Lifting Branches to Achieve a Soft-focus Effect

Watercolor Painting Mountain Bluebird

“I See You” watercolor 11″x15″

It’s been awhile since I have done a WHAT series post. Time has sort of “got away from me” over the last weeks. Exciting things are happening; end of the school semester, beginning of summer, plein air painting, two of my own workshops, lots of plein air painting, coordinating an exciting plein air event and watercolor competition, a BIG birthday, and a houseguest for the 1st time in a looooong while. All these things are fun and exciting, but they have sapped up all my available spare time. I started editing this video clip over a month ago, and have now at last come back to it. I hope to be more diligent in the future about sending out these 3-minute tips. Though, I hesitate to make promises, I will endeavor to put one out every other week or so.

Mountain Bluebirds are Nevada’s state bird. They are somewhat hard to spot throughout the year, but I have discovered they visit my ‘hood in big flocks in the winter months. I captured the source photo for this painting while walking alongside the Empire Ranch golf course on the eastern side of Carson City, Nevada. This little bluebird watched me warily while I captured him with my camera lens. What do you suppose he thought of me?

For this watercolor how-to art tip, I’ve excerpted a 3-minute section of the full-length video of the painting. I will be demonstrating how to create a soft-focus effect by lifting from and painting on a wet or damp surface. I painted this painting, I See You,  earlier in the year. I entered it into a show with my local co-op gallery and it sold the first day of the show! I did not remember to take a good photograph of the painting before framing, so I was thrilled to find my video clips of the painting progress.

Supplies shown in this tutorial:

Paper: 140 lb Arches cold press watercolor paper, sized to 11″x15″ (a quarter sheet)
Paint: Daniel Smith pigments: Phthalo Blue GS, Pyrrol Red, Raw Sienna Light, Cascade Green, Quinacridone Rose; and Ultramarine Light by Holbein
Brush: #18 Round KingArt 9020 Series
Terry Towel
Paper Towel

Click to watch the clip.

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