This is the finished version of a lighthouse commission that I did for a couple about a year and a half ago. I normally work in acrylic but in the past I have worked a lot in watercolor as well. When I met with this couple they wanted a watercolor painting of a lighthouse near their beach house.
This was rendered on a full sheet (23″ X 30″) of 300lb Fabriano watercolor paper.
The first step in my commission after meeting with the couple and understanding what they want is to do a few sketches of the image so they can review and suggest changes.
Once the composition and color have been determined I can then begin on the actual painting. The painting is a ‘transparent’ watercolor, which means that no white paint is used. The paper itself is the white in the painting. This requires use of a ‘resist’ and multiple layers of paint. I used frisket (seen above), which can be painted onto the paper to protect the areas that will either be white or very light in color. Then washes can be applied over the entire paper.
The above image shows that I have done several ‘washes’ to block in the sky and the lightest color of the fields. I have also started adding darker tones and a small amount of detail.
In the final steps I have removed the frisket with a soft eraser allowing the white of the paper to come through. This can be tricky because you don’t want to abrade or tear the paper while removing the frisket. Also, as I begin to add detail I need to be careful to preserve the ‘whites’ to allow a full range of values. At this point I am ready to complete the painting and sign it. Once that is finished I can remove the tape and I’m ready to present the finished painting to my patrons.