Saturday, September 5, 2009
Handsome Heron in Watercolor
I finally got around to trying a small watercolor of the striking first year Green Heron that Jerene and I saw at Tinicum last week(and the subject of the previous post). This watercolor is based on a combination of photos and the field sketches I did that day.
Since I always seem to have trouble with backgrounds in my watercolors I decided to put that in first. I also wanted to keep the striking colors of the light green vegetation and light blue water. That would be true to what I saw but I was hoping it also would set up a striking counterpoint to the dark, deep colors of the heron.
I soon realized though that, once again, I'd used values that were too dark. Both the water and vegetation should have been lighter, and possibly more of a wash. One other thing I wanted to do was make sure that the limb on which he sat didn't become too dark. This has been a problem I've seen after the fact in much of my recent work where birds sit on branches. I often tend to make them too dark in value, even if they are that dark in reality. The problem is that the dark value can just be too strong for the rest of the work, like a tuba blaring in the middle of a violin solo.
So I started this branch much lighter. But as you can see it didn't stay that way long. Soon I had two areas that were too dark.
The finished version, above, shows the results of my various attempts to bring back some lighter values as best I could, unify the values as best I could, and add some detail to the heron. I think the composition as a whole is satisfactory, as is the heron. But in the back of my mind I know the light, bright painting that I envisioned. And in front of my eyes I see that someone cruelly slipped in a darker version...........
Always more to learn about how to use watercolor!