This is the fourth in a series of Watercolor "Rescue" posts, in which I take a previously done painting I'm not that happy with, and make changes and corrections to improve the overall feel and composition.
This subject is the Santa Barbara Mission in Santa Barabara, CA. It's 12 x 18 inches on Strathmore 140lb CP paper. This is my third watercolor ever , back in '03, and I hadn't discovered the difference of cotton watercolor paper yet.
The original scan is a little weak, but you can see the lack of contrast, a rather boring sky (which it was) and too much vibrant color used on the fountain. (Don't trust you reference photos).
I had intended to add a gradiant sky, but the poor paper made the cobalt blue pigment settle and create a blotchy look. So while it was still damp, I washed off the added pigment, blotted the area, and then with an application of
clear water, I dropped in cobalt blue to create breaking clouds for the sky.
I then reworked the foliage on the right, adding a feignt tree-line in the background, using cobalt blue, sap green and burnt sienna, to help define the building edge.
I strenghtened all the details of the building, using permanent rose, cobalt blue and ultra marine violet. I added burnt sienna and light red to the tile roof, to give it more strength. I reworked the arches and shadows as well.
I then added high-lights and shadow colors to the rest of the trees and foliage, giving them a little more shape.
The fountain colors were subdued, using cobalt blue, ultra marine violet and permanent rose. I defined the shadow shapes more and lifted a few high-lights here and there.
I lifted high-lights out of the fountain to give it more shape and texture. Then I reworked the right foreground corner to simplify it and not create a distraction.
Although the painting is 14 years old, I think I gave it more life.
Don't be afraid to rework some of your early failures.