Monday, April 23, 2012

Colorful Orange Poppies Daily Watercolor Paintings on Different Watercolor Papers

Colorful Orange Poppy Original Watercolor Painting by K. Joann Russell
"Orange Poppy"
5 1/2 x  3 1/2" Watercolor Pencil on Smooth Paper

Today we're comparing daily watercolor paintings on smooth and textured watercolor paper. Both small paintings were painted en plein air in my new garden using watercolor pencils on gessoed watercolor papers. 

The first colorful painting of an orange Iceland poppy blossom has a delicate look of a botanical drawing because of the pigment staying on the surface of the smooth paper, technically called "hot press" watercolor paper. With a water filled brush the pigment flows easily over the surface giving a washy look.

The second poppy painting below I painted with the same watercolor pencils but on a heavy textured watercolor paper which also had been gessoed. The pigment could easily collect in the indentations in the surface of the paper to give stronger colors when the wet watercolor brush touched the surface, technically called "cold press" paper. The hot and cold terms come from the finishing pressure in the formation of the paper mold.

Do you see the difference in the compositions? By the time I painted the second en plein air painting one of the petals had fallen from the poppy flower! Today the flower is gone in the heat of our unusually warm weather and a new blossom has burst from the bud! The challenge of en plein air painting is the speed at which the composition subject changes. This is not painting from photos or memory!

Watercolor artists, you may be asking why gessoed watercolor paper? A very simple answer: these two pieces of paper came from my stacks of gessoed papers that I use for small daily paintings using acrylics or oils.

Orange Poppy #2 Watercolor Original Painting by K. Joann Russell
"Orange Poppy #2"
5 7/8 x 3 7/8" Watercolor Pencil on Textured Paper 

Which style of watercolor painting do you like? Both of these small daily paintings are available in my Etsy shop at special prices to celebrate spring. 

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