Fall 08 Class Projects
Week 2: “Rays” Acrylic
We started both the textured version and the regular canvas in much the same way, about the only difference is a bit of technique because of the texture so I will give general directions here for both but if I feel that there is something different between the two, I will make note of it.
After assessing my dry background I felt it needed a bit more sand “feel” before I moved on to the rays. Using a #10 bristle brush, I mixed burnt sienna and white with just a touch of blue to grey it but keep it on the warm side, using a very light dry brush stroke tried to create the feel of rippled sand under the water. This is a highlight don’t get carried away with this it is just a suggestion but it will give a bit more depth and dimension to you sand. Think ripples that move back and forth as the water washes over them. They are gentle shapes that move back and forth. If you want, you can also add some darker blue/greens in places to make it look like there are deeper pits in the sand. Do as much or as little as you feel comfortable with however, you need to get enough movement in the sand before you move on.
If you are working on the texture you want to just skim the very tops of the resin sand with this color, remember to keep your brush dry, too much paint or too much water in your paint will cause the application to be too solid especially if you tend to be a bit heavy handed the key here is “light and dry” and in a sense the same can be said if you are on a regular canvas, you’ve got to have a very light touch and a very dry brush so keep your paper towel handy, if you rinse your brush, make sure it is well dried before picking up more paint, when you’ve loaded it with color, wipe off the excess before you start to apply it to your painting.
Let your painting dry. If you are working on a regular canvas, find your drawing and/or reference material, you next step is to sketch the rays onto your canvas using the soft vine charcoal or a charcoal pencil. You don’t need to draw all the rays on if you are using a smaller canvas but you do want to fill up the space on your canvas with the rays so they don’t look like minnows in a pond just be careful to leave them some room for them to “swim” into at the front, in other words, don’t get them too close to the left edge. Remember if you put this in a frame, you will loose at least a ¼” all the way around, if your rays are too close their noses could be either “bumping” into the frame or cut off by it, this is good to remember regardless of what you are painting if even if you are painting on a wrapped canvas, you don’t want things swimming out of your picture.
Once you have your sketch on, blow the excess charcoal dust off your painting. It won’t hurt your paint but too much of it can change the color a bit though since this is an under painting it isn’t critical but it is a good habit to get into. I used the same colors on both the textured and regular canvas so again, what I write here goes for both.
I mixed sienna with a touch of blue and purple and a little touch of white. This color should be fairly dark however, if your background is dark – and I noticed that many had backgrounds darker than mine which is okay just means they are in deeper water – you want to make the rays just a shade or two lighter than your back ground, if your background is lighter like mine the reverse is true the rays should be a shad or two darker. Remember we work light against dark and dark against light. Just don’t get it too light or you will have no place to go with your shading.
This color is under painting for the rays so when I was putting it on my canvases I wasn’t really worried about the individual rays, I just wanted to get my canvas covered. If you are working on the texture be sure to get all sides of the rays covered because you are working on a 3D surface and be sure to get all the white covered so you don’t have halos around your rays, I don’t think they are that saintly J.
I stitched to a # 6 bristle brush and was scrubbing the color on but was a bit more careful to follow the shape of my rays especially along the body, I tried to form my brush strokes to the shape of the ray and was less exacting in the wings. On the edges of the rays you might want to start by placing the flat edge along the outline of the ray and pull in, this will keep your edges soft. The important part of this step is to get the rays covered.
I let the under painting dry on the rays before I started the next step. If your paint hasn’t completely dried you can end up picking up more paint than you put down and ruin the density of the paint so let it dry.
Once it is dry we can now start defining the shapes of the individual rays. Using the same mixture of paint, add more white and a touch of sienna. You may still need little touches of blue or purple but you want this color to be a warm grey brown color it should be a shade or two lighter than what you just put on you will be using the dry brush technique so remember to dry your brush after rinsing it and wipe it out after you pick up paint.
Dry brush this color along the body and front parts of their wings. You may have to look at the picture page to see what I’m talking about. Don’t cover up all of your under painting this becomes some of the shadows in the bodies of the rays. If you have layers of rays or if you want to show that some are deeper than others you can add more blue and/or green to this color so it is just a bit darker than the one above it and/or you can add more white – just a touch, this isn’t the final highlight – and more sienna to make the top rays look like they are closer to the surface. This is just the start of the highlighting process so don’t try to do it all at once, you need the layers.
If you are working on the texture it is almost the same just be sure to fill in any holes with color and get the edges. Next week we do more highlighting and maybe finish the Rays.
As a side note, I received an e-mail from Golden’s paints announcing that they have come up with an acrylic paint they call “Open”. It is a new type of acrylic paint that is very slow drying – up to an hour they say – and if you are more of an oil painter, you might want to check out this new paint the link to the article is: http://www.goldenpaints.com/justpaint/JP19.pdf
Week 2: The Bull Fighter – Watercolor
I started out working on the details of my bull fighter before I got into the cape because once we work on the cape most of the paper will be wet for quite a while and I don’t want to accidentally get hand prints in the red or drag red into my light areas, this way I can get a lot of work done before I have to let it dry.
I need to put shadows into the body and sleeves of the jacket. Since I’m am doing my jacket in a green color I don’t want to use purple to make the shadow color, remember that purple has red in it and red and green are complimentary colors and they tend to cancel each other out making a kind of muddy color, I want the color to still look green so instead of the purple I will use the blue to darken the green and less water so I don’t dilute it too much. The light is coming from the front of the bull fighter so his left side will be the lightest.
I used my angled shader but if you don’t have one you can start by using a small round brush. There is fringe along the edge of the capelet so you will need something you can do detail with so either the tip of the angle brush or a small round will do the job. You create the fringe by negative painting the fringe. What that means is you will be painting the dark shadows “under” the fringe that shows up “in-between” the strands of the fringe. I have posted an example on the picture page so you can see in detail what I am talking about (see link above).
When I have painted the fringe shadow area on the body of the jacket I picked up more of my dark green/blue mixture and painted the shadows on the side of the body next to the arm. It should be pretty dark as the material goes behind the arm and as it comes to the front of the jacket, add a little more water to make it lighter though you want to increase the intensity of the color to give it a richness so not too much water. If you want to make it look like it might be velvet pat the color on instead of brushing it on, this will give it some texture. Add little bits of this dark color around the edges of the brocade trim of the jacket just remember to blend out the color as it moves away from the brocade.
The shadows of the sleeve were done in much the same way starting under the fringe but instead of the green I added a touch of purple to the skin color to give me a shadow color for the yellow. The skin color is a mix of crimson, (if you have it) pthalo yellow green, if you don’t, use sap green and a touch of yellow. Again, you will need to use a small point to negatively paint the fringe. Once away from the fringe use either the whole brush (angled brush) or switch to a larger brush and paint this color down the back side of the sleeve, rinse your brush and with just water, blend it around to the front of the sleeve.
I also used this color to do the inside of his jacket and the shadow on the underside of the capelet. You can also use this color to make some creases in the yellow part of the big cape just remember to blend them out with plain water to soften them.
Since you have that skin color mixed, use some of it to darken the shadows on the face and hands. This will go on the right side of his head, along the forehead next to the cap, where his eyes are, the right side of the nose and remember, we are just suggesting facial features (see example on picture page) he is way too small for detail. Also ad a bit of this to the back of his hand then bleed it out with clear water.
The detail on the sleeves and brocade look complicated but really they are not, all they are, are shapes suggesting patterns in the material. You will use that dark green shadow color for some of the shapes and a watered down version for the rest of the shapes. These are just lines, curves and dots of different degrees of value that when viewed as a whole (this is key) will look like an intricate pattern in the material. Look at the example. It may appear that I did a lot of work but really, I didn’t, I just wanted to suggest detail not actually do it.
Now we are into the red cape, be sure that your jacket and face are dry before you start this process or you could run into problems, also the yellow part of the cape if you worked on it.
If you want, you can wet the red part of the cape with water first, if you do, take the water out beyond the end of the cape but not all the way to the edge of the paper, you want that part dry. Use a big brush if you have it at least a half inch or bigger. You want to cover this area quickly so you can do everything you need to before it starts to dry.
Load your brush well with your napthol (Windsor or Grumbacher) red, starting on the cape that is around the bull fighter paint this areas and work your way to the end of the cape. This color should be very intense. Once you have covered all of the cape, you might want to turn the painting upside down before the next color is added.
Rinse your brush and pick up your cad orange. You need to load your brush with color again because it will be very hard to add color later. Apply this color just inside the back edge of the cape. Your brush should be literally dripping with water and color as you mix the orange into the red and the red needs to still be wet. You want these colors to run so if you are working flat, prop up the back of your painting with something at least 4” or more. Paint the orange around the end of the cape and up to the body of the bull fighter then out into the empty space about a brush width. Rinse your brush and do a similar thing with your brush dripping with yellow paint at just the margin between the orange and the dry white paper. Add enough water with color so the paint will drip. Lift and tilt the paper, add touches of water to get the drips going. If a drip runs across your bull fighter, keep a paper towel handy and quickly wipe it away. As long as he is dry, you should be able to get most of it off problems occur when the drip runs through a damp area.
In the front of the fighter, pick up some more of your orange with lots of water. You may want to turn your paper so the paint will run away from him and from about his head down, paint right along the edges of his body down just past the yellow part of the cape. Rinse your brush pick up yellow and add it to the outside edge of the orange and let it run, you want drips.
If you want and if your cape is still wet, you can add a little salt right where the orange and the red come together. Clean up any runs across your guy and let this dry.
Next week we will do a few more details but he should be done. Start looking for your own projects to finish the off semester.