Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer 10

Watercolor 2010 - Wet into Wet Skies

I continued along the wet into wet techniques by doing a couple of skies. There is no one way to do anything and I by no means showed all the variations on the theme, all I hoped to do was to show a couple of possibilities and other uses for wet into wet, it can be a very versatile technique in watercolor.

The biggest thing most beginners have problems with is how to create warm colors along the horizon and cool dark colors at the top. The problems occur when you bet the blue near the yellow or orange, you end up with green or brown (respectively). The problem can be solved by adding red.

If you look at a sunset or dawn, you will notice a gradual change between the light and the dark. It might start as being yellow then fades to orange then to red then blue to deeper blue or purple. RED is the key color here.

First I wet my entire sky area so that it was fairly wet, next I started with my yellow where the horizon would be - and you can turn it upside down if that is easier - next I added orange to the top of the yellow, then RED then blue and finally blue with purple. Having the red in between the orange and the blue keeps the color from getting muddy. Be sure that you are using either the napthol red or crimson and not cadmium red because the cad red tends to be on the orange side and you will get a muddy color where you have the transition from red to blue.

I do want to point out that there is a difference between a morning sky and an evening sky. Morning skies are usually cooler in color: More orange and crimson no yellows whereas evening skies can be blazing hot with color. Part of the reason for this is the fact that morning air is cooler than the air that has been heated all day plus there may be more dust etc in the air from all the activity. Also the change of seasons will affect who a sky looks depending on where the sun is in the sky. Just keep this in mind if you want to create a mood in you painting.

While your sky is still wet, you can lift out clouds with a paper towel or with your brush. These can be the framework for darker clouds but do not try to do darker clouds while your sky is still wet or you will get mud! LET IT DRY COMPLETELY before you add the darker clouds.

When it is dry THEN you can put in darker clouds. Do them quickly so you don't mix the paint underneath into the clouds or visa versa. This will keep your colors clean. You can also lift out details with your brush but remember that clouds are soft so you want to avoid hard edges.

When you are painting skies, don't be afraid to turn your paper to get movement in your paint it can add interest and it is fun. No two skies are ever alike so it really won't matter but it will give you an interesting sky.

The rest is up to you. Your job as students is to take what I give you and try to find other ways to make them work for you. It is much easier to mess up a practice piece than to have done a detailed drawing and be afraid to mess up all your hard work, it can be very intimidating and scary. Sacrifice a piece of paper to practice the things you are unsure of and it will pay off huge when you get to your real paintings.

This coming class will be our last class, bring in a few things for critique be they your best work or ones you need help on, getting a second opinion is always a good thing. Remember that registrations is open at both Torrance and at PV, get signed up as early as you can so you can get the classes you want. See you soon.

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