I wanted to do this watercolor painting as a video demonstration, but it didn’t work out, so I’m putting it in as a step-by-step lesson. Let me know if you think it’s understandable.
This is my drawing. The grey is Pebeo masking fluid and I applied it on the beach with a toothbrush, trying for a random pattern. (I got the shadow of my head in the middle, but the rest of the photos I did right...)
Okay, it seems like I did a lot, but it’s really just a first watercolor wash. Using a big brush, I did a wash of cobalt blue and burnt sienna to the sky and the water.
I used cobalt, sienna, quinacridone red and aureolin yellow on the beach, and spattered it with water while it was wet, to make the blotches. When it was completely dry, I spattered the beach again with a toothbrush and misket.
I painted the rocks and the beach again, using the same colors, but I added some ultramarine blue to go a little darker, and switched from aureolin yellow to quinacridone gold to jazz it up, spattering the golds into the purpley mix I had going. I added salt while the watercolor was still wet for more texture. Now I’ll take off the masking...
Now I start adjusting values. I put in some dark values in the hair and blue jeans, and a dark shadow on the lower left. I softened up some the white edges and smudged up some of the far-away rocks. I start painting the seaweed, or whatever it is, with the quinacridone gold, burnt sienna and other colors. I lifted out the hard line between the shore and the water.
I decided the rock on the right of the couple was too distracting, so I lifted most of that up, kept softening edges and painting seaweed.
I keep painting the detail. I am using a smaller brush now. I think the sky is boring, so I add a wimpy looking storm on the left and put some soft streaks in the water. I put slightly darker streaks in the water and lift out a few lighter streaks.
Here is the finished painting. I put some greys in the wave and shadows under the wave. I added a faraway land on the right and felt that improved the painting’s composition. I added some crashing waves to the rocks in the left of the ocean, so your eye has a lot to look at.
About Debi Watson
I showed talent with my drawing from an early age, but my parents discouraged me in the hope ‘that I would pursue something more productive’.
I spent much of my adult life working as a operating room nurse, but couldn’t abandon my love for painting. Working long hours and raising two children didn’t leave me with much free time, but I still managed to paint whenever I got the chance.
Starting Life As A Watercolor Artist
In 1999 I quit nursing to become a full-time watercolor artist. Though I started out with plenty of goals and enthusiasm, it took me several years to develop my own style. I experimented with wildlife, landscapes and still-lifes before I settled down into the contemporary realism that defines my watercolor paintings today.
I find inspiration for my art in my community. Everyday people and places hold a lot of interest and beauty that often goes unnoticed, so I paint it.
The Journey Is The Destination
In addition to painting contemporary watercolor realism, I maintain a busy schedule teaching watercolor classes and workshops. I love helping my students rediscover their own passion for art, as I did many years ago. My own watercolor paintings may be precise to a fault, but my classes are all about loosening up and having fun.
The most rewarding part of the journey has not been the awards I’ve received or the press I’ve garnered but the heartfelt responses of my students and peers when one of my paintings has touched their heart.