I started a painting that is a little more on the challenging side. It is not finished yet but I can walk you through the stages up to this point.
I didn't use any masking but rather painted around the figure. I first wet all around the upper portion (up to her shoulders) of the painting, carefully going around the figure. I put in a few clouds in the sky with a very light mix of cobalt blue and permanent rose.....more on the cobalt side. I did not wash the whole sky but rather left it white in most parts. Then I wanted to indicate evergreens in the background so I put in a mix of ultramarine blue and winsor yellow in shapes of trees. It is very blurry at this point as you can see.
There is a house in the background that I added for depth and to make it look like a home garden. I tried to not put a lot of emphasis on it so I painted it with cobalt blue but later could see it still stood out too much. That's later. The roof of the house was painted with watered down cobalt blue and a little permanent rose in the mix. Those colors are used throughout the house. The shadows on the roof have much more cobalt in them and I don't think I used any perm. rose at all actually. The shutters are cobalt and burnt sienna with a little perm. rose. I then began to work the evergreen in the back of the statue. Using the same colors of ultramarine and winsor yellow but in a darker mix (less water). I try not to mix the paint too much on my palette. I like to see the individual colors that I use so you will see more blue in areas and more yellows in others. It's my style, so if you don't choose to do that, it's up to you .....but that's what I enjoy about watercolor.....it allows you to do that and it adds beautiful variation within your work. I decided later that I needed to move the tree a little further out to the right of her extended arm covering more of the house. The outline of the tree was following too close to the figure's form. So if you want to do that now you can instead of doing it later like I did. You can see from the first picture I posted where I went with that. I didn't totally darken the tree.....I will go back later for that. I don't want to darken areas too much too early....easier to darken than to lighten! Just want to take note of the negative painting done where the lilies come up into the evergreen. You can draw them in to make it easier for you to see. I just eyeballed it....sometimes it's a little more spontaneous for me. Next I moved over to the left to do the red bush. I used perm. alizarin crimson and raw sienna (you can you yellow ochre). First I made a mix of the two (more alizarin) and I also used the raw sienna separately. I started with the raw sienna toward the top of the bush and then added my mix into it. I wanted the top of the bush to appear a little lighter. I also added green into it towards the bottom of the bush with the same mix as the evergreen. It created a shadowed effect. Also being careful to do negative painting of the lilies in front of the bush. As you move over towards the figure, there are some yellow lilies there. I used winsor yellow for the flower tips and used a cobalt and winsor yellow (more yellow) mix to do the leaves. I added more cobalt to create a darker value (not too dark) within the leaves. Basically the lily leaves all over the painting to the right have 3 values. The light green (cobalt and winsor yellow), medium green...(more cobalt) and a darker value green (ultramarine and winsor).
As we move over to the lilies on the right you will see a variety of color within them. If I did the lilies all one color, I feel it would be quite boring. I also (of course) saw a lot of violet within the leaves. I will post the photo of the garden below. I started figuring out where I wanted the larger lily flowers to go and painted those in with alizarin and a little violet plus a dap or two of winsor yellow. You can darken them or lighten them how you want.....there is not set way to do this. I also added purple iris flowers in there (cobalt and perm. rose). I added the other lily flowers later after I painted some of the leaves so I could make it look like some leaves were going in front of the flowers. Just be careful not to make them look to aligned and even with each other. It's natural to want to do that. After that I started to paint the light value of the leaves as mentioned above. Just quickly stroking in shapes. As you notice as you get to her hip area the leaves go out more horizontally. Change them up so they don't all go in the same direction. You can look at the photo below. I then painted the medium value green. Used that to add stems to flowers and other areas that needed to be darker. Next I worked on some darks within those shapes. Many of the darks appear triangular in shape. Try to look at shape and not the fact you are painting leaves. Squint your eyes at the photo below and notice the values shapes....if you do, it will become a lot easier to see. I decided that many of my leaves had looked too individual so I took the medium value green and just threw it into the leaf area and blobbed it in to mix it up a bit. It helped also to fill in some empty white spaces I had. I added violet in the area down further. A mix of ultramarine and alizarin with a dash of burnt sienna. You can probably see where I put that. Dropping in a little burnt sienna down by the base of the lilies near her foot adds interest.
Now we move on to the statue itself. Fun! I gave her a wash of cobalt blue (watered down....not too dark!!!) in all her shadowed areas first. Being careful not to cover the highlighted areas!! The very outer areas of her arms, the top of her head, her legs and pedestal all have a sort of halo of white around it.....including interior portions. By doing this, it helps to establish the areas you need to paint and the blue is a good base. I used some drybrush techniques as I layered other colors so it looks like stone. I used yellow ochre next in drybrush and also cobalt with perm. rose in it. Some areas I used a little green to create the feeling of moss, like under her arms. That's how far I have gotten. Will add more later!