First of all, I have never been to Puglia, Italy, but happened to see it on a TV program and thought, wow! how do I not know about this place? I found my nearest sketchbook, and got to playing with watercolor and watercolor pencil. I just loved the way the buildings were all stacked up, glowing in the sun on the cliff over the blue water.
I'm so excited to announce that the book I illustrated is now available at Blurb!
The story is written by Patricia Kerner and tells of a very special farm in the country, where all the vegetables grow taller and bigger and the cows have a special talent.
It was such a joy to work on this project, because Patricia Kerner is my aunt and the story came from my great grandfather. I used family photos for inspiration, and included illustrations that have personal or family meaning. I researched farms and flowers and clothing, practiced drawing a 1950 Ford pickup and lots of cows. Even after all of that, one of the pages is really three different versions of myself.
Fun fact: on every two page spread there is some kind of bird.
I've been working on some drawings for a farm story, and decided to test out an idea for Queen Anne's lace flowers. I wanted to be able to include these because I remember as a child, stopping beside the road to pick these flowers, and then placing them in colored water to watch them slowly take on the new color. This still fascinates me.
Here are the steps, minus a few photos. What can I say, I was in the moment.
Step One: Apply masking fluid.
Remember that wherever you place masking fluid will be white. For this painting, I wanted the Queen Anne's flowers to be white. On the image below, the masking fluid is blue. The color of masking fluid may vary according to brand, but it's there so you can see where you are putting it.
Step Two: Paint watercolor.
After the masking fluid dries, use watercolor paints for the grassy field around the flowers. I used green and blue with a little yellow. Just throw some color down and have fun. I love to let them mix together on the paper. For another fantastic effect, drop a pinch of salt onto the watercolor while it is still wet, for a soft dappled look. I used that technique for Winter Reindeer Sleigh.
Once everything is completely dry, I use a pink eraser to rub away the masking fluid. You can use your finger, but this is what I found works best for me. I think this might be my favorite part as the white of the paper shines through again.
Step Four: Final adjustments.
This is when I add details, such as stems, leaves, and the distant mountain.
And that's it! This is a very small painting, but the technique can be used at any size.