First watercolor attempt. Really could use some help.
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  1. #1
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    First watercolor attempt. Really could use some help.

    First off thanks for taking a look!

    This is my first attempt at watercolors (actually painting of any sort) and really trying to push this piece to not only be completed but to be somewhat satisfied with it.

    I could use some pointers on the piece as it stands (problems, suggestions, likes/dislikes) and how to make it...well....better.

    Appreciate your time!

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  2. #2
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    digging that mask, man! nice concept. the main thing I would say is add more contrast to your values, it looks a bit flat right now.

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  4. #3
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    Thanks for the reply flack. Is this the right direction? I started on the scarf since your comment and want to make sure I am heading in the right direction.

    Appreciate the help!

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  5. #4
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    Hi,

    New here, but have been working in watercolors (with various degrees of success, haha) myself for a little while. I have a couple of things I would like to share with you:
    1: I think you would benefit from renting a few books from the library on watercolor, so that you understand how the medium can be used to your benefit more. It looks like you are struggling in a few places here (the hair, and opacity of the paint in general stand out to me) Some books that have helped me are:
    http://www.amazon.com/Stunning-Crystal-Glass-Watercolorists-
    Capturing/dp/1581807538/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=2A19OHUD77IA U&coliid=IV69OM0CT5PAN

    http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Wate...I3GM6RAL4IGXHShttp://www.amazon.com/Painting-Portr...I20PN03RDJNK07http://www.amazon.com/Watercolor-Mix...I2706Z1KZ7B72A

    2: Compositionally, I think this could be more interesting. Even if it were a 3/4 view of the face and mask against a larger skyline, I think it would be a little more powerful.

    3: Color harmonies could be improved, and the painting could be "looser" (see books above for ideas on that) which I think would actually help speak to the "point" of the painting more. Right now the painting is a very controlled and reserved style, but the subject matter implies chaos. Painting in a way that focuses the point of the painting usually makes it a more powerful statement.

    Watercolor is a tricky medium, and without the basic principals of how the paint "works" paintings get stuck easily. I used to paint in Oil while in school, and that was way different... more was always better and mistakes were easily fixed. Watercolor is a tricky "plan it out" medium, and when its done right it is incredible. Good luck!

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  6. #5
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    It's definitely better. Before I give advice I'd like to know what you're painting on and what kind of paints and brushes you have. I don't want to give you advice that wrecks what you've got or isn't relevant.

    Simple is not Easy.
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  7. #6
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    JOELB I am working on a regular painting canvas. As far as materials, I have a 16 color watercolor "hard" set the ones you use when your a kid. I also bought a set of Reeves watercolor tube set of 12 colors. Brushes I just have a random mixture of about 10 brushes, and I also use a brush pen that lets me get the small details.

    So I am trying to stick to just one medium watercolor for this piece.

    Here is an update to the piece. Thanks for your help!

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  8. #7
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    Like the newest version! It just keeps getting better. Okay so with a regular canvas you have two options to fix mistakes. Paint over it with ever thicker watercolor or scratch out with a razor blade. I know people who use white out or white paint, but in my experience it just creates a new mess. Also you could get some gesso and go over the areas you want to start over. The areas I see that need work are the metal. I would work on the edges and the reflections. Edges need to be sharper and the reflections more bold with reflected color. The scarf looks a little messy, I would try and push it in a direction. I would also encourage you to try working on paper. For watercolor it gives you the ability to layer transparency and create some cool effects.

    Simple is not Easy.
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  10. #8
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    Its not a piece I would have done in watercolours to be honest. I mean, its not very, BAM THE WORLD IS ENDING. Watercolours are much more gentle, subtle, not saying its bad. Just a little different I guess.

    As for the art the scarf looks limp, kinda like a broken arm or something.

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  11. #9
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    I second Joelb's advice to paint on watercolour paper - that way, you have much more control over the medium, especially when you're painting on dry paper. For a first piece though, especially on canvas, it's really good!

    I second self-epidemic's opinion that the scarf looks half-hearted, but I don't think it can and should be fixed in this image. I like the colours, and you're using them boldly, so it's not as if this was a pastel flower fairy watercolour.

    An idea for your next piece: The white at the bottom really stands out. Next time you could lay down a thin wash (a dirty one like in the sky, maybe lighter if you don't want the two to appear the same) before you add other colours. It's going to be difficult adding anything down there without destroying the runny orange lines you've already got in place.

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  13. #10
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    Thanks again for all the comments and suggestions. I have never painted before so this was mostly an experiment. I went out and bought some watercolor paper, so my next painting should be a little easier to manage with this medium.

    I will attempt this piece again from scratch down the road with references in mind and possibly a change in medium (I have had a ton of acrylics for over a year now, unopened of course).

    Overall I learned a lot about handling watercolors and when it comes down to it, taking something away from each attempt is the important thing. I am going to dink around with the goggles a little bit more and call it done.

    I initially did a pencil sketch last year (below) and then took the concept to a local drawing competition (Battle for the Arts) and also on one of those munny vinyl figures that I sold at an art show. This was the reason why I painted this subject, it was familiar to me.

    Thanks again everyone, as always a big help!

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    Last edited by Virtuoso Neophyte; November 15th, 2012 at 11:59 PM.
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  14. #11
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    When it comes to painting metal materials in watercolor it is all about planning. It helps to reserve the whites and paint midtones first and then the areas of shadow.

    Simple is not Easy.
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  15. #12
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    If I understood you right, you are approaching watercolor as if it were oil. You could do that, but why? You can get a better texture on canvas by using oil glazes. Watercolor has its own tricks.

    With watercolor, unless you are really sure you need the dry-bruished texture, you should not use dry brush as you did on the flames. This kind of texture looks kind of dirty on its own. It is better to use wide transparent washes made with very wet brush.

    Mix twice more color than you think you'll need, and fill the whole wash before it dries, or you'll get ugly backwash creep. Put the support at 5 to 10 degree angle from horizontal: this ensures that the color does not run off and leave a pale dull stain, and at the same time does not cause the paper to buckle and form pools. Remove the excess color from the bottom with an almost-dry brush and let the wash dry. If you mix too little color, the wash will turn out streaked and dull (you can see that in the background of your picture).

    You'll want to keep the paper white fresh, so avoid layering as much as possible. If you can achieve an effect with a single wash, do it. Don't layer more than two or three, though: it kills the lustre. Don't try to mix the dried color with more wet color by rubbing - that is guaranteed to produce mud instead of color. (You can see that in the scarf, in your picture.)

    It's a good idea to use the strengths of your medium, rather than try to force it to behave like a different medium.

    (P.S. Unrelated to watercolor technique - did you leave the background white intentionally, or is it unfinished? It seems to me that this kind of theme doesn't work well on white.)

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