Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Week 5 – Acrylic and Watercolor Classes

Essentially, I am done with the demos in both classes though I know that people in both classes are still working on the projects. If the previous blog entries don’t answer your questions, please catch me in class or send me an e-mail and I will try to give you some help.

All-in-all, I am very pleased with what I am seeing in both classes. Yes, there is work to be done, however, you have all come a long way, I’m very proud of you.

This week I covered the same subject in both classes, a subject most are baffled about and that is adding people to your paintings. I’m not talking portraits here, I really don’t do portraits, I’m talking “suggestions of people” in your paintings. It isn’t hard but like everything else, it will take a bit of practice and experimentation on your part.

Most of you often hear me refer to the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards, this is such a great book whether you are wanting to draw or paint because it helps you understand how your brain is working, why you do what you do and why it can get so frustrating getting things to look right on your paper or canvas. That left side seems to want to thwart your every effort if you don’t know how to counter it. That comes with time, patience and practice, if you are diligent, it will become almost second nature, understanding the why, and wherefores is where the book comes in handy.

Most of you, when you are painting a landscape or cityscape know that it would look more natural if you had people or at least a person in it, otherwise, it looks too empty. Adding some life to your painting can change the whole mood of your painting but because you are afraid to “do people” you leave them out. I think the reason we want to leave out people is we are afraid they won’t look like people, the thing is, they don’t have to.

Generally speaking, when you are doing a picture like a landscape where you are taking in a lot of scenery, any people who are going to be in the picture are going to be so small that detail will not be visible. This is important to remember because you don’t need to worry about faces or fingers or hands or feet if the people are so small in the picture they become just shapes, your brain already knows that they have all the parts, you just need to worry about shape, the brain will fill in the blanks.

I suggested that you look at some of the old master’s painting and I’m sure that there are more modern artists that use a similar technique as these techniques get passed down thru the generations, in particular look at street scenes or any painting with people in it. Look at the people closely. You will only see some detail like eyes or hands if the people are in the foreground and close enough to warrant that detail, even those are usually suggestions or detail, all the other “people” are just shapes, you know they are people not because you can recognize individual faces, you are only recognizing the shape along with location or activity they may be doing. I will have some reference books next week you can look at to prove my point.

Whether you are using acrylic, watercolor, oil, pastel or whatever medium you choose, by adding simple shapes with or without color and a few well placed rectangles on top and you’ve got yourself a crowd of people. I showed in both classes that blending some colors together then using a dark color to make heads, I suddenly changed the “blob” into a group of people. Or you can do what Frank Clarke on PBS does for individual people, he paints carrots! Using the basic shape of a carrot – broad at the top, tapering to the bottom – then placing a rectangle shape just above the carrot, you’ve got a person. Paint the top half one color the bottom half a different color and they have clothes. Run the rectangle down into the carrot and you have a woman walking away from you. It’s really all you need (see photo page).

You notice that I say a rectangle shape for the head when most of us think of heads as round. Actually, if you look close, you will notice they are rectangles with rounded tops and bottoms. If you put a round shape on your blobs or carrots, they will take on a cartoonish look, so keep those heads long rather than round and you will be okay.

I know it seems like magic to watch someone do something so simple as to make a blob of color into a group of people, I was amazed the first time I saw it done, maybe you think there is some trick to it, no, actually it is that simple. The “trick” if there is one, is to make sure that your blobs or carrots are in proportion to their surroundings, you don’t want them too small or too large, for instance: If they are standing next to a house, keep in mind basics of a house – a door us usually around 6’ - 7’ tall, a single floor may be 8 ‘ - 10’ tall, if your person is on the same plane as your house (draw a line under both and if the feet of the person and the bottom of the house touch that line, they are on the same plane), if the shape is too big it will look like Hagrid next to the house and if your person is too small it will look like a child, so watch the proportions. Again, you need to practice this so you can understand it, but it is a very handy thing to know to put life in your paintings.

Next week: The sky’s the limit. Have something you want to paint for class, acrylic students think of a subject you would like for next semester, the watercolor class suggested landscapes with trees and old buildings. Both classes note that the new Season’s class schedule is out, Torrance residents can register Wed. May 13th, non residents can register Wed May 27th. Please be sure to register for any classes you want to take and I encourage you to get family, friends, neighbors, gym friends, card buddies…who ever you think of to encourage them to sign up for classes, there is a risk of loosing this art program (all classes, not just mine) if enrollment keeps going down so we need all the bodies we can get to sign up and take classes to keep us going. Thanks. See ya Monday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring 09 Acrylic and Watercolor Classes

Week 4 – Acrylic Project – Green Orchid

This is basically the final week I will work on this project, it will be up to each of you to finish you project to your own liking. I will have some black gesso in class on Monday for any one that would like to paint their backgrounds black.

Final highlights were the order of the day. I studied my reference photo closely – be sure you are using the photo of the actual flower and not one of the previous stages, we are beyond those picts – and I looked for the lightest areas. These are subtle differences but it you look closely you will see them. This is good practice to get you to look and really see what you are painting. Each petal has lumps and bumps that tell you that it is a curved surface and not a flat one. If you were to cut a cross section of a petal (see Pict page) you would see that it almost looks like a bow with the edges curved up, then a slight trough, then a bump in the middle, trough and up curve. These are usually not real pronounced, they are more subtle but they are there, your job is to recognize them and find a way to interpret what you see on your canvas.

This is where all your under painting efforts should pay off, that is if you didn’t cover up all your under painting. Under painting becomes the subtle shadows and texture of what you are painting which is why we start with a medium dark color. Some of you may have made your under painting too dark to start with so you will have a bit more work to do because you have to lighten more areas, but all is not lost just a bit more elbow grease and you’ll get there.

I mixed white with a touch of sap and yellow to tint the white. This is the dame color mix we have been using except now there is a lot more white than green. I was using my #8 bristle filbert the key is using a bristle brush, if you don’t have them, you really need to get some, this technique is hard on brushes and the bristle ones are relatively cheap. When I would rinse my brush, I made sure that I dried it completely before I picked up paint. I’m still noticing that many of you aren’t drying your brush and all that water dilutes your paint so that it is more of a wash than anything else, it’s great if that is what you want but very frustrating if it isn’t.

I loaded my brush with this white/green mix and starting in the lightest areas I scrubbed this color on using a dry brush technique. As I moved away from the brightest area, I lightened the pressure on my brush so that I had a gradual blend from the highlight to the shadow. Around the edges where it was lighter, I carefully put the highlight along the edge and blended it back into the body of the petal. I did this on all the petals until I felt I had my petals highlighted.

When I am at the final stages of a painting, I make it a point to step back and look at my painting from at least 10 feet to see my progress, where I need to do more work, places that are done… You need to see the “whole picture” to really get a sense of how your end product will look, so get into the habit of standing back to assess your work.

When I got to the center of the flower my main goal was to make sure that I had all the highlighting done before I added the red spots. As tempting as it is to want to put the spots on the flower, you really need to get as much of the highlights and shadows on as you can because once those spots are on, it will be difficult to highlight around them, so do as much as you can prior to putting on the spots. The process is much the same, look for the brightest spots then with white and an ever so tiny a touch of yellow – it should barely tint the white, if it looks yellow, you used too much yellow – highlight the tops of folds and the ruffles along the bottom edge. Again, think of a cross section (see pict page) and where the light is hitting.

After you feel that you have got your highlights the way you want, now we come down the home stretch by adding the red to the center. Using first a mix of my napthol red and a touch of blue (you want it on the red side of purple), still using my bristle brush, I took this color and using a tapping motion painted the throat of the orchid and also the “hood” part just above the throat and the spots along the fringe of the center. Using a tapping or stippling stroke will give you the look of the spots. Do this lightly, if you need more spots, just go over it a couple more times to fill in an area, just don’t get too “heavy handed” with this.

Don’t for get to do the white tip of the hood, it has two sections so look carefully.

While the red is drying, mix some yellow, green and sienna and or purple to make a brown mustard color, this is the under painting for the yellow pollen areas. There are also some yellow edges to the sides of the bottom part of the hood that are coming up from the throat that need this color.

When the red is dried, take straight napthol on your brush to highlight the top of the hood and to add some brighter color to the fringe area, again use a stippling stroke for the spots. If you need it to be just a bit brighter for the final highlight of the hood use yellow instead of white to lighten the red. Adding white will turn it pink and that isn’t what you want. To highlight the pollen use yellow with just a touch of white and tap it on.

The final thing I did in class was I started adding the black gesso to the background areas of my painting (thanks Lynn). I used a bristle brush but you might have better control if you use a sable brush especially around the flower you will get a smoother application of paint. Be careful when you are doing this because you can get it on your hand then all over your flower or if your brush is too wet it might run down over your flower, if this happens have a wet paper towel handy and wipe it off ASAP otherwise, you will have a patch job to do.

When I got home, I put my painting up where I could look at it to see if there were things I needed to do to finish it. Most of what I found was more “tweaking” than anything major – more shadow here, a little highlight there, clean up an edge or two – just little things I felt I needed to do to finish it. One that that had been bothering me was I had made one of the folds up at the top of the center too big and I knew I just couldn’t leave it that way so I painted out the “extra” part with a middle green color like my original under painting then redid the highlights and shadows. Don’t be afraid to fix something if you have to, you will be happier with your final painting rather than seeing it staring back at you every time you look at your painting, just look at it from a distance, even let it sit for a day or so before making the final decision to change something that might not need to be changed.

Next week: Using black gesso and finishing the painting. Have something you want to paint with you in class.

Week 4: Watercolor – I-Pops


Basically, we are finished with the poppies, however, if you want to do some extra detail to make them look more real you will need a fine point Sharpie and either a single edge razor or pointed Exacto knife.

The poppies are very “fuzzy” along their stems and on the flower pods, if you want to add that detail use the Sharpie to make quick little strokes along the stems and pod. Try not to line them up in rows make some longer some shorter some can just be dots on the front side, get them going in several directions and do it like you mean it, if you add just a few, it won’t look real so add quite a few. Then with the blade, using the very tip of it, scratch out more “fuzzy” lines especially along the sun lit side of the stems and pod. If your background is dark enough, this will look like little sun sparkles off the fuzz.

I went over a couple things in class that I think are important for all painters but maybe even more so for watercolor painters and those are how your paints blend with each other and how does your equipment work.

When I get new people in I usually give them a suggested colors list to get them started but like all good artists we are drawn into buying fancy colors because they look beautiful or because another artist swears by that color, the reasons are many and so are the problems.

You have all probably noticed that I have a fairly limited palette and certain colors I use all the time, my “at home” palette has a few more colors on it than my class palette but it is pretty much the same. I do have some secondary palettes that have colors I use in special cases but I don’t use them often. Because I do have a limited palette, I have learned what will happen when I mix two or more of my colors together, at least I have a reasonable idea because I am so familiar with the properties of my paints. If I add a new color to my existing ones, I will test what this new color will do when added to a mix.

What I am seeing in class are students who have colors different from the ones I use and when they go to mix what they hope will be the same color I have, they end up with something completely different! And so the problems begin.

I honestly do not care what colors you have on your palette so long as you are happy with them, who am I to question it. That said, if you have different colors say pthalo blue instead of ultra marine, you need to learn how your blue mixes with the other paints on your palette. It will NOT be the same as ultra marine, it is greener so it has more yellow, if you add red, you will get a muddy color because you have now mixed all 3 primary colors together (blue, red, yellow). A good way to avoid this is to create your own color chart. You can do that by painting stripes of each color on a piece of paper, let it dry, then paint stripes of each color again going the other direction and label all of these stripes. Until you know this in your sleep, this chart can save a lot of headaches when you need to mix colors.

Another thing I’ve been seeing is how much students are struggling with their brushes. I will say it again, you’ve got to take the time to practice! Use a scrape piece of paper or the back of an old painting or get some cards to practice, even news print will work because you are just trying to get the feel of your brushes. Twist them, turn them. Press them down and pull up. Flick them. Dry brush. Wet brush. Flat, round or angled brush, use them all. Especially the liner brush, you’ve got to get familiar with it to use it correctly. You can watch me use my brushes from now until we both die but unless you do it yourself, you will never get the control. That comes with time and practice.

Also, see how your paper works. This will require real watercolor paper but try wet into wet, wet on dry. Dry brush. Lifting, blending, salt, water, rubbing alcohol, coffee grinds (that’s always fun), scratching or scraping into wet or dry. All of this will not be wasted effort, in the long run it will let you paint without having to think “What was it that Lerri did?” you will just do it. Find time during the week outside of class to just paint for even a few minutes, the more the better but any time you can get will be time well spent.

Next week: Have your own project to paint, I’ll think of some demo. Any requests?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring 09 Acrylic and Watercolor Classes

Week 3: Acrylic Project – “Green Orchid

There is more to this green project than meets the eye. Of all the colors on the color wheel, green is considered one of the toughest to use. I’m not quite sure why that is, maybe because it is an “in between” color in that it is a transition color between the warm and the cool colors, or if there is something inherently problematic about green, I’ve not heard an explanation beyond “green is a tough color to work with”. I consider it just another color and deal with it like I would any other color.

The biggest problem I am finding in class isn’t so much working with green, it just seems like half of you are using other variations of green besides the sap and Hooker’s that I am using and it is causing you a lot of headaches. In the previous post, I mentioned this and said that you will not get the same results I get because the colors mix different. The problem is compounded if you are using different colors to my blues, reds and yellows than I have listed, it’s like making substitutions in a recipe and expecting it to turn out the way you hoped. You can’t substitute salt for sugar or lard for butter, grape juice for wine and expect miracles to happen in the cooking process, you will even get different results with close substitutes like Equal for sugar or margarine for butter or white for red wine, it might be close but it just won’t be the same. Even different brands of ingredients can make or break a recipe. The same happens when you use a different palette from someone else: The end results are going to be different, there is just no getting around it.

However, you can learn to work with what you have but you are going to need to do a bit of experimenting. If you have an old canvas you can gesso out or a small canvas you don’t mind using for this purpose, you can create a color chart using the colors you have and mixing them with the other colors on your palette then painting little patches to show the end results. Label them so you know what you mixed with what and keep it with you as a reference. Include a patch with white to see the lighter color variation. Until you know your palette in your sleep, the time you take to make this color chart will pay for itself. Often time artists will do this as a matter of course so if they need to change their palette they know what the colors will do if they ad them to their palette. I’ll talk more in class on this subject.

This week was starting the detailing of these petals. Using a lighter version of the sap green (white with sap) and dry brushing (make sure your brush is very dry before picking up paint), I looked at my reference photo to find where the light areas on each petal were and scrubbed in following the way the petal would grow. Many of you are still “painting walls” in that your strokes all go in one direction – usually horizontal – learn to see and feel the 3-D object you are painting with you brush strokes. If an object is rounded, follow the curves, rough, scumble or chop the strokes. Think about what you are painting and try to create its essence on your canvas.

I highlighted all the petals but was careful not to paint over all of my under painting, just ‘cause it is called “Under” doesn’t mean we are going to cover it all up, it just means it was first and our foundation to build upon, it becomes texture and shadow, gives depth and substance to the painting, use it to your advantage.

The last thing I did was start to highlight the center part of the flower. I’m still not concerned with the red spots at this point, all I want to do is establish highlights and shadows, the spots will come last. Using white with a touch of blue and purple to get a cool white on the blue side and dry brush, I scrubbed in the first highlights starting at the end of the center petal and working towards the throat but lightening the pressure on my brush so it would blend in to the darker gray under painting near the throat. Please study the photo carefully, I know it is hard to see but there are subtle changes in shade on the white to suggest a curve and crinkles also, don’t worry about the yellow pollen areas, just worry about the lights and shadows on the center section.

Most important, don’t get discouraged if this isn’t turning out the way you would like, something about a lot of lemons and lemonade. You are all in a learning process, if it has been years since you have had any art training or maybe you haven’t had any art since grade school, where ever you stopped learning is where you have to start right now. This will come if you are patient with yourself and with the process. I’m proud of all of you for the efforts you are putting in, I just wish I could transfer what I know directly into your heads along with the understanding of the medium I have. Until such time I can learn the Vulcan Mind Meld, we will all have to struggle along and hope for the best.

Next week: More highlights and maybe some spots! Start looking for your next project.

Week 3: Watercolor Project – I-Pops

This was the final week for this project, be prepared next week to start you own project. I will show next week how I would put on some of the “fuzzy” stuff on the poppies, but it really isn’t necessary if you don’t want to do it but if you do…

The only thing I showed in class to finish this pict is how to do the background using a wet into wet technique. Many of you don’t like the brush strokes you get doing wet on dry, using wet into wet will eliminate some of that problem, but can create others so it is 6 of one, half dozen of another, nothing is fool proof in art so it is best to learn to accept that there will be “imperfections” in the final product. You want perfect, take a photo, even photography is an art and some are better photographers than others.

With the wet into wet technique, you want to wet “doable” areas at a time. For instance, because this painting already has objects we need to paint around, just start with one section at a time. It won’t do you any good to wet all the areas you want to paint at once because by the time you get done with one section, the rest of the paper will be dry. In lager areas, break it down into workable areas, wetting a part of it, painting the wet area, wetting the next area, etc, working your way around the painting. Turn the painting if you have to but watch out for “blooms” or “run backs” from the excess water that may be hiding under your tape.

First I painted an area with just water to wet the section of the paper I wanted to paint. I was painting over last week’s previous wash so I was careful not to lift the color that was already there. Next I took my blue with a touch of purple in a concentrated form – I.E. very little water, mostly paint – and painted the area. Because the area was wet, the paint spread out and did a lot of the painting for me. I moved on to the next section repeating this process all the way around my flowers.

My other demo was on a variation of this technique. By wetting small areas of a painting – in this case individual petals on a flower – and dropping paint into the wet or gently guiding the paint, you can get some beautiful soft blends of color. The key is to let the paint do most of the work. If you drop one color into another, LEAVE IT ALONE! If you start messing with it, you will loose the battle. I’ve said this before if you try to force watercolor to do your bidding, you will loose. The paint always wins. Don’t get carried away with this either just because it feels good doesn’t mean more is better, reread the under lined above, you will not win until you learn to let the paint do some of the work. Learn how the paper accepts the paint at different points in its drying. How does it react when it is real wet vs just damp to the touch? These are your tools along with your brushes and paints, don’t be afraid to just take a few pieces of paper or get some watercolor cards and experiment, it will only make you a better artist. Not everything is going to be a masterpiece nor should you always just paint a picture. Learning is experience. Experience becomes knowledge and knowledge becomes skill. You can’t skip from learning to skill anymore than you can force watercolor to your will, just not gonna happen.

I hope that my watercolor students will experiment with different techniques or seeing how what you already know can be used in different situations. Remember: It’s just a piece of paper! You are all still learning and the best thing you can do for yourselves is to not be afraid to experiment, this is how you learn.

Next week: Continue on your own projects and making a color chart.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Week 2 Spring 09

Week 2 – Acrylic Project: Green Orchid

Mostly what I need to discuss here is technique and being observant. As artists and, in practically, painters, we have to create miracles on our canvases to create an image that appears to have depth and dimension on a 2 dimensional surface, that requires you as the artist and interpreter of the material to figure out how to accomplish the task. What do we have to in our tool box to create a 3D image? Basically, we have very few things, but it is enough.

We have color. We have values. We have contrast. That’s really about it, it’s how we use these things that create a sense of depth and dimension, the problem is when you are starting out, your biggest objective is to get it done. When you are learning to do anything, you need to have patience with yourself and the process, speed will come in time as you learn how these things are used to create the form but first they need to become ingrained into your thought process so they become automatic.

What I saw as I went around the room was students trying to get caught up to where I am and not really paying attention to HOW I got to where I was in my painting. This is not a race; we will take all the time we need to finish a project, the important thing is learning the techniques.

A common problem I saw was not understanding about how contrast works. You need to have dark to show light but you also need it to show depth. Look at the reference pict and focus in the area where the petals go behind the center of the flower. Notice how the top and lower petals are darker near the center than are the two side petals. By working one petal at a time and focusing on creating that contrast in this under painting stage, you will have a lot less work for yourself in later stages. I started with the top and lower petals blending as I went (see previous post) so I could make sure they were below the top petals. Don’t be so restrained by your drawing that it looks like “paint by numbers”, another thing I saw several students doing, work one color into another so it looks like a natural progression of dark to light.

I was asked why we need to do an under painting. Even if you are doing something in a more impressionistic way, like I did my parrot, the under painting is important, it is the foundation of your painting if it is weak, you painting will not stand up. Just think of what would happen to your house without a good foundation and frame, how could you put up drywall or a roof without the supporting structure to hold it up? This is how important an under painting is to any painting so it is not a step to skip.

Another problem I saw was with the application of the paint and some of the brushes. Please make sure that you have bristle brushes, they are cheap for a reason, they are designed to take a lot of abuse. The bristlettes or sables have their purpose but aren’t designed with all the scrubbing in mind plus one brush costs as much or more than a whole tube of bristle brushes.

When I use my brushes, after I rinse them I dry them thoroughly before I pick up paint, many of you had way too much water on your brushes and that waters down the paint causing the paint to run, become more transparent and it doesn’t cover well. Dry your brushes as best you can with a paper towel and make sure you squeeze up near the metal part (feral) of the brush where water can hide. Then when you pick up your paint you don’t need to pick up big gobs. Most of you are working on smaller canvases so pick up just enough to cover a couple inches by scrubbing then reload. This will give you some variation in color that will help your painting.

While it is not written in stone that you should have the exact same colors as I have, it will cause less confusion especially for beginners. Every color has its own properties and when mixed with other colors will give different results. Mixing sap green with sienna is going to give you an entirely different blend then pthalo green with sienna. Sap is a more earthy, yellow green, pthalo is what I call an chemical green, not one usually found in nature, it has its uses but it is hard to use without getting a chemical color. As long as you understand that and also the fact that if you are using different colors from the ones I am using you will get different results, go a head and use them but you may have to experiment to find out what your colors will do, the end result will not be wrong, it will just be different.

About the only thing I did paint new that wasn’t a continuation of last week was the under painting for the white center of the flower. Remember, we need dark to show light so we can’t just paint the center with white and expect it to have depth, we start in the darkest area which is the throat of the flower and work out. Don’t worry about the red spots, that will come later, for now just worry about under painting the center with shades of grey.

I mixed white with touches of blue, sienna and purple to get a fairly dark gray color. Look at the reference photo and the throat of the flower, see how dark it is? This is where I started as I moved out from the center, I added more white to my brush, following the growth of the center with my strokes and lightening it as I went. My strokes on the front part of the center as it came out from the throat were curved as if they were coming up from the center then down the front. Think about what you are painting, think about its shape, what is it doing how can you reflect that in your strokes? Think direction of how it is growing, that is how your strokes should go.

When you are done, the center should be various shades of gray, this will allow you to have some place to go with your highlights when we get to that point. Remember, take your time, you don’t need to rush, however, you do need to learn the technique.

Next week: Adding some highlights.

Week 2: Watercolor Project – I-Pops


I hope you will all read the first 3 paragraphs and paragraph 8 I wrote for the acrylic class because the same applies here. As I go around the room and look at what each of you are doing, I know that I haven’t quite reached you or maybe you don’t trust me enough to try what I suggest, I don’t know but I will keep trying until I get my point across. I have hopes.

I-Pops is a very simple painting but you wouldn’t know it from what I am seeing as I walk around class. I know you all watch me when I do my demos – this is where I think the trust issue kicks in - but I don’t think you believe me that it is simple or easy as I make it look because you go back to your own paintings and really over think the whole process. In theory, I should be able to give you a reference photo and you should go from there, ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED is in the reference photo. It shows you light and dark, shape and details all you need to do is study it and figure out how to achieve each step.

I don’t say this to be mean, I am hoping to get you thinking logically about breaking a subject down into manageable steps that when you put them together you create something you are happy with, mostly what I’m seeing is frustration caused by over thinking.

These types of poppies look like crumpled crape paper, they are not smooth, the lines in the petals are uneven and broken in spots, connecting in spots, thick and thin as they curve up from the bottom to the top. I had to decide how I was going to achieve that look, while I’m sure that there are many ways to this end, what I chose to do was to use the end of my angle brush to create a series of uneven, curved, broken lines to suggest the crumpled look of these flowers. I wanted to enhance the value of the color in some of the areas of the flowers and well as creating a more crumpled look to the flowers, using the end of my brush and paint with very little water to dilute the color, I made a series of choppy, curved lines starting from the bottom where my lines were touching in most places to the edges where I left a lot of the lighter previous wash. (See detail on pict page.) Remember, what I am trying to do is create texture and a sense of light. I referred to my photo often.

I separated the petals on the bud casing with a bit of blue and green on the tip of my brush, rinsed my brush and soften the outside edge by running the damp brush along the edge of the darker color.

When my flowers were dry, I painted in the cast shadows. For the orange flower I used a mix of orange, napthol red and burnt sienna to get a deep red-orange color, you might also need to add a touch of purple but be cautious, the purple can cause muddiness if you use too much. On the yellow flower the first wash was just orange and red but after it dried, I felt it needed something and added a wash of blue and purple, I suggest you do this as well rather than mixing blue and/or purple in with the red and orange. Mixing these colors together will just create a muddy color, by layering the color with washes, as long as you have let one layer dry before putting another wash on top, the layer underneath will show through the top layer, the look will be much cleaner.

Once again when I was applying the shadow color I was thinking of the direction of growth and the texture of the petals. I used the edge of the angled brush and tapped in my color. (See example on pict page) If there was a bit that I didn’t put shadow color on and it was too bright, I rinsed my brush and just tapped it with a damp brush to slightly tone it down and give texture in the shadows. I did this for both flowers and with the blue/purple wash on the yellow flower. Let them dry completely.

I started the background which is an optional step. If you like you painting without the dark background leave it or you can do some of the fuzzy details on the stems and pods if you want, your choice, I kind of like the dark background because it really sets off the flowers and put a spot light on them. I was working wet on dry but if you want a more even application of paint, you can wet the area first then add your paint, I don’t mind the brush strokes and they will become less as I darken the background but you need to do what feels best for you.

Next week: Finish I-Pops. Start looking for subjects for your next project, from here out you are on your own subject wise.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

PBS Update

This is just a quick note to let everyone know that at least for the next couple of weeks KOCE Ch 50 (PBS out of Orange Cnty) has art shows on at 1 pm. Jerry Yarnell is on Wed for the acrylic painters and Terry Madden is on on Thurs for Watercolor students. Don't know how long it will last, but it is better than nothing. - LP