Watercolor Shell

Any advice for me?… I struggled with getting the shell to pop and look 3D, as opposed to smooshed in the sand. I know some of my problems were because: I painted this from a real shell and the background was made up. I used colors in the sand that I should have used in the shell. Since I didn’t want the shell to blend in, I used brown paint and it became a dark muddy mess. I sat down to paint at several different points and the shadows were probably changing.

Why is it that “struggled” is one of the most common words I write?! lol. Oh well, you paint and you learn. 🙂 Not sure I want to attempt a redo on this one. Hoping to hear your comments!

12 thoughts on “Watercolor Shell

  1. I have a suggestion. Post and offer comments, but stop the denigration, the monkey-mind (nah-nah-nahing) in your head. It doesn’t help you or your learning process. Find a way to ask for comments without the denigration, as in, “Any suggestions on how to do sand?” “Make the shell pop?”

    On it’s on, without your commentary, the painting is rather nice as it is. If I have anything to offer, I suggest you get your hands on 1-2 tubes of paint from Daniel Smith’s Primatek series: Genuine Hematite and possible their Montana Pipestone. When these are used with quite a bit of water, they granulate quite nicely and can appear as sand, granite speckles, etc. I will be posting a watercolor this week, you can see it when I post . . . Best to you, Kate

  2. Thanks for the facebook group suggestion dkatiepowellart.

    I often will go back into a painting and touch up details that faded while drying, or don’t “pop”, so, if a picture is laying a little flat I will set it aside for a review later. Look at it and try to figure out what is great about the painting. It may be that you need to set it aside to stop comparing it to your original intentions. I look at other people’s works and think about how they attracted my interest. I let it all percolate in the background.

    On a picture like this, I think it might help to add some subtle texture to the sand near the shell in the foreground or maybe just a little in the shadow, since sun can glare out things that might show in the shade of a closeup.

    Use a scrap paper to test to see if you like the technique. Since you are using watercolors, maybe mask the shell and splatter a fine mist of water in that area and wait a few seconds to possibly lift some color with a crumpled absorbant tissue in a few places. Even if color is not noticeably lifting, it may leave subtle watermarks. Additionally, lightly splatter a fine mist of one of the colors used for the sand. It will react differently on the wet and dry where it lands and add a little more texture.

    1. Thank you for your feedback! You are totally right that I need to set it aside. I noticed this with a couple of paintings that I tried to redo. When I looked at them after time passed, I was like, “It looks pretty good!” At the time that I’m working on them, I’m much more critical. Thanks for the specific comments on the sand and texturing – I will try them! 🙂

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