Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring 2012 Watercolor Class

Watercolor – Apple Turnover Week 4

(They have "improved" Blogger so if you have any problems with the blog or the picture page link, let me know.)

In the last class at Torrance, I continued to add intensity to my colors. Intensity is different than value, whereas value is the lightness or the darkness of an area, intensity is the richness of the hue of a color. For instance, if your apples look too pale or pinkish you need to intensify the color, e.i. add more red. If your shadows aren't dark enough, they will need to be intensified with more blue and purple.

Remember with watercolor we need to sneak up on our color. It is much better to intensify a color in a series of washes than to cover it all in one step. You will loose the transparency of the watercolor if you do. I did add a light wash or orange to the apples in the sun that gave them a bit of a glow.

I also added a bit more to the texture of the basket/bucket buy using more dry brush to add more color inside and out. I also added color to the bands around the basket starting near the top with orange and a touch of sienna, bleeding it up into the lighter area and down a bit into the next darkest area continuing to work wet into wet by adding sienna to the next area, then sienna and purple to the area that is going into the shadows, then a bit more purple into the sienna as it goes into deep shadow. I worked wet into wet to get a smooth transition of color.

I added color and detail into my grasses using greens and sienna, some orange. I did lift out some bent over grasses and added color when I thought it needed it, the one thing I didn't do is worry over this process. I have my values in place all I need to do it add color it should be there when I'm done.

In the grass around the apples and basket, I just suggested texture and some shadows where the apples are sitting but again, less can be more.

The bale of the handle (that is the wire the wood handle is attached to), I lifted out with my brush and added a dark shadow to the back side of it.

The spaces between the slats on the basket and the knot holes I did with my small angle brush but they can be done with a liner if you feel more comfortable with that brush. I mixed up a dark color using my blue, purple and a touch of sienna to make my UNEVEN lines for my slats (remember it is old cheap wood) and any other detail  thought it needed.

Finish this up how ever you want. You can be very detailed or not, it is up to you. I am stopping here because I really don't think I need to do much more but I do want to live with it for a while before I make my final decision. This is a habit you need to get into as well, stop before you think it is done because if you are looking for things to do you could over work it and ruin what you have.

Have something you want to work on in class in both Torrance and PV because I think we might finish up at PV in our next class, I will do demos to help you and the class on specific problems. See you in class.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring 2012 Watercolor Class

Watercolor – Apple Turnover Week 2

Torrance class, I went back a step and did a demo using just one apple so you could see what these layers of value can do for your painting. It is easier to see just one apple than the whole lot of them but big or small the technique is the same: One wash at a time.

If you need to review the procedure, see last week's blog. PV students you may need to do that at this point.

In the Torrance class, I still had a couple of washes to put on to get my darkest darks before I started putting on color, I let it dry before I went ahead adding color.

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 Class

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.

Torrance students I think I pushed you off in the deep end when I should have taken you into the shallows first so I will explain what I did at PV and what we are doing might make more sense. (See photo page)

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.