Inspired by flowers in her garden, these bold splashes of watercolor by Birgit O’Connor make very interesting compositions. To see more floral painting demonstrations from O’Connor, see “Fancy Flowers” in The Artist’s Magazine (March 2008).
Summer Rain (watercolor, 22×40)
How to Paint a Water Drop
By Birgit O’Connor
There is a very simple painting technique you can use to add water drops to a painting. A realistic water drop creates a three-dimensional illusion and leaves a lasting impression on the viewer.
Get an idea of how this technique works by doing this simple painting exercise.
Materials you need
- Masking fluid
- 1/8 sheet Arches paper
- Large wash brush
- No. 8 and No.14 synthetic brushes
- Incredible nib or bamboo drawing pen
- Color: permanent alizarin crimson, indigo
Draw the drop:
Draw an oblong circle approximately 1 inch long, (MM) and then place a small dot of masking in the upper left hand corner.
After the masking fluid has completely dried, apply a wash of permanent alizarin crimson over the entire area extending past the drop approximately 4 inches (MM) on either side, leave enough room on the outside edges so the effect is not hindered and the drop can stand out.
Once the wash has completely dried, reapply water only to the inside of the drop, allow the pigment to soften then lift out the color from in the inside using a No. 14 synthetic brush, you can vary the size and type brush (acrylic brushes, q-tips and paper towels work—anything to lift color out.
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Before adding the shadow allow the drop to completely dry again or the color can bleed back in. You want a nice crisp line. Using a No. 8 synthetic with a mixture of permanent alizarin crimson and a small amount of indigo, then add the shadow just below the drop, tapering up the side to define the edge.
Add color to shadow:
Now remove the masking from the drop and lift some color out of the shadow. This helps to show light refracting through the drop.
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Click here to watch a free preview of the video workshop “Watercolor in Motion” with Birgit O’Connor.
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