1 – Mapping out color
This is the first stage. At this stage we look at our subject and try to identify basic colors and highlights. The subject may have colors from one color family (like in our example – different shades of purple), but it may also consists of various colors (for example the petal may be yellow close to the center of the flower). No matter if it’s one color family or various colors at this stage we apply a light tone of those colors to create the base for next layers. In our example we apply a light tone of purple in areas when we see purple. If there are highlights we need to preserve them. We can mask them out or like in this case just leave the white paper unpainted. We usually use wet on wet technique, especially if there are various colors, because it allows us to: (1) create smooth tonal transitions from dark to light, (2) create smooth color transitions if there is more than one color. Wet on wet gives us also a bit more time to work with the paint. You may also apply the paint wet on dry, but remember to keep the paint watery so that you don’t get unwated hard edges. At this stage we also need to preserve highlights, so when we apply the paint, while it’s still damp we can use our clean damp brush and lift out the paint from the highlights. The drier the paint, the more paint we’ll be able to lift out. Usually several brush rubbings is required, because when the paint is still damp it may flow again into an area from where we lifted out the paint, so we need to repeat lifting out a few times until we’re satisfied.