Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Watercolor Summer 09

Watercolor Week 4 – Peaceful Alaskan Village

We really didn't do much on our project this week because as I looked around the class, many of you were at least a week behind and I didn't want to get too far ahead of you or you would be even more confused than you already are.

As a teacher, it is often hard to judge how students are going to see a project and how they understand what I am saying. There are times I think that you are over-thinking the whole thing. I haven't said this in a while, but I think you need a reminder that it is just a piece of paper! When you take a class you are trying to learn something new, yet, you look at what I do in my demo and it looks easy but you don't believe it. When you go back to your own painting, rather than trying the easy way, you find new and creative ways to frustrate yourselves. I don't say this to be mean, it's just an observation.

If you got to know me, one thing you would find out is that I'm lazy. I'm going to find the easy way to do something especially if I'm painting. I want to get the thing done, I don't want to fuss with it forever, I want to move on to the next project. So if what I do looks easy its because it is easy. I'm not trying to razzle dazzle you with my fancy brush work, I'm trying to show you the easiest way to get the job done. Its okay to do things your own way, that is how you will develop your own style, just don't make it hard on yourself and you will have success more often than not as you learn.

Keep in mind that you aren't going to be painting a masterpiece in any class you take unless you are working independently as a studio substitute. You are on a journey of learning when you are in a class and it is often hard at times to understand all that you are seeing and hearing, you really need to make time to paint at home on things that you want to do, that is where you will start seeing progress because you aren't comparing what you are doing to mine or others in class.

The building on the far side of the water needed pilings to finish it up and a railing leading up to it from the land. I made the pilings by mixing a very dark color (blue, purple and sienna) and using the edge of my angle brush or a flat brush, just touched the paper to create the supports and some of the cross bars. If you want, you can use a small round brush for this part as well as creating the reflections in the water as I did when I got to the reflections. The reflections of the pilings aren't as long as the pilings themselves because of foreshortening but when you do them skip a little space in the water and wiggle your brush, keep a paper towel handy to lift a bit if they look too dark.

At the front of the building there is a railing you can put this with the round brush with the same dark color. Rinse your brush and bring some green "bushes" up in some places to settle the railing down into the scene.

For some reason the building on the close side seems to have been a problem for many of you, more where it sits than it's shape. Both the buildings by the water start out on a bank but extend out so that they are almost over the water. This is a tidal area and when the tide comes in, the water is almost up to the bottom of the buildings so that the fishing boats can unload their catches. The pilings keep the building level with the ground above high tide but the shore has been eroded away to for a bank that falls away from the underside of the buildings. The closer building sits on a spit of land that sticks out into the water so that the water goes behind it. It looked pretty clear to me but after seeing all the problems people were having, I thought I should try to explain, that is where the reference photos come in handy, don't look at the drawing after you have it on the paper, it is just a rough guide, it is the photos that are going to be your real guide to painting this picture or any picture because it holds all the information you will need.

The roofs of the two building by the water are probably corrugated metal to create the look of old metal, once again we use the dry brush technique. I used a ½" flat brush and sienna on the far building and sienna and a touch of blue on the front building just to change the flavor a bit. Remember to dry your brush thoroughly even the water in your pool of paint can make your brush too wet to d a good job and with a light stroke, follow the direction of the slant of the roofs with each stroke keeping the strokes parallel to each other. It will help if you lightly tap the end of your brush up and down on your palette to spread the bristles a bit or you can spread them with your fingers, if they close back up, you may have too much water in your brush, dry it and try again.

The bank on the close side is in the shadows so add blue to the green you use to cool it down, when you get to the upper part of it you can add some yellow because it might be in the sun. I painted around the flowers in the foreground but for next week I think I will have put masking fluid on those areas to make it easier, I'll try to remember my masking fluid next week. Under the building the shadows are very dark because it is a cast shadow. Follow the shape of the bank with a dark wash of blue and purple all the way down to the water. Don't worry about the pilings, we will do those next time but when you are painting near where the sun might be shining, use the tip of your brush to make an uneven line to suggest grass and weeds.

I really do want to finish this painting up next Monday so please try to have your own paintings up to this point, we still have the canoe and the foreground to do and some details on the close building but that should be it. Remember, it is the journey that is the important thing not the destination.

Until Monday.

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