Saturday, October 24, 2015

Watercolor Fall 2015 Class Project: Cool Refuge Week 5

Torrance Class we finished our version of the chair the information is in the previous blog. Next time if you have finished your chair have something you want to paint or just do some studies on various things to get to know your subject, it is something I do encourage.

Taking the time to do small studies of individual elements helps you understand your subject. Some artists take months of research for a future painting by gathering photos and doing sketches and thumbnails long before they ever start on their masterpiece. With all that preparation it usually does turn out to be a masterpiece. Try this for a few months – yes months, it doesn’t happen overnight – and you might see great improvement in your paintings. Even taking time to do a pencil sketch like this chunk of wood, gives you so much more information about the wood that when you get to your own painting, it won’t be a mystery. This drawing only took about 10 minutes but its value goes beyond the time spent. Try it, you might like it and it won’t hurt.

I may bring in a surprise next class for those who are up to a challenge, until then, keep painting and I will see you in class.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

WATERCOLOR FALL 2015 Project: Cool Refuge Week 4

Torrance class I want to remind you that I am using the PV class project to write the blog do not worry we will cover everything that you see in the photographs from their class you're just about a week behind them so be prepared to finish up your project this week.

This week was all about finishing the project so I wanted to concentrate on the areas I thought needed some work so that when I started doing detail I didn't have to stop and fix something else.

First thing I did is I wanted to darken the moss that's on the wall behind the chair if you look at the reference photo you will see that the moss is quite dark in between the slats of the chair and I like that look if you don't like it don't put it in but I do so I did. The color is a mix of Hooker’s green, blue and burnt sienna to make a ugly dark green color, there wasn't much water mixed into the paint that will keep it dark.
While that was drying I started working on the chunks that are out of the wall we had under painted them in last week now I'm going to detail them. There are several ways you can add bricks into the wall the first is the obvious way - you can paint them in. The second way is to lift them out and the third way is to paint the mortar that is between them or lift out the mortar that is between them or a combination of several techniques. You might want to experiment on a separate sheet of paper and see which method will work best for you, for me in the closer wall I lifted out the mortar between the bricks leaving the original color as my bricks. Remember that bricks are offset over each other for strength so they are about halfway across the brick below them. For the few bricks that show on the sunny wall I lifted the bricks this time and left the original color as the mortar between the bricks you are not limited to one way or the other you just need to figure out what technique will work best in the area you are in.
Next I wanted to add some detail to make the cracks in the chunks so they look three dimensional. Where you have plaster lifting up off the bricks there will be a shadow underneath stucco so using my shadow color which is my blue, purple with a little touch of sienna to make a very dark purple/blue color and my liner brush, I painted right up next to the edge of what should be the wall. If you make the mark thick it will look like the stucco is further away from the wall; if it is thin it will look like it is right on the wall, this is how you create three dimensions on a two dimensional surface. Using the same color I also created cracks in the wall I did a similar thing on the sunny side but just added a little bit more water because it is in the sun and it is further away. I also used this color to create a little bit of texture in the bricks. The bricks will also have little shadows around some of the edges and they will have cracks in between them, you are only limited by your imagination, this is why I suggest you look at things so that you have a lot of information stored in your head when you get into situations like this, it makes your painting a lot more fun and interesting.

I also lifted out some areas in the vines above to put in some flowers I realized that white flowers were not going to happen so I just made them a red flower using my alizarin crimson and a touch of blue to create a cool red color. This will also work with your napthal red as well, try not to line them up, give them different shapes, different directions and different sizes so that it looks like there are flowers in all stages of development.

I added cracks and detail to my chair I did a demo on how to create the texture in old wood and I suggested that you look at old wood but knowing that you probably would not go out and look, I took some photographs of an old picnic bench I have in my yard so that you can see how the grain and the cracks change direction when they reach the end of a board this is important because it helps to create the effect of a third dimension on a flat surface. If you can't see in your mind what I'm talking about when I'm doing my demo it won't do you any good, this is why you need to create your own reference file whether it is cutting pictures out of magazines and newspapers, taking your own photographs, searching the internet, doing sketches and creating a file on your computer - all of these things will help you as an artist and the more you understand what you are looking at the easier it will be to paint them.

The rusted nails we're pretty simple you just take and put a little bit of burnt sienna and then
a little bit of orange where you want the rust to be, then take your finger or a damp brush and smudge downwards it should look like rust dripping from the nail and the nail is just a very dark color, whatever is on your palette that is very dark.

Finally we get to flagstones or cobblestones in our painting. I wish I had an actual photograph of what I'm trying to get across to you, when you are looking at something that is flat and it looks roundish when you are looking down on it, it is going to be longer across than it is wide when you look it is from and angle so it looks flat, this is called foreshortening. When you are painting in the separations between the flagstones, no matter what size your flagstone is, it will be longer across than it is wide and you will mostly only see the front part of the flagstone and only on those that are close to you, the ones in the background you may only see parts of  because you don't want to draw attention to the background with too much detail, keep the detail around your subject.

Using that same dark mixture I used for the cracks, the shadows on the chair and wall, I used to create the edges of the flagstones. It is mostly the front of the flagstone that you see and that is what I painted. I didn't paint them all, I just painted some and left a suggestion for the others. Look at the detail work that I did to see how much and also how little I put in, you don't need to spell out everything for your viewer let them do some of the work.

Finally I did use a lighter version of my shadow color by adding some water to create a shadow for the vines on the wall. Look around your painting see where you need to make adjustments, where you can add detail and where you can leave detail out, this will finish out your painting. Please have something ready for next week that you want to paint and I will help you get started. Torrance class we will be finishing up this project at our next meeting so you might also want to start look in for your next project. Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

WATERCOLOR FALL 2015 PROJECT: Cool Refuge Week 3

This is for the Torrance class: I am using the PV class project to write this blog. Do not panic if you see things that we did not cover in class, we will work on it next week and we will cover everything you see in the PV version. They are a bit ahead of you, so don't panic.

This week we started working on finishing up our chair and getting into some of the detail of it there's still a bit to do but we should probably finish it up at our next meeting.
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First off be sure that you have your reference photo where you can see it, not hiding in your stuff or sitting on a desk some place at home, it should be right in front of you so that you can see what we are going to be painting. When you are doing details this is a critical thing to have.

When I looked at this at home, one of the things I saw was the wall that supposed to be sunny and warm was a bit on the pale side so the first thing I did before I started on the chair was that I washed over everything with a bit of yellow and a touch of orange. I made it very washy and just painted over the wall, the window, the pot – everything. I did came back later and touched up anything I felt needed it, but this added a little bit of warmth to that wall.

I did dry brush work on my chair creating more value as well as texture. Where it needed more value I used darker colors and to create more texture I also was using a other colors as well as the dark color. I mixed a shadow color (blue, touch of purple and touch of sienna) to start indicating where my shadows were and some of the details. Look at your photo, there are some dark shadows in places use this blue/purple and create the darker shadows or add a little water to that color and you'll get the lighter shadows.

I also used this dark blue/purple under the chair to create the deep shadow made by the chair. For the plants underneath the chair you can use this dark color to shape the tops of your plants so don't be afraid of using the color to cut into the plant color that is already there, you're trying to create something that looks natural and using a dark color to create those shapes is a good thing to know.

I will go into a more detailed demo on how to do cracks and detail in the old wood in our next meeting so don't panic or worry if you can't get it to look just right I will cover that in our next class for now just get values in your chair so that you can see the front is separate from the back. If you squint your eyes and it all blends together you need to get some more dark values, probably in that back part of the chair.

I also added some more layers to the plants underneath the chair using my sap green with a little touch of orange in it but not as much water. Using my half inch angled shader’s tip, I did a lot of dots into the base green color that I had there. You want to overlap these dots but you also want to leave some of that lighter color because that becomes highlights on your plant. I also went over it again after it dried with even a little bit darker version of green. The leaves have touches of blue in them, I added blue to my green and did the same technique leaving some of the first light color and the second darker color. When that was dry I picked up colors like orange and burnt sienna with water - I don't want them to dark - and I tap those colors in as well here and there. Just because something looks like it's one color, if you look closer you always see other colors. If you have a nice green lawn or when you get a nice green lawn again, look at it and you will see that there are yellows and oranges and browns and blues… there are all colors in that perfect green lawn, so don't be afraid put in other colors when you are painting what appears to be a singular color.

I also took the green and orange mix and tapped in the vines across the top of the wall and across the opening of the walkway. As that layer dried, I added another layer of a darker value of green with blue on top of the lighter color. I tried to leave some spaces where I can add some flowers later on. You want this green to look very cool so add your blue to your green to cool it down.

I also put in some of the missing chunks in the walls. The wall that is on the sunny side is warmer so I used burnt sienna with a touch of orange and water to create a light, warm brick color, then for the shadows I added purple to create a cooler brick color. You can add these bricks in the wall wherever you want but don't get too carried away with them. Most of the time you're going to see this happen at the bottoms of walls where water may have soaked in and done damage to the wall or where maybe it was at a height where something bashed into it you don't want to make it look like Swiss cheese, just normal wear and tear. We will do more of the detail on this later.

Try to get your painting as close to this point as you can (PV Class),  you don't have to put in the vines, you don't have to put in the chunks out of the wall, that's your decision but try to get your painting as far along as you
Torrance Version
can so that it is close to where I am in class. We should finish this up next time we meet so keep painting and I will see you in class.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

WATERCOLOR FALL CLASS 2015 Project: Cool Refuge

I'm writing the blog using the Palos Verdes project as reference because they are a little bit ahead so the Torrance class will get a preview of what to expect in our next class we will go over everything so don’t panic it’s just the PV class is a bit longer and I can cover more ground.
PV Version
I started out mostly by working in the background finishing up the window and the window box and a little pot by the door, I also put the vine around the window and that was just using a bright light green and tapping in to create the effect of vines crawling up the window I also did the same thing over the door so it looks like vines are falling over the top of the door.

I worked a bit on the windows using a darker blue and negative painting the curtains in the window. What that means is I created the opening of the curtains to suggest the curtains in the color that was already there.

Most of the work done on project today was using dry brush so be prepared to do dry brush. What dry brush means is that you have very little paint and practically no water on your brush so as you are painting you want to leave streaks, this will give you the wood-like texture not only on the chair but also to the windows and the flower box under the window in the background.

In the background on the windows I mixed burnt sienna with a little orange to create a warmer slightly darker color then I already had on my windows making sure that I had very little water in my brush I dry brushed the frame of the windows and the flowerbox. I may go over it again later but will leave it for now, remember you want some of that lighter color that you put on earlier to show through this creates texture and grain in the wood so don't try to cover it all up.

Next I started working on the chair itself before I started to work on the chair I looked at the actual reference photo not something that we've done in class but the actual photo I need to see value as well as color changes in the wood before I ever start working on the chair so you should also have your reference photo in front of you where you can see it.

If you look at the reference photo you will see that the back of the chair is much darker then the seat in front of the chair also the front of the chair and the legs that are holding it up are much warmer color, so noting these differences the first color I mixed was a dark gray color using my ultramarine blue the dioxazine purple and a touch of burnt sienna.

Using my quarter inch angled brush I made sure that I didn't have too much water on my brush and I streak this color onto the back of the chair. You want to make sure that you paint around the lighter areas of the front of the chair and you also want to make sure that you don't cover everything from your original light wash that becomes the leftover paint and worn spots on the back of the chair.

The front parts of the chair I added some more burnt sienna and a little touch of orange into the same mix I used for the back of the chair with more water to make it just a little lighter and a little warmer, this I streaked onto the front of the chair making sure that I was following the grain of the wood. Please note that the legs that come down from the arms are vertical so your brush strokes will be vertical, the front of the chair is mostly horizontal so that is the way you need to apply the dry brush so that it follows the grain of the wood. Following that grain is also important when you are doing the armrest because they also go at a slightly diagonal direction, you don't want your brush strokes to be any other direction then the actual direction they go.

Torrance version
I have managed to do a couple of layers of dry brush on my chair do the best you can and try to get your chair to this point if you are in the PV class if you are in the Torrance class we will go over this part of the painting in our next session so keep painting and I will see you in class.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

WATERCOLOR FALL CLASS 2015 Project: Cool Refuge

Hopefully everyone was able to get the drawing onto their paper. One of the things I did forget to do is to add in the plants in the planters in the background and the plants underneath the chair so you may want to draw both in before you get started. It no big deal you can adlib as you go, just be aware that you will need to leave some space for them before you do the darker colors.

The first thing I did was to paint the entirepaper with a mix of my Cad yellow light with a little touch of orange and a lot of water. I want this to be a very pale color so you need to add enough water to really dilute the color and then I painted it onto the entire surface of my paper everything else in the picture is darker then that one light wall so painting everything with this color is not going to bother or hurt the things that go on top of it.

This next part you do not have to do but I like to do it, so while my paper was wet, I mixed up a ugly grey which, in my case, I just took water and mix it into the dirty part of my palate and got a soft  dirty grey but if you don't have a dirty palette, mix blue, purple, burnt sienna and any other color you want plus a lot of water, you just want a soft blue/purple/gray. Then splattered or throw this color on your paper with a big brush you want big splatters, overall your paper. I didn't do a lot of splatters I did some splatters, I want the finished painting to look like an old photograph like you found it someplace and it's got mold and dirt on it but it has a lot of memories as well. Then I let it dry completely.
PV version
When my paper was dry I wanted to know where the chair was so I painted the chair with a touch of orange and burnt sienna and water you don't want to get too dark color, so use lots of water and I painted in the entire outline of the chair with this color we will be going over it with darker colors this color ends up being the light paint is still hanging on to this poor beat up old chair. I also used this color to under paint the planter box and the window divisions on the sunny wall. Again, I let this dry completely.

When my paper was dry I needed to mix color for the wall behind the chair. This is just a wash. Again this has a lot of water in it and just a little bit of color the color, more of a tint. What I used was a mix purple with a little touch of blue in it and lots of water and I painted the wall behind the chair with this wash of color, painting around a chair and between the slats.

I love to paint old dirty broken nasty things and one of the things I like about the photograph was the mold that was growing on the wall behind the chair it gives the chair a sense of having been there for a long time and maybe neglectful but I like that mold so while paper is wet, right behind the chair, make up the dirtiest ugliest color you can using green, purple, blue, brown… just mix it up ugly and then tap it into the wet don't paint it in. Tap it in and let the paint just spread on its own the way it wants to, that's the way mold grows, you can even drop some water back into that wet ugly color area and that too will help it look just like mold growing then you let it dry again. Salt would also work.

While the wall is drying you can under paint for the plants that are in the planter box the planter by the door and the plant under the chair. Again we are dealing with a wash which is a very thin application of color. Using either of your greens - either sap green or Hooker's green - with a touch of yellow and a little touch of orange and a lot of water, under paint your plants, this becomes the highlights for your plants. Also, remember that what you are painting is a wild, living, growing thing it doesn't grow in nice symmetrical clumps it branches out, it is irregular shape so when you are painting your plants, be sure that the edges of the plants you are painting our irregular as well: up down sideways lot of movement in your brush.

When your wall is dry you're going to start on the walkway that is next to the sunny wall.  Using orange with a little touch of burnt sienna and water, maybe not quite as thin as we've been making it but still it is a wash, and with flat strokes, this is going to be more like calligraphy then painting, you're going to make a series of little shapes that will represent the flagstones or cobblestones of the walkway. When things are further away they are the smaller and closer together as they come towards you they get further apart and larger, this is part of perspective. The light yellow that we put on there at the beginning becomes the highlights on the top of the flagstones or cobblestones so don't paint over all of it you must learn to save your lights for the highlights.

Look at the reference photo and you will see that there is a shadow being cast by the wall into that walkway but you will also see that there is a transition area where it's not light and it's not and shadow yet it still has a warmth but has a richer color about it, because of the reflected light. Look at that area before you start painting the next part which is the shadows the shadows go in and over some of that light area because of the rough texture of the flagstones so there isn't a hard shadow line on the ground it is a soft line and very irregular.
Note how the shadows follow the shape of the bricks
To mix the first of the shadow colors for the walk around the chair, you are going to mix a cool grey color which, again, will be your blue, purple, and burnt sienna. It can be a little more to the blue side but be sure that you use enough water we aren't going for the deepest darkest parts of the shadows just yet we are only going for what will be the light parts of the flagstones or cobblestones around the chair so please don't make it too dark. When you're in that transition area you can take some of that shadow color and into parts of the sunny your area just and leave some sunny spots in that margin area between your sunny area and the shadow area. You can also use this color for the shadow in the doorway around the outside of the window because these are both recessed into the wall, then you can add a little touch more blue and use that start the window panes.

The red door can be any of your reds and a touch of blue, you want it to still look red but the blue makes it look as if it's in shadow. That should get you caught up to where we ended in class this week. Remember with watercolor it is better to sneak up on the finished look of your painting then to try to go straight to the finished color or value. Learn to use thin washes and glazes rather than mixing up dark paint and then having to try and lift it off. This knowledge and skill comes with practice so in time, as you become more familiar with your paints and how they work it will become second nature, however, as a beginner you need to remember work in thin washes and glazes.  Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Torrance Version

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Watercolor Project: TJs Bouquet Week 3

I hope that everyone has been working on their flowers so that this week you can start putting in the background. This dark background is what will make these flowers pop, you so you will see dramatic changes once you start putting in your background.

You will need to have your reference photo in front of you to paint this background. There will be a lot of negative painting so you will need to see where it is so you can leave unpainted areas when you get to them. You also need to choose a background color for the area you painting, I don't care what color it is, I chose a blue/green, though it will eventually get dark as it goes to the corners. Have a color near the flowers that will compliment to the colors of the bouquet. There are yellows and reds and greens so you can choose those colors that are the complementary colors too red green and yellow, you could choose a color that will fit into the color of the room you might hang the finished painting, but remember it is going to get dark towards the corners.

I was using my Hooker’s green with a little touch of blue and water for the lighter value that was around my flowers and the basket. I went over the entire background twice with variations of this color making it darker I added more green and blue and less water and when I got further away from the flowers towards the corners, it was mostly my blue and
purple to make it very dark in the corners

One thing to look at when you are studying your picture before you start painting around the flowers is they have a glow about them. This is because the petals and the leaves are being backlit by the sun. To recreate the glow, as you paint in the background leave little bits of the lighter areas around the edges of some of the petals and leaves to create little halos of light. Don't do this all over but just in specific
areas mostly near the top where you want it to be lighter and look like a glow. Look at the reference photo.

When you get to an area that has the ferns in it, the ferns are very easy to negative paint they are mostly dots and dashes.You will have to pay attention to their shape so look at the ferns before you start painting them and just use the point of your brush if you're using an angle brush, if you're using a round brush will just be using the tip to create a little fuzzy edges of the ferns. It does not need to look exactly like the photo you are just suggesting ferns.
Remember that when you are near the base where the basket is there is light coming in from behind so remember to use plenty of water to fade your shadows into the light area and leave it very light right at the base of the basket & where the shadow starts. Use the same dark color that you were using for the shadow of the basket.

As I said before, I went around my flowers twice with this dark color increasing the intensity and the value of my dark color because it is the darkness behind these flowers that makes them glow, if your color isn't a darker value than your leaves and petals this won't work, you have to not be afraid of the dark. Once you do this you're going to see drastic changes to this painting. If you have to go back and put another layer on do so, as always, it is better to sneak up on the dark then it is to try and go straight to the dark but the dark is necessary.

I have a little bit more to do on my ferns and some of the flowers so I will be finishing this up in our next class but basically this is done so you need to start looking for what you want to paint when you finish your project so we can finish out the rest of the semester working on our own projects and I will be doing demos on demand depending on what is needed as you start to paint your own projects keep painting and I will see you in class.

PV Week 2 Images:

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Summer 2015 Watercolor Week 2

Watercolor Project: TJ'sBouquet Week 2

PV students your class the previous week so please refer to it before moving on to this one we will get there probably next week do the best you can to get caught up to where we left off in class and we will proceed from there you should have your flowers in your basket under painted.

To continue with the watercolor project and the Torrance class, I started working on the basket and then I after that I started putting in the detail for the flowers and leaves.

You should all have your reference photos in front of you when you are painting your project, it has all the information you need to paint this painting, I'm constantly looking back at my photo as I am painting and you should get into this same habit. There is an area of
dark rust at the bottom of the basket and where the paint has chipped off, that color was a deep dark brown a mix of burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and a touch of purple, you want to keep your color to the warm side or the brown side, and if you have to you need to draw a line - more specifically an irregular shape - to indicate where the paint stops and the rusted metal begins before you start to paint, do it before you start to paint. Remember that you have ferns that come down in front of the pot and you will need to paint in between the branches of the fern (negative painting).

Next I started working on the sunflowers by intensifying the color and adding the shading for the sunflowers. Yellow is a bit tricky because the shadows aren't necessarily or traditional blues and purples, they are more in the reds and oranges so those are the colors I was using in the sunflower shadows. I used my cad yellow with a little touch of orange to go over some of the deeper colored pedals to intensify the color as well as adding in the shadows
and contours. You don't need to paint everything you just need to suggest pedals and the depth between pedals and curves. All I did was just suggest some shapes with my colors, but I was constantly going back to my reference photo and looking to see where I needed to put the reds and oranges and their general shapes. The reds will be your deepest colors in the sunflowers you will also shape your flowers a bit with these colors more shaping will come later as we work into darker colors.

For the roses you are going to need to add dark reds for the flower detail and shadows, the color that you painted before will be your highlight color. You will be using alizarin crimson for the medium dark and alizarin crimson with a touch of blue in it for you darkest colors. Be sure that you are looking at your photograph before you start painting so that you can see where and what you are painting. Remember, the roses look in all directions. as do the sunflowers. and this is what you want to try and create in your painting you want to get the darkest colors in interesting shapes in your roses to suggest the inside pedals, they are all folded up from the inside and the petals open from the outside, so look at the photograph and see where your darkest colors are and paint your shapes accordingly, that's the best advice I can give you, remember to save your light under painting for your highlights.

I also worked on the leaves. These leaves need to have some medium and dark greens put into them. The medium colors I used SAP green with a touch of orange to dull it and maybe the occasional touch of blue for a deeper color. For the darker green I used Hooker's green with ultramarine blue to darken it, again look at your photograph and see where the dark colors are, these dark colors are how you're going to shape your flowers look at them between the smaller yellow and red flowers and put the darks in to shape your flowers in the sunflowers you'll see in several of them there are some darker green that go in between and behind the petals use the darker color to shape the outside edges of the petals this is what we do in watercolor you can also use the medium color much the same way but don't lose all of your lightest lights we will get to those probably next week.

On the little yellow and red flowers I was using my little angle brush to create the red fringed edges of these flowers. First I rinsed my brush well then when I loaded my brush I only loaded the tip of my brush. I then placed the whole end of the brush on my paper with the loaded tip at the end of the flowers where the reds are and pulled down and around to create that lacey blended look. This takes practice but it is worth it.

This is where I stopped for the day so try to get your paintings as far along to this point as you can, we are going to start working on the background next week - yes we are that far along - so keep painting and I will see you in class.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer 2015 Watercolor

Watercolor Project: TJ’s Bouquet Week 1

I started out showing the new students how to transfer a design onto my paper using graphite transfer paper. There are many ways to get a design on your paper, this was just one of them.

I wanted my design on the paper so I knew where to start my under painting. The lightest area is coming from behind and above to “back light” the arrangementso my lightest area will be slightly above center and to the right.

First I wet my entire paper with clean water. I do this so my paint will spread and it will also lighten it a bit. With a big brush – I used my 2” wash brush – so I could cover a lot of ground in a few strokes and so the paper will still be wet as I change colors. You should all have at least a 2” – 3” wash or hake brush for big areas, it will save you a lot of extra work.

Still using my wash brush, I picked up some of my cad yellow light and mixed in a lot of water, I just want a light yellow tint, and I painted a ring around the center of my bright spot. I rinsed my brush and lightly guided the yellow into the center of the ring and blotted with a paper towel so it didn’t get too much color. Moving quickly, to the yellow on my palette I added a little orange then on the outside of the yellow ring, I added an orange ring. You want the colors to blend where they meet so be sure that your paper is still wet. Keep moving and add some red or crimson to the orange color on you palette and add a red ring to the outside of the orange ring and finally, with either a touch of blue or purple and water, add another ring that covers the corners and goes across the top and bottom of your paper. Let this dry completely before starting the next step.

When the paper was dry I started adding the next layer of color. Remember that in watercolor you work from light to dark so again, I do not want to get too dark with these next colors I want to be able to have some “wiggle room” when bringing up the values, I don’t want to get there too quick.

I started with the metal basket and while it looks “white”, it isn’t, it is a cool, sienna color so the colors I used were sienna, a little blue, a little purple, this is my base color for the basket. When I applied this color I was using my ½” shader and started in the middle of the basket and I did leave some areas unpainted for the leaves and ferns that hang over. Look at the photo. You will notice that to the left side of the basket it gets a bit darker and to the right it gets a bit lighter and warmer, keep that in mind as you paint. On the left side add a little bit more blue and/or purple and to the right side use a bit more water to thin the color and add touches of orange to warm it. Rust has some very orange undertones rather than red so use orange and sienna for your rust. The lighter warmer version of this color is used to under paint the handle just don’t make the color a continuous line because the handle goes in and out of the flowers and leaves, look at your reference photo if you have a question on where it might show.

The rest of the class I spent under painting the flowers and the leaves. The sunflowers and smaller flowers I used my cad yellow light with a touch of orange in it, keep it thin you don’t want too much color too soon, the roses I used my napthal red with water to thin it to base the colors in. I DID NOT do any detail color on the small flowers that have red edges, which will come later.

The leaves I did pay a bit more attention to because as they go in and out of light, their color changes from a blue green to almost yellow so please look at the photo as you are painting and be aware of where you are painting so you change your color as you paint. Again, keep it light in value for now so for the darker green areas I used sap green and a touch of blue with water and the lighter greens were sap with yellow and water or just yellow with water. LOOK AT YOUR REFERENCE PHOTO and fill in these lighter colors we will do more detail as we progress.

Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Watercolor Garden Fantasy Week 5

I have a couple of weeks to catch up on as far as my notes for this class are concerned and I will try to give you all the information so that you can get caught up because we finished the project in class this past week. Mainly what I did the previous week was to start working on my rocks and creating different shapes of my rocks. You want to start with a shadow color which will be your blue, purple, and little touch of burnt sienna to create a dark cool shadow color and to lighten it you use water. Before you start painting the rocks look at the photograph so that you have or better yet, go out and look at rocks so that you have an idea of what a pile of rocks is going to look like looking at their highlights and their shadows and the texture in the shape of your rocks.

Getting your rocks to look like rocks comes with practice I've been doing this for a long time and rocks happen to be one of my favorite subjects so I do them well but I didn't when I first started. I had to really study rocks so I could see how the light hit them and how to get the texture on them, most of the time I am patting the color on rather than brushing it on. The patting motion creates texture as the dark and light areas of the brush leave the paint they have and the strokes are overlapping which create layers of color that create the texture. Like I said it's going to take you practice and observation to start to get your rocks looking like a pile of rocks rather than a stone wall.

I also continued putting in the shadows and deepening the color of the ground cover and the plants around the stream again you need your shadow color which is the blue and purple this time add some green to it for the green shadows of your of your plants as you work into the sunny area add sap green and yellow.

I created the bark on the pine tree by mixing a dark brown color that would be my burnt sienna with purple and blue to create a very dark color, then I used my quarter inch angle brush on its edge and just by tapping with the edge and overlapping the strokes, I created a bark like texture. You don't want to lose all the gray color that you had on the trunk but you do want to give the suggestion of bark. Remember that as the bark goes off onto the branches it goes in a different direction so be sure that your strokes follow the direction of the part of the tree you are painting.

You should have removed all the masking fluid from your painting by now, now we need to make those white areas in the water look like they belong to the stream. You will need to mix a darker color it can be either blue or green or both but you will use this to make the suggestion of the water flowing over the rocks please look at your photo and look the detail of the water that's going over the Little Falls there you will see that there are many values of color there it isn't just one bright white area it has white streaks it has some dark streaks it has several in between value streaks and a lot of those streaks are in the shape of a “v”: either with the point pointing down or an upward “V” depending on what is underneath the water. What your job is, is to create that representation of that waterfall remember that there are areas of foam at the bottom of each of those falls so you will have to negative paint around that foam or you’ll lose it.

Koi melting into drips.
Also be sure that you get enough dark in your water so that it looks like it has some depth to it. There needs to be some place for the fish to swim and that is shown by putting dark blues and greens into the pools to create those deeper areas. To put fish in your pond, with just a damp brush, paint fishy shapes with your small brush and clean water, then lift it out with a paper towel, while it is still wet add little touches of yellow or orange or red or any of those combinations keep your fish near the Falls you don't want them too far out to the edge of your painting keeping them close into your subject which is the pagoda and will suggest a pond full of fish.
Added some drips coming from the tree.

Torrance version
PV version
Last but not least we come to the pagoda itself you will need to mix up a shadow color (see above for the colors) and you will use water to dilute it. Look at your photo see where your shadows are, see where your highlights are, look for any detail that you want to put in and have all of that in your mind as your painting. The darkest area is going to be the inside of the pagoda that color is almost black so you will use your mixture without diluting it everything else will have water added to it to lighten it. Start in a shadow area with your color, rinse your brush and then drag the color out to form the shape of the pagoda. You can do as much detail as you want or as little that will be up to you but you do need to create the shapes so pay particular attention to what you’re painting and its shape. Don't forget to put a very dark shadow at the very base of the pagoda where it sits on the rock and the shadow it's casting on the rock and that about does everything I did in class for the past two weeks finish this up the way you want to and be sure to have something ready to work on in class when we meet again so keep painting and I'll see you in class.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Watercolor Garden Fantasy Week 3

My goal in the last class was to get as much of the painting in the background behind pagoda done as possible because from here we will start finishing up are paintings and we will need to remove the masking that we have put on the pagoda and the white areas in the stream that were covered with the masking.

Have your reference photo of the Botanical Garden pagoda and the stream where you can see it because these are going to give you all the information you're going to need for this part of the painting. They will show you where your shadows are, where the highlights are on the plants in the rocks, it will show you the darks and the lights in the water and it is your best guide when you are painting so have those photographs handy.

Remember when you are under painting an area you want to start light and then add dark with layers, if you get too dark too quickly it will be very difficult to bring back the light so it is better to do this in layers then it is to try and finish it in one fell swoop.

When you are painting the stream remember to follow the water. If the water is in one of the pools it will lay flat so your brush strokes need to be flat if it is falling over one of the many falls your brush strokes will also fall over to look like the water is falling, this will clue your viewer that the water is flowing down over rocks into another pool this is very important.

When you are as far as you can go with your bushes, trees, ground cover and stream without removing the masking, let your painting dry completely before you remove the masking.
Once you have removed the masking from the pagoda you will want under painted in a warm color, I used my cadmium yellow light with a touch of burnt sienna and a little tiny touch of purple and a lot of water to under paint the pagoda.
In the streams I went in with various values of green and blue to break up some of the white area that make up falls look at the stream photo and you will see that where the waterfalls over the rocks it has various different colors and values this is what you're trying to recreate you don't want to lose all of the white that you saved but you do want to make it look more natural.

Try to get your painting up to this point as best he can we could possibly finish this painting this next week so you might want to start looking for the next thing that you want to paint and I will help you get started. Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Watercolor Garden Fantasy week 2

This week I started painting in the rocks the waterfall and some of the plants around the pagoda and beginnings of detailing the pine tree and other bushes.

The first thing I did was a quick demo on how to under paint the waterfall. I made a larger full page drawing of a similar waterfall and showed how I under paint for the rocks and also for the water. Remember when you were painting watercolor you work from the lightest area to the darkest area so when you under paint something you don't want to get too dark too soon.

There are a couple of ways that you can do this: you can wet the rocks area of first and then start adding some light colors like grey - which is a combination of your blue, burnt sienna, and purple with lots of water – and to that you can add more blue or you could have little touches of orange or red or yellow even green because a lot of these rocks will have moss on them so green is the perfect color, just keep everything light in value at this point.  Be sure to have your reference photo in front of you so that you can refer to it often I keep my reference photo right there where I can look up to it and I do as I'm painting, it’s called a reference photo for a reason because you need to refer to it.

The water also starts out very light. The water in the reference photo is a greenish color probably because of algae for one and also the greenery above it, so if you want to make your water more green that's perfectly OK, I chose at this time to use a light blue and if you have other colors besides the ultramarine blue such as cobalt blue or cerulean blue, you can use those, just be sure you have enough water in them that they are very light in value.

When you paint your water remember that water finds its own level, that means when it is sitting in a pool area it is going to be very flat so your strokes need to be very horizontal, when they fall over the rocks they become more vertical your brush strokes will tell your viewer that the water is falling over rocks or lying flat in a pool, brushstrokes matter.

I also want it made very clear I have not removed the masking fluid from any of my painting it is still on there because I'm still painting around things and as soon as I feel it is safe I will remove the masking fluid but not at this time. You do have some time before it becomes a problem.

I under painted theneedles of the pine tree. They're formed in clumps because they are cut and train that way but they still have a bit of irregularity to the edges, be sure when you are painting that you create interesting shapes. I used the very edge of my angle brush to create the illusion of the pine needles so that the point was to the outside, I overlapped my strokes in the body of the clump but when I got to the edge I make sure that it looked very spiky like
Torrance Version
needles, when I change color to create the next value I did the same thing and again with a darker value it's all the same kind of brush strokes. For the lighter colors of the pine tree I used my sap green with some of my yellow. l under painted the whole area of the pine needles. The mid-tone color I added in more of the sap green and painted in the mid-values and for the very shadows I added in blue and some Hooker’s green for my shadows I also use this dark shadow color as the underneath shadow for the little tree on the right hand side of the pagoda, also it becomes the shadows in its variations for the ground covers adding more blue, purple or sienna to change the color a bit.

On the right hand side I used some of my medium greens to create some detail in the green background trees. I also use that color to negative paint into the orange in front of it to suggest clumps of leaves and branches in the tree in front but in the orange tree behind the green tree I used my red with a touch of orange to create shadows so that the green tree will stand out. Remember, you are negative painting the lighter trees in front when you are paint the shadows of the tree behind. I also added some red leaves coming in from the right hand side, I just like the shape and color so I added them you do not need to put them in but if you want to, you can they are just stuff.

PV Version
I also under painted the tree trunk and branches on the pine tree using a light gray color slightly on the bluish side. I need this color so that when I want to make the tree bark this color will show through. For the little tree behind the pagoda I mixed a dark brown using my burnt Sienna with blue and a touch of purple you want it to be on the Siena side.

Do as much as you can and as much as you feel confident that you can do, I won't miss anything for those who need more instructions, however, if you feel you can you can work into the painting a bit feel free, I will continue from here in class I will not leave anyone behind. By now you should be able to start seeing how this is going to work out I know it's been a bit confusing but splattering can be fun so keep painting and I will see you in class.