Pen and wash flower demonstration

I have just posted, on my PenAndInkTechniques website, a demonstration of pen and wash drawing / painting of Pink Magnolias.

Pink Magnolias flower pen and ink and watercolor wash
Pen ink and watercolor wash of Pink Mangnolia flower

The pen, ink and watercolor wash demonstration starts with the selection of a suitable reference photo. In this case the photo is of  my wife’s favorite tree in our garden. I looked for an image with a nice composition (though I still had to adjust it slightly) and a strong light and dark pattern.

It then covers the materials required and how to do the ink drawing which is done directly without any prior pencil sketching. Usually I find when I tell my students that they are to draw directly with the ink they get all nervous and concerned. However it usually surprises them just how well they do.

By drawing directly with ink it forces students to think and observe more, before they actually touch their watercolor paper with their ink pen. I have found this improves their overall drawing skills as it helps them to develop good drawing habits.

Also because the ink is permanent, it teaches them to just lay down a mark or an ink wash and just leave it. As the ink is permanent it removes the temptation to fiddle. Fiddling with the watercolor paint on your paper is a common problem for beginner watercolor artists.

Pen and ink is also quite a forgiving medium as it is very hard to create a muddy look as often happens with a failed watercolor painting.

After the pen outline is done I allow it to dry thoroughly. In the next to final stage in this pen and wash painting I cover how to lay a loose watercolor wash over the magnolia flowers and stems.

The painting is finished with a very loose and sketchy watercolor wash for the background.

If you have an interest in pen and wash work you may like to have a look at my demonstration.



Pen and Wash or Watercolor

I recently ran a Pen and Wash workshop at Fay Boyds Fine Art School in Grafton, NSW, during which one of the paintings produced was a landscape of a scene in the Capertee Valley.

After the workshop I painted the same scene only this time it was done purely in watercolor. I thought you might like to see the two paintings to see whether you favor the watercolor or pen and wash version.

I personally like both and feel each has a place in my repertoire.

Below is a photo of the scene.

Reference photo Capertee Valley Farmland for watercolor painting
Figure 1: Reference photo Capertee Valley Farmland sorry for the low resolution

Pen and Wash

The pen and wash version was done quite quickly. First I did the drawing using a dip pen and permanent black ink.

Very little shading was carried out with the ink which was used for outlining the scene only. I did, however, vary the pressure on my pen to give more character to the lines, especially in the sky.

Once the ink was fully dry I laid a light watercolor wash over the whole painting. Starting with the sky, distant hills, the foreground hills and finally the dirt road. While doing the under wash I skipped little parts of the paper to add light to the painting.

Once this was dry I went back into my watercolor painting and placed the distant and foreground trees. I finished it off with the shadow on the right hand side cliff face, the side of the main tree and on the road. You can see my finished Pen and Wash painting below.

Capertee Farmland pen and  wash watercolorp ainting
Figure 2: Finished pen and watercolor wash painting

Watercolor Painting

This next painting was done with water color only, after doing a light pencil drawing of the scene.

The initial under painting was similar to that done in the pen and wash version. Once this was totally dry I painted the distant cliff faces alternating light and dark, cool and warm colors to add interest. This also gives the impression of sunlit and shadowed sections of the cliff.

After painting the cliff faces I added some additional green color to the hill below it. Initially the under painting of the hill was too light and the cliff faces looked like they were floating on air. The extra paint strengthened the hillside tone which fixed it.

Next came the distant trees moving towards the middle distance trees with stronger (thicker mix) watercolor paint. I let this stage dry.

I now painted the featured gum tree starting with the foliage and painting the trunk while the foliage was still wet in places. I also painted some branches in the top right hand corner of the painting. These branches on the right hand side add to the feeling of space in my painting by implying more trees outside of the field of view in the painting.

I let the painting dry fully before finishing it with the shadows  as before. The shadows are painted with French Ultramarine and some Permanent Alizarin Crimson, the mixture leaning towards the blue not the red. Figure 3 is the finished work.

Capertee Valley Farmland Trees Cliffs and strong light watercolor painting
Figure 3: Finished watercolor painting of Capertee Valley landscape

Pen, Ink and Wash Demonstration

Pen and Ink Demo Video available for rent or purchase from Vimeo

I have just finished producing a Video of a demonstration of how to paint with Pen, Ink and Watercolor brush. If you would like to have a look at a speeded up version of the demonstration you can see it below.

The full version (45 min) of this video demonstration is avaliable as a paid download or view on Vimeo. It costs $2.99 for you to be able to view it as often as you like for 30 days or $5.99 for you to download a copy you can keep for as long as you like. All prices are in U.S. Dollars. This version can be found here: Rent or Buy this pen and ink techniques demonstration video.