Friday, October 12, 2012
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Torrance Students: The PV class is a week ahead of you so you will need to use the previous week's blog entry for the class notes after we start the painting.
PV Students: I wanted to show you that you don't always need to have your drawing on first before you started a painting but if you have something specific in mind, it is important to have your reference handy so you can make adjustments if you need to.
Starting a watercolor by splattering the background can be a very effective way to loosen up your painting but also yourself. It lets you see that you can do a lot to a watercolor and still get great results.
To start this process I spritz my paper in a few places with my sprayer. I DID NOT WET the entire paper! I only spritz randomly to hit it a couple times with water though most of the paper was dry, otherwise all of my splattering would become very soft and blend in with what was around it. That is something to keep in mind for another painting.
You can use a tooth brush or a paint brush or both, I was using my 3/4" angle brush with lots of water and color on it as I flicked it on my paper. I sorta kept the warm colors (reds, yellows and oranges) in the upper 2/3's and my cooler colors (blues, greens and purples) near the bottom but there was plenty of mingling, some of which I caused by tilting my paper.
After my paper dried, I transferred my drawing onto my paper using graphite transfer paper but you can rub a #4 pencil on the line of the back of your pattern, place that side down on your paper and go over the lines, works about the same. Putting your drawing on after painting your background often works better than doing it before all the water and paint hit it because graphite can dissolve and you will need to draw it on again.
When you have your drawing on your paper you will start the under painting process. Remember that in watercolor we go from light to dark so we will be building up to those dark shadows with layers of paint.
You will need your reference photo so you can find the lightest areas on the truck, they will be on the hood, fenders around the door and parts of the frame. On those areas you can use a light wash (little paint, lots of water) of either orange or yellow or a combination of the two, the most important part of this is to keep it light with lots of water.
Next, over the rest of the truck - that includes the shadows - mix a bit of burnt sienna into the orange/yellow mix you just used, keep it to the orange side but still keeping it light then go over everything that is metal on the car including all the shadow areas, we will pull those out with the next wash but because they will be very dark we need to build the dark layer by layer. Watch out for the wooden frame in the door and in the cab, those should be painted with a blue/green mix but wait until the surrounding area is dry. The rock below can also get a light wash of this color.
Let this layer dry completely, you can use a hair dryer to speed up the process, then once it is dry, use you sienna, with a touch of purple and water into that color you were using and go over all your shadow areas with this color. We aren't trying to get our final darkness yet all we are doing at this point is finding our light and dark areas. This color can also go on the tire.
This is where we stopped, I hope that everyone is at or near this point when we meet again.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
(They have "improved" Blogger so if you have any problems with the blog or the picture page link, let me know.)
Friday, April 20, 2012
Watercolor – Apple Turnover Week 2
If you need to review the procedure, see last week's blog. PV students you may need to do that at this point.
I have what is called a "grass comb" brush that I used on the basket to create old wood texture. It is designed to split at the end which makes it great for fur, hair and dry brush, I used this brush to add the texture to the basket, however, if you don't have a comb brush you can use a fan or you can spread the bristles out on a flat, angle or round brush to get the same effect. A small bristle brush would work but if it has EVER been in oil pain DO NOT USE IT! Acrylic paint is water based so that would be okay but an oil brush will always have a bit of oil in it and it can ruin you painting.
Remember to use lighter colors in the sunny area and darker colors in the shadow areas just like you would normally do. Also notice that I have not started to add any detail like the slats or cracks to my bucket, that will come later.
The apples were basically just napthol red, it is the gray under painting that is giving them shading. The green apple was a mix of sap green and a touch of yellow. I lifted out highlights just to show how to do it, that could change as I work on this painting.
Take your time. Watercolor is not for the impatient. Let things dry before adding more layers. Think about what you are doing before you do it. Most of all, relax and have fun. This isn't rocket science you should be enjoying the journey.
We (I) may get this done next time, I'm not sure, just be looking for you next project because that is what you will be working on for the rest of the semester. See you all in class.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Spring 2012 Watercolor – Apple Turnover
Before you start you will need to have the reference photo and the drawing, you will also need to have a good drawing on your paper before you start.
This is a lot like the ink wash painting we did a couple of semesters ago except we will be using grays we make from our palette. I learned this technique from a man named Don Andrews and it is a very effective way to get more value in your paintings but it does take practice. I find that I will start many of my paintings this way or at least parts of my paintings depending on what I think it will need.
If you have different values of blue starting with cerulean, cobalt and ultra marine, plus have orange and burnt sienna on your palette, this will help. If you only have one or two blues you can still make this work, the end product will only be a little bit different. (See photo page)
The following instructions are the same for the practice apple as well as the project itself so I won't repeat the steps for the project but will give some suggestions for handling the brush when I'm done with the practice apple.
The first thing you need is a good drawing on your watercolor paper so you know where your highlights and shadows will be. On the practice apple I used lines to define the lightest to the darkest 1 being the brightest highlight and 5 being the darkest shadow. The light is coming from the upper left hand side so the basket and the apples will have their high lights on the upper left hand side. I know that sounds obvious but it is easy to loose track of your light source when you are blocking in your painting. Yes, this is coming out of my mind but if you have any doubts take an apple, find a single light source such as a window or a lamp (all other lights need to be out) and see for your self.
IF you feel more comfortable masking out your brightest highlights now is the time to do it before you start painting, I just painted around the lightest areas.
Keep in mind that watercolor is a transparent color, each layer you put down effects the next layer you put on top of it (when it is dry) so you can build your values and build the intensity of your color by doing layers of washes. You will want to start out with a light wash, if you have your value scale get it out and use it because you don't want your first wash any darker than the value next to your white, on a commercial one it would be the 10% or less.
I mixed a gray using my cerulean blue and a tiny touch of cad orange. The orange can easily over power the blue so if it looks too yellow or greenish add more blue, this should be a cool gray. Use a lot of water to make a light value and you will want to use a large brush like a wash brush or a 1" brush because this will go over EVERYTHING EXCEPT the lightest highlight whether it is on the practice apple or the project. Remember to paint around your highlights if you have not put masking on them but paint everything else, DO NOT paint around anything except the highlights. If you only have cobalt and Ultra marine or just Ultra marine don't worry, this will work just the same your grays will be a slightly different color (hue).
If you have done this right, you should barely see where the highlights are once the paint has dried. It may take a couple more washes of color before you start to see things appear. Be patient you will see things soon.
The next layer I used the same two colors in a slightly stronger mix. It is still light in value so add plenty or water, this time, not only will you avoid the highlights, but you will also avoid the NEXT LIGHEST VALUE. Look at your reference photo or apple before you start this wash, see for yourself what is the next lightest area if you have to mark them on your paper. Hint: the apples inside the basket are several values darker than the apples outside the basket because they are in shadow so you can paint over them but don't forget the highlight on the inside of the basket. Each of the apples will now have a light and dark side. On the practice apple, right around the highlight is the next lightest area and part of the leaf and stem. Everything else gets painted with this next wash of gray. See this first, don't just start painting.
This is how you will proceed with each wash of gray: Leaving the next lightest value but painting everything else. You will want to negative paint around the brighter grasses or where the grass comes up in front of apples so you don't have to lift later but continue to add gray values until you get to your darkest darks.
You will have to switch from cerulean blue to cobalt and cad orange if you are using all 3 blues after about the third wash again, if the gray looks too muddy or yellowish, add more blue. If you need to get an even darker gray switch to cobalt and burnt sienna then finally switch to ultra marine blue and burnt sienna with maybe a touch or purple as well for your very darkest darks.
Like everything else, this takes practice to see and to do but it can be a very good way for a lot of you to paint especially if you want to get more values into your painting, this is a good way to start if you try plein aire painting because of the changing light you need to capture your lights and darks right off the bat because they will change minute to minute, then you can add the color later once you have established your values. Take your time, ask questions if you have them and I will see you next time.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Watercolor – Techniques for Texture
I love to do things that have texture and character like old wood and rusty things watercolor makes them with little effort if you just trust the watercolor.
Rust and peeling paint – Paint the color of the object you are going to add rust to, don't worry about painting around the areas because it doesn't matter, the rust will cover it up and it will actually help the final look o the object.
When the area is dry you will be using the following colors in a fairly liquid form: Orange, sienna, red and sienna with purple. Your paint should run a little bit the drips help. Have the top of your paper elevated so that gravity works for you and your paint doesn't pool up, this is just SOP with watercolor. Start with the orange in the area where you want rust. You can let it dry just a bit but it should still be dame between each color. Next add sienna and touches of red into the same area starting at the top and letting the color mix with what it all ready there. Again, you can let it dry a bit. With the sienna and purple, make a dark color, this is a shadow color and goes next to the area that is suppose to be peeling paint. If you have an angle brush or a flat brush, load it on the tip or corner and put the brush with the paint next to the area that is suppose to be paint and with the all the bristles in contact with the paper, paint in the shadow. If you use a round brush this will take two steps: first paint in the shadow then rinse and remove excess water and run the brush on the side of the paint you just put down that will be in the rusted area. You may have to do this again to get it dark enough.
To create the effect of the paint peeling up, lift a bit of color at the edges of some of the paint areas next to the rust, you can also add cracks using that dark mix and a liner brush.
Polished wood – Wood comes in all colors and patterns so do some research if you want a specific kind and color. I use the edge of my angle brush and make long "s" shapes (direction depends on the angle of the wood) just keep your strokes following the natural growth of the grain. Use more than one color and use colors you may not think about such as if it is a light wood it may have pinks and yellows, dark woods may have reds or blues or even green running through them. Let it dry and with a liner brush you can add darker grains and knots, just be sure that you follow the grain of the wood.
Old wood – Old wood can come in a variety of colors as well please find examples and keep them for reference. They are going to have a rougher surface because of weathering and they may have been just rough cut to begin with, I used shades of gray but I also added green and orange and blues for the under painting, same as above suing long "s" strokes following the grain and let it dry. When it was dry I use a darker version of the colors I used in the under painting but this time I used my angle brush in a dry brush technique with little paint and spreading the bristles at the end then wiggling the brush as I followed the grain of the wood. With a liner I added knots and cracks.
Tree Bark – Again, all trees are different have your reference handy. I used my small angle brush on its edge and made small choppy strokes down the branch of the tree using lighter colors in the sunny area getting darker into the shadowed side. On the branch that sticks out, I used short "coma" strokes because the branch is foreshortened.
Salt for texture – Salt can be use for all sorts of texture these were just three examples: Stucco, distant trees and rocks. Timing is everything with salt so you will need to practice to get it just the way you want but basically you put the paint down then wait until the shine of the water just starts to fade. If it is too wet the salt dissolves too fast and spreads out too much; too dry and it may not spread at all. It is a fun thing to use and does a lot of the work for you.
Remember to sign up for classes and bring things in for critique.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Watercolor – Waterfalls and Still Water Studies.
PV Class - Waterfalls: Waterfalls require you to practice up on your dry brush technique. Before you touch brush to paper it is important to make sure that you lightly squeeze the bristles near the metal ferrule to get out any excess water in your brush otherwise, your paint will come off too solid and not leave the white of the paper you need to get the look of falling water.
Practice this stroke by first dragging your brush across the paper horizontally then, without lifting your brush, go vertically. This simulates the water flowing along then finding a drop. The harder you press your brush to the paper, the more paint you will put down so keep your touch light for the full effect. This takes practice but you will need it when we get into wood grain.
Still Water – This is any water that is in a lake or ocean or pool that doesn't have a lot of movement, but even still water has slight ripples from breezes or drips or something making the water move, it also makes your water more natural looking if it has some variation in lights and shadows.
I use long "u" or "bow" shaped strokes to create still water. The longer and flatter the stroke is the calmer the water looks. I leave areas unpainted so the white of the paper becomes the highlights and I overlap and congest my strokes while trying to keep them mostly horizontal. I change color to make darker strokes but each time I am leaving some of the previous color to be highlights and various degrees of shadow. Again, this takes practice and most of you seem reluctant to overlap your strokes or congest them up but this is important to the look of your water. You should not have a series of dots and slashes you should have some solid areas of variegated color.
I would like to work on reflections in water and maybe start on some wood grain so I would like you to bring you own photos to work from. If you need to you can Google "water reflections" in the images tab and you will find more than you need. See you in class.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Watercolor Winter 2012 Week 3
PV Class, we worked on a couple of studies of rocks. I make up my own rocks usually because I have done them so often though I did borrow a rock picture for one of the studies. It is in your best interest to make up reference files of everything you want to paint. These files can be of photos you have take – these are the best in my opinion – or check out the travel sections of the paper, there are good images there or cut them out of magazines or collect postcards on your trips, all of these things can be used as reference material when you are trying to figure out how to draw or paint something. If you have time to sketch, those sketches are also great references just keep a camera handy and take lots of photos. I have started a reference photo page for common things like rocks, waves, leaves etc and will update it when I find another good reference for you, you can find the link to it here or in the side bar under the Lerri's links section.
Rocks are painted like everything else starting from light going to dark so I'm not going to go through the basics here, the problem most of you have with rocks is you are human. It is in our nature to line things up and organize things, well, rocks are far from organized unless a human has been involved.
Whether you are painting rocks on the beach, sharp desert rocks or smooth river rocks each rock has its own shape. They are bigger or smaller than their neighbors, different colors, some have chips and cracks, some are flat, some are round…the more you look at rocks the more you will see and the only way you are going to get better at painting rocks is to study them and paint studies of them.
Start with the above mentioned reference photos. Make a folder either a real folder or one in your computer for just rocks and when you find rocks take photos or cut out the image and save it. If you have rocks in your yard, sit outside and sketch them. Look at how the light hits them at various times of day. Collect them if you can. I have small rocks all over the house and in my planters, rocks come home with me. You can use these rocks in set up or use the photos you've collected then DRAW the rocks. Try to find as much detail as you can.
Once you have your drawing, get it on your paper and paint what you see. These don't need to be big drawings or paintings, you can get some of those watercolor cards at the store and paint on them for practice, then send them to friends, it is the practice you are going for.
If all your rocks look like turtles or loaves of bread, you need to get more reference material. We can do these studies every class but unless you practice these at home, you will always have turtles or bread.
I will be doing waves and water next class so try to find photos for class. There are some on that link but just like the rocks, you need to start finding your own, even if you Google waves and get them off the Internet, it is a start. See you all in class.