Venturing back to watercolor

I really love watercolor and it was my medium of choice for years.  But I've been painting in oil mostly now the past few years and have neglected this lovely medium.  Yesterday I did not feel like dealing with the mess of oil and sat down to draw.  I had just cut some May flowers from my gardens and they were sitting in vase on my drawing table.  They were begging to be interpreted in watercolor.  I was inspired and painted this 18" x 24" painting on Arches #300.   I did not like it at first and I put it in a folder last night with some other drawings and watercolors.  But when  I took it out this morning to look at it....I LOVED IT.  Go figure.  Made a few tweaks and signed it.  And sold it! 

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Feeling inspired I wanted to explore some things I had done in that painting so I started this sweet little painting this afternoon.    You will see the same vase of flowers I painted from yesterday.  I use the live flowers as inspiration...a guide...not to be rendered exactly.  

You will see the differences between the paintings as this one evolves.  First...a very loose watery  sketch to get the design and feel I want:

I let it dry completely on it's own, not speeded up with a hair dryer then I re-wet and paint wet into wet with higher pigment concentration.  I add watercolor pencil marks...some I wet and let them soften, some I leave hard.  I also use gouache to regain whites that I may have lost and I like the semi opacity of it...when it reacts with the highly pigment watercolor it lends an interesting soft dimension.  I put it on thick in spots so that when you look closely you will see actual paint just as you would with an oil painting.  Hey, if it was good enough for John Singer Sargent it is good enough for me!

The bloom on the right is the focal point so more detail...more attention to edge defining here while leaving the two other blooms much softer and blurry.  I will continue to build the transparent colors with my watercolors while adding some fun tidbits of ink, pencil and gouache.

This is where I left it this afternoon:

This is where I left it this evening...

And the finished painting.  I am very pleased.