Tag Archives: direct

3rd Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge – Coral Birthday

“Coral Birthday” (click on image for a larger view)

To continue with the #30x30directwatercolor challenge, I am painting yet another birthday bouquet. This one with 5 little coral roses, a red rose (which I removed from the bouquet temporarily) and some red berries.

The challenge was capturing the muted coral color. From my color temperature studies, I know to make a vibrant secondary color mix, I want to mix the two primaries that are closer together. Going with that theory,  a less vibrant, or duller, secondary color mix should be achieved by mixing the two primary colors that are further apart on the color wheel. Since coral is really an orange (secondary) color, I chose to use two cool reds (Quinacridone red and rose) and a cool yellow (Hansa Yellow Light). I also added a tiny bit of Cobalt Blue to neutralize the orange a bit more. I wanted a light, warm blue. A dark blue would be too harsh and a cool blue would make it too gray.

Painting with Source Bouquet

I saturated the 8″x10″ 140lb rough Arches watercolor paper, using a 1 1/2″ clean flat brush. I let the paper soak while I prepared my paint puddles; about 5 mins.

I then dried back the paper a bit, just to take the sheen off, and started putting in light areas of color with my Lowe-Cornell #14 round brush, starting with yellow, then reds, with the paint very watery. At this stage, the paper is very wet and all the colors blend beautifully. I kept a light touch on the paper, just skimming the surface. I use a motion I call, “The S Caress.”  The “S” describes the motion, the caress describes the amount of pressure.

As the paper started to dry, I strengthened the pigment (to about a skim milk consistency) and painted in some darker value shapes, also adding just a touch of Cobalt Blue to the orange mix, sometimes going directly to the paper with the Cobalt. In the second stage, the paint holds a shape a little better, so I paint in some darker value areas, blending out the colors softly. I cleaned my brush, removed all the water and lifted some areas on the petals. This has to be done while the paper and paint are still wet.

Finally, I strengthened the pigment more and added the red berries and some dark accents all around. For the accents, I used my Alvaro Castagnet calligraphy liner brush. Start to finish, 45 minutes.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting ($100), it is 7.5″x5.5″ watercolor on 140lb Arches watercolor paper with a white/black core mat. Thank you in advance. I use PayPal as my payment processor. You do NOT need a PayPal account to purchase. Shipping cost is $7.00 only if purchasing through PayPal (check payments and destinations outside the continental U.S. will incur additional shipping charges). Taxes are additional, where applicable.

“Coral Birthday” Painting $100 (with mat)


I appreciate any questions, comments or suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.