Monday, February 9, 2009

Parrot Study in Watercolor Number 10

Again, students wanted to see how to add more texture and foliage in the background, so we added some leafy branches on the top left side of the painting. Personally, this is getting a little busy for me, but I have to admit the demonstration was fun.
To create these leafy areas I used a number 10 round brush. My favorite brushes right now are Silver Black Velvet brushes, which I purchased through They are half synthetic and half natural hair, so they are relatively inexpensive, but give the feel and softness of a natural hair brush.
I started with lighter color combinations of yellows and greens, and gently dabbed the brush in what I call a Brush Dance. When doing this stroke, I focus on a small area and concentrate on the handle-end of my brush. I touch the loaded brush to the paper, making sure that the top part of my brush handle moves in several different directions, like a dance. This helps to create a variety in the strokes and prevents them from looking too uniform - something you don't find much in leaf clusters in nature!
From the lighter colors, once dry, I move on to darker greens to build the shadow areas of the leafy clumps. This is a fun technique and can become soft of hypnotic when used on large paintings.

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