Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer 09 Watercolor

Watercolor Week 5 – Peaceful Alaskan Village

This was the final week for our Alaskan Village so next week be sure to have something you want to paint with you.

First thing I did was to mask out parts of the foreground so I didn't have to remember to paint around the flowers and weed. I did this at home so it would be ready for class. I usually let the masking dry on its own because if you use a hairdryer you run the risk of melting the masking into the paper which will cause it to tear the paper when you try to take it off, IF you can get it off. However, if you do want to use a dryer on it use one that has a no heat option and hold the dryer at least a foot or more from the paper.

I didn't have to paint the whole area with masking, only the areas that were in front of things I needed to paint like the boat and the water, this allows me to paint those things without having to worry about painting over something I wanted lighter.

When I bring my demo paintings home, I usually set them up on my easel and look at them when I go by, especially when I am getting close to the end of a painting – all my paintings - I really need to just look at them to see if there is anything that needs my attention. I'm not focusing on the areas that I was having trouble with when I was painting, I am looking at the "whole" painting. How do all the parts fit together? Are there any areas that really draw my eye away from areas I want the eye to stay? Did I miss anything important? When I looked at this painting I realized that I hadn't put in shadows from the main buildings. Shadows helps things to become a part of the picture and it helps establish the direction of the light source.

Using a mix of blue and purple and enough water to thin it some, I painted in the shadow for the building on the far side of the water. Remember the shadow is going up a bank and it is on the left side of the building. Next, I mixed a bit more blue into the wash and painted a shadow into the water in the general shape of the building, then with a clean damp brush, softened and pulled the edges of the shadow much like I did with the reflections. I also used this color on part of the bank that is right behind the flowers in the foreground right.

I know this may sound like I am stating the obvious but there is a difference between shadows and reflections. Shadows appear when an object blocks light coming from a slight source, in this case the sun. As the sun moves across the sky, so will the shadows. However, a reflection, such as the one in the water, can only reflect what is directly above it, it never moves so a shadow can move across the reflection changing shape and angles as the sun moves across the sky, the reflection stays the same.

After I got the shadows in, I painted in the pilings for the closer building using a dark color (blue, purple and sienna) and my ½" angle brush. Remember to not bring the pilings down to the same plane, the back piling should be shorter than the front piling because it is further away.

The boat in the picture can be any color you want but I like the red because it draws your attention. I mixed some napthol (Grumbacher or Windsor) red into the shadow color I had on my palette to paint the top stripe. There is a white molding around the top so I painted just below where I wanted the molding. I then mixed a bit of blue and green together for the lower stripe but skipped a thin space the length of the boat to suggest a white stripe between the two. If you can see water below your boat – mine was almost hidden by the foreground plants – skip a little space where the boat goes into the water and using the same two colors in reverse order (blue/green then red), paint the reflection of the boat in the water. This will also help with the plants because you are making the area behind the foreground weeds darker and you need dark to show light.

The shadow in the inside of the boat is your blue/purple mix. It will be darkest near the bottom of the boat so you can apply some paint, rinse your brush then blend that color up. Remember to paint around (negative paint) the seats. There is also a molding along the top on the inside of the boat that needs a shadow right under it. The motor I painted with red and what ever was on my brush so it wasn't pure red.

When I stepped back and look at my progress, I realized that I really didn't have much of a contrast between the water and the top edge of the boat so I mixed a wash of mostly blue and carefully painted the water right behind the boat with this wash and continued using this wash to darken behind the foreground and front of the boat, then using the edge of my brush and the same wash, I created some ripples in the water. Keep the ripple lines basically flat so you water looks flat.

Before you take off the masking, remember to paint in the post and rope the boat is tied to, once everything is dry, you can peel the mask away. It is best to pull or rub it off in the direction of the dry area not what you just painted because if it is the slightest bit damp, you will tear your paper.

The foreground weeds were painted with a combination of sap green and yellow for the brighter weeds sometimes adding more yellow or orange, the darker weeds I added blue and sienna. Keep your corners darker, it helps to focus the viewers eye and most of all, remember that these are wild growing weeds not some over-managed garden, let your strokes overlap, go from thick to thin from grass to bushes to cattails. The more jumbled it is the better.

At this point you are on your own. You can do as much or as little detail as you want. Take what you have learned and see where you can apply it to other paintings.

Next week a drawing lesson I think.

We only have 2 more classes before this semester ends, I really want to remind and encourage you to sign up as early as you are allowed to for any classes you want to take and please spread the word to friends and neighbors about the great classes that are offered here at Torrance Art Center. We really need to keep this great program going and word of mouth is one of the best ways to let people know. The Fall semester starts the week of Sept. 20th registration should start at the end of August for Torrance residences and a week or so later for everyone else. I will post to this blog during our "off" time so check back. Don't let your favorite class get canceled, sign-up ASAP, thanks. See everyone Monday.

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