Watercolor washes for WIP Turtle Tower Postcard

I start with flat watercolor washes on 140lb watercolor paper. The initial washes usually have minimal color and help define individual characters and forms.

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I left off painting this on the 4th. When I came back to it, I decided the watercolor washes weren’t working the way I wanted. I think I added too much color, too soon and the forms weren’t working out the way I wanted. Watercolor is a touch media. There is only so much revision you can do. Unlike a more opaque paint like oil or acrylic, fixing major things isn’t happening. So, I start over.

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I started these watercolor washes much lighter, concentrating on where I wanted to light to fall on the turtle to bring the center of interest into the forefront. I think this try worked out much better, in any case, I’m much happier with the direction it’s headed.

Once the basic flat washes for the background and framing elements were laid in, keeping in mind my value map in the sketch stage, I moved onto developing the characteristics of the turtle. Layers of watercolor washes pull his skin and face into a 3D feel. I wanted his personality to be one of benign happiness. Completely unaware of the intentions of the mouse king who resides in his turtle shell back growing castle.

The mouse couple in the foreground is not fooled by his smiling face. They’ve heard the proclamation of the mouse guard already. Their peaceful rural existence is about to change drastically.

It’s time to take a break and go out and spend some quality time with my husband. We’ve got tickets to see Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Both of us have been working long hours and could use the time off. I hope the weather cooperates and it is neither too hot, not too wet.