View Full Version : Autumn Fog- Watercolors

Steve B
04-02-2012, 10:46 AM
I did this today in Paint Tool Sai and Artrage. About 2 hours of play time.

D Akey
04-02-2012, 12:19 PM

Love the simplicity. It really breathes deeply.

04-02-2012, 12:31 PM
this is indeed awesome!!!

04-02-2012, 01:43 PM
I like this this... not sure why, maybe because it evokes a lot from so little. I don't know. It is something I can look at and stare off?

Steve B
04-02-2012, 02:06 PM
My wife suggested a bit more sediment texture in the sky would be nice. She also wanted to see some greater color depth/contrast in the center/bottom to help draw your eye in more and give it a focal point.

However, I actually worked on letting it stay really soft, so my opinion is a bit divided. I had some line work/pencil work in it, but I took it out. I started to lay some darker shadows in at the base of the tree line, and at the beginning of the creek/road, but was concerned I might be acting too overbearing with the image, as it seemed to be staying very soft and wet with pale washes.

Still, some richer shadows, and a bit more texture up top might be worth exploring. If I get to it, I'll post a second version later today/tomorrow. That's one of the great pleasures with digital work-- you can play with and explore the image without fear of f'ing it up permanently. :D

04-02-2012, 02:37 PM
Wonderful muted and blended colours

04-02-2012, 09:32 PM
This look so simple as you have used the watercolour with such skill, watercolours have a mind of their own but you really told them who was the boss. Excellent painting which I admire very much:)

04-03-2012, 04:53 AM
Wonderful watercolor:):)
Agree with Katie!

Steve B
04-03-2012, 05:24 AM
Thanks very much for all the positive remarks so far.

For those who are interested, my basic approach is to build many layers of pale washes, which I then blend out, one after the other, as I see fit, leaving some sedimentary edges and grit. I know some people want to simulate the "spontaneity" of real-world watercolor washes, and so don't utilize many layers or blend modes or imported textures or stencils, but personally I find that sort of a skewed perspective that often falsely looks at the mechanics of painting digitally as a process that's antithetical to the experience of real world watercolor painting-- that's just an opinion of course. I actually find the two very similar in many ways.

My experience, personally, with natural media has been that its a rather slow meditative process of gradually laying down many washes of various colors, slowly building up texture, color, shadows, and contrast. Similarly, I use many layers when painting watercolors digitally-- just as I would dry my watercolors between washes of natural media. I often also import found textures or would use stencils after the fact, to occasionally give a more aggressive texture as well-- much as I might do by dabbing with a tissue, for instance. I also often lay down color, lock the transparency, and then blend new color into it, "pushing" against the edges, much as I might do if I were to lay down a bit of water in an area I was working in with natural media, into which I can place more than one color knowing that both of them will mix and yet not expand past the edge of the water.

Anyways, on this one I used about 15 layers, and painted on a 3000 x 2400 canvas. Something that I felt I might be able to crop and print at 200 dpi on a 12" x 18" piece of watercolor paper. I find 200 dpi works pretty good for watercolors, which are very soft, and therefore don't suffer from the negative effects that crisper-edged mediums do when printed at something lower than 300 dpi.

I hope some of that's helpful to someone. :) Any critiques or constructive comments are appreciated! Thanks for the views.

04-03-2012, 07:50 AM
very beautiful. it reminds me of the classic work of Chinese or Japanese artists with those artistic brush strokes. excellent.

04-03-2012, 08:06 AM
Very simple and yet so effective, love it.

04-03-2012, 09:29 AM
Lovely painting!

04-03-2012, 09:41 AM
Very beautiful. Love those inked details. Adds alot to it. Great one!

04-03-2012, 04:24 PM
Steve, may I ask whether you use a digital brush? ... Also, although AR excels in watercolor, I would imagine that some of the washes and edging effects you describe could be expressed in programs that specialize in water-based media, such as Auryn Ink (maybe Paint Tool Sai is one, I don't know), and suitable papers ... Anyway, the results here speak for themselves! ...

04-03-2012, 04:45 PM
Fantastic piece. Simple, clean, elegant, and very natural looking indeed.

04-03-2012, 07:48 PM
It's absolutely marvellous and most credible as a watercolor piece!:eek::cool::):):):):)
Would You mind reminding me how You get delicate grain, texture and pattern effects in Your watercolor washes pls?

Steve B
04-04-2012, 11:49 AM
It's all digital, that's for sure. I paint on an Lenovo x200t tablet pc.

For the ambient texture you're seeing, I use the Overlay mode. Make or find a set of textural images- natural media washes and what not, or tiles textures of things like leather. Import the chosen texture and set its layer blending mode to Overlay. Then open a layer below it, and begin painting. What you'll get is the generalized internal texture you want (sedimentation, grit, etc) in real time while painting. This is a great help, IMO, for digital watercolorists trying to create that "ambient" texture so specific to natural media watercolors, with a process that is much more realistic in feel than importing the texture after the fact. All new layers below the Overlay layer will have the same texture as well, but you can set them to Multiply like normal to build more realistic color washes. This has been my solution in Artrage, which normally seems very good at what I call "rim textures", where the edge of a medium interacts with the texture of a canvas or layer, but not so good IMO at internal ambient textures that are built into the brush heads. Of course, I don't care so much for the use of the stencils, and find them rather clunky to work with. I wish Artrage had Masks, or Layer Clipping, or Alpha Channels, but no so yet, as far as I understand.

What's great about Paint Tool Sai in conjunction with Artrage is that you can do this Layer texture process independently for each Layer Group, and it does it non-destructively. Want a new texture for a new area? Make a new group, and place the new texture at the head of the group, then make your new layers below it. Voila! Two textures in the same painting, and no need for stencils and such. Instead, I keep te stencils for when try work best-- for specific localized affects. Paint Tool Sai also let's you change the "ambient/inner" Layer Texture, scale it up or down, make it darker, etc _in real time_. This is very useful and powerful for watercolor work with some grit.

04-04-2012, 02:48 PM
Steve... a wonderful watercolor effect.. I understand your wifes comments and with a digital work you can and probably should try those shifts BUT... I like the softness and delicate line work just the way this is.. I also have painted nearly 25 years with watercolors, natural landscapes and then abstracts.. I love the medium and have not been able to achieve the same results as you in the digital realm although I love reading your explanations on how to achieve the effects.. I really like this piece... and can't wait to see more from you..:):)

04-04-2012, 05:57 PM