Re: Snake in the Grass WIP
If you want to paint the shiny snake skin, you need to paint the light reflections that makes it look shiny in the photo. There is a strong light reflection from the nose to over the eye. There are other light reflections on the top of the head, extending down the top of the body, and one along the edge of the jaw. The bird also has light reflections on its beak, around and over its eye, and on its neck.
The best way to get light reflections in watercolor is to reserve the background white paper at the reflections. Light glazes of color on some or all of the reserved white paper tones down the reflection as desired. This requires planing the light reflections at the beginning of the painting and carefully avoiding the reserved white areas. Using a resist to keep paint off the reserved areas works but leaves hard edges between the color and the area covered by the resist.
Light reflections can also be created by lifting color from the paper. You might try using a small fitch scrubber and paper towel to wet and lift the loosened color. Care must be taken not to extend the wet areas beyond the reflections.
Another way to achieve light reflections is by use of white paint, either straight or mixed with a bit of color. White paint is opaque and can result in a flat appearance compared to reserving the white paper, but it is very effective in small areas and where other techniques might not work.
Great sketch, by the way.
Hope this helps.