I often get asked at workshops about do I paint wet in wet and in the main I don't although I do use a lot of water. The way I use the water gives me slightly more control than a pure wet in wet approach so even though I may end up with an even wetter painting I use the water to direct the flow of the paint, something I learned from Jean Haines a few years ago (Joanne also uses water in a similar way) and which works well for me. But I do admire the really wet in wet approach and feel I have reached a stage where it is time and have been working up to having a go. Another of Alex Lee Johnson's photos seemed a perfect choice... his images are wonderful, do check him out if you haven't already!! As some of you will know I love nudes (or semi nudes) and also like back views but to try and do this in a loose watercolour way was going to be a challenge!!
I started this by soaking a piece 200lb Bockingford rough both sides then letting it dry a bit. I didn't draw any of this as I knew I would have time to alter and play with the image if I didn't get it quite right. I used
Touch of Alizarin Crimson
I added a wash of the green and blue, vaguely leaving areas for the shoulders and the head. Working like this does allow a lot of lifting for areas where the paint has sneaked into where it shouldn't and also leaves lots of soft edges so I do like the effects but does need a bit of practice to keep an element of control over what is happening. Bit of a duel edged sword because part of the beauty of watercolour is that very lack of control which produces all the wonderful effects we get when we let the paint and water do their magic on the paper but if we want to give some definition to something then we do have to step in and take control sometimes!!
I worked on this for the best part while the paper was still wet going in, darkening some areas, lifting others until I could see the image appearing, and constantly tweaking it to get the proportions reasonable. Not my usual way at all and not how I teach my students but to any of them who might be reading this, I didn't mess with my brush so no mud!! I do feel this is a progression for me as it is a completely different way and a way I haven't had much success with in the past so to say I'm a little bit excited about how this has turned out is something of an understatement!! As always I will leave this to stand for a while in case I feel it needs any more as it fully dries but am liking it so far and believe me that doesn't often happen!! Might do a little bit to the bg looking at it on here....
Would be really interested to hear what you think of this one!!