A change of month means a change of theme for the Documented Life Project. Whereas March was all about Doodles, April is all about “Colour Safari”, which apparently means exploring use of paints and inks. This week group members were instructed to use watercolour and the prompt phrase was “It’s water under the bridge”.
Watercolour is a medium I am comfortable with. I would not claim to be a proficient watercolourist as I do have a tendecy to just treat it as more transparent ink but I am certainly capable enough with watercolour, more so than other media. I, therefore, wanted to stretch myself with the subject matter for this week’s DLP journal page. I wanted to respond to the specific prompt but the bridge element was not speaking to me in any way so I focused in on the water instead. Given my recent episode of painting a monstrous mermaid and her not-all-that-much-better colleague, I decided that my personal challenge would be to paint a mermaid. A decent mermaid.
I decided to keep the page monochrome so I stuck to a blue colour scheme. After sketching in the mermaid, I started with background washes of watercolour and allowed them to overlap onto the figure so that the figure would look immersed in the water. Then, using the finest of my waterbrushes, I began to fill in the figure. I allowed the tail to become quite watery and blotchy, dripping stronger pigment into liquid areas and allowing it to spread to create the impression of a tail shimmering with scales and reflecting the water. I took several washes in directional brush strokes to layer the mermaid’s hair. After colouring the face, torso and arms, I spattered the page with a few shades of blue watercolour paint making sure I covered the face and kept it splotch-free. I like splattering anyway but I thought it would add to the idea of splashing water and surf.
I was pretty pleased with how the mermaid turned out. Certainly she was a better effort than my attempts with acrylic. I resisted the temptation to outline her in ink (as I had done with my Drawing challenge Siren) to try and take a small step away from my default illustrative style. It was also an opportunity to rub some rust off my face-drawing skills.