Testing the palette: One subject, three paintings

February 7, 2018 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: watercolor.

Painting a subject more than once, especially within a short span of time, is not my usual thing.

But this was different. I wanted to test out three color approaches, and I wanted to do it with a landscape that would not be too difficult to render. So here’s the result:

Cades Cove Sunday morning – 1

This watercolor began with some neutral tints, and once I got everything established on the paper, I went back in with mostly cool colors and combinations to do the forms and the shadows. I was generally pleased with the outcome.

Cades Cove Sunday morning - 1
Cades Cove Sunday morning – 1

Cades Cove Sunday morning – 2

Here I stuck with warm colors to begin with and then tried to build the shapes and shadows with other combinations of warms. I tried to stay away from the blues (cool colors) but used violet where I had to in order to get some darks. With the folks who had seen all three paintings, this seems to be the favorite.

Cades Cove Sunday morning - 2
Cades Cove Sunday morning – 2

Cades Cove Sunday morning – 3

This painting is done entirely with Kuretake watercolors (Japanese). They have a quality of brightness that is not generally found in Western watercolors, but they can be tricky to mix. On the paper, they tend to spread apart if you put two colors together, so you have to mix them mostly on the palette. The church roof gave me momentary fits when I put down a red that was way too red. I had to do some work to get it toned down, and then I tended to use that color as the shadow color for other parts of the painting.

Cades Cove Sunday morning - 3
Cades Cove Sunday morning – 3

So, there you have it. Let me know if you have any comments or critiques.

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