Watercolour Demonstration: Hyacinth and Drystone

26 August, 2013 2 comments Leave a comment

While we were traveling around the Great Lakes in our RV last month, I created this painting based on a photo I took while visiting my Mom in B.C. on an earlier trip.

In the photo below, I have started with a pencil sketch on 300 lb watercolour paper and masked out the flower and leaves with Pebeo Masking Gum. I like the fact that it is dark enough to show up against the paper, allowing for better application accuracy.


Once the mask was fully dry, I used Indigo paint on the shadowed crevices between the stones. When dry, I spattered a fine spray of masking gum over the whole painting (using a tooth brush and a pot scraper), to preserve fine white dots in the stones. Then I spattered on a fine spray of Indigo paint and let everything dry overnight.


The next day, I gently wet the entire painting with clear water using a soft, natural hair brush, to disturb the Indigo spatter as little as possible. I gently dropped in muted mixtures of Indigo, Burnt Sienna, Primary Red and Aureolin (yellow). I waited about a minute for absorption and evaporation to reduce the wetness of the wash, then sprinkled table salt sparingly over the entire painting. I let the painting dry overnight.


After brushing off the dry, dirty salt, with my pot scraper and fingers, I erased the masking fluid with a crepe eraser, revealing white paper underneath. Some of my pencil lines disappeared in the erasure process, so I redrew them where necessary.


On dry paper, I painted each leaf and the stem, using mixtures of Indigo, Sap Green and Aureolin.


I completed painting the leaves, then defined the petals using Primary Red, Burnt Sienna and a touch of Indigo. A few shadowed areas and white dots were darkened where needed, to complete 'Hyacinth and Drystone', watercolour, 12 x 9". Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions about this demo. I would love to hear from you.

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  1. Karen September 03, 2013

    Glad you enjoyed the picture story Howard. This was a bit different from my usual method and those spattered dots at the beginning made an interesting texture in the stone.

  2. Howard Stapleton September 02, 2013

    Love the completed picture and the steps you took made everything make sense and again you made everything look so easy.