Guardian: Watercolor | Process

Surprise Monday night post!

I just about finished rebranding this week!  I’m really excited about this, because I created a piece that’s entirely new to go on my business cards that I would like to talk about:

So, Happy Late Easter to those who celebrated! I’m breaking the Friday schedule to show you all a new painting, and how I used the holiday’s decor to help me.

Guardian, 12×18 watercolor painting, © 2019

The prep work for this piece took about two hours and the actual painting from sketch to painting to outlining to digital tweaks took four hours, rounding to a total of six hours.

Planning for this piece began with an idea.  I knew I wanted to paint something ethereal involving a glowing deer.  Then I made a sketch.  At that point, it was around 3 am at night and all I had on me was my phone, so I made a sketch with my finger in the notes section.  See, no excuses to not sketch!

It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to get the basic idea across so you don’t forget what you want to paint for later.

After that, it was a matter of finding reference photos.  The forest was easy, as there’s lots of wonderful free references of forests on Unsplash.com.  

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

I took all my elements and pieced them together in Photoshop, but once I did so I realized there was something horribly off. 

I really wasn’t a fan of the bunny I had grabbed; the way his ears bent down made him look gloomy.  It felt as if he was looking at the deer with a heavy heart, expecting impending doom.

However, no matter what I did, I could NOT find an image of a rabbit from behind that worked for me.  I wanted a bunny on alert, but all the pictures of bunnies on their hind legs were from the front.  There were hardly any pictures of bunnies from behind as it was.

That’s when I realized: Easter was only a few days away, and I was within walking distance to a mall with multiple department stores FILLED with ugly decorations of Peter Cotton Tail.  At my first store, I found this weird candle holder, turned it around, and got the perfect reference!


I flipped it vertically so his sight was in line with the deer, and viola, I had all the elements I needed to make this happen.

If you like this painting, you can buy a print of it here: https://bmartinart.threadless.com/designs/guardian/home 

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