I started painting a new triptych last week! Here's a step by step tutorial showing my painting process.
This triptych is being painted on 3 blocks of Arches 140# CP watercolor paper. Each block is 24x18, which will make the final triptych 24x54. One of the benefits of using watercolor blocks for painting multiple panel paintings is that I can butt the blocks up tight against each other, and paint across all at them at the same time. That allows for a seamless transition between panels when it's done.
After drawing my beach scene and applying masking fluid to the areas I want to reserve, I paint in the sky using a wet on wet technique.
I have a lot of area to cover before it gets too dry, so I'm using a 2" brush to apply cobalt, violet, and indigo colors to the sky.
While it's still wet, I use paper towels to create clouds by blotting. This is not a random pattern -- I don't draw the clouds on the paper, but I do plan them out in my head before I start so that I have a composition planned before I start.
Next I moved on to layer my lighter values on the land mass, using warm colors on the areas that are closest to the viewer.
Working wet on dry, I let the colors mingle and mix on the paper to give the impression of texture.
I layer in colors always starting with the lightest first, and adding darkest last.
In the foreground areas, I use more drybrush techniques and warmer colors. This makes it seem closer, and adds more texture.
For the water, my first layers were lightest. I used cool Ultramarine blue near the horizon to help push it further away, and a more neutral cobalt in the middle. Indigo is quite warm and dark, and I use that to add depth to the waves coming ashore.
To help give it a tropical feeling, I used Viridian in the area where the water would be shallow. Notice that I don't cover the paper in a flat even wash -- water seldom appears flat and even.
Painting right over the masking fluid, I layer in darker values of cobalt and indigo to give the waves depth. I'm using a #24 round brush called "Orange Ice" from Dynasty Brush
for almost every part of this painting. This brush is very large and it holds and release water perfectly. It is slightly soft so it responds well to the texture of the paper, but it also has wonderful spring so that I can use it for fine details and precision.
While layers of paint in the water area are drying, I move back to the land mass and layer darker values there. To give it texture and visual interest, I'm using a variety of colors but sticking to color temperatures and values to move the land mass where I want it.
This photo shows the painting not quite finished -- the masking fluid is still there, protecting the whites of the paper
Last, after peeling off the masking fluid I detail the foam and surf by pushing the paint around to soften edges, lighten some spots, and deepening a few others.
Finally, here's the finished painting! I'll be mounting this on cradled art boards next. My finished triptychs sell for $1,200. Let me know if you want this one, or contact me to see if I have one still in stock! And be sure to check out my video tutorial that shows how to mount a watercolor triptych on cradled art boards,