Powerful machine meets flowing watercolour - with Marina Abramova

Watercolours and excavators - for the artist Marina Abramova this forms an inseparable unit of heavy equipment and light colour application. In this step-by-step instruction she describes how she works and amazes us, how wonderful seemingly atypical motifs can be artistically combined.

You will need:

  • Colours: Schmincke HORADAM® AQUARELL Indian yellow (220), permanent red orange (360), Perylene violet (371), manganese violet (474), Ultramarine blue (496), Caput mortuum (645), Iron oxide black (791) and AQUA DROP in neutralgrey (720)
  • Paper: Hahnemühle Cezanne 300 g/m2 56 x38cm
  • Brushes: by da Vinci series 5588: Cosmotop Spin pointed oval shape (N24) and round shape (N10, N6); series 5519: brush size 5, brush width 2.85 mm (a special brush with stepped, extralong and finely drawn Kolinsky red sable lace and brush body made of squirrel hair); series 304: Synthetics, flat school brush size 12 and series 1381: Effect brushes
  • Opaque white (e.g. Stylex stationery)
  • Spray bottle with water

It's time for a new excavator! I have seen this one during a walk in December - it was almost the only colour in this monochrome winter landscape without snow. This is exactly how I want to paint it - a big yellow excavator with almost black and white background. The row of trees, which almost look like triangles from this perspective let me think of creating the painting so that the dark earth and the dark trees form a diagonal. I will use a strongly reduced colour selection for the details of the excavator, the earth, and the trees.


Step 1

For this motif I use half a sheet of the Cezanne 300 g/m2 from Hahnemühle. I draw the outline of the excavator and mark a littlebit the places where the trees are supposed to stand.


Step 2

For the sky I mix perylene violet, ultramarine, caput mortuum and iron oxide black with lots of water and paint a loose background. In some parts I use a little more of one colour, in other parts - I take more of the other colours. Now the excavator also gets its first colour: Indian yellow and a little Permanent red orange. It is good if the yellow runs out of the contours of the machine and mixes spontaneously with the grey of the sky. Thus, you can give the painting the necessary harmony. Now I let the first, very delicate colour layer dry well.


Step 3

Now it's time to paint the trees. They should look almost like awall, but with some recognizable details. I use iron oxide black,caput mortuum and manganese violet for the branches and twigs. It will be easier if you use the liner-brush and the effect brush. Some areas will be wetted, others stay dry. I also use my fingers to spread the colour.


Step 4

Finally, the new AQUA DROP will be used. At the horizon line th edetails of the trees are no longer clearly visible. The dark background should emphasize the excavator. The liquid AQUA DROP watercolour in neutral grey connects the already painted parts of the tree, therefore, I can use the colour directly from the pipette. In some places I also spread the colour using my spray bottle filled with water. This strengthens the density ofthe trees.


Step 5

Now I wet the main parts for the earth and the chains of the excavator. A few details will be added later, so these parts remain dry. I will use again the iron oxide black together with AQUA DROP neutral grey, so that there is a lot of colour at the horizon which slowly runs down into the white area.


Step 6

As last steps I add some details. At the excavator shovel I do not only use iron oxide black, but also caput mortuum and perylene violet. The site fence and some lights and highlights are paintedwith opaque white and permanent orange. Thus, I complete my watercolour painting and let it dry.