Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall 2012 Watercolor Class – Scotty’s Truck

Torrance students please refer to the previous blog entry, you are about a week behind PV.

You should have the first wash of color on your truck from here until the end it will be about intensifying the color and deepening the shadows. Remember watercolor works best if you do this in layers of washes rather than trying to do it all at once. Before you start, please look at the reference photo of the actual truck and not the place where I left off in class that photo is there so you can see where we left off and where you need to be before you start the next step, the actual truck shows you where you need to go.

Look at each part of the truck before you try to paint it. What you are looking for are highlights and shadows also where the rust might be a different color or have some texture. The more detail you can observe in your subject the better the outcome of your painting even if you are wanting to be more impressionistic, the devil is in the detail as they say, most painting go through a stage where they look very impressionistic it is where you take it from there with the amount of detail you put in that will make a more realistic painting.

For instance, look at the front fender. If you will notice around the outside edges it is a lot darker than the top, it isn’t a sudden change bot a gradual one with very soft edges. To paint the fender to get that look you start where it is the darkest with your color and using water on your brush move it towards the lighter area, this is called a graded wash.

The basic color for the metal parts of the truck are always going to be burnt sienna, a touch of orange and a little touch of purple. That will be the base color that you can add other colors to or more of one of the 3 basic colors depending on what you are trying to accomplish. There is some water in this mix and it is still a wash but it is not as thin as the first couple of washes, you paint should not look or feel pasty or thick when you put it on, it still needs to feel like painting with water. Some of you were using your paints way too thick a problem that can happen when you use them straight out of the tube.

I use my ½” angle brush and load the color on the tip and first third of the brush, you can use any brush you feel comfortable with but will have to practice to get the same effect. I put the tip of the brush where the color is the darkest but my whole brush is on the paper. I paint around these darker areas, and then I rinse my brush, take off the excess water and with just the damp brush I go back into the darker paint and start working it into the lighter areas. If you do it right you will have the edges darker and the top of the fender lighter. Yes, you may have to do this more than once because watercolor dries lighter but each time you will repeat this step just don’t got as far into the light area each time and you will see the fender start to pop off the page.

I know that it is tempting to go into the dark area with a very dark color and get it over with but please try to resist that urge and build the shadow just like the lighter areas of the truck. With your dark color – which is the above mix with more blue and purple added, BTW -  once you start to get the area dark enough to suggest shadow, go back in with more shadow color and just make some shapes especially in the cab of the truck and where the engine was because there might be “stuff” in those shadows and it will make your dark areas look like there is something there besides just dark.

The rock needs to have a shadow on it this is going to be a mix of blue and purple, again look at the rock before you start to paint, it is darker further under the truck and along the sides. If you “pat” the brush to the paper it will create a bit of texture the rock will need otherwise it could look like a smooth river rock, rather hard to find in the desert.

I have not done my shadows yet but if you feel like you can paint them, use the blue and purple mix with just a touch of sienna in it and keep your edges soft.

We will be finishing up the truck in the next class so if you want to do some detail with a pen, have a fine tipped Sharpie with you at the next class. See you all next time.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall 2012 Watercolor - Scotty's Truck

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.