How I created “Fragment of a Dream” Watercolor painting.

“Fragment of a Dream” by Sally Meding

My process is a layered approach based on the elements and principles of design.

I am driven by color and knew ahead of time that I wanted a focal area of hot bright color surrounded by neutralized cool color. (Complementary colors, reds and oranges against greyed blues, blue-greens and blue-violets)
  • I choose my value scheme.
  • Draw in the structure with pencil, (vertical strata with a low horizon) to which I overlay a smaller curvilinear “cloud-shaped” abstract layer.
  • Lay in juicy cooler colors (wet-in-wet) in patches avoiding the focal area and added salt, spatter and cling-film for texture. This is the spontaneous layer and I let the paint do its thing! I let it dry overnight.
  • Finally, I paint each shape with a graded wash while playing the “game of contrasts” (A phase coined by Jane E. Jones). That is light shape is placed next to a darker shape, or a brighter color against a duller or warm color against a cooler one while simultaneously thinking about my underlying structures.
  • I often emphasize certain areas with lift-outs, in this case, I wanted it to feel more dreamy so very small squares (mimicking stars) were lifted in the periphery that mirrored those in the focal area. (They are hard to see in this image).

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