Dragons are easier to find than you may think, and so I thought I would use my first blog to explain how I find them. Like ‘Magic Eye’ puzzles it takes some time to see them but when you have been hunting for a while you can find them everywhere.
Usually I start with a day of splashing strong watercolour paint over reasonably heavy watercolour paper, I use Bockingford 140lb NOT. First I lightly brush the sheet with clean water, this gives something for the paint to bleed into so that it has soft uncontrolled edges. Next I drop and splash on my chosen colours, I only use 2 or 3 different colours , this prevents it turning into a muddy mess. While it is still wet I sprinkle ordinary table salt over parts of the paper, the salt works with the paint to give a variety of textures, I may then add a little more colour. Very slowly the paint will find it’s own way and the salt will react leaving patterns in the paint. All that can be done now is to leave it to dry. It can take a day for some to dry totally so I will usually make lots of sheets at a time. This is a very messy process so do protect the area from unwanted splashes. As the paint dries the patterns will grow, you never know what will happen.
The following day, when all is dry I survey the results, it is like looking for shapes in the clouds. I turn each sheet around to see what is hiding there, sometimes it’s easy, sometimes I have to put them aside for a day or so and look at them with fresh eyes.
When I am sure of what I have found I use weak watercolour paint to enhance the shape and coax the dragon out, usually by negative shape painting. Picking out in this manner helps to reveal the dragon, from there it is a matter of layering and filling in with shadows and highlights to expose the full character of the beast.