Yesterday afternoon, I painted 5 times my watermelon slice!!!! 😁😂 With its gorgeous color and its juicy look, the fun didn’t end at all, even after several sketches. I was so happy to play with water and colors!! 😝
This creative session was about trying new papers to paint on and ended up with a variation on the same theme aka various ways to paint my watermelon slice. 😀
So, about the watercolor paper issue…
In my opinion, absorbent papers like Arches and Fabriano cold press may be the best watercolor papers… They are probably the easier to work on and the more predictable.
However, sometimes they feel too good for me!!!! 😂😅 You know me, I like flaws, watercolor running on the page, crazy watery effects, backruns… And they don’t happen easily on these so good papers. 😉
So, I will probably keep using these kind of papers for their reliability, for some of my sketches, when I need a paper that doesn’t dry too fast to grow a rather clean wash, maybe for a more classic look and so on. But I am searching for a paper that can allow me to get some other renderings, especially fun backruns (or cauliflower effect).
If you are not sure to know what a backrun is, look at this close-up view of one of my sketches, below. See the strange mountain at the bottom of the sketch?! 😝😉 That’s a backrun! This happens when some water “runs back” in a previous painted area (which is drying but not totally dried yet) and pushes the pigment on the page, creating an irregular strange edge.
Btw, the backruns don’t always look exactly the same, depending on the drying stage of the previous wash, I think, and maybe the paint used.
I tried two new French 300 gsm papers with my watermelon sketches, along with the Arches one : “Lavis Vinci” which is really smooth and looks like a piece of cardboard (“lavis” means “wash”, in French, but I don’t think it really is watercolor paper) (I don’t care!! 😉) and Canson Montval, which is the one I am going to choose for some of my handbound sketchbooks for the Urban Sketchers Symposium, in Manchester, next week.
The idea, here, is not to try to demonstrate which paper is good or bad but rather to share with you my fun sketches and talking about the effects I was able to create on these papers. 😊
I started with this sketch on the Lavis Vinci paper. Unfortunately, I overworked the watermelon part (bad girl!!! 😬) but I like the background, with its smooth look but also some gorgeous melting colors and textures.
Then, I moved to the Canson Montval paper and painted this one (it may be my favorite, even if each sketch has some good things and some flaws 😉).
In this one, I admit that I am really proud that I have created ON PURPOSE 😛 the backrun between the flesh of the fruit and the skin, to the right of the sketch.
This : ☺️
It’s pretty much an achievement for me. 😳😀 I like the subtlety and creativity of this backrun soft edge. 😉 To create it, I added a brushstroke of water between the skin and the flesh and tilted my sketch, putting the top of the sketch lower than the bottom, in order to force the water to flow into the red area (from the bottom towards the top).
These other backruns and color mingling, on the background, are really pretty too, for my taste! 😉 Here, some watery strokes are falling/flowing (towards the bottom) into some more pigmented drying areas.
As a comparison, I decided to paint a piece of watermelon on the Arches 300 gsm cold press paper I am more used to. Here is the result.
The texture of the paper is stronger, more present. I tried to create a backruns between the flesh and the skin, like previously. Maybe you can guess where it is, at the bottom of the red area… It seemed nice and strong when I created it but the effect was almost totally lost after the drying time… The paper softened it. 😕
Watercolor is so fun!! I couldn’t stop then. 😁 So, I decided to paint another watermelon slice 😉 on the Canson Montval again, to see if I could get the same effects than previously and to try some new things.
Here, it’s interesting to note the lost edge at the top of the slice. I like the effect! 😊 “Lost edge” means that the red is melting with the green and you can’t tell exactly where the watermelon ends. The edge is really soft here, gradual, whereas the skin of the watermelon is a precise hard edge.
It doesn’t show a lot in the whole sketch pic but there are some nice color melting effects in the background, with small backruns here and there. ☺️
And here is another detail from this sketch (I hope you like watercolor details!!! 😅😜). The”water seaweeds” at the bottom are so cute, aren’t they?! ☺️
And a last one before cooking!! 😛 To try the Lavis Vinci again. 😉
I think the result is fun!! I may be a little bit tired, however, and had a too heavy approach with the effects, here, I think. The splattering on wet paper, to the right (which creates circulars backruns), especially seems a bit too much for me. 😉 There are some things I like in the sketch, though, like the crazy area at the bottom.
So, here it is for my watermelon and watercolor obsession of the day!!
I didn’t do that a lot previously but, for a few weeks, I have been starting to paint, sometimes, several times the same subject. I think it’s interesting to improve our technique, to refine and study some effects and to detach ourselves gradually from the subject.
Which kind of paper do you like to paint on? Absorbent paper? Smoother paper which lets the water creates some puddles on it? ☺️
Btw, thank you so much for you adorable comments about my video, in my last post!! ☺️ I am sorry I couldn’t answer to the comments yet but I so enjoyed reading it. 😀😊😘
Now, it’s time to prepare the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester!!! 😀😝