Here's a step-by-step sequence as I paint a rooftop scene on location using watercolor and gouache.
I start by laying the main lines with a water-soluble colored pencil. I start the scene completely above eye level.
The ghost wash halfway done. I shift from cool to warm, keeping it all wet and blending, and dodging around those brightly lit roof areas. I hold the sketchbook at a 30 degree slope to let the bead of juicy color form along the bottom.
I drop in bright yellow where there will be backlit spring leaves. Note the warm to cool shift in the dormer. It's warm because the eaves are picking up bounced ground light and cool because the shadow planes are getting light from the sky. I don't like that uneven sky.
So to get a flatter sky tone, I mix blue with white gouache. A dry brush delivers the textures of the shingles. I drop in darks for the deeper shadows on the side of the building.
Now I can get into the smaller details of the dormer windows and the tree at left using a medium sized round watercolor brush. I splatter paint from a loaded #10 sable round to suggest some of the leaves in the upper left. "Look out," I said to Jeanette. "I'm getting bold and free."
Next I work in the orange building at left, the wires, and the skylights. Two workmen appear and begin removing shingles.
A car parked in front of the scene, so I dropped it in.
I shot a detail to show that many passages are a mix of transparent and opaque. For example, the yellow backlit leaves are a combination of:
• yellow base colors that I painted around
• opaque yellow gouache added later, and
• light yellow colored pencil.
Here's a shot of the watercolor palette, an old pan set that I've refilled with tube colors:
Top row: sepia, burnt sienna, burnt umber, Payne's gray (2), ultramarine blue (2), cerulean
Bottom row: permanent alizarin, cadmium red medium, raw sienna, cadmium orange (top half) and cadmium yellow (bottom half), scarlet lake, lemon yellow, permanent green, and viridian.
Plus I had tubes of white, yellow, and blue gouache.
Check out my public Facebook page, where you can click through the step-by-step and see the changes more easily.
The two wells at top have some cool and warm colors that I mixed in bulk for the ghost wash.
Art SuppliesWatercolor sketchbook
Round and flat brushes
You can also get an empty metal watercolor box.