Sunday, March 6, 2022

Sunning Alligator, Watercolor Materials, Technique and more.

 After working on underwater images over the past couple of weeks, I decided to dig further into other images from our trip, including many taken at a number of nature preserves we visited. I came across some good reference of alligators sunning at the edge of a pond in the Audubon Corkscrew Sanctuary in Naples FL. It is a unique environment with a boardwalk that spans four different ecosystems, providing an abundance of birds, plants, insects and in this case, reptiles. Due to development, areas such as this are becoming rare, so it is worth visiting and supporting if you are planning a trip to that area. 

Alligator Sunning, Watercolor, 5.5" x 8.5"

Technique and Materials

Here are the materials I've been using for all the sketches I've posted over the past couple of weeks. 

I am using a mix of Daniel Smith, Windsor Newton, Cottman, Aquarelle tube watercolors in a plastic folding palette. Colors are arranged by hue, which I've labelled in the tray but are as follows:

  • Ivory Black, White, Payne's Gray, Davey's Gray
  • Van Dyke Brown, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber
  • Yellow Ochre, Cad Orange, Cad Yellow, Cad Yellow Light, Naples Yellow
  • Windsor Violet, Rose Madder, Alizarin Crimson, Windsor Red, Scarlet Lake
  • Hookers Green Dark, Windsor Green, Sap Green, Terre Verte, Serpentine Green (in one of the mixing areas)
  • Indigo, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Blue
I use a number of different brushes, including Windsor Newton Kolinsky Sables (Size 1, 2 and 7), Blick Master Sables (4,6) and an Isabey No. 3 petit gris, one of my favorite brushes as it works equally well covering a lot of surface as well as details. 
The paper I used for the sketches from the past couple of weeks is a Strathmore sketchbook, with perforated pages for easy removal. Even though the paper is thin and has a tendency to bend (but not buckle!) as it is drying, I like the surface as it is easy to remove color if I paint a heavy coat of black and remove it to add color. I will often start a piece by sketching quickly with lighter tones and then applying layers of darker colors, which once dry, allow me to pull details out with a wet brush. 

If I want a higher quality paper that won't warp as it dries, I also carry a block of Arches Hot Press Watercolor paper, sized 7 x 10 to fit into a backpack along with other painting supplies. It is a great size to toss into checked luggage when traveling. 

In a future post, I'll list the photographic equipment I've been using.