Dear Art Colony,

   I am attempting to do a watercolor of a church for my Dad for Christmas. This is the first time I have used ink and watercolor together. I need help. I like the church but the landscaping is bad. My rocks look like lumps of oatmeal. I damaged the paper doing the sky and the hedge wasn't really supposed to be a hedge. I like the tree in the foreground but the ones in the back??. My art looks muddy not crisp. I am going to attempt another but I thought I would get some helpful feedback first. Thank you in advance. Ernst Grillheisi, I would love it if you could offer and opinion. I love your watercolors.

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Allison,

Watercolor is a medium that requires patience. I don't see any damage in the sky, but that may be due to the photo.  Once I've stretched my paper or use a block, I do one of two things, 1) I mask out the building or 2) wet the paper where the sky is and block that in first. Don't overwork the sky and then let it dry. You can work wet on wet or allow the wash to dry before adding another one. As to the rocks, I would darken areas that would be in shadow. The stone wall/hedge in the background I would lay in an umber or ochre wash overall, then when it is dry, lay in darker tones to establish the masonry.  The Church is beautiful and I love the perspective. As to the trees, lay in a wash of green, then when it is dry, dry-brush the ochre or fall colors or lay the ochre/fall colors first then dry brush the green in the darker areas.

Best of luck. 

Thank you so much for the help, Ed Kane. I really appreciate it.The reference picture I am working from is an old black and white taken in 1930 and only the church is detailed so the landscaping,(minus the foreground tree), I am making up. Thanks again! Alison.

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