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.