Friday, January 18, 2008

Winter 2008 Acrylic & Waterclor Classes

I am having trouble adding pictures to this blog so I am putting a hyperlink here if you want to see or get the pictures and or designs. I've put them in an online album.


Week 1 – You should not do a detailed drawing on your canvas at this point. We will sketch as we need to as we go along. We started out on a white canvas covering the top third first with gesso with our hake (largest brush) brush, then picking up red (either napthol or alizarin) streaking it across the canvas from the interior of the canvas then using large chris-cross strokes blending toward the top. Next take ultra marine blue and a touch of dioxizine purple still using your large brush, streak this across the top of the canvas and with large chris-cross, very light strokes, blend it down to the red so there is a gradual shift from blue to red. The tendency is to over blend so be sure that the red, which should look pink, is the prominent color in the sky.

Distant Mountains – Using your vine charcoal, sketch in your distant mountains. You might want to let your sky dry before sketching. Using either a #10 or #12 bristle brush (smaller if you are working on a small canvas), mix either white or gesso with the red. You want a color that is a couple of shades darker than your sky. Use the whole flat edge of the brush and pull down from the sketch lines you drew for your mountains to define the shape but keep the edges soft. You can use a scumbling (an unorganized series of overlapping strokes) in the body of the mts. once you get the top shaped, be sure that there are no hard edges either at the top or bottom of your mts.

If your distant mts look too close, I.E: too dark, you can take white with a touch of the red on a DRY brush (very little paint on an almost brush) and a with circular motion dry brush some haze over the mts starting at the bottom and work up.

Snow on Distant Mts. – You can use a smaller bristle brush to do the snow using a mixture of white (gesso or titanium) and a touch of red. It should be lighter than your mt. color. Acrylics dry darker so you may have to go over the snow a couple of times using a bit more white each time but never white by it’s self.

Closer Mountain (right side) – This Mt is in shadow and it is closer to you so it will be darker and bluer. Using a #10 or #8 flat bristle brush, mix blue, purple, burnt sienna and a touch of white and scumble in the under painting for this mountain it should be fairly dark and on the blue side. Be sure to take it out of the canvas (it is so close you cannot see the top) and that there are no hard edges along the bottom.

Distant Trees - Using the same flat brush mix the blue, purple, sienna and white to get a medium blue gray color. It should be a color lighter than the mountain you just painted but darker that the distant mountains. Using the flat edge of the brush vertically create a line of distant trees along the bottom of the distant mts that end at the closer mt. by starting at the top of the tree line and pulling down. Vary the height of your trees so it doesn’t look like a manicured lawn and over lap your strokes so it doesn’t look like a fence. This is a forest, so think lots of trees.

Next session: Finishing the under painting.


Always keep in mind that when working in watercolor you work in layers from light to dark so keep your washes light especially at first. If you get too dark too fast you will have problems.

Week 1 - After you have finished sketching your design, with a large brush (I use a 1” angled shader) mix a combination of blue (cerulean, cobalt or ultra marine, I start with cerulean because I have it on my palette) with a touch of cad orange. You will need to use a lot of water to dilute this down to a pale bluish gray wash. Your brush should have paint in it but not dripping. This wash will go over everything EXCEPT the tops of the hills, top of the rock wall, fence post and the road. LET IT DRY! Use a hair drier if you want, but it must dry.

Wash 2 - Using the same two colors, mix another thin wash but a bit bluer and a bit richer (sorry, I can’t be more specific, just don’t get too dark) you still want it pale but not quite as pale as your first wash. If you need to, turn your painting upside down, you will be starting this wash where the sky meets the ocean and it is easier if your painting is upside down. With this new wash lay it down in the sky area next to the water. Paint the sky up the edge cliffs and over the castle. Rinse your brush and with the clean brush and a bit of water, go into the edge of the wash you just put down and blend it out to the top edge of your sky. This is called a graded wash.

Turn your painting back upright, it should not be wet enough to run, if it does, pick up the pools with a clean, damp brush or paper towel.

With that same mixture of wash, paint the water starting at the shore and move up towards the sky using the same process: Darker at the bottom then using a clean brush with just water and blend to the horizon. This same technique is used to create the shadow areas such as the areas between the cliffs. Start in-between the cliffs with the darker wash then rinse your brush and with plain water, blend the paint about ¾ the way to the vertical edge of each cliff section. You can also use this wash to create a valley between where the road goes over the hill and the distant hill. The rock wall can be painted with the same mixture its entire length until it goes over the hill.

Distant Hills – First wash: Using cad yellow pale and a lot of water to make a very dilute wash, paint over all the grass areas even any foreground areas that have that first pale blue/gray wash. Those areas may end up looking green, that is a good thing, don’t worry about it. This is under painting and sets the stage for successive layers. Don’t forget the grasses at the bottom of the wall.

The Road – First wash: Using a dilute mixture of burnt sienna, with a touch of yellow, paint the road using long, overlapping “U” shaped strokes in a horizontal motion. This is a rough road your brush strokes will help create that feel. Add touches of water to your mixtures as you go toward the distance. The fence post can also be under painted with this wash mix.

Next session: More Layers.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Great idea! This might help me catch up when I return. Thank you, Lynn