Watercolor Experiment Series: Birdhouse

I am really drawn to watercolor.  While I love the purity of watercolor as a medium on its own, I am absolutely smitten 🙂 with line and wash….or wash and line, as the case may be!

To that end, I am starting a series of posts on watercolor & line and wash experiments whereby I paint the same subject (a birdhouse) in a variety of ways on a variety of papers.

I hope this will help others who are newer to the medium or stuck in a rut to be inspired and perhaps do a little experimenting on their own!

Here is my reference photo of the original birdhouse:


Original Birdhouse
Original Birdhouse

And here are the first three treatments of that subject:

The first and second painting are both done on Arches 140# hot press watercolor paper.
In the first painting, the watercolor was done first, followed by the ink work (Micron Pigma pens – 005, 01, and 05.)
In the second painting, the line work was drawn first (Platinum Carbon Pen) and then washed with watercolor afterward.
(Click on the gallery circles below for full size images.)

The third painting was done on different paper; specifically, Handbook Travelogue Watercolor Journal (90# cold press).
The front half of the birdhouse was inked before it was washed with watercolor; the side view of the house was inked after being washed with watercolor.

What I Found: It is worth noting that all line work was done with waterproof ink. And I was intrigued to find that on both papers, when I inked the drawing after applying watercolor and letting it dry, the ink lines ever so slightly softened; that is, the ink lines did not “bleed”, but the lines were a touch softer than if I had inked the line prior to washing it with watercolor. In fact, the ink laid down prior to the wash was left undisturbed by brush and watercolor.

This softening effect is probably imperceptible to the viewer, but noticeable to the artist as to how the paper “feels” as one applies the ink on top of watercolor, and probably only perceptible upon close scrutiny.

I also found that the hot press is extremely smooth for ink application, while the Handbook Travelogue paper is not quite so smooth, but definitely smoother than Arches cold press.
🙂 More about this in the next experiment in this series!

3 thoughts on “Watercolor Experiment Series: Birdhouse

  1. It appears that by painting this three x you started seeing more and more…I especially like the green weathered coloring on the third version. I enjoyed your post. I also look forward to the post on hot and cold press….I am a fan of (smooth) hot press!


    1. Thanks for commenting Rebecca. Yes, I think anytime one spends more time or repetitions on the same subject, the potential to “see” more exists–always a goal for artistry. But I was really just having more fun with each attempt! 🙂


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