Boy Chasing Ducks - Watercolor Custom Painting

People have such great ideas for paintings! The latest custom painting I have been working on was inspired by a video of a toddler chasing ducks at a pond.
The little boy's grandparents wanted two 8x10 watercolor paintings based on the merry chase. To the left is a detail from painting #1.

I'll show you how I painted it below. The full watercolor painting of the boy and ducks is here, if you'd like to skip the demo.

First of all, I need to capture images from the video to use as reference. So I pause the video at likely spots and take screenshots. Below are a couple of stills I decide to use:

Next I do a watercolor study at size 5x7 inches to get an idea of what I want to do. I sketch the composition out on a small piece of watercolor paper and paint! I like how it came out, so I decide to use this composition for the 8x10 watercolor. Here is the study:

The boy in the above study could be a bit larger than he is compared to the ducks, so I will make sure to adjust that in the drawing for the final painting.

I begin the 8x10 by painting the background shrubs and trees wet-into-wet to keep it soft:

Wherever there is water, there will be reflections. So the next thing is to paint the shrubs and trees again, but upside down! There are lily pads on the pond as well as ripples. All that must be taken into consideration when painting reflections.

Moss-covered stones line the pond:

The walkway will be dappled with cast shadow from a tree that is outside the picture. First, I paint the entire walk with a light color onto wet paper. When this dries, I can paint the shadows over it:

Here are some first washes for the boy and foreground - the ducks are pretty much done:

After spending some time adjusting details and value contrasts, the painting is finished. Click on the painting below to see it larger.

What do you think? Will he follow those ducks right into the water? Be sure to come back for painting #2 to find out!

I'm happy to take custom orders. Please contact me for a custom painting of your pet, home, garden, grandkids, favorite vacation spot or whatever your heart desires.
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Dipti said...

Beautiful painting.. And that happiness is really captured in this painting!!!

Janet Zeh said...

Thank you Dipti. That's exactly what I was hoping for! :)