Watercolor Techniques by Ron Stocke

Award-winning watercolor artist, and 15-year M. Graham watercolor ambassador, Ron Stocke walks us through his color palette selection and mixing strategies for two of his urban landscapes.

The English Garden

Colors:
Ultramarine Blue
Burnt Sienna
Sap Green
Cerulean Blue

For this piece, I started by applying a wash of Cerulean Blue throughout the sky, only leaving the white of the paper exposed for the sunroom of the cottage. While the paint was still wet, I switched to Azo Green for underpainting all the foreground foliage.

The next step was to use the Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue in different proportions for my grays. For the main building, I poured a wet wash of Burnt Sienna into a wash of Ultramarine Blue. By doing this while both colors were still wet, these colors created a lovely violet.

For the walkway, I applied vertical washes of Azo Green, Burnt Sienna and Cerulean Blue. This kept the individual strengths of the color and established harmony throughout the entire painting.

Next, I brushed in simple details of vines, fence posts and stones to introduce some calligraphy into the painting. The blue flowers were a mixture of Cerulean Blue and Chinese White.

Market Cafe, Nice, France

Colors:
Yellow Ochre
Azo Orange
Dioxazine Purple
Maroon Perylene

For this painting of a café in Nice, France, I stuck to a simple palette that conveyed the warmth and feel of the day.

I started with a quick warm wash of earth tones, which included Yellow Ochre for the buildings and Azo Orange for the large awning on the left. As I got to the figures, I let the colors mix together so they would create a more interesting third color.
I finished with a wash of Yellow Ochre for the ground to keep every detail connected in temperature and color.

The next step was to define the figures and other shapes with darker values. I did this with Dioxazine Purple, Maroon and Burnt Sienna.

Finally, it was time to incorporate the dark colors. I mixed purple and maroon to a consistency as thick as Oregon Blackberry Honey. Afterward, I brushed in figures, tables and chairs and other small details.

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