Excavator in watercolour with Marina Abramova

The artist tells us of her idea: "Excavator in watercolour - is one of my favourite themes. I like this contrast between the light, flowing watercolour and the heavy construction machines. In this painting I explore the process of extracting raw material. The vehicle and the excavator are heavy and remain quite stable while the shovel of the excavator moves and the raw material flows.

You will need:

  • Colours: Schmincke HORADAM® AQUARELL ivory black 780, Delft blue 482, cobalt turquoise 509, cobalt coelin 499, quinacridone gold hue 217, Indian yellow 220, saturn red 359, permanent red orange 360, cadmium yellow medium 225
  • White pastel
  • Paper: Hahnemühle Leonardo 600 g/m2 48 x 36 cm
  • Brushes: da Vinci series 550: Flat brush goat hair, 30mm, series 5588: Cosmotop-spin pointed-ovale form (N24) and round form (N10, N6), series 5519: brush size 5, brush width 2,85 mm (a special brush with a set-off, extra-long Kolinsky red sable tip and brush body made of squirrel hair), Series 304: Synthetics flat school brush size 12

Step 1

For this watercolour painting I use the Leonardo 600 g/m2 from Hahnemühle as a block in the size 48 x 35 cm. This is very suitable for long work with colour gradients. I draw the scene, only the rough shapes are important, details come later.

Step 2

Excavator and vehicle are painted using negative technique. That's why I wet the whole sheet first and work on the first layer. For the background behind the excavator, cobalt turquoise and cobalt coelin and a little cadmium yellow are used. For the vehicle I use Indian yellow and cadmium yellow plus grey-violet for the floor. I seldom use fresh grey, but the colour remainings of my palette - it usually looks" more natural" than fresh grey colours.

Step 3

Now I'm going to focus on the background. I wet everything except the machines and put a mixture of Delft blue, hematite black, quinacridone gold hue, saturn red and permanent red orange on the wet paper. I vary the amount of each color, so that at the end you will achieve beautiful violet-blue-brown gradients. Thus, you can paint stone without actually having to paint stones. While this mix is still wet, I add cobalt turquoise - it immediately looks noble and fresh. Where the shovel "pours out" the material, Indian yellow and quinacridone gold hue are used.

Step 4

When the paper is only slightly damp, the time has come for effects. With small flat brushes I "stroke" the paper and the traces bring dynamics into the painting.

Step 5

Now I work on the devices. I paint the areas of windows, cabins and so on with cobalt turquoise, cobalt coelin, ivory black.

Step 6

Small details. From my experience I know: details on dry paper often look a bit boring. That's why I slightly wet necessary areas with a wet cloth. Now the lines will "vibrate" - sometimes exactly, sometimes slightly blurred. I also vary the colour - ivory black and Delft blue.

Step 7

Now I add a few splashes of watercolour, some white sparks with a white pastel and of course the signature.