When I first started this series of monochromatic heads, I was concerned with more monochromatic, or one color, variations of color and variations of value. It was an important part of the idea. As I progressed along, I made several variations. On a couple of them I even made them pop a little bit. This was opposite of what I initially started out with, but then that gave me an idea for something else.
So I moved into an area where the monochromatic becomes a bi-monochromatic. In other words, two colors and parts of the mystery of mixing the two colors would produce a third color. The third color is the result of what we call a color pool on the palette.
And that’s an important part of this bi-monochromatic painting. In the case of this painting it looks like it’s red, but it really has a lot of what they call in Opera watercolor. What I have here is the gold watercolor and the mixing of three different reds in an orange achieve the colors and variations of it in the darks.
One of the brushes I’m using is a Japanese Hake brush. It has goat hair which keeps the brushstrokes smooth. To contrast that, I am using a cheap house paint brush. The bristles are stiffer and I can create textures with it easily. I like playing these two brushes against each other for large areas of the paintings.
I am also adding additional marks with the use of a stylus. This is a sgraffito technique wherein I scratch through the watercolor to add details in the painting. In this case, I am not using a blade since that would tear the watercolor paper, which is not what I want in this instance. The rounded tip of this stylus protects the paper.
Others tools I like using are graining combs. They are used in house painting jobs. Sometimes even for those working on multi-million dollar paint jobs! In these paintings, it’s a combing effect that helps to give additional texture to my paintings. If I see something in the painting that I want to soften, I’ll just use a Kleenex or toilet paper and just soften a little bit. I’m careful to scrub very lightly.
This Monochromatic Heads series shows the versatility of using various brushes and tools. These various tools and the application of color pool mixing on the palette, enables me to create a bi-monochromatic effect in these series of watercolor paintings.