2015 will be the year of the sheep, not the Year of the Cat. But somehow the song by Al Stewart—a hit way back in 1976—keeps running through my head. There is so much beautiful imagery in the song, but my favorite line is: "She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running like a watercolour in the rain..." I kept wanting to try and illustrate it. It took three tries until I got something I liked.
I started the page with Derwent blocks on Coquille watercolor paper, and using both a koi watercolor brush and a traditional sable brush, added color and water until I got something soft and dreamy. I left white space where I wanted the figure to go.
From a fashion magazine, I chose a photo of a model in a silky slip dress, carefully cut out the figure, and used matte medium to adhere it to the page. That dress had a black and white diamond pattern, so I tried whiting it out with a white Crayola water soluble Slick Stix. It didn't cover as opaquely as I wanted, so I carefully painted over the dress with white gesso.
Then it seemed that the white dress was too stark, so I gently added a touch of color on top of the gessoed dress with Derwent blocks in shades of orange and pink.
The song also refers to "...the blue tiled walls near the market stalls..." so I wanted to add a suggestion of tile—not necessarily blue tiles, but a feeling of tiles—without competing with the subtlety of the watercolor and dress. With a Faber-Castell: Stampers Big White Brush Pen, I used sections of the Balzer Design Flower Piecing and Doily stencils in just a few places. The edge of the Doily stencil in the top left corner hints at the sun. The subtlety of the white brush pen over the watercolor background was just what I wanted, and kept the feeling of watercolors in the rain.