Big Bear Completed – Step 6

Step 9

Before tinting previously masked grasses, I stepped back from the painting to consider any final adjustments or improvements. Another way to do this, especially when working large, is to take a digital and study the thumbnail on your monitor.

Big Bear, 21x29, Watercolor ©June Rollins

Big Bear, 22×30, Watercolor
©June Rollins

I tinted the grasses and used gouache to lighten some areas in the distant mountains I thought were distracting.

ref photo

When you compare my watercolor to Franklin’s photo, you can see I simplified the land shapes. I intentionally placed a darker valued land shape to lead the viewer’s eye and to help move Big Bear forward. I also added a distant skyline.

This is the last post of a series focusing on the stages of painting Big BearThis painting is being donated to, 1st Annual Live United Gala, a local United Way fundraiser.

Choosing Big Bear Colors – Step 4

Step 5

Effortless illusion of distant terrain was created with Saran Wrap (Step 3). I’ve begun painting the rocks with Sepia and Cobalt Violet and put the first golden wash on Big Bear with Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna.

Step 6

On scrap watercolor paper, I consider the colors I want to use for shading Big Bear. You can also see I used masking fluid for fine lined grasses. Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus Watercolors: Cobalt Violet, Burnt Sienna, Sepia and Burnt Umber.


This is part of a series of posts focusing on the stages of painting Big Bear.

Coloring Big Bear’s World – Step 3

Step 3I always experiment with different color themes on a scrap piece of watercolor paper prior to beginning a new painting. I’m currently fascinated with the vibrancy of Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus Watercolors. (L-R): Phthalo Green, Cobalt Violet, Burnt Sienna, Cobalt Blue, Sepia and Burnt Umber.

Step 4

When I feel comfortable with the colors, I boldly move forward. Here, I’ve placed Saran Wrap into most of the wet washes and left it to dry overnight. See now, why I needed to save Big Bear? He would have been washed away🙂


This is part of a series of posts focusing on the stages of painting Big Bear.

Saving Big Bear With Frisket Film – Step 2

My plan is to cover the majority of the paper with dark valued hues, which means I need to save Big Bear, or save the white of the paper. I’m working on 140 lb. CP, so I used Extra Tack Frisket Film shown below:


I applied the frisket film, rolled with a brayer, used an X-acto knife to cut around the desired shape and peeled away the excess shown below.  Using Frisket Film

Step 2

Using frisket film is great for saving large shapes that are challenging to paint around. There are also other methods for preserving whites.


This is part of a series of posts focusing on the stages of painting Big Bear.

Be Careful When Drawing On Watercolor Paper

Step 1

I’ve decided to enlarge and transfer Franklin’s photo, 6″x 9″, to a 22″ x 30″ sheet of 140 lb. CP Watercolor Paper.

Because I want the bear to be accurate and I don’t want to erase on the watercolor paper, which would damage the tooth of the paper and adversely affect the watercolor’s appearance, I first worked on tracing paper and then transferred the image.

Click on these following links for more detailed, how-to info:

Lady Amethyst: to see photo of using tracing and transfer/graphite paper.

Theses are tools I relied on for my earlier work when desiring more representational results. For the last few years I’ve mostly painted without sketching using alcohol inks on Yupo/ceramic tile and with watercolor, as shown in 2015 30 In 30.

Now, I’m wanting to go in the direction of blending a representational subject into an interpretive setting. With oils, I enjoy working out the composition directly on the canvas as with, You Gotta Start Somewhere, because making initial adjustments doesn’t damage the painting surface. With watercolor, I sometimes use either the Grid Method or an Opaque Projector.


Click on the links below to learn more about these two popular enlarge and transfer methods:

1. Grid Method

2. Opaque Projector

The Opaque Projector is quicker and the one I used this time. This is considered cheating by some. Read more about the ongoing:

Big Controversy: Should Artists Use This Tool?

After clicking the above, Artist Daily (Nov. 2014), link, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the comments section to read most recent perspectives and opinions. Norman Rockwell, too…Oh, my.


The last and the next few blog posts will focus on the stages of painting Big Bear.


Dream Big…


This may get cropped down, but at least I can begin by dreaming big🙂

No, I didn’t take that bear photo😀 Franklin did.

My next few blog posts will share some of the stages of a watercolor inspired from

Franklin’s photo.

In search of some awesome reference photos that photographers want you to paint from?

Check out: Paint My Photo

Each month they offer a Monthly Challenge.

February Challenge is, The Hills Are Alive.

One of the most important things I learned from the Jan. 30 in 30 is to keep the momentum going….so, I’m taking it on and dreaming big.