Week 14: Baby’s Breath Roots – Mixing Water Media

For week 14 I am using a mixed media demo of a chunk of Baby’s Breath roots from my watercolor class as my painting. This work helped introduce the possibilities of mixing watercolor pencils and gouache with watercolor. The bad thing is, I didn’t take a lot of in-progress shots in the process (apologies).

The work started as a pretty detailed graphite drawing:


These detailed lines were present throughout the remaining stages of the painting but because the plant was completed in gouache the lines disappeared.


For the demo I brought the painting up quickly by laying in a wash of a faded grey/green and some watercolor pencil texturing on top. This entire surface got a light wash as well to help unify it with the rest of the image before layering on gouache.

To build the color of the plant forms I began with simple darker values. This rich and warm color in the stalk and roots was then able to be pulled up into the subsequent lighter layers to integrate the true tone and create the complexity of the surface.


The watercolor pencil texture was created by lightly applying the media to the slightly raised surface of the cold pressed watercolor paper that I was working on. A minimal amount of water was brushed over the top to create a cooler wash in the background – something reminiscent of an early spring rain first thing in the morning.

By laying down all of the stalk first I was then able to drape the roots lightly at the bottom. Layering the lighter values onto the darker blocked in shapes helps brightened up the work a lot while maintaining the seasonal vibe that I was shooting for.


All in all, this piece makes me happy. I used to create a lot of things that feel like this but I haven’t explored this domain a lot lately. I wonder how I might be able to integrate this into other areas?


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