I'm starting with a black and white grisaille. In the second photo, I've just added more values and softened my edges a bit more than in the first photo. I feel like the key to making something look shiny, like silk, is to use lots of different colors/shades and have soft edges.
Even though this dress is technically blue, I've started by painting the raised parts violet.
When it came time to add the blue, I added some black into my Prussian blue that was already on my palette to dull it. I applied this to the rest of the painting using the wet on wet technique.
At this point, I still didn't feel like the piece had the shiny look I wanted it to have. I realized I needed to add more contrast by adding darker shades next to my lighter ones.
The more contrast between light and dark you add, the silkier something will look. In the next pick, I added even more contrast.
I want to point out that I showed this painting to my mom when it was in the stage before I'd added the extra contrast and she didn't say anything. I asked her what she thought and she said the painting didn't speak to her. But when I showed it to my mom after I added the extra contrast, she was like, "Ooh, wow, now I see it". To me, this drove home the fact that contrast, or lack thereof, can mean the difference between someone stopping and looking at your work, (and possibly buying it) and walking on by without giving it a second thought.
During the time of writing this article, I visited my aunt in New Jersey. She takes watercolor classes and she told me about a trick of spraying the edges on a watercolor painting with water to soften them. By the time I heard about this, the painting had been sitting dry for days, but that wasn't a problem, because, as I've said before, watercolor can be reactivated after it's dry. I spritzed the edges of this painting with my little spray bottle and I think that was just what it needed.
Now that the watercolor portion of this lesson is finished, or at least as good as I can make it, today it was time to start on the acrylic portion. I almost got through the underpainting.
I started by mixing up some gray blue from zinc white, mars black, and ultramarine blue and painted this onto the patch, followed by some violet, made by mixing a little bit of ultramarine blue into red.
To amp up the shine even more, I added some mars black along the edges of my violet with a liner brush and lots of water. I layered gray made by mixing zinc white and mars black over my purple patches to adjust them.
I decided I wanted to lighten some areas even more, so I added zinc white, which is a transparent white from the Amsterdam line to them and blended the edges with my brush.
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Painter of portraits and wildlife