course 3

  1. Oh Ian! What a fantastic result!! I love how you enhanced the leaf on the left and then you joined the stem to the more abstract version of the leaves – it really creates such a great visual bond between the two paintings.


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