Barn painting – Step One (and two)

I posted up a line sketch of a barn on Instagram and asked those folks what medium I should use to do the colours with, and also if I should show the stages as I do it.
The responses were ‘watercolour’ and ‘of course I should’. One suggestion was for watercolour and ink, that could be a good plan. As I’d do the ink at the very end I’ve got plenty of planning time to think about that.
Generally I’ve been avoiding showing the work in progress on the paintings purely because I seem to be always on the brink of messing it up and there’s every chance it’ll turn out rubbish and have to go in the bin. However, I have to say that I’ve not thrown any away yet since starting to learn in 2018. That can only be a good thing I guess 😜
I can see a few benefits of posting up the progress shots. One of which being that I have fellow artists following this and they can chime in with suggestions and tips along the way.
One thing I would say is, don’t get your hopes up. So far nearly everything I’ve painted has gone through what has been aptly named “various stages of shitness” (thanks Aussie Alison) and it’s totally true! At some point I have that thought “well, that’s that messed up then” – in fact on another one I’m doing at the moment it’s been that all the way through.
Before I started with watercolour I heard it can be very challenging but I didn’t imagine that it’d be a case of making a mess and see if you can fix it up. All good fun when it works though…
This was the line sketch, it was drawn on my bumpy train ride – and I mean properly bumpy. In places I’m sure that it goes cross-country.

The bumps on the line didn’t concern me too much as nature isn’t known for being overly formal and controlled perfection, it’s just a simple outline for the picture here.
And here it is with a bit of paint thrown at it. I’m after a stormy kind of effect in the sky, or at least the potential for rainfall. Compositionally I’m going for darkness on the top right and bottom left, a little tree out on it’s own on the right and the line of fence posts hopefully leading the eye up to the focal point of the barn.

I soaked the paper with water first, went over with a light wash of mixed Payne’s Grey and Ultramarine and then dabs of the same colours. I had to tilt the paper around to spread the paint a bit whilst it soaked in, it really was a bit too wet I guess.

Sky colour laid in behind the tree so it looks the same through the leaves.

I then left it to dry slightly tilted so I knew that the pigment would settle down into the base of the clouds. I didn’t want hard edges however so when it had fully dried I then went over the edges of them with a wet brush to erm… fuzzy them up a bit. Sorry to get so technical with the wording at this early stage, I’m sure I’ll use some highly technical terminology with my years months weeks of experience at this πŸ˜‰
Next up will be some green stuff for the field and grass at the bottom. I’ll be avoiding that evil Viridian Green though, that’s the devil’s colour I reckon.

0 thoughts on “Barn painting – Step One (and two)

  1. Meg

    Love seeing the step by step process as I know nothing about water color painting. So you soak the paper first? The clouds look wonderfully ominous!

    1. stevekiddart Post author

      If it was a single sheet then you’re supposed to soak it and then tape it to a board when fully soggy.
      For this one it’s on a ‘block’ so it’s a load of sheets effectively glued together which should stop it buckling. However I put so much water on the sky area that it’s lifted off anyway.

      1. Meg

        I had no idea! I just thought the paint was watery! Shows you how much I know – sheesh!
        Is the lifting off a disaster? Or salvageable? I love the scene so I hope it’s still workable!

        1. stevekiddart Post author

          The paint is as watery as you make it really. From the tube it’s about the thickness of oil I guess?
          I think it’d crack when dry if you put it on too thick.
          The lifting off isn’t too much of an issue, only for the big stuff, after the grass it’ll be smaller detail stuff so less water and less buckling.

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