Tree of Life – how a painting is born, part 4 1


now my sketch is pretty much ready to receive its first watercolor wash. so let’s start with an underpainting on the background, which works very well to help me define a pallete for my piece. it’s easy to get crazy with so many colors in front of you and wanting to experiment and mix and create a color extravaganza, but better take it easy. I try to limit my pallette the most possible so I won’t get overwhelmed and get into more problems to solve.

this panel is all about life, fertility, joy. is intended to be “springy” and vivid, so I choose warm and jovial colors that will work as a basis for the work: dioxazine violet, rose madder and cadmium yellow. I start applying pure water on the area I want to fill, with just a little bit of pigment so I can see where the water is going. then I aplly each one of the three chosen colors freely with the bamboo brush and a flat brush, letting the pigments run with the water and mix.


this is how it looks like after the wash is done and still fresh (please forgive my lamp light reflecting on the wet surface.) I love to move the board while it’s still wet and make the colors migrate across it and blend with the others, creating all kinds of dreamy effects.

now it’s time to wash my dishes and grab a coffee and let the painting gets dry.


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