Laurin McCracken: Step-by-Step Watercolor Technique

Laurin McCracken has put the skills learned over the years as an architect, drawing, photographing and observing into use as a watercolorist.

Born in Meridian, Mississippi, he attended Auburn University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University
and a Masters in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University.

Watercolor Technique – The Process of Creating 2 Yellow and 1 Red on Foil 20″ x 26″
My process:

Watercolor Technique Step 1
1. The photograph of the still life of two yellow pears and one red pear on aluminum foil.
Watercolor Technique Step 2
2. The drawing – This was done in 2h Lead, therefore this image has been made very high contrast to show detail
Watercolor Technique Step 3
3. Wetting the brush – The start of the painting
Watercolor Technique Step 4
4. The Pears have received their basic color washes, detail will be added last
Watercolor Technique Step 5
5. Masking the highlights in the foil with Daniel Smith Artist Masking Fluid, here you can see that I paint from a large photo
Watercolor Technique Step 6
6. Painting the foil – “Inch by Inch”, I cut the photo into pieces so I can get it close to the area I am painting
Watercolor Technique Step 7
7. The first foil emerges behind the pears, I remove the masking fluid as soon as possible to prevent any damage to the paper
Watercolor Technique Step 8
8. The foil marching around the pears, showing the masking of the next section to be painted
Watercolor Technique Step 9
9. I am laying in the colors that are under the primary reflections
Watercolor Technique Step 10
10. The foil has wrapped all the way around the pears
Watercolor Technique Step 11
11. The folds in the foil are painted using the classic “British Two-brush” technique
Watercolor Technique Step 12
12. This is the under-painting of the background with the refection of the pear, note the masking of the other reflections under the foil
Watercolor Technique Step 13
13. I masked the pears with light-weight tracing paper to protect them while I paint the background, here I have laid on the black in one layer of thick wash
Watercolor Technique Step 14
14. I have removed the tracing paper mask and painted the reflections under the foil by lifting in some areas and blending the masked highlights into the shadows
Watercolor Technique Step 15
15. Adding the finishing touches, such as the bruises to the pears


Watercolor Technique Step 16

16. The finished painting: “2 Yellow 1 Red on Foil”