Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall 2010 Watercolor Class

Watercolor Fall 2010

I have posted the drawing and the reference photo for our class project. As always, please feel free to download and print the reference photo for class.

In our first class we did a couple of things. First, we created a "value scale". These can come in handy, especially, for those who are still learning to paint and need to have visual "proof" of the values within their paintings or their subject matter be it a photo or real life. Until you have developed the skill to see the subtle changes in value and color intensity, having something like the value scale to check against can be a very useful tool.

The process is simple enough: mix a grey color – blue and orange or blue and burnt sienna make a nice gray – and keep it pretty light, you want it just a bit darker than the white of the paper. You can either cut a strip of watercolor paper about 10 inches long by and 1" to 2" or just paint a stripe at the end of you paper. Remember to skip over the first section to leave the white of the paper for your scale and paint a nice even strip across the paper. Let this dry completely or use a hair dryer before doing the next strip. Just remember each time to skip a bit of the previous application but use either the same color you just used or add just tiny amounts of the blue and sienna for your next layer. You want to keep your paint light so you can build up the values one step at a time, also when you are applying a new layer, just put it down with just a couple of strokes and leave it alone. If you keep going over it you run the risk of lifting the paint off from the other layers.

You need about 8 – 10 different layers for a good value scale. When you get to the darkest one, mix blue (your ultra marine) and the sienna with very little water to get a dark almost black color. When it is dry, use a hole punch and punch holes in the middle of each color, then keep this scale with your art stuff so it will be handy.

We also started on the under painting for our class project which will be a close-up of a eucalyptus tree trunk will all it's peeling bark. If you can have this part done with your sketch already drawn on it we can get started in class the next time we meet.

It isn't necessary to have the drawing on your paper before doing this first step and it might almost be preferable to wait until you do the first step before you do you drawing because it can get washed off or covered up with all the water from the under painting.

To do the under painting I first wet the paper with you sprayer. It will help you to have your paper elevated at the top so your paint will run down the page, or lift it while your paint is wet. To the wet paper start adding color. Almost any color will work here but if you have your reference photo handy, you can see that parts of the trunk are cool in color (blues, purples and greens) and other parts are warm in color (sienna, orange, reds and yellow). Your paint should have a lot of water in it so it will run and when it dries it isn't too dark. You can drip it on, flip it on or paint it on, just don't let it get to feeling so good that you end up with mud and don't get your colors so intense that you have no where to go with them, we will intensify the colors as we go but can use those lighter colors to our advantage.

Be sure to have a reference photo with you in class. I will see you soon.

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