Milind Mulick, "Valdemossa Light" article for DANIEL SMITH

This is a stage by stage process of the studio version of  “Valdemossa Light” painted from a photo reference.

Most of the time when I paint in-studio from a reference photo, I refer to some of the sketches done on the spot or rely on my memory to remember the feel of the place.

Watercolor plein air painting of Valdemossa in Spain by Milind Mulick
Plein air painting of Valdemossa.

As I had already almost a finished painting on the spot itself, and the feel of the location was easy to recollect.

Reference photo of Valdemossa, Spain, Milind Mulick
Reference photo of Valdemossa.

The photo reference will give you all the information needed but I think the experience which we have with all our five senses … like smell, sounds, etc. are also important. These things that we recall make a difference in the painting.

Pencil sketch for watercolor painting, Valdmossa Light by Milind Mulick
Stage 1. Pencil sketch of Valdmossa.

Stage 1 – Pencil sketch.

I blocked in the major shapes of the scene. Usually my pencil work is quite random and more of a loose approximation.

I am not that patient, so rather than spend a lot of time doing the pencil work, I prefer to focus on the general space division, a general movement, and interlocking of shapes in the painting.

Milind Mulick's watercolor palette with DANIEL SMITH Watercolors
Stage 2. Laying out the colors for “Valdemossa Light”.

Stage 2 – Laying out my colors for the painting.

Here I lay my colors in the palette…. though I have all the paints of my choice in my box (just received my DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Dot Card with all my picks!), I still like to use limited shades for every painting in a separate palette. [See Milind’s Dot Card color list further below].

If I need any extra accents, I keep a standard box of paint alongside for easy access.

The shades here are Cobalt Blue, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade), Permanent  Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna and Hansa Yellow Light.

Basic watercolor washes for Valdmossa Light, watercolor painting by Milind Mulick
Stage 3. Starting with basic washes.

Stage 3 – Starting with basic washes.

The basic wash starts from the top with mix of Cobalt Blue and a touch of Phthalo Blue (GS) blending with Burnt Sienna and bit of orange created by mixing Hansa Yellow Light and Permanent Alizarin Crimson.

Below that I add a fresh green, obtained by Hansa Yellow Light and Phthalo Green (YS) in different  proportions.

Further down I add hints of a reddish yellow and some neutral achieved by blending Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue.

Adding in the background for Valdmossa Light, watercolor painting by Milind Mulick
Stage 4. Adding the background.

Stage 4 – Adding the background.

Here I’ve started with background cluster of distant buildings. If you notice it is one uniform variegated wash. I have used a transition of warm and cool colors, a warm mixture of Burnt Sienna, Hansa Yellow Light and Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and a cool mix mainly using Cobalt Blue and Permanent Alizarin Crimson. Permanent Alizarin Crimson being the common color in warm and cool but not showing anywhere in an isolated hue.

Care was taken in leaving the shining roof shapes alone.

Building up areas for Valdmossa Light painting by Milind Mulick
Stage 5. Building up areas.

Stage 5 – Building up areas.

At this stage there is a slow and deliberate build up of the shadow areas of the trees and foreground buildings and a mountain behind.

While a transition of warm and cool shades, tonal variation is important here…. mostly leaving accurate negative shapes (or positive) of light areas is the most important thing here.

Most of the painting is accurately built here and all that is needed further is the details. 

Valdemossa Light, watercolor painting by Milind Mulick
“Valdemossa Light”, Milind Mulick

Stage 6 – Final  

Tiny additions of dark windows and accents, with some sharp line work.

Consciously keeping the economy of details and yet not making an understatement is the challenge at this stage.

The darks are created using either Burnt Sienna and Phthalo Blue (GS) which is warmer or Phthalo Green (YS) and Permanent Alizarin Crimson for strong cool dark.


Why I Choose DANIEL SMITH Watercolors

“The biggest challenge of a realistic landscape watercolour painter is how to show the infinite color shades seen in nature and in the world from a finite palette that we have! Whether it be earth, stone, trees or any man made objects, we always see a huge color spectrum, let alone the light and atmospheric effects.

Happy to announce that the huge spectrum of DANIEL SMITH Watercolors has eased that so much for me…rich and lovely hues of pure pigments that I can mix and create almost any hue I want! But the real fun I get is from the chromatographic sedimentation which creates a textural rich surface with the special DANIEL SMITH multiple-pigment colors [such as Moonglow and Shadow Violet].

All in all, DANIEL SMITH gives me the most satisfying control to achieve my effects skillfully and can oftentimes give me surprise effects which excites me creatively! To put it simply, I can say DANIEL SMITH watercolor paint is not just paint but my fellow partner in the painting process.”

Milind Mulick’s DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Dot Card Colors


Photo of Milind Mulick

Milind Mulick is an internationally recognized popular Indian artist who’s been working consistently for over 35 years in watercolor.

His writing spans 12 books on art instruction and 5 on watercolor alone, the first of which was published in 2000 and sold over 100,000 copies. He has also written articles in English and French art magazines such as International Artist, The Artist, Artist Magazine, Watercolor Magic and others.

He teaches regular workshops and watercolor courses in India and has taught over 10,000 students thus far. One can easily call him the Indian ambassador of watercolor.

He has also taught workshops in Europe (mainly France, Spain, Sweden, Italy), Russia, Mauritius, Singapore, Dubai and Thailand.

He has exhibited solo shows in Pune, Mumbai and other big cities in India, Sweden, France, Spain, Singapore, Mauritius and Russia. Milind has also been an invited participant in many group shows across the globe.

His paintings have been selected for many watercolor society exhibitions including AWS for 3 consecutive years with paintings in private and corporate collections in India, Europe, USA, Singapore and many other countries.

Milind Mulick plein air painting at Valdemossa, Spain
Milind Mulick plein air painting at Valdemossa, Spain.