Stonehenge Aqua Black Watercolor Paper

It’s been a while since I’ve used black watercolor paper, but for the next project I have in mind, black paper seems like the perfect medium to use.  In New Jersey, where I grew up, there are a few beautiful, old stone houses.  One in particular sits a bit off the road and is currently uninhabited. My sister-in-law took a picture of it and sent it to me as a watercolor subject.  I just love these stone houses!!  
My vision is to create a winter scene with this house, adding a single pine tree that is decorated with bright lights, their reflections will be faintly visible in the snow. I’ve just got the image sketched out, and have applied the first wash.  Please check back as I continue to work on this new piece.


Sketched Out

I use a white pencil to sketch out the items in my painting.  I just need the basic shapes to start out.  

First Wash

I want a purplish background, so used a few mixed pigments and lots of water.  I like the way it looks like clouds in the sky, and I might add the hint of a moon behind one of them. This will dry much lighter, so there may be a second and even third wash until it looks right to me.

A Tree!!!

Painting trees has always been a challenge for me.  I tend to want tiny details, which is impossible with trees - you can not paint in each branch and each leaf!  But, I do try.  This time, I used a soft, wide brush (½ “).  I mixed sky blue and a few different yellows to get a green, but did not mix it thoroughly so that different colors where picked up on the brush.  Then, I gently dabbed the brush onto the paper.  WOW!  I surprised myself.  Now, I don’t want to put lights on it because I don’t want to ruin it.  This is what I thought about as I tried to fall asleep.  I’m going to put little while lights on the tree.  And I’m going to put colored lights around some of the house windows.  I absolutely LOVE working on this one!

Lights and Snow

I like the little white lights on the tree.  Some of them I’ve made a bit larger and added glare to keep it interesting. 

Creating the look of snow is easier when using black paper to begin with.  It’s a matter of using lots of water and letting it make the shadows for you.  I’m not sure yet if I’ll leave the path to the house as it is, or if I’ll make it all snow.  I’m leaning to leaving it as is. 

My next step is to mix some colors to use for the stones on the house.  They are going to be a variety of colors, from a muted gray to an almost burgundy.  

Select to enlarge image.

Nearly Done!

I just couldn’t stop working on this, and am almost finished.  After looking at it for a long time, I’m going to add a few more brick colored stones onto the buildings.  Also, I want to make the string of lights go completely around the window and add more green lights.

This was just so much fun to do. 

Process

I have been asked how I create my Cookie Cutter paintings, so thought I would include the process here:  
Once I find a good combination of cookie cutter and image, I make a paper cutout of the cookie cutter, often enlarging it a bit, out of heavy construction paper.  I put a bit of tape on the back of the paper and stick it to my watercolor paper.  Then, I go around the construction paper with masking fluid (1).  Once the masking fluid is dry, I sketch the image inside the cookie cutter shape. With the masking fluid still on I start to paint, usually putting down a light wash so I will know where the outline of the cookie cutter is (2).  Once I know I’ll be able to see where the outline is, I remove the masking fluid and them complete the painting (3). 

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