Forsythia in watercolor

This week, i tried to paint a spring flower quite common : forsythia. It blooms before starting to have leaves so it looks like a nice yellow bush ! And with this theme, i’m trying out a new very interesting technique…

I’ve seen this particular technique in action in one of Angela Fehr’s video a few years ago but didn’t try it at all. She also say that she know about this technique thanks to another watercolor artist John Lovett. So this is all about masking part of the painting, but with gouache. Instead of using masking fluid which could be quite annoying to use (damage the brush, hard to remove, do not apply easily…), i’m using white gouache. This way i can use my regular brushes and make more interesting brush marks. it’s really more expressif than masking fluid.

Step by step of gouache masking

  1. Apply a wash of color. This is optional but it can really help to see where the gouache is applied after. It can be very uniform or totally patchy, as you like it. Let it dry thoroughly.
  2. Paint white gouache in the areas where you want to protect the paper from the next step. A thick coat will be more efficient than a thin one. let it dry thoroughly and be very careful where the coat is the thickest, it can dry really really slow.
  3. Now it’s time for the acrylic ink ! This step is really loose and doesn’t need a lot of thinking. Just apply the ink, trying not to reactivate to much the gouache, where you want it. And again let it dry totally.
  4. For this step, you just need to wash the gouache off of the paper. The best way to do it is to rinse it in the sink and rub delicately the gouache with you fingertips. it goes away pretty easily. And once everything is removed… let the paper dry entirely !
  5. Last step, add as many details as you want !

Forsythia in watercolor

Forsythia in watercolor - ENGLISH VERSION

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda aquario nº18, Escoda Versatil nº8 rigger.
Paper : Arches rough.
Colors : Ultramarine blue (Daniel Smith), Aussie red gold (Daniel Smith), Nickel azo yellow (Daniel Smith), Rose madder lake (Sennelier), Acrylic ink Liquitex muted grey, Opaque white (gouache liquide) (Schmincke).

And here you have the finished painting (Click to enlarge):

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