Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Watercolor 2011

Spring 2011 – Watercolor – Fanta-Sea

For my PV students you will need to go back a couple weeks to see the beginning of Fanta-Sea. I have done nothing different just follow along as best as you can, any questions ask me in class. You might also want to download the photo and drawing for the next project because we might get started in the next class.

Before I get involved in talking detail for finishing up the boat, I want to go over how to create a graded wash, it is something a lot of you struggle with and it is one of the most versatile techniques you can use in watercolor. It can be used in big areas like a sky or small areas like the sides of buildings or petals of a flower, once you learn this technique it is simple and will make your watercolor cleaner and fresher.

What I mean by graded is it goes from dark to light in a very smooth blend and there are several ways you can create a graded wash. The first way is to wet the area where you want/need the color to go from dark to light. Wet beyond where is should be the lightest so the paint doesn't just stop when it reaches dry paper. Then, starting in the area where you need it darkest, apply the paint. Rinse your brush and remove the excess then with just the damp brush, run it along the edge where you need to soften the color. This can be done with most brushes whether they are round, flat or angled, just be sure to use most of the brush on the paper with the tip a bit into the color and the rest of the brush away from the color.

The next method is to work wet on dry paper again, you can use any brush but you do need to practice this so you know how your brush works. Load your brush with the color you need then apply it to the area you will be painting. Rinse your brush and immediately with your damp brush, run it along the edge you need to soften and lighten. You can't wait too long or the paint will start to dry and won't move. This is a good time to remind you it helps to have the top of your paper elevated so that gravity will work for you, helping g the paint to move. You may need to do this again until you get the desired look you want.

The third method works best with flat or angle brushes. Rinse your brush and slightly dry it then load your paint on to one corner (flat) or tip (angle) and then slightly work it into the bristles about a third of the way across by working it on your palette. Place the tip/corner of your brush where you need the darkest color but have the whole edge of your brush on the paper with the opposite end of the bristles in the area you want the lightest. Again, this takes practice but it is very effective.

Now to the boat.

Make sure that you have the color around your boat intense enough. You need the contrast between the color and the white of the paper to make the sail and the boat stand out. This is best done before you remove the masking, however, if you need to, you can add color around the sail or the boat, using the technique above to fade the color into the sky or sea, just find a color that is in the area you need to intensify, paint it around the boat or sail then with a wet brush, fade it out to the sides of your paper.

When you are satisfied with your background, be sure that the paper is totally dry before removing the masking. Moisture likes to gather at corners or angles. If you are using a hair drier, be sure to use the low setting for the heat and hold the drier back at least 18" from the paper. You don't want to melt the masking into your paper or you will have trouble.

Do not worry about the stripes on the sail for right now, just worry about the shadow that runs the length of the sail. You will notice it is a graded shadow: Darker on one side then fades to light on the other, this is where your practice comes in. Mix a bluish gray with blue, a touch of sienna to gray it, even a tiny touch of purple but keep it on the blue side, then do your shadow using one of the techniques I mentioned above. If you use the wet into wet method, do not wet the whole sail ONLY the pars of the sail that have shadows, this will give you a harder line on that one edge and keep the sunny areas bright.

You can use this color in the shadow areas of the boat. If you mix it darker, you can use it to create the canopies over the man piloting the boat and for the portholes and other dark detail.

The stripes can be any color you want them to be I will tell you my reasoning for my choices but the choice is yours. I didn't much care for the navy blue stripe in the photo but decided to have a blue stripe at the top part of the sail because it was the compliment to the colors in the sky (orange and yellow), but it was not solid blue. I wet the stripe (wet into wet) put blue at the top and bottom of the upper stripe and put a bit of sap green in the center and with a clean damp brush worked the edges of those colors together. This creates a sense of light coming through the sail.

On the bottom stripe, I needed a color that would stand out against the blue of the ocean, again I went with the complimentary colors of red with a touch of yellow at the center of the stripe, just like I did on the top. The stripes on the boat are optional but again you choose.

To finish this up I outlined some of the boat with my Sharpie pen to give it some detail and definition to areas. The rigging (rope/cables for the sail) I did using my ruler and a sharp, pointed knife to score the paper. this was another reason to have that area intense enough in color so the ropes would show up when the paper was scored. The important thing to remember here is this has to be the last thing you are going to do to the sky because once you have damaged the surface of the paper, it will take the paint differently, usually a lot darker so be sure you want to do this before you start.

We will be starting a new project on Monday so be sure that you download the photo and the drawing if you need it. See you soon.

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