Above I am showing a couple more of my mini paintings, they are each about one and one half inches in width. There are so many choices when painting and that is exactly what makes you the artist, all of your choices. What you will include in your painting and what you will leave out, the colours and every other brush stroke that you use to complete the painting. Everyone is unique and different and if you choose to paint what is closest to your heart, I believe that will work out the very best for you.
What I am doing with these workshops is showing techniques. When I think of techniques, I think my youngest son who is a magician. He has studied all the greatest magicians and read every magic book he could get his hands on to perfect his card manipulations. If I were given a deck of cards and was asked to perform a magic trick, I wouldn't know where to start! This is the same with painting. Of course you can jump in and learn from your own experiences with painting but having a basic knowledge of many techniques gives you so many more choices for you to express yourself.
As for my choice of painting to reproduce, I like to be very aware of copyright issues. I love antique paintings, using my own photos, sketches and antique photos. Since I reproduce miniature books and sell them on eBay, sell to dealers and from our website, I have to be particularly mindful of copyright. I reproduce books and images published before 1927, sometimes later if I have checked to see if the the publisher has renewed his copyright. When I first started selling on eBay I had a mini quarter scale book removed because I wasn't careful enough and it was trademarked, the trademark lawyer saw it, and I was given a warning. I have since been so much more careful. I'm mentioning this because the same rules apply to miniature paintings.
Here are two vintage images that I am using for my painting example that you can also use if you like by right click to save the image and printing them both out. You might want to copies of the smaller one for tracing. I thought the painting would show, with a minimum of paints, this transparent technique very well. I've included a larger more detailed version too, to see the detail. I'm making mine one and one half inches in width. Hopefully yours will print out the same size.
Before you start, have a look at your paper to check the watermark to see if you are working on the right side of the paper, it seems to absorb the watercolours the very best on the right side. Hold it up to the light to see the watermark as shown in this photo.
Trace the outline of the small painting by using graphite paper that you can by from any art supply store or draw the areas by eye or cover the back of your small example painting with soft lead pencil. I traced with a pencil outlining each of the larger areas of colour. Check to see if the graphite is being transferred to your watercolour paper.
You now have your outline on your paper. I mask taped around the painting, good to keep any
accidental spills and the taped edges sharpens the outline around the painting.
Using a larger #1 brush I mixed water on the side of my aureolin yellow container to thin the colour. I tested the transparency on another piece of paper and kept adding more water to lighten the shade. Then I went over the areas with auerolin that would be yellow, green or a light ochre in my finished painting. Once these were dry I went over some areas again that were a darker yellow or deeper green.
You can see the practice paper on the edge in this photo. If you feel what you have applied was too dark, just give that area of your painting a wash with water on your brush and blot it, you would be surprise how much blotting and painting the paper will take. Here I have added a light wash of the yellow ochre while studying the original picture all the time to make sure I leave all the other areas white paper. I just uses very light washes, some people call these layers glazes. Sometimes the colours are too dark and I use an extra container to water down my colour or pigment. It is surprising how little paint you need.
This last photo shows the cobalt blue that has been added and my extra container. The cobalt really needs to be transparent to let the wonderful white of the paper show through for the sky and to let the yellow show through for the green areas. To darken the green areas, the yellow can be added after the blue has dried and just keep building the areas up with thin coats of transparent glazes. This is really a fun part of the painting process.