Friday, April 11, 2008

Painting light and shadow in watercolor - Cliffs on Fire Red Mesa Painting

/watercolor painting by Roland Lee of southern Utah red mesa
In this new painting I tried to capture the effects of light and shadow on the desert. The red sandstone of the cliffs and mesas in southern Utah takes on various hues depending on the lighting. But the very best time is when the sun is nearly down, the lower part of the cliffs are in shadow and the mesa tops are on fire with orange sunlight.

Watercolor painting by Roland LeePainting this effect in watercolor requires me to lay down underglazes of very warm hues, and come back over the top with cooler glazes for the shadows. The sky in this painting was laid out quickly using a wet-into-wet technique. I am happy with the soft edges in the sky as warm light transitions to cool. Notice the splattering effect in the lower part of the painting created by tapping a brush with clear water into the almost-dry wash. This gives a very natural texture to the under-glazes.

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