Three more little paintings on board, just in time to go with me to the Kalamazoo 4-H tack sale tomorrow. The tack sale is an annual event–I had my booth there last year too–and the great thing about it is the incredibly large attendance. Two huge rooms at the fairgrounds stuffed wall to wall with tables groaning with everything horse. And a lot of things not particularly horse, but attractive to the hordes of (mostly female) buyers anyway.
Now for the technical update: I learned a lot about how to manipulate watercolor on the Aquabord™ surface when I did these last three paintings. For my personal style, I found that it serves me better to do essentially the opposite of traditional watercolor technique which usually has the artist glazing multiple layers of paint over one another. Instead, I drop a heavily loaded paint brush into pools of water that I have already applied to the board. I can then lift off color immediately with different sizes and textures of natural sponge (works great for creating clouds) or wait until the paint dries and then lift off portions I want to highlight using various degrees of pressure and various parts of the brush. A tiny (size OO) brush works great for highlights in the mane or bringing blades of grass up over the hoofs. The entire side of a round brush is good for blending border areas between shadow and light, and also lifting off larger areas to reveal light. If I do want to put another layer on top of already existing paint, I just have to be sure to use a heavily loaded brush, loaded to the point that the color pretty much just drops off the very tip of the brush, instead of using the more customary wider strokes of the brush.
To sum it up, the key to success, for me, is a very light, delicate hand and a very wet paint brush. If I fill in the shape (say, a horse) with water first, the load of paint will just follow the water and smooth its texture out all by itself. It’s intimidating to watch at first, because you just don’t believe this is going to happen. After all, it wouldn’t do that on paper!