Sunflower Field - Process

So for some background, I'm starting on a journey to collect a gallery of my peers' artwork. My thoughts being that someday, when we're all big name famous artists, we'll all have a bunch of each other's work. This piece was part of an art exchange I did with the very talented Alex Kowalczyk, a painter and Production Design student at SCAD. I'll link her website at the end of this process post.


Alex's favorite flower is sunflowers, and as an environmental painter, I just could not pass up the opportunity to paint her a field of sunflowers. For the painting process, I of course used Daniel Smith watercolor paints and some nice heavyweight paper. I generally use the Wet on Dry watercolor technique simply because I'm impatient and it dries faster, but in the process videos I included below, you'll be able to notice that I'm not wetting my paper before the paint goes down. That is also because I don't want to overwork my paper and I'd rather be able to layer more color than have my paper really wet at the get-go. If you use a lot of Wet on Wet watercolor, you're liable to scrub the paper too hard and that can mess up your paper texture, make the paint dry patchy, etc.


Now for my inking process! First, you have to let the paper dry. I say this because I am not particularly good at it; I will 100% go ahead with the pens before everything is dry and it's never a good situation. But when we do go in with our ink, we're trying to create some texture and depth. A great way to create a sense of depth, especially in these vast landscapes, is to decrease the weight of our lines and to decrease detail as we go back in the distance. You'll notice I'm drawing the tree trunk texture and all its little leaf clumps on the tree in our middle ground, but we're barely inking the trees in the background at all. Additionally, I'm using my big fat brush pen and my Micron 0.8 pen for the sunflowers in the foreground, but I'm decreasing to a 0.1 or 0.05 pen in the background.

(Just as an aside for inking advice: not all pens or markers are created equal. I always use and recommend others use Micron ink pens because they use archival ink. Any brush pen you're using should have archival ink as well. If ink isn't archival quality, it means that after a number of months or years, your pigments might discolor or discolor your paper. It's the same reason you always use acid-free paper, and acid-free linen tape when you're matting and framing pictures. Sharpies are not archival.)


And after we've sketched, painted, and inked, we're done! Here's the finished piece I made for Alex.



And here is Alex's website!