Removing a Figure


It is a popular belief that correcting or altering a watercolour painting is very difficult if not impossible.

For this reason many people prefer oil or acrylic, because with an opaque medium such as these, you can more or less “paint over” any mistakes.

With this in mind I thought you might be interested in a quite serious alteration I have just made to one of the painting projects in my online tutorials.

Removing a Figure

Step 1

Before starting, I secured the paper to a drawing board with masking tape; any cockling wouldn’t be a problem as I had painted the scene on 300lb (640gsm) paper.

I then took a small, natural sponge that I had dipped in water, and squeezed it out, so that it was wet but not dripping wet.

I then washed out the figure, rubbing quite vigorously to remove as much paint as possible but taking care not to disturb the lamp post, as re-painting that would have been an added complication.

It was important at this stage to have a soft edge around the rubbing out, as this would make it easier to fill in the background invisibly.

Removing a Figure

Step 2

You can see from the close up, that at this stage there was still a sort of ghost outline of the figure.

It was not possible to completely remove all traces of the figure, but when it was dry I had a go at removing any pencil lines with a putty rubber, which as you also can see from the close up was only partially successful.

Removing a Figure

Step 3

I then proceeded to carefully re-paint the background, just in the “rubbed out” area, taking care to mix the colours accurately, so that they matched the whole of the background.

I brushed in clean water at the edges, as I painted, so as to soften the new colour into the previous colours, working from the far river bank towards the foreground.

At the end of this stage, I had to use a touch of white gouache on the river as I could still see a bit of the outline of the figure.

I then painted in the far railings, followed by the near railings, and the area where they meet the ground, before re-establishing the colour of the path and shadows in the foreground.

The very final step, was to reinstate the suggestions of dead leaves etc on the path, in the very foreground.

Removing a Figure

I hope you agree, that this looks better without the extra morning walker.

Removing a Figure

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