Intelligent Plant, part 3: Color Me

Progress Report


With the inking complete, I move on to the final stage in the operation: the heavy drinking. NO! Drinking and drawing don't mix, and is evidenced by the "Progress Report" banner image. No, the third and final stage is watercoloring.

In the discounted watercoloring books I procured from my local art store, I learned that soaking your paper in water prior to painting preps the paper to take in the watercolor. Since I have no dedicated soaking bucket, I usually just run the paper under the faucet for a few seconds. This probably does nothing, but what's art without superstitious rituals? Quickly, before the paper dries, I snap off four lengths of masking tape and strap the paper down to my art desk like its an asylum patient going in for a lobotomy. As the paper dries and contracts, the masking tape keeps the it from becoming a wrinkled mess while simultaneously creating a sharp border around the edges. Tape. What CAN'T it do?

Next, we glaze.


Since the action takes place outside, I want to give the piece a warm feeling. Watercolor being translucent, any color I prime my piece with will to some degree show through any color applied atop it, therefore I coated the paper with three layers of a light, yellow brown color. Have trouble noticing a difference in the colors above? Yeah, well, welcome to watercoloring. It's all about the build up. That's why Edward Hopper called it the AC/DC of paints. Well, that, and because every tube of Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna comes with a smoke machine and passed out groupie. After each application, I blowdry the paper, speeding up the process considerably while at the same time boring me to tears.

After that, we get into the details.

Like the initial color, the ensuing colors must be built up from a series of glazes; highlighted areas receive one or two passes, while the shaded aspects of the image get innumerable coats. You want to know how many times I had to add a layer of color to the shaded side of the tree? Well so do I, but I stopped counting after twelve hours.

Next time you see this piece, it'll be FINISHED.