February can be a rough month for me, mostly because I am so sick and tired of winter and its unpleasantness, such as driving in snow. On the other hand, I think winter is a visually beautiful season and I do love the way snow transforms the world outside. I love looking out of the window and seeing the snow pile up, while being cozy in my house and not having to be anywhere all day. I was recently gifted some absolutely wonderful wool socks and I really enjoy wearing them while relaxing at home. They found their way into my sketchbook, of course.
The blizzard we had yesterday turned out to be a blessing in disguise, an extra day off work and time to spend inking and watercoloring. I made the picture below, plus got a good chunk done on something else which is in progress. I had fun experimenting with the circular format (4 inch diameter) and now my little card is on its way in the mail as an after Christmas thank you note.
I have spent quite a bit of time working on this picture over the course of the past few weeks. I was intending to post in progress photos as I went along but then things started to go awry and I decided to wait until the end to see how things turned out! At the bottom of this post, I wrote about my process.
First I looked up general leaf shapes and sketched similar shapes on watercolor paper. I made up the pen and ink parts myself. I painted the leaves first, thinking that I could paint the background around them, but then realized that it wouldn’t work so I would have to use masking fluid.
In retrospect, I should have just gone right in with the masking fluid from the beginning because when I removed it, the color was lifted. Additionally, I must have left some gaps because the blue seeped through in parts. I had to repaint the leaves and also try to camouflage the blue. Luckily, I already had incorporated holes into the design of some of the leaves which made it easier in some places.
Regardless of all the mishaps I like the finished painting. I have never painted such a dark and intense background before. Also, it was kind of refreshing to paint from my imagination without copying so directly from photos. This was also my first time using masking fluid for anything significant. It is definitely something I would be willing to try again. The background didn’t come out as dark as in reality in my scan and I tried to darken it, but now the browns are a bit darker than they are in the picture. In real life, it “pops” a lot more.