Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter Classes 2010

Week 5 Winter Classes

I just want to remind my Torrance classes that there will be no class on Monday because of the President's Day Holiday. Fortunately that is the last of the long winter weekends so we should be good until the end of the semester.

Acrylic – Gull Part 2

You should have your gull under painted by now along with the post and should have started the first round of highlights.

As I've said before, I will often see something at home when I set a painting up to write about it that I didn't see in class, in this instance I really didn't like the shape of the beak of this bird. I decided that this was a good opportunity to show the class that if you don't like something you don't have to struggle to make it work, it is simple enough to paint it out and do it again. I just used similar colors that I used in my back ground and painted the beak out, blending those colors into the background using similar strokes and working out into a large enough area to make the correction look as if it was always there and I didn't end up with a "halo" around my bird. After it had dried, I re-drew the beak and under painted with orange and a touch of purple.

I have been using a #6 filbert bristle brush throughout most of this painting because it is large enough for the size painting I am doing but not so small that it is causing me more work than I should be doing. A #6 or 8 flat bristle or sable brush would work here as well.

This time I will be using white with just the tiniest touch of yellow just to take the harshness off the white and I will use this as part of my final highlight on the white part of the gull. I started at the head and with quick strokes (remember you are painting feathers) from the top of the head down the back because that is the side the light is coming from (left side). I also use this color in dabs around the eyes and beak but leave a bit of the grey color around the eyes to show a depression in the feathers to give depth to the feathers.

Work your way down the gull and over but lighten the pressure on your brush as you get near the shadows, you want a gradual change from the light side to the shadowed side including the under belly.

With this same color using quick strokes, highlight the tips of the feathers near the tail and add some wispy feathers near his belly. Remember that acrylics dry darker so you will probably have to repeat this process once or twice each time using less yellow and not going over quite so far on the bird.

On the beak, use yellow with a touch of white to the top of the beak and just a touch of orange and red into that color for the bottom. There is a brighter spot of orange on the front of the lower beak you can blend back with your finger to soften it in.

The legs add more white and red into the orange color you were just using to get a very light pink color to highlight the front parts of the leg. Remember there is a cast shadow so this light color starts about his knee joint down. Also, if you want, take a bit of this leg color with maybe a touch more red and VERY LIGHTLY dry brush this color into the shadows on the belly. This is reflected light from his legs and it is there in the picture if you look close enough.

On the post dry brush in as much color as you want warn colors to the sun lit side cool colors in the shadows. Even mix up some light violet with white, blue and purple and dry brush it into the dark shadows, this will be a reflected highlight.

Finally, when you are satisfied with the texture on your post, mix a bit of white with touches of yellow and orange – it should be pretty light – use this to highlight the beveled edge of the post and the vertical edge that it getting the most light. Use quick choppy strokes this is old rough, wood so it won't be smooth.

Now it is time to change brushes, get out your liner brush and add enough water to this white mixture so it will flow off this brush. Streak some of this color into the sun lit side and along the edges of the big crack. These are not solid lines, more broken and streaky the better, you are creating texture. When you have as may streaks as you think you need, go back into that light violet color and use that to do the same thing in the shadow areas, add a touch more white if necessary but it should be on the blue/purple side.

Now rinse your brush and mix up a dark color using blue, sienna and purple, this is more blue and sienna than purple, and use more blue to keep it on the cool side. Remember to use plenty of water so it will flow off your brush. You will be creating cracks and holes in the wood and place some of these cracks next to the white streaks you just put in. You can also use this dark color for the eye if you haven't put it in already, the nostril, mouth line and the nails on the toes. Use just a touch of white in the eye to add life and finish the gull to your own satisfaction.

We will be doing thumbnail backgrounds when we come back so have a big enough canvas that you can divide it into 4 or 6 separate areas.

Watercolor Week 5Negative Painting.

Negative painting is something that we use a lot when we are painting in watercolor because we traditionally saving light areas working from light to dark, I chose the leaves not because this is the only way to paint leaves, I could have used circles or squares and accomplished the same thing, but to make it a bit more interesting.

If you want, before you start your negative painting, you can wet the paper and drop what ever colors you want on to the paper to create some interest. This is not necessary just a different way to start a painting. You might want to wait until you have done this step and it has dried completely before putting on your design so it doesn't get washed away in the process and when you are using a pencil use at least a #2B - #4B so it is dark enough that you will be able to see it after several layers of washes have been laid down over it. Many who used an HB or harder pencil had a difficult time seeing their design after only one of two washes. Pencil lines are okay in watercolor and this is just a study anyway.

After you have gotten your design on you next have to figure out which leaf is going to be your lightest leaf or leaves This will be your first No Paint Zone. By that I mean you will be painting around what ever falls into a NPZ. I chose the one leaf that looks on top and the curl back of the leave to the right for my NPZ.

I then mixed up a thin wash of color. You can use any color with the exception of yellow because yellow really doesn't change value (lightness to darkness) it really only intensifies in color. I used a mix of blue and purple for my wash and it was the same color and value throughout my demo until the very last wash. This is important to note because if you mix your wash too dark you have no place to go with it, the layers will darken as you put successive washes on because the layer underneath will show through and increase the intensity of the color as well as darken it, this is the nature of watercolor.

I let each wash dry completely before adding my next wash. Each time I do a wash, I select another leaf or leaves to join in the NPZ until all of the leaves are in the NPZ that is the point where I can darken or change the color of my final wash.

I also use negative painting to show how to put veins into the leaves using my angle brush with just some color on the tip of the brush and painting around where I wanted the veins to be, by increasing the value (light vs dark) and intensity (strength of the color) the lighter veins will show because of the contrast. This takes practice but it come in very handy when you do a lot of plants and flowers or any time there is lighter raised areas like a blood vein in a hand or on an animal's face for examples.

I also intensified the shadow under the curl back using negative painting, I could use it any time I need to add a shadow or increase a value behind something. As you become more adept as a painter you will go back and forth between positive and negative painting without even thinking about what you are doing.

You can finish these leaves anyway you would like. Get some leave from your yard and see how they look in real life and try to create that on your paper, that is the fun stuff: the holes and rotted or dieing parts that give character to the leaf, this is just a study so you can't mess it up. Have fun that is what art is all about.

PV classes we will be going over textures next week so there won't be any drawings or photos you will need to print out. Torrance students, hang in there, I will get you caught up but do try these things at home, remember you have a day off on Monday to paint to your hearts content.

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