Step by step work in progress during the making of "Watching and waiting" (watercolour).
Masking fluid layers and washes
I used two layers of masking fluid in this piece, and retained the background branches as they appeared after removal of the mask, in the final piece.
Detailing the bird
Once the mask has been removed, I started on the bird, beginning with the head and eye. This is the second version of this painting I did, because I had problems with the masking fluid in the first version - where I took it off, there was a slight waxy-resist preventing further even painting.
Detailing the branches
The foreground branches were a large component of this painting, and it was important that they have realistic form, and detail, but still a painterly approach. For this reason, after the initial washes for shadows and colour, I created details with a number of little wiggly lines.
All the foreground branches were finished with similar levels of detail, but in order to send some of them back, they were painted over with washes of prussian blue to cool them down. With watercolour painting, the foreground is usually the warmest area of the painting, with the highest level of both detail and contrast. The background recedes because there is less detail, objects are smaller, and they have a cooler hue.