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These are watercolor/gouache studies for a large scale oil painting designed for St. Thomas Aquinas in Zanesville, Ohio. Mary Magdalen is finished in oil so far, John the Baptist is still in progress. The pastor had the idea for the project–to create a reredos in the sanctuary picturing all dominican saints. The two closest to the tabernacle were St. John and St. Mary Magdalen, considered to be the first preachers of Christ, which is relevant because the dominicans are called the order of preachers.
For this watercolor effect I tried doing a very detailed high-contrast underpainting in burnt umber then spray fixing it. Then I could wash the red ochre over top and retain the rendering. I use spray fix a lot with watercolor to get the same contrast and color you can get with oil washes. The only bad thing is the fixative can create a mat film on top of a thick layer of gouache, or several layers of watercolor so I never use it as a final top layer.
I will update at a later time with the final oil paintings.