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Oyster Creek

My childhood buddy, Alex, and I would go duck hunting from time to time in the little cove at the foot of Chuckanut Ridge. No matter what the weather, it was always bright and breezy out on the Spartina flats. The key to living long term in northern Puget Sound is to get a place right on the water.

Watercolor is all about placing dark next to light. You don't have all the finesse of oils, so the composition must do most of the work. For conifers, I like to mix a dark green with Payne's Grey, put it on heavy, and let it dry. Then come back with a razor blade and add grassy stalks and plant patterns. If the moisture is just right, you can achieve a nice scratch without tearing the paper. Blade work is a cheap way to add detail and distance. I also like to put a few water droplets of different sizes on dark trees. I let the droplets stand for a couple minutes, then soak them up by pressing a wad of paper towel down hard onto each. Leaves a nice texture that suggests muted light coming through branches. Instead of round dots (like I used here), its better to make them ovals and tilt them away from the trunk a little, so they more closely mimic the openings in the branches above. I have never actually thought about this stuff until now.

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