The Life Inside the Line

Follow along as I show you how I combine pencil and watercolor to create a painting that is expressive because it?s sketchy and artfully “unfinished.”

Step One: After taping a sheet of Lanaquarelle hot-pressed paper to my easel, I sketched the elements with a light pencil (an ordinary, yellow #2 pencil) line. Next I used watery watercolor, applied with a round synthetic brush (a #10 or #12 from Cheap Joe?s Golden Fleece series).

Step Two: Holding the pencil as if I were going to write with it, I let the line wander and/or tie things together. Sometimes I skipped spaces and sometimes I delineated them. An energetic pencil line ensures that nothing stays still. The viewer?s eye is always moving.

Step Three: Because I like the unfinished, spontaneous look, I stopped?rather than paint the pitcher or add more color to other elements. By preserving the sketchy quality, I hoped to convey the skittish, random beauty of a summer day in Hat?s Off (watercolor and pencil on paper, 28 x 36).

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