Above is the original sketch on the gessoed canvas panel that was chillin' in the back of my closet. Normally I would work on a more familiar surface (and after painting on this surface, that has been backed up 100%. This is gonna be the last time I switch over from watercolor paper). It was a bit hard to draw on...I even busted out my pencil set and used graphite and (attempted to use) and eraser too! Normally I use ballpoint pen....
Once I was pleased with the sketch I went ahead and sprayed some workable fixative. Since I hadn't really done this before I looked up some information online about using this kind of surface with watercolor and ink medium. Most seasoned artists weren't too impressed by this process (after the first few minutes in I can understand why that would be). Mainly it's because the medium, in my case watercolors, wouldn't even go down onto the surface after I had sprayed it with the fixative. I had to pull out acrylic paints and water it down and even that didn't really want to stay down either. You see the 'spatter' mark effect on the image above? Those are the areas where either the medium wouldn't stick, or took too too well.
It also took nearly an hour to dry. Normally I am not a fan of using a blow dryer because it spread the pigment around....which is what happened when I tried it on this. So I took an hour break waiting for it to dry.
When the watered down acrylic layer dried, I decided to just keep painting, negating any more layers of spray fixative. Using watercolors (I tend to favor certain pallets such as red, yellow, and violet) I began to place some establishing colors. This was also tricky as the surface wouldn't allow me to work in my normal manner, expecting the paints to react the way I am used too. If I had too little pigment then by trying to add in more I would instead lift off entire areas of color, and if I used too much it would form pools (which you can see by the blooms).
So (not including the drying time) it's been a little over 2 hours to get to this stage. While this is still mostly watercolor I have also continued to mix in watered down acrylic paints. I have inks on standby, along with marker, and colored pencil since I have a feeling that once I have started to really establish some things I will be pulling out all the tools at my disposal to make this into a piece of functional art.
Finding reference images on the net has been hard, as they are all miniatures which are quite small, and all from a straight on profile with a lot of details washed out. But all in all, I think it's coming out better than I initially thought it would when I realized the problem of the paint not staying where I place it. So, we'll see what happens to this piece.
More to come.....