My daughter wanted this painting for her room. I loved the elephant photo too and was more than happy to give it a try. It required a background technique that was new to me. I could have forgone the background altogether, but I think it works well with the painting and I would not have been happy without the texture it provided. So, off I went to watch a tutorial provided by Louise De Masi on YouTube explaining how to achieve the desired effect. If you are looking for a textured background and want to give it a try, you can watch the video here:
This was my second attempt at this type of watercolor background. It requires the kind of patience that I have to psych myself up for. My first try at this watercolor technique was a complete and utter failure. I kept lifting the cling wrap to check the progress. The background used in this painting requires a wet on wet technique. First, you must thoroughly wet the paper, drop in the watercolor, cover with cling wrap (Saran Wrap is what I used) and allow to sit until completely dry. Optimum results are achieved by letting it dry overnight and that is where I got into trouble. I kept wanting to lift the cling wrap to have a peek. By moving the cling wrap, the process is disturbed, leaving a flat painted background instead of having the texture that is needed to achieve the desired effect.
To protect the pencil drawing, I first outline the elephant sketch using Molotow Art Masking Fluid. The masking fluid that I prefer to use comes in a pen. I use it to draw over the pencil outline, allow it to dry (it dries blue and dries quickly) then peel it off once the background is finished. It prevents the watercolor from bleeding onto the elephant. Below is a picture of my masking fluid pen and a link to it: https://amzn.to/3n810kM
The colors that I used in this painting include brown ochre, burnt sienna, french ultramarine, paynes gray and white gouache for the eyelashes. I used cold pressed watercolor paper, again simply because I like the texture.
I end today with a shout out to all my photographer friends out there, I am looking for another elephant reference photo to use!