A Couple More Thoughts on Green and Flat Brushes

March 21, 2018
Green pigment study over light graphite lines to place features (no details worked out with pencil.) The image was painted on an approximately 6 x 8 inch page, which had been masked off. (See below.)

I wanted to show another green-based watercolor I worked on last year while I was testing the Hahnemühle Watercolor Sketchbook. (A review with lots of details about that paper and the binding of that sketchbook will appear in a couple weeks.) 

Today’s image was created mostly with watercolor flats. I went in with round brushes only at the very end.

I didn’t get to do process shots after the first paint lay-in because I simply got into the zone and forgot to stop for photos, but I think it’s fun to look at the first paint lay-in where you can see me using the watercolor flat at different angles and with differing amounts of wet or dry paint, to change the way the strokes look.

Besides testing watercolors and watercolor lift-off on this paper I was taking a look at whether or not this paper would accept and release Nichiban masking tape—which is my masking tape of choice when I am watercoloring and want to retain a frame or create a masked line.

In this test the masking tape was left on for about an hour, from the time I first selected a subject and taped off the area, to the point where the final paint layer was dried and I wanted to remove the tape. It came off cleanly. (My full review will discuss this fully.)

This initial paint lay-in was done entirely with a 1 inch flat watercolor brush. I shot the photo without light and the color is a bit off.

I worked with Perylene Maroon to neutralize the yellowish green. At at the final stages I mixed in a Perylene Green to get the darker contrasts I needed.  

Some of the aspects I really enjoyed include the texture of the brushstrokes the flat made in the hair. A drier brush and lighter pressure makes the strokes open into parallel lines.

On the nose tip you’ll see that I lifted back the color to the white of the paper. This was a very small lift off and the paper was OK with it. I also attempted a little bit of lift off on the cheekbones where my contrast got too dark in the final layer.

In the lay stage of the painting I also used a very fine tipped round brush to put in some thin dark valued lines that I felt I needed around the eyelid (upper lid) and under the nose. 

The bangs were restated with a darker wash, angled in an opposite direction from the first lighter wash. Again I used a dry brush to break up the strokes and I think this works well on the forehead.

I didn’t make color notes on this painting and I c an see a bit light yellow brown wash under the lip and at the side. I think this is a diluted wash from one of my several browns I as testing at the time. And I didn’t like the way it was going so I abandoned it in favor for the Perylene Moroon.

Here is a detail from the image.

Here is a detail of the sketch showing a bit of lifting around the nose.


I liked the way the sketch turned out so m much that I used it for the theme image for International Fake Journal Month 2018: Translating the Inevitable. 

You can see how I made the image into a “mini” poster for that project on the project’s blog.

Since I had keep the pigments used in this sketch to a minimum it was simple to select colors for the typography that would work well with the image and retain a sense of color harmony.

You can also see the “mini” poster in this blog post where I write about the character checklist. I provided for this year’s IFJM.

If you haven’t participated in IFJM before I encourage you to go over to that dedicated blog, read about fake journaling and its possible place in your journal practice, and consider joining us. Here is more about how the project will work this year, because of the prompts, which I haven’t provided before. (Note that you do not need to use the prompts to participate!)

IFJM begins on April 1 and continues through April 30. The link immediately above this paragraph will tell you how to get onto the Facebook group if you want to participate. 

I hope this simple sketch will encourage you to look at green pigments and watercolor flats! There’s a lot of fun to be had.





    • Susan
    • March 21, 2018

    Interesting post Roz, as usual. I’m curious to know, after all your experimenting with greens, if you like green any better now.

    1. Reply

      Yes I do, in fact I’ve been writing so much about green here and to my students, and in other groups I’m in that it seems I thought I wrote about my color favorites here but don’t see it now in the last three posts.

      I’ll have to write another post about green.

      I have found that perylene green is on my palette now, fun for darks mixed with other colors. I also like yellow green. Green umber wasn’t umphy enough for me right now so it’s gone for now.

      I really enjoy using the Azure blue to mix greens.

      And I find that in other projects I’m using more green. If you go over to Sktchy and see my 30pages/30days project you’ll see that there is a lot of green surfacing in those pages. I find that fascinating. Some of it is what is in the scrap pile when you’re doing collage, but are there other forces at work?

    • Suzala
    • March 21, 2018

    Roz, eccellent post as always. I am hoping you can help me; in spite of signing up to receive entries directly to me, I only find out about new entries on FB. Before you switched your blogs location, i received notices all the time. Help please i miss ypu on my mailbox. Sz

    1. Reply

      Because of the way my mail program works people have to sign up, so it’s not me getting email lists and spamming. Therefore I would check your spam folder to see that you are receiving them. (Long time subscribers have told me the issues have been fixed and they are getting them.) If you can’t find it there, find an old one and click at the bottom of the message on UNSUBSCRIBE, subscribe again on the blog, and that should get them to you.

      I have been too swamped with family and work obligations to write newsletters for the past several months, HOWEVER, the new post update goes out as a newsletter every morning at 4 or 3 a.m. when there is a new post. So you should be getting those.

      If these options don’t work for you I encourage you to stop book mark the blog and by at the end of the week and catch up. I’m still trying to post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but sometimes that varies.

      I’m really appreciative that you want to stay in touch, the email program however, is set up to protect people from spamming so you have to opt in.

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