Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer 2011 Watercolor Class

Watercolor – Demo: Pelicans in Flight Week 4

PV students, most of what we did in class this week is documented in the previous blog so check there for details. Torrance students you can go to last weeks blog to see how I did the water, I am going to concentrate on the hills on the island this time. Both classes we are basically done with the birds there are just a few details I might go over in class just in case you would like to see how I might finish, but this is nit picky stuff and you might want to move on to something you want to paint.

When I write these blogs, I have my paintings sitting next to me while I write so I can figure out what I did in class. Sometimes when I look at them I notice things that bother me but I'm too busy in class to figure out what it is, sitting here trying to make sense of all this it at times jumps off the paper, this was one of those times.

Looking at all 4 of my paintings (2 watercolor, 2 acrylic) I realized that not only did it look better with some ripples in the water (did that at PV and liked it), it also came to me that maybe there should be a bit more detail in the hills of the island, it just looked too plain, it needed something.

With that in mind, I mixed a color that was similar in value but just a bit more purple for my hills. Remember that watercolors are transparent and are accumulative in nature so that the color underneath will influence the next layer both in color and in value (darkness). The more layers the more intense the color and deeper the value, it is why we start light and work our way to dark in watercolor. I don't need to mix a darker value for my shadows because it will automatically be darker when I paint over the color that is already there.

I mixed my blue with my crimson – you can use the napthol red as well – to create a cool wine color that was about the same value as the existing hills. Be sure to add enough water so the color isn't too intense. The sun is coming in from the top left so my shadows will be on the right sides of the hills and down in the spaces between the ridges. I would put down the color, rinse my brush, then with just a damp brush go along the edges of the color to blend it into the existing color to create soft shadows.

Sometimes if you look at the dry paint, you will see shapes that you can use to your advantage to create cliffs or other distant details on the hills. Just be sure that your shadows don't have hard lines and that the color isn't too dark. If you need to look at a photo or at the local hills/mountains to see how the shadows play on the hills, by all means, see what Nature does when she paints the hills with shadows to give you an idea of where you need to go with your own shadows.

It is good practice as an artist to keep files on all different subject matters whether it is something you cut from a magazine or newspaper or photos you take for yourself, having a reference file available when you paint is invaluable if you don't have one, start one.

All students need to bring in something that they want to paint for next week, I can help you get started on it and if you need a demo on something I can do it in class for everyone. See you soon.

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