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. 

12 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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  9. Informative article, just what I wanted to find.

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  10. Thanks for detailing how you did it step by step. Pictures
    are more understandable than just text.

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  11. I just found this post last night and am trying to learn the art of water color. Thanks to your step by step explanation, the video and your kind invitation to try it, I sketched it last night and painted it today. It has been my best work so far, and I am so pleased to see my improvement. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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    Replies
    1. I’m so glad my instructions were helpful. Keep on painting!

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