Watercolors are Backwards
One of the really hard things for me about learning watercolors is that they work in mirror image from the other kinds of art I've done. With pastels, I would rub black into the paper underneath everything but the sky. That way I would have a lovely, rich depth when I pulled lighter colors over the top. The lights were always the last thing to be added.
With watercolors being transparent, though, you have to leave all your light bits light from the very beginning. With this carousel painting, I wanted the gold lights to really glow. I did the gold first so I couldn't forget.
Halfway through I'd done the sky and gotten the middle tones laid in.
The last thing to do were the actual dark tones, to make the lights really pop. This has gotten easier over the last few years, but I still have to talk sternly to myself about remembering if I have a painting with the highlights needing extra care.
12/14/2013 04:30:50 am
Very true, very true, Martha Kelly!
12/15/2013 08:24:28 am
What a pleasure it was to meet Martha Kelly at the very place of this watercolor this week (12/13/13) in Cape May, NJ at Congress Hall's Christmas Festivities! Earlier we met for the first time, while she was painting the front porch entrance outside The Virginia Hotel - despite the cold! Fortunately there was sunshine. I was so excited to meet the person behind these amazing watercolors I've seen the past few years representing Cape Resorts Group! I will be sending some photos of Martha at work that perhaps she'll post! Keep up the great work Martha!
Leave a Reply.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
Get studio email updates from Gideon and me.
To subscribe to this blog, by email: