Many people have asked how I paint skin so smooth and silky while using multiple colours to create form, depth, light and shade.
I use multiple wet on damp glazes. As you build up each successive glaze the features underneath, or the underpinning as it is technically called, softens creating the smooth skin. I use the technique too for soft clothing and to soften clothing edges on the darker side. After the skin tone glazes are finished I can then add detail on top in the areas I want the focus to be.
In my last painting of Grandpa I wanted to find out if I could use this technique on the front of the engine to help merge it a little into the background. Once I had finished painting it I wet the whole area, engine, background and table and added a glaze of sepia. Once it was dry I repeated with a glaze of perylene green and finally a very light glaze of indigo sepia mix. The resulting effect was just what I had hoped for, the front of the engine seemingly merging into the background. Its features could still be seen but the overall effect was much softer thus drawing our attention back to Grandpa and the area of the engine that he was working on.
I now want to see how far I can take this technique and what different effects I can create. Can I create a misty, smoky effect? Can I use it to accentuate the feeling of height and distance? Can it really be used as a tool for atmospheric effect whilst helping to draw our attention to our centre of interest? I think it will work and this is why I feel as if I am standing in that doorway to an even more excitingly expressive watercolour world.
I spent about 6 hours masking a lot of the detail in the painting before I added about 4 glazes for the background using Indian Red, Winsor Blue (red shade) and Cerulean Blue to help establish the lights and darks in the painting. Now I’ve just taken all the masking fluid off! This is the painting as it is now with the first few washes laid down and the masking fluid removed.
Now I can begin my exploration of layering washes to create different effects. I’ll explain more about the layering process and my discoveries as I work through the various stages of this painting.