Here’s an example of why you can afford to be bold with your first wash. On Sunday I was back in London, braving the crowds in Leicester Square to paint this. I was painting into the strong yellow winter sunset, which gave the scene a wonderful warm glow.
This is the very first wash, and a poor photo of it:
Now this first wash may look horribly bold and non-realistic, but my thinking was:
- In real life, the scene was positively glowing – the photo doesn’t do it justice. Digital cameras are designed to normalise colours unless you use a sunset setting, so often won’t record strong colour casts accurately.
- Most of this will be covered up by later (largely grey) washes. So the only “pure” bits of wash showing will be reserved highlights (where the colour won’t be noticeable) and in the sky (which isn’t so bold)
- The colour that shows through will gently boost the general mood without looking too strong.
You can see that I also didn’t want too much attention paid to the figures, which I prefer to leave as a near-abstract mass. Details can come later – but that’s for another post!