Sunday, May 13, 2018

Spring 2018 Watercolor Class

Spring Watercolor Project: Magnolia Week 5

In both the classes last week I finished the project as much as I wanted to in class. As an artist you can always find "just one more thing" to do to a painting but it is better to live with it for a while to be sure it really needs to be done because if you fiddle too much you are bound to ruin what you already have, that is the point I am with these 2 paintings. I may or may not work on one or both at some point, I just need to look at them with fresh eyes and that is in the future - for now.

This is the finished version from the Monday class.

I did go back into my background with a more intense wash of color around the flower and branches. This more intense color really makes the flower pop.

This is the finished version from Wednesday.

Between the two, if I were to go back in and work on one it would be the Wednesday version because I do think - for my own tastes - I would like the background to be more intense in color like the Monday version but that is just my opinion. If you like how your's turned out, leave it alone.

The center from the Monday flower.

The center from the Wednesday's flower. 

One note on the dying edge on the shadowed petal, I used burnt sienna with a little orange for the "just dying" area and burnt umber for the dead edge because it is in the shadow and will be a bit darker.

From Wednesday's class. I did some detail work on the branches but at the top part of the branch to push it back a bit, with just water I lightly went over everything with a wide brush. This will soften the edges and fuzz them out making that areas look out of focus.

That is it for this project, we will be  doing some fun but practical things for the rest of the semester or you may work on your own projects, just keep painting and I will see you in class. 

I decided I needed to do something with the Wednesday version because to me it needed more color and more value in the background. I like it better now.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Spring 2018 Watercolor Class

Spring 2018 Watercolor Project: Magnolia Week 4


 The above images are from the Wednesday class to show what we worked on in class last time, basically it is just more of what we have been doing the past couple of weeks:  Adding more washes of color to intensify the color and darken the value.  Remember to leave lighter areas where you want it to look sunlit or to use lighter colors (more water than paint) in those areas and darker cooler (blue mostly, or a little purple) colors in the shadow areas. Have your reference photo in front of you to guide you.

This is from the Monday class, we are a little bit ahead of the Wednesday class so these are dome of the finishing touches.  I like to add what I call "bug bites" when I am painting plants. Plants in nature aren't usually perfect and I think those imperfections add character.  I start with a mix of yellow and orange and paint it along the edge of the petal, then rinse my brush and with a damp, clean brush and my whole brush edge touching the paper and the petal side to the color, I soften the edge of the yellow. WHILE THE COLOR IS STILL WET, I pick up burnt sienna on the tip of my brush and just touch the edge of the petal with the color and let it bleed on its own,  the key here is to work wet into wet.

This is also Monday's project.  The green center of the flower I used sap green with a touch of yellow and was using my small 1/4" angle brush. I left the little yellow scales on the green center by painting around the scales, this is negative painting.  The stamens I added a yellow/orange mix as well as an alizarin.  Remember that the stamens are curves as they come up and around the green center and they are longer than you think. When it was dry, I came back in with a dark mix of blue, sienna and a ting touch of purple to make the darkest shadows.

I also darkened the stem under the flower and around some of the closer branches and buds with the shadow mix from above.  This is the time to create contrast and detail to finish up your painting.

This is where I left off in the Wednesday class, we will be adding some finishing touches next class and possible finish up completely as well.
This is the Monday version and at this point I think I want to call mine done.  I will look at it for a few days though I am already seeing a few things I might want to improve on.  Finish your's up as you see fit.

Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Spring 2018 Watercolor Class

Watercolor Class Project: Magnolia Week 3

I think I have gotten both the Monday and Wednesday classes up to equal with each other, there are still things in both projects that we need to finish but really, not that much, it may only take a week or two - for me - to finish but I don't want anyone in either class to feel rushed. Take your time because if you try to make watercolor do something it doesn't want to do, you will not be happy with the results.

I am going to post the paintings from each class with a brief description in the post, if you need more detail scroll back to the previous post. I am very happy with what everyone is doing, when you are new to something it is always a challenge and watercolor has it's own challenges, keep up the good work, it will eventually make sense.

This is from the Monday class where we started adding shadows to the flower with a light lavender (ultramarine blue with tiny touches of purple and burnt sienna with lots of water). Be sure that the color is light, use layers of the light wash to darken shadows.
This is from the Wednesday class where we worked on basing the shadows in on the stems and branches along with adding the reddish color for the new growth.

Close-up of Monday's petals. I also went into the background with a blue-grey wash to darken the background and sharpen up the edges of my flower. I did this to both the Monday and Wednesday projects where I thought I needed it. I first wet a large area where I wanted the wash then just dropped the color in and let the watercolor do the work. By not trying to paint the area but just drop in the paint by touching the brush to the paper, I don't run the risk of disturbing the colors already there and create mud, a problem many of you had.

Again the Monday version with an area I added some more dark. By adding a darker color, it makes the light colors stand out, light and dark are values, all colors have various values from light to dark it is using the contrast between the light and the dark that creates depth and form, not the color or hue.

This is two layers of light lavender I used for the shadows on the Wednesday branches and twigs. I also used that color to suggest some of the scar marks (roundish circles on the branches) to suggest detail. We have more work to do but it is coming right along.

Both classes do the best you canto get your paintings to this stage as we will continue on. I will see you in class.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Spring 2018 Watercolor Classes

Spring 2018 Watercolor Class Project: Magnolia Week 2

In both classes we are doing the same project so I will have photos from both classes here. Apparently, I should review what I did in Monday's class before class on Wednesday because I did branches in one and flower in the other so don't panic if your painting doesn't look like what I post here, we will go over what I covered in class no matter what.

This is from the Monday class. I started working on the stems adding shadows and detail. The shadows were blue, purple and a little sienna and water to make it lighter. I also added in the center of the flower using an orange yellow mix and the end of my angle brush to make the stamens. Here I did not save the green center. 
This is from the Wednesday class. We took off the masking and under painted the stems with a very light grey (ultramarine blue and sienna with lots of water). Then we started adding shadows to our flower petals using a mix or ultramarine blue and a tiny touch of purple to make a lavender color.

Monday: When I added the shadows and some of the texture of the stems I was making a slightly rounded stroke that followed the shape of the stem, same when I added the green or the sienna. I lightly blended the colors with just a damp brush so they didn't have any hard lines.

Have your reference photo in front of you so you can see where the shadows need to go. The first wash you did last week is now the highlight for the stems, do not lose all that light because it will be hard to get it back.

This is from the Wednesday class but it shows the under painting for the new growth and bud. Sienna with a touch of either napthol or alizarin and water to lighten for the new growth and yellow with sienna to under paint the whole bud then add sienna with blue into the wet paint on the shadowed side.

This is from Monday where I have used basically the same colors around the bud but just a bit stronger mix leaving some of the lighter under painting for the highlight side.

This is from the Wednesday class. We added shadows to the flower petals. The mix was blue,a touch of purple (you can use alizarin if you want) and water though most of the water was added on the paper to create a graded color. Start where is is the darkest with your color like the top petal with a turn back, add it part way down then rinse your brush and most the color down following the shape of the shadow you see in the photo. On some of the petals the shadow is very light so add water to an edge of your mix to make a lighter color then go to the paper. The photo is your best guide for your light and dark areas so have it in front of you, not in your tote.

This is a close up of the curled back petal on the bottom with another petal underneath. It was very confused in the photo so this is my best guess as to what is going on with it. Notice that this petal is in complete shadow so it is much darker than any of the other petals except for 3 little dots of light.

This is where I left off in both classes. What I didn't cover in you class I will cover next time so I may not have much of a post next time so you may need to reference this post if you need help.

One thing I think I need to do on both paintings is to add some darker areas to my background and make both of them a bit tamer, I will do that next time, until then, keep painting and I will see you in class.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Spring 2018 Watercolor Class

Spring 2018 Watercolor Project: Magnolia Week 1

This semester both the Monday and Wednesday classes will be doing the same project, I will post photos from both classes so you can see the differences and the similarities. The beginning Wednesday class may take a bit longer to do than the Monday class but no one will be left behind.

I was asked about negative space last semester so I was looking for something with simple yet interesting negative space so my students could see and - hopefully - start to understand what negative space is and it's importance in a painting. Basically, negative space is the area around an object, in this case it is the background that you see through the branches and behind the flower but that is not the only negative space as you will see as we progress, it is just the most obvious.

We started out by putting the design on our paper. While it is okay to draw directly on the watercolor paper you need to remember that the surface of the paper can get damaged by erasing and once damaged, there is nothing you can do. It is better to work out your design on drawing paper then transfer that drawing by either using transfer paper (graphite paper) or using a light box.

In the Monday class we did mask out the flower and branches with masking fluid - the blue stuff on the one petal from Wednesday's class (see next image) - before we started painting, then wet everything around it with water then dropped color into the wet areas. When it dried, we removed the masking.

In the Wednesday class we wet areas as we went dropping color into each wet space. To mask or not to mask is up to the artist, I usually will use masking if I have small areas I want to protect or a background I want some continuity across the paper, however, it is important to know how to do both.

I do want you to note that my backgrounds are similar but different, they both look like they are in a swamp and that is because I am painting vertically so you can see what I am doing, while you may not want to paint vertically it is always good to have your paper elevated on one end so the paint moves otherwise it will just sit the and do nothing. Let gravity help you paint your picture.

In the Monday class we got a bit further and I added a very light wash of color to the branches, even those branches that look white towards the top have a light wash of color. Remember that we work from light to dark and the lightest thing on this painting will be parts of the flower (yes, only parts) so the flower will stand out when we are done, everything else needs to be darker.

Also, another thing to remember: Watercolor dries lighter so you end up doing layer or washes of color to get darker and richer values and colors. I may have to add a layer or two of wash over areas of the background depending on what I see as the painting develops.

Wednesday class I will go over how to paint the branches when I see you next so you do not need to paint them until then if you don't want to.

Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Winter 2018 Watercolor class

Watercolor: Sky, Water and Rocks - Putting it All Together
                    Week 1

Now that we have gone over some of the basics or skies, water and rocks we are going to put them all together to paint the photo I took from Pelican Cove. It is a simple image and if we break it down in stages it will be easy. Watercolor requires patience and that is where most beginners have their problems so step by step, no shortcuts.

First step was to get the sketch of the rocks and horizon line on my paper. Use a pencil that is dark enough to see without you pressing down too hard on the paper such as either a #2B or #3B. You want your sketch dark enough to see after a couple of washes but not so dark that it is noticeable when your painting is finished.

Next, I used a masking fluid on dry paper to protect the white tops of the rocks. Then I wet the paper along the top coast line where the foam would be then used the masking fluid in that area letting the masking fuzz out along the edges. Be sure to use enough masking to cover the area, too little and it may not protect the paper or be difficult to get off. I repeated that process along the bottom of the foreground rocks. 

Then I let it dry completely before working in that area.

While I was waiting for the masking to dry, I added my sky

First I wet the sky area with water then added ultramarine blue across the top and helped it down the page with a damp clean brush, just like we did in the studies.

I then turned the paper upside down and added a line of some orange/red I had on my palette and let that run down into the blue. Remember that your paper needs to be wet for this to work and watch it as it blends and moves, turning as necessary to get the blend you want. Lay it flat when you like the blend and let it dry.

When the masking was dry around the rocks, I under painted the rocks with a light wast of yellow, orange, sienna and touches of blue. starting with the yellow and oranges along the top or the rocks or where the rocks were dry on the shore, the sienna and blue were where the rocks were wet and darker. You can work wet into wet by first wetting the area or wet as you go with the paint (wet on dry). Let this dry.

The last thing we did for the day was to get our first wash of color for the water and this will work best if you dampen the paper with water first. Use a big brush to wet you paper and even when adding the color to this step because you want to work quickly enough to get the colors on while the paper is wet. Put away your tiny brushes for now.

While your paper is wet, I started at the horizon with my ultramarine blue and as I moved down the paper I added greens, lavenders and if you have other blues like cobalt, thalo or cerulean, you can add those as well just be sure that you water them down so they aren't too intense or dark. Streak them on and let the water on the paper and gravity do most of the work (you should have the top of your paper elevated anyway). Paint right over the masked area to be sure that you are getting the washes everywhere where it should be. then let it dry.

This is where we stopped for the day, we will continue with this painting next time. Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Winter 2018 Watercolor Class

Watercolor: Water and Rocks

I was a bit delinquent last week and didn't get the blog done for the water demo we had in the Watercolor Plus class and my Monday watercolor class just did water so this post will cover both the water demo and the rock demo to get us caught up

Water: The basics

The first thing we learned was how to use dry brush to create the impression of water with light sparkling off it. This technique can be use by its self or on top of other light washes. This is also a good technique for creating old wood or hair or grasses so it is not just for water.

The key to this is in its name: Dry brush.
You need to be sure that after you rinse your brush to squeeze the excess water out with your paper towel before you load your brush with paint and again to squeeze at the base of the brush after you load it to get out the excess you might have picked up with the paint and also to gently spread the bristles apart to have splits along the edge.

When you apply it to the paper, use very light pressure on your brush to get the effect you see above. The harder the pressure on your brush the more paint will come off.

The second method we used was wet into wet. First I wet the paper so the paint would move as I put it on, next I added a series of light washes and it wasn't just blue. I used my ultramarine blue, sap green, purple and even burnt sienna where the shore would be because water isn't just blue, look at the photo below to see how many colors are visible when you stop to look at water and if you were there, you would see even more, a photo just doesn't see what our eyes see.

Let the wet of the paper along with a slight elevation of the top of your paper help you blend your colors using long horizontal strokes and try to avoid stripes, add in some extra water if you need to.

Look at the different colors of blue, the lavenders, there are some reds from the kelp below and greens near the shore. Don't be afraid to add these colors to your water when you are painting it will make your water look more real.

I also did another one trying to do a more active type of water but it really didn't look much different than the one above so I'm not including that here, though if I wanted to I could change the one above from calm to turbulent if I wanted to, it is all in the brush strokes. 

There are many ways to paint water these are just a couple of examples, look in magazines or other artists' work to see how they handle water and find what works for you.


I have decided to use another photo I took from the same area I too the above image because it is simple and covers everything we have been doing in class: Sky, water and rocks. so for the rock demo I used the rocks from the scene we will be painting. 

Concentrating on a part of a subject that may give you problems when you are doing the actual painting, is a good way to learn about your subject. Doing a study or doing sketches helps you familiarize yourself with the thing you might otherwise see as a problem, so this is just a study for the larger painting.

First I sketched in my rocks with a #4B pencil. I used the #4B so it could be seen by the class normally I use a #2 so the line are minimized at the finish of a painting.

While I did include some of the smaller rocks, I didn't sketch in everything because I can do that with my brush as I am painting, this is just to remind me where the rocks go.

This is actually taken after the second wash the first wash with that very light tan color made with sienna and blue (burnt umber will also work) and was a very light tint I put OVER ALL THE ROCKS. I did not just paint the light areas (I did leave some white at the top) all the rocks and all their parts had this first wash.

The second wash was the same colors just a bit darker and this is where I started  differentiating between rocks. Starting where I knew the shadows to be on each rock, I tapped the color in.

Close-up of the rocks. See how it is darker in the shadow areas? Also notice all the texture, that is from my tapping in the color. As I worked to the light side I added water to my brush instead of paint to help lighten the color. I also painted around areas i wanted to leave the lighter color.

I put on at least 4 layers of wash, each time starting in the shadow area with a slightly darker color (add more blue rather than the sienna so your shadows look cool) and leaving parts of the previous washes to create a sense of light and to make shapes in your rocks.

As you can see I used the layers of wash to create more than the original rocks I had sketched in. Just by adding shadow shapes, I could carve out more rocks or create holes in the rocks or cracks. I also took my liner brush to add some smaller cracks.

Now we are going to put it all together and we will be painting the scene below.

Keep painting and I will see you in class.