Sueellen Ross: Living Color

My process begins with a high-contrast subject. I choose these types of subjects because I want to be able to take advantage of the full range of black-to-white values that the ink offers. When I settle on a subject, I use a graphite pencil to establish my basic composition. Then I lay in my darkest values with India ink. Once the darks are in place, it?s time to add color. I use watercolor, and sometimes liquid acrylics, to cover as much of the painting as possible?often some combination of aureolin yellow, burnt sienna, burnt umber, charcoal gray, French ultramarine blue, Hooker?s green, new gamboge, permanent sap green, quinacridone gold, sepia and Winsor red. I may employ any of the basic watercolor techniques?washes, glazes, wet-into-wet and wet-on-dry?at this point, leaving only the highlighting and final details for my last step.


Inside Cat (mixed media)

Now I?m ready to enhance everything I?ve already done with colored pencils. I use Sanford Prismacolor pencils, most often black, burnt ochre, cream, crimson red, French gray 10 percent, light umber, olive green, orange, peacock green, sepia, slate gray, spring green, ultramarine blue, white and yellow ochre. I always keep extra white pencils handy. With these colors, I highlight, soften edges, draw on top of the India ink, create iridescence, form fur and feathers, and adjust the color temperature, where needed.


Summer Color?Varied Thrush (mixed media)

By using this process of layering one medium on top of another in easy-to-control stages, I can build a painting that?s full of strong color without losing my initial drawing or the succeeding layers. And if one layer doesn?t live up to expectations, I can almost always fix it with the next layer.

In recent years, Don Getz has served on the jury of selection twice for the American Watercolor Society (1990 and 1999) and the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, and has served as judge and juror for the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, Northwest Watercolor Society, Florida Watercolor Society, Baltimore Watercolor Society, West Virginia Watercolor Society, Kansas Five State Exhibition, Aqueous ’92 National/ Pittsburgh, South Central Regional Exhibition, Pennsylvania Watercolor Society National, Florida Suncoast and numerous regional events. You can view his art at www.watercolor-online.com/DonGetz/.

You may also like these articles:

COMMENT