Fern – A Step by Step Walkthrough


I started this project on Christmas Eve.  I started with a photo from the Fairy Worlds Festival (which will probably be the case for the majority of what I paint for a while :-) )

As usual I  made my sketch, this time directly onto the watercolor paper. My scanner is only wide enough to capture part of the drawing/painting. There’s about 3/4 inch cropped off on all sides. I will have to have it scanned by someone else for the final.

I wasn’t really sure yet what I wanted to do with the background so I just drew a flower and very vague leaves at the side.  I took the drawing into photoshop and “painted” colors to get a sense of values and large color blocks. I the color study I have ferns surrounding her but I was still not solid on what I would do with the background.

It wasn’t until after I started painting that I got to the point where I knew what I wanted to do with the background. The color study showed me that just having a solid background of green ferns would probably be too boring and left little opportunity to bring colors from her into the background to unify the painting, and help carry the eye around the painting. So I decided to add a Fall colored bush. That way I could incorporate some of the beautiful violets from her skirt into the shadow sides of the leaves. The reddish orange and burgandy flowers in her hair then are used for the rest of the leaves.  I also changed her sleeves to violet from gold to help move your eye up to her face.  And in addition to amke it less blaugh. To start this water color I did an ochre wash everywhere except for her face.  Because I wanted to have a warm feel for the painting. To counter balance so much warm color I used cooler greens on the left side of the painting.

I used a neutral tint wash on her left wing because it’s on the shadow side and I didn’t really want to effect the color too much just make it recede a bit. To help make her wing look like it goes back instead of sticking straight out to her side.

That’s it!  I have to get back to the wizard nap project now.


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