Here is a good illustration of how watercolor paints lighten as they dry. I painted this bluff a couple of weeks ago and put it away so that I could get a fresh look at it later. After looking at a painting intently for several days, it's hard to really "see" it anymore. Today I decided to take it out and decide what do to with it. This is how it looked when I pulled it out of the drawer:
|Just not quite as dramatic as it should be..|
This piece really needed something to make it pop out. It just looked unfinished and anemic. Mixing up a strong puddle of Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue, I decided to see if I could make the sun light on the rock faces stand out more with deeper shadows.
|Using dark paint mixtures helped give the finished piece the punch it needed.|
After the shadows were darker, I could see that the foreground needed to get deeper in value as it came forward, so I darkened it and added a bit more vegetation. I think it helped to keep the eye on the bluff area instead of letting it stray off of the bottom edge of the painting. It has been a great reminder to me that painting with watercolor requires painting your shapes darker than you want the finished piece to be.