Watercolor: Cast Iron Bird Bath

One of the things that strikes me about watercolor artists I admire is their use of richly contrasting values. Some watercolors look “faded” to my eyes, and I find more appeal in strong contrast between bright, sunlit scenery with rich shadows and layered darks. It’s easy to “color” a painting, but making it successful will hinge on whether you’ve nailed the values of the scene: lights and darks and mid-ranges are key to making a painting sing. It takes practice, but practice requires more painting time, and that sounds like a lovely remedy!

The first image in this sequence (above) shows “Roses & Cast Iron Birdbath” (25 x 20) drawn in pencil, and loosely painted with a range of colors I was aiming for in the final painting.

In the next shot, the painting is starting to take shape with strategic areas of focus and detail: the roses and the green glass vase they’re in are back lit by late afternoon sun, and I wanted to make that the target of visual “destination”.

The last image shows the final painting, with the kitchen counter tiles darkened; they’re still reflecting the center of focus above them, and the reflected lights & darks move your eyes to the roses without stealing the show.

By squinting at my reference photo (seen in the upper right corner of my table above) and then squinting at my painting in process, I went back to lights, darks & mid-range values over and over again. I had great fun with color, but I tried to stay true to the value of each color – the way our eyes see it when afternoon light bounces off glass, tiles and roses.

22 Responses to Watercolor: Cast Iron Bird Bath

  1. Valerie 04/17/2006 at 7:40 am #

    oppps I meant…watercolor SHOULD NOT be washed out!!! LOL…

  2. Valerie 04/17/2006 at 7:39 am #

    WOW!!! Like you, I’m a watercolor artist who likes bold contrasts and vivid color. Watercolor should be washed out. Your command of reflective surfaces is inspiring!! I’m very quickly becoming quite a fan of your work!!

  3. janey 03/10/2006 at 5:52 pm #

    Ditto on every comment above. It’s hard to believe this is watercolor. I always think of wc as having a soft hazy look. The sharpness of your wc is really striking. My kind of colors. Really beautiful.

  4. aika 02/25/2006 at 10:07 pm #

    Wow Belinda, your work is incredible!

  5. bdelpesco 02/22/2006 at 9:48 am #

    Thanks for the compliments and encouragement! I’ll be exhibiting at the San Diego Artwalk in Little Italy on April 29th & 30th on Beech Street, booth #121. I look forward to seeing you there!

  6. TC 02/22/2006 at 9:20 am #

    I echo what everyone else has said. This is just awesome! I understand you’re going to be displaying at the Artwalk in San Diego, California in April 2006. What are the dates? I plan to see you there.

  7. Crescendo 02/12/2006 at 2:38 pm #

    Beautiful paintings and sense of color !

  8. Judy K 02/12/2006 at 2:34 pm #

    Thank you Belinda for sharing these processes. It was so generous of you. This one her has always been my favorite although I love many others too. It is just gorgeous!

  9. Sal 02/10/2006 at 3:12 am #

    I can’t get over the light in this piece – it’s incredible! Your technique is stunning!

  10. william wray 02/09/2006 at 7:17 pm #

    Charming work. I like your Watercolors, but some about your woodbolcks really is nice.

  11. Linda 02/08/2006 at 4:03 pm #

    Belinda — I keep coming back to look at this one again and again and again. It is a wonderful piece, and a great process. Thanks for posting it!

  12. ottoblotto 02/08/2006 at 4:22 am #

    It’s so nice to see watercolors with color depth!Most people stop a few steps too soon. These are magnificent pieces!

  13. katat0nik (JaneKL) 02/08/2006 at 1:42 am #

    I always want to leave comments when I see your work, but you often leave me speechless. Beautiful, beautiful work – stunning!

  14. Annie B 02/07/2006 at 8:35 am #

    Hi Belinda, I just caught up with the fact that you have a blog going! Nice. Your work is consistently lovely and I enjoyed learning more about your process(es!). I’ll be back.

  15. Lori of Soulful Studios 02/07/2006 at 4:50 am #

    Your work is so beautiful…such a sense of light! It has an inner glow and it is fresh. Love the use of perspective!

  16. Alina Chau 02/06/2006 at 11:11 pm #

    lovely paintings!

  17. pedalpower 02/02/2006 at 9:31 am #

    Belinda, your painting is amazing…love those reflections! I hope to paint like this someday.

  18. Lindsay 02/02/2006 at 7:57 am #

    Yup, have to say you nailed the values AND the colors!! Lovely rich work. Thanks.

  19. orangefrute88 02/01/2006 at 7:22 pm #

    wow. you are a freakin genius, truly. i learn so much from reading your blog! thank you, thank you, thank you!

  20. Sue 02/01/2006 at 6:03 pm #

    Belinda, you ROCK girl! I love, LOVE, love each and every thing you do. The reflections in your work. OMG! Your generousity in sharing the process. Thank-you so much. I hope this stays here so that I can come back and visit over and over again.

  21. Lin 02/01/2006 at 1:54 pm #

    Belinda — you continue to keep my feet cold by continually blowing off my socks!!! WOWOWOWOW!!! This one is especially glorious — all that reflected light and color — the depth of the roses .. mercy — it’s jaw-dropping, awesome!


  1. Violet Apricot: Watercolor & Pastel | Belinda DelPesco - 01/30/2015

    […] reflected in the tiles. Once I started painting the scenes – like this one, and this one and this one, I decided that I *loved* those white tile counters. All my swooning over the tiles gave my husband […]

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