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Forest Goddess – Step by Step Watercolor Painting FAQ and Tips!

“Forest Goddess” 
a Step by Step watercolor painting FAQ and Tips.

Today post feature the release of my new painting titled “Forest Goddess”!

Who follow me on Instagram @carolinarussoart  had already seen some images of this painting posted as WIP  “work in progress”. Today I am releasing the finished piece and posting all the photos here. This is a post different from my usual. And if you are a beginner artist or a creative you will find some good tips. From time to time I have been asked many interesting questions about my creative process while working on a watercolor painting. Today I will use this post to share my answers to some of these questions and write about the steps I take while creating my paintings. This isn’t a tutorial but I will guide you through my process and giving some good tips that works for me. I have just completed this painting “Forest Goddess” and while working I took several photos to show you the work in  progress from the starting sketch to the end, which will help to illustrate my answers to the questions. For this post I have selected three interesting and helpful questions for now I will answer and give a tip to these ones, maybe in the future I will make a FAQ page.

1) Question:  What does inspire you?
I get asked this question a lot,  isn’t the first time that I answer that inspiration for me can come from anything, I can be looking outside the window, or reading, or while I am walking in nature or browsing on internet and more. Anything can inspire and it can happen anytime, anywhere I have just be ready to receive my inspiration and transform it in a tangible painting!

>Tip: A good thing I always do and this is my tip for you is to always carry a small notebook or sketchbook a pencil and a pen to take notes or for a quick sketch, take it with you especially when you’re on the go out of home or travelling, because when an inspiration or idea strikes your mind, it will go away very fast as it came, so it need to be captured on any sort of paper if you want to work on it later on! This is good to do, not just for artists, but also for writers or anyone that has a creative mind and makes creativity a part of their daily life.

Stage 1 Inspiration and pencil sketch – For this painting I was inspired looking at images of wildlife, trees and animals and I got in the mood  to create an ethereal goddess inspired by the beautiful nature of the forest. Here below you can see my pencil sketch and how my inspiration of this beautiful imaginary Goddess begin to come alive. I made my sketch on watercolor paper because this is the medium I chose for this painting.

Forest Goddess -Sketch – Original Watercolor ©Carolina Russo

2) Question: Do you paint/draw from your imagination or from what you see around you?
This is a good question! I actually draw or paint very often from my own imagination or from memories I have, I also love drawing from what I see around me. It depends of what I am drawing or creating. Sometimes I use reference photos if I am sketching something realistic or something that I never sketched before.  To be precise on a realistic drawing I refer to images. But many times I paint straight with the watercolor on paper without even make a prior pencil sketch. I like to do that especially with flowers. I like to let the watercolor flow and create the shapes then guide of my brush. When I paint faces I prefer to make my pencil drawing first and then lay the watercolors. In  “Forest Goddess” painting I made the drawing from my own imagination reference. I love to bring imaginary faces to life that’s how I made the pencil sketch that you see in the photo above. I haven’t used any reference photo for her face. Drawing faces without reference isn’t easy especially for beginners, you need to practice a lot and get familiar with face shapes, eyes, nose, lips, facial expressions, it takes time and practice to memorize and be able to create faces without photo references.

>Tip: Practice a lot observe everything in detail, challenge yourself to draw daily not just to train your imagination and memory but also your hand. At first keep drawing easy things, many times with photo references, then when you feel more confident, try drawing without photo reference and see how much your memory works from your imagination. I don’t want to discourage anyone but keep in mind that takes time, consistency and perseverance. Don’t stress about it enjoy the process it’s not a race, just love what you’re doing and you will see how far you go.

Forest Goddess – Original Watercolor ©Carolina Russo

Stage 2 start painting with watercolor – At this point my painting is at the begin of stage two. After the pencil drawing I am starting with the watercolors on the face. I decided that I wanted to use a very delicate palette because I want this portrait to look ethereal and I limited myself to use just three or four colors the most. In my imagination  I have seen her figure very delicate,  light, airy, heavenly, and the dominant color was white that’s how she appeared in my mind. She is  wearing a headpiece symbolizing the nature and it is a crown made of small roses and thin branches. She has beautiful long hair moved by a light breeze and is wearing a white celestial dress trimmed with gold. I painted this portrait leaving the background purposely white to give lightness showing the beautiful grain of the watercolor paper.

Forest Goddess – Original Watercolor ©Carolina Russo

 On this photo you can see that I started to paint her hair playing with the tones of gray creating light and darker shades to emphasize the hair movement. At this stage I have been pretty pleased with the lightness of the outcome and got struck on what to do next. I loved this barely use of watercolor in contrast with the pencil sketch and I have been debating if keep going on with my usual style adding the use of ink pens and line work. I loved already how it was just like this and I was afraid to ruin it with the definition added by the pen work. I had to think…I took a break of a couple of days to go back on later and see how I would feel about it.

3) Question: What do you do when you get stuck on a painting?
Every artist get stuck at times it’s normal and part of being an artist. When you get stuck means something and you need to listen when this happens. The first thing you need to do is leave everything and “STOP” walk away from your artwork put it away where you cannot see it. Take a deep breath and go to do something else, leave your studio, go out to have a walk, do something that distract yourself. Come back only when you’re ready to look at it again, it can be after one hour or days only come back when you feel ready to give it a serious look, contemplate in silence and observe, then ask yourself what is needed in your painting and you will get the answer, your painting will tell you just looking at it.

>Tip: When you get stuck take a break “Stop” everything for a while do something else. Come back later when you’re ready and listen what your painting is telling you. Never give up on a painting, if you’re not ready go back to it again later.

Forest Goddess – Original Watercolor ©Carolina Russo

 Stage 3 decisions and final touches: At this point I was at stage three I came back to my painting after being a part with it for several days! And I have decided to go on with the ink pen and doing some fine line work, I used Copic Multiliner pens with #0.1 and #0.03 tips this will  leave the painting just more defined but still have a feeling of lightness. I also used touch of gold ink on the head-piece the thin branches of her crown are in gold ink and on the dress neckline there is a gold trim. I gave a touch of white ink just to give more contrast in her hair.

At this point my painting is finished! I am really pleased with the outcome and I hope that you like it too. Today I release the Limited Edition Art Prints for this new painting and it would be available for pre-order here on my Blog first.

One last question for this post….

4) Question: Why did you chose the medium of watercolors?
During the past 20 years, I evolved in my passions, experiencing my artistic visions and taught myself other skills and art forms that I love to work with such as digital art and photography. Watercolor painting came to me naturally into my life. I never took a watercolor class. I also enjoy acrylics and mixed media, but my favorite medium when I paint is watercolors. I love the fluidity, transparency and elegance of this beautiful medium. Experimentation with different media and exploring new techniques is something that I always loved to do. I like to explore the horizons of my creativity and see where it takes me.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to tray new mediums and form of art, there is a lot out there to experiment and work with.  Open your horizons to find your voice.

Forest Goddess – Original Watercolor ©Carolina Russo  

In this last photo you can see what art supplies I used to create my painting I will list them here in the “Details”!

Details about my watercolors:
 My watercolors usually are outlined with black and white ink pens. I used  French Artists Watercolors  Sennelier  l’Aguarelle,  Ink pens used COPIC Multiliner Black ink #01 and 0.03 . White and Gold Gelly Roll (Japan) pens. A Alvin Draft/Matic #03 Limited Edition Pink Mab Graves Pencil a THINEX Vintage Pencil Carmine Red 425T.  Pentel Aqua Brush – I painted on Bee Paper for watercolor 140lb, 100% cotton, cold pressed, size 6×9 inches .

You can see more of my Paintings visiting my  GALLERY  there are several Galleries here on my Blog you find  them in the drop down menu under Watercolors.

All my collections of watercolors paintings and illustrations are available for Pre-Order in Limited Edition Art Prints   here on my Blog!
Some of them are also available on my Etsy Shop CarolinaRussoArt.

Please follow me on my Instagram account dedicated to my Art! @carolinarussoart





I hope that reading this post inspired, helped and motivated someone!
Keep creating!

Thank You!

©Copyright Carolina Russo – yesterdayafter.com