As part of my wedding present to Suzanne I wanted to paint her a watercolour based on a similar theme to 'Jacques' Rest'. It didn't take long for me to come up with the main character so I began to work on some thumbnail sketches, I was hoping to post those too but I have mislaid them. In the end I did about six and then developed my favourite, adding another Owl in the background.
Now that I had a rough composition I could stretch some watercolour paper and draw up a detailed version. I worked with a HB pencil as I knew the painting would be dark covering up pencil marks.
As I drew away the thought came to me to add objects to the setting that are meaningful to Suzanne so I secretly 'borrowed' a few things from around the house to copy them into the final drawing. All the time I was keeping the painting a secret, making sure I covered it with paper at the end of the day and not answering questions regarding the missing items.
The two photos above show the gradual painting process. When I do something as complex as this I tend to outline most things in sepia watercolour before adding local colour and washes. This helps to maintain the detail and add character to edges, such as the frayed corners of old books and gnarled tree bark.
In my next post I'll show you the completed artwork and details of the 'secret objects'.