Thursday, September 26, 2013

Step-by-Step Watercolor Painting: Highland Light - Cape Cod

When we were in Cape Cod last week, I did a quick vignette sketch of the Highland Light near Truro, and I thought you might enjoy seeing a step-by-step of how I added the watercolor back at home. Here's the completed sketch...

Step 8 WM
"Highland Light", 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" ink & watercolor in Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook

And here's a time-lapse video showing the entire process...
(To view it larger, click on the YouTube icon.)


Time-lapse videos are a lot of fun - it makes the process of painting appear almost magical. Their instructional value is limited though, since everything goes by in a flash, so I have a series of scans to share with you as well. Here's the complete process, from ink sketch to finished painting...

Step 1
On location, I lightly sketched in my layout with pencil to make sure my proportions were correct, then did the ink drawing with a waterproof Pigma Micron 01 black pen. The sketchbook I used is a 5.5" x 8.5" hardcover Stillman & Birn Beta series. It has heavy 180 lb. paper which doesn't buckle when watercolor is applied.

Step 1 

Step 2
Back home, I painted the sky wet-in-wet and blotted off the clouds with a crumpled tissue. I added a touch of Permanent Rose to the Cerulean Blue just so it wouldn't look too uniform, and to tie in with the warm tones which I would add next to the roofs.

Step 2

Step 3
Light washes were applied to the foliage and cottage roofs. I also put a glow of red on the lighthouse where the color of the shed roof was reflected.

Step 3

Step 4
The house siding was given a light grey tone, and lighthouse shadows were applied.

Step 4

Step 5
It was finally time for some darker tones...the black walkways on the lighthouse, the shadows on the cottage, and the windows.

Step 5

Step 6
A bit of texture was added to the siding and roof on the cottage.

Step 6

Step 7
Darker shades were finally added to the foreground foliage and the bushes near the front steps of the cottage.

Step 7
Step 8
Time for the final touches...a suggestion of bricks on the lighthouse tower and a smattering of red flowers in the foreground to add some warmth and echo the color of the shed roof.

Step 8

There you have it. It looks so doable, doesn't it? Well, it is! If you're not already a sketcher, I hope you'll pick up a pencil, pen, or brush and give it a try. 

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing! It looks great.

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  2. This is incredible. Thank you for sharing your steps, even though I could never do it myself!

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  3. Wonderful step-by-step, Leslie....thank you!

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  4. Absolutely lovely!!! Love to see steps an artist takes in producing their art!

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  5. Hi, Leslie, I just wanted you to see the completed quilt that your mom helped me with...http://donna-homebuildingcountdown.blogspot.com/2013/10/noahs-ark-my-first-quiltlet.html

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  6. This is great. I will come back and spend more time studying this. Thanks.

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  7. I really appreciate this amazing post, I like your working on this post...

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  8. Wow! Thank you so much for this beautiful step by step! Your work is amazing!

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