Painting in the shadow

  • Thomas, here’s something that I do on occasion when I’ve overworked the paper to the point that it would take color anymore, and I feel the painting is ruined.  I use Sakura metallic and moondust gelly roll pens over the watercolor.  It adds shine to the dull look that has occurred.  I get more compliments on these ‘saves’ then I do on almost any of my other paintings.

    It’s more for fun, though, because I don’t think gel pens are lightfast, but you can get some cool effects.  The photo is already in the gallery so I’ve just posted the link here:

    Watercolor Painting & Sketching Gallery

    that’s a great idea and the pic is so unique looking. I think when we’re pushed out of our comfort zone things can happen that are miraculous. I also wonder if you could try watercolor pencils on that overworked section, no more water, but still the saturated color.

    I would think that watercolor pencils would work.  I don’t know if they would bring back the vibrancy that use lose from overworking the paper.  I’ll have to give that a try, because I definitely overwork enough art.  When I’m reviewing, I even do it on purpose so I can see how sturdy the paper is.

    good idea…

    Thanks for asking this question!  I’m self-taught – and self-leaning! – too and I really appreciate all of the answers.

    That’s a very comprehensive response Sandra!  I’ve been given the tip about using complementary colours for the shadows too.   I’ve also been told that shadows reflect all the colours surrounding them…  fascinating stuff.


    Thank you, Terri.  Color is definitely a complex subject and one you can spend a lifetime learning.

    Thomas, thank you for asking this question, as I also have problems with shadows.  Lots of useful advise to read and try to follow.


    These are great tips, Sandra. Thanks!


    Thanks, Mary, for the useful link.

    I can honestly say I cheat.. Until I learn better, lolol I go back in with water soluble oils pastels or water color pencils and even plain colored pencils or artist brush pitt pens.. (Within first 2-3 seconds the india ink is smudgable)

    Tamiko, that isn’t cheating, it’s just mixed media, lol! I say, whatever works, go for it!

    What Sandra said about complimentary colors is true, and also consider your tones or hues. Looking at your colors, online at least, shows me that your hues are almost all the same. Deep and rich tones…what you may try is varying the tones so that when you do shading, it shows up better.

    Lots of helpful info here. Thanks to Thomas for starting this topic and to all those who contributed.


    Thanks Sandra, great advice

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