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Old 02-09-2018, 04:17 PM
RBloechl's Avatar
RBloechl RBloechl is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,843
Watercolor Rescue 5

This is the fifth 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.

The subject is the Santa Ynez Mission, located at the border of Santa Ynez and Solvang, CA. The original scan is a bit warm and the building appears flat, because of lack of contrast in values. This is one of the first watercolors I did using a half sheet of Arches 140 lb CP paper.

I determined that the sky was OK and left that alone. So, I started by deepening the shadows on the building to give it more shape and depth, using a cobalt blue and u. m. violet mix. Mostly to define the right edge of the
building and under the roof overhangs. I didn't darken the bit of building further back, leaving some reflected light back in that area.

I added a more weathered look to the building, with streaks of raw and burnt sienna. I added cracks by darkening this mixture with cobalt blue. A added a touch of viridian green to the bells, to make them stand out a little more.

I added some light red and burnt sienna to the roof tiles and the paved entrance-way. I added darker lines to indicate the pavers at the entrance.

I then reworked the distant trees with darker values, giving them more shape. I darkened the trees on the upper right, to separate them from the ones below, to create some depth. I used various mixtures of sap green, u.m. blue and burnt sienna, with some cad. yellow highlights. I extended the overhead tree shape at top left, using a dark mixture of sap green u.m. blue and burnt sienna. I also added some darker values to the trees and bushes in front of the building, to give them a little more definition.

Lastly, I enlarged the foreground tree shadow shape, using cobalt blue and u.m. violet, to give a sense of the larger overhanging tree. I also strengthened the cast shadows on the front of the building.

I think these changes made a stronger painting and added more definition to the shapes overall.

Thanks for looking, and try some of these tips yourself.

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Old 02-09-2018, 04:53 PM
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Yorky Yorky is offline
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Re: Watercolor Rescue 5

A big improvement.

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Old 02-09-2018, 10:45 PM
oldey oldey is online now
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Re: Watercolor Rescue 5

Another great post on your rescues! Great stuff.
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Old 02-10-2018, 02:20 AM
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MarialenaS MarialenaS is offline
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Re: Watercolor Rescue 5

Don't take me wrong, but I think that it is a bit futile to "rescue" as you call it ( I call it retouch) your older paintings.
This is your Archive, your Portfolio, where you can go back at any time given and get a reference on what you have done up until now.
Of course you have improved in time your technique, but it is certain also that you'll keep on becoming better and better in the future. What will you do let's say in ten years from now?
Will you go back again to re -retouch the same paintings in order to comply with your future improved technique or different painting style? There is always the possibility to experiment with something new and change your mind, change style, change medium...everything is possible.
What you've done up until now is done. That's it. Spending your creative energy to retouch old paintings is energy that you don't spend to make something new and go forward your technique.
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Old 02-10-2018, 10:22 AM
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claude j greengrass claude j greengrass is online now
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Posts: 1,382
Re: Watercolor Rescue 5

au contraire
Your rescue shows great improvement. Being able to recognize weakness in one own work is a major learning inflection. Keep us the good work and follow your own muse is whatever direction he/she/it leads you.
It is only on a basis of knowledge that we can become free to compose naturally. -- Bernard Dunstan
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Old 02-11-2018, 06:59 AM
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pjartwc pjartwc is offline
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Re: Watercolor Rescue 5


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Old 02-11-2018, 11:03 AM
Johndk Johndk is offline
South Africa
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Re: Watercolor Rescue 5

Thanks for kindly sharing your journey with us. It's very interesting.
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Old 02-11-2018, 11:20 AM
drzeller drzeller is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 25
Re: Watercolor Rescue 5

Great post. While you happened to go back to an old painting, for others this could be a lesson in how to rescue a painting they just finished and aren't happy with.

Your explanations were very useful.

Thanks for sharing.

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Old 02-11-2018, 02:03 PM
Que Sera Que Sera is offline
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Re: Watercolor Rescue 5

Rich, I'm finding all your "Rescue" posts very informative. I love comparing the before and after.
Every mistake is a learning experience!
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:13 AM
Merriweather Merriweather is offline
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Adelaide area South Australia
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Re: Watercolor Rescue 5

Originally Posted by Que Sera
Rich, I'm finding all your "Rescue" posts very informative. I love comparing the before and after.

Me too, Its good work.
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