For the fourth craft in my Library Roulette Class 700 project, I painted the Northern Lights.
This time, my random number was 751, which is the category for Painting Techniques, procedures, apparatus, equipment, materials, forms. The book I selected is Color Harmony for Artists: How to Transform Inspiration into Beautiful Watercolor Palettes and Paintings by Ana Victoria Calderón.
It begins with an introduction to color theory, then the bulk of the book consists of two-page "Inspired Palettes" spreads. These are divided into categories: Notable Art Movements; Expressive Skies; Colorful Cultures; Animal Wonders; Cities, Towns, and Destinations; Influential Eras; Remarkable Landscapes; Florals and Still Life; Mineral Riches; and Human Hues. For each spread, the left page has an introduction and a photograph. The right page has a large palette inspired by that photograph and a smaller painting below.
This book is absolutely beautiful. I love flipping through it and seeing all the inspirational palettes. It was very difficult to select just one palette for my Library Roulette project, but something about the Northern Lights stood out to me. Probably because I had just discussed tentative plans with my sister for a family trip to Iceland. Honestly though - I could have picked a page at random and happily painted whatever was there.
While this book is positively packed with inspiration, it is not an instructional book. You won't find any step-by-steps or helpful hints. For that, you're on your own. I don't really know what I'm doing with watercolors, so my attempts to paint the Northern Lights ended up a bit muddy as I tried to layer colors and blend them.
Here's a look at my process. I started by taping off a page in my sketchbook, then swatched colors from my favorite watercolor set.
Then I did a basic undercoat. Rather than rinsing away the excess paint, I just put it on the right-hand page. No plan or goal.
When that was dry, I sprayed some white mist for stars, then added a simple foreground. I don't really like the results, but that's ok. I really enjoyed the book and might try the Northern Lights project with acrylics, which are easier for me than watercolors. Maybe I won't. Either way, it was fun, I discovered a great new book, and I learned something, so mission accomplished.