Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fall 2016 Watercolor Class

Watercolor Class Project: Pumpkins on Parade Final

This is a combination of week 4 and the final week on this project so you can review it if you are still working on your own.

I have removed all of the masking fluid from the painting at this point. In the foreground I have used a blue (you can use any color you want) and I let it dry completely before starting on the background. Paint a larger area than you think you want because it will shrink as you add the ink.

For the background I used India Ink with my brush. It will not hurt your brush but you do want to be sure that it and your water are clean before using it in your watercolors again so that the ink doesn't dull your colors.

I used the ink straight for most of the background except where I wanted the under painted colors to come thru then I added water to thin the ink so that the underneath color comes through.

You can use the ink to shape your pumpkins better, like putting bumps on the blue pumpkin's edge, or giving a stem a better shape or maybe you had a color leak out into a space you didn't want it, if it is going to be covered with the ink, just re-shape the object. Use the ink for the shadows under and behind the pumpkins, you can even use a bit of water to bleed the ink up into the shadows. A word of warning: once the ink is dry it won't come off so be sure you are putting it where you want it.

If you have black watercolor, you can use that but you may need to do more than one wash. If you don't have either black or India ink, you can use you ultramarine blue, burnt umber and a touch of purple to make a very dark color, again, it may take more than one wash to cover.

The small stripped pumpkins are done the same way. The first thing you want to get mostly finished is the shadows. Don't worry about the stripes until after you have the shadows on your little pumpkins, then add the stems with a bit of burnt sienna and water for the under painting, then a bit darker mix or burnt sienna with a touch of blue, water to thin for the intermediate colors, more sienna and blue for the shadows.

The cast shadow from the stem is a watered down blue with a touch of purple (keep it on the blue side), be sure that the shadows follow the curves of the sections of the pumpkin.

The stripes are not solid straight lines on the  pumpkins, they are uneven and start and stop. Look at the photo before you start the stripes. Orange alone or with a touch of yellow is all you need. If you have your shadows in, the orange will automatically get darker because of the color underneath the stripe, if it doesn't add just a touch of alizarin crimson into the orange to cool it down.

The rough ridges on the blue pumpkin are done in a series of washes. You need to leave what is there for the highlights then using a mix or sienna and a touch of orange, paint the next value. In the shadowed areas your can paint this color over all of the bumps, in the light areas leave your highlights. This sienna and orange become the next lightest color and some of this will get left for highlights in darker areas.

Next will come sienna and a touch of blue for the next darkest areas and finally sienna and purple for the darkest areas. Look at the reference photo and let it be your guide as you paint.
This is where week 4 ended. You want to keep adding washes to the orange pumpkins to intensify the color: Yellow and orange in the light areas and orange, red and alizarin in the darker areas and sienna and purple in the shadows. Don't forget that the surface is uneven and has segments, use a choppy stroke to create texture and follow the curves of the pumpkin.

If you need to intensify the color of the blue pumpkin, use more washes of the original color to bring up the intensity of the color (Intensity is the richness of the color.) Add purple or alizarin to the blue to create a shadow color. this shadow color can go over everything including the bumps if they are also in the shadow.

You can also use that shadow color and the end of a small brush to make the textured stem of the blue pumpkin. If you are using a flat or angle brush just tap the edge along the stem following its curves, if you use a small round brush just make small dots and dashes but always follow the shape of the thing you are painting.

On all the pumpkins if you need a bit of an accent highlight, you can lift color off in the area you need a touch of light. With your brush just a bit more than damp, paint the water on with short strokes a couple of times then dab with a paper towel. Let the area dry before trying to make it lighter, if you go over the same spot too many times you run the risk of damaging the paper.

Shadows on the stems are blue, green and a touch of purple, look at the reference photo so you know where the shadows go.

A note about shadows especially in a painting like this where there is such drama with the lighting: You can do what is called "lost and found" with the shadows where the shadows are so deep that the edges of the object seem to disappear into them. Note in the image above how the bottom of the orange pumpkin is barely visible behind the the two lighter pumpkins. another thing having these dark shadows around the lighter pumpkins is by contrast, it makes them appear lighter than they are. Do not be afraid to use shadows and get dark it will bring your painting to a whole new level.

This is where I left off with the painting though as I look at it I do see some things I want to change. One area is the light area I left behind the big orange pumpkin, I think I will make that all black as well. the other thing I see is I need to darken the shadows at the bottom of the blue pumpkin and the cast shadows on it from the small orange pumpkin. Other shadows need to be strengthened but for now I will call it done.

I had a lot of fun doing this one, I hope you did too as well as learn a lot from it. In the new semester because it is going to be a shortened session because of the 2 holidays, I thought that we would do a series of studies concentrating on one subject for each class session to understand what you are seeing. I don't think students see the value in studies but by concentrating on one thing you can see and understand a lot more than worrying about being perfect for a whole painting. You don't need big sheets of paper smaller sizes will work just fine even the watercolor cards you find in Micheal's, you will learn a lot and have fun as well, that is my goal anyway, until next semester keep painting and I will see you in class.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fall 2016 Watercolor Class Week 7

Fall Watercolor Class Project: Pumpkins on Parade Week 3

This week I worked on increasing color intensity and the value of my pumpkins. I also took off the masking from the blue pumpkin and stems. I under painted the netting - for lack of a better term - with a very light mix or burnt sienna with a tiny touch of blue with lots of water to make it very thin. I used this to under paint all the the areas on the blue pumpkin where I took off the masking.

You can see just how light a color I used at the top of the blue pumpkin next to the white of the paper, it is almost the same value so it is very light for now. This will be come the highlights on the "netting" we will add more intense colors later.

On the yellow pumpkin in front, I suggested the position of the stem, intensified the yellow color by starting in the creases with yellow then using water to bleed it up into the lighter areas. 

I went back into areas where there are shadows (look at your reference photo). Start in the darker shadowed areas then rinse your brush and use just a damp brush to soften the edges of the shadows and to bleed the to form the lighter parts of the shadows.

I also added more color to the orange pumpkin using layers of orange which was sometimes mixed with yellow for a lighter orange or with red to create a richer color. For the shadows I added blue, sienna and touches of purple to darken the color. Be sure that you do this in layers or washes of thin color. DO NOT try to go straight to the color or your paint will look pasty.

I worked a lot on the large orange pumpkin using the same colors and techniques I used on the smaller one on the other side. I had my photo right above my painting and my eyes were constantly going to the pumpkin in the photo and the area I was going to paint then back to my painting so I knew exactly what I needed to do. 

I increased the size of the shadows cast from the blue and the white pumpkins, I located highlights and other shadows as well as worked a bit on detail.

Be careful of getting too involved in detail at this point because you do not want to overwork one area then under work the rest of the painting. I had to tell myself to move around may painting ant get the white and lighter yellow pumpkins up to the level of the rest of the painting.

The little white pumpkin is actually more on the blue/gray side, however, you do want to leave the white of the paper for the highlights. Use ultramarine blue with a touch of sienna or burnt umber and a very tiny touch of purple with lots of water and work in layers. Looking first to see where the shadows are and what the shapes are before you start painting, the rinse your brush and use a damp brush to bleed the color to make the lighter shades of gray for the shadows.

The little yellow pumpkin is done much the same way as the other one. No detail other than light and shadow.

I am hoping to get this done in the time we have left so keep painting and I will see you in class.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fall 2016 Watercolor Class

Watercolor Class Project: Pumpkins on Parade Week 2

This week I worked more on getting the shadows started and adding layers of color to increase the intensity of the colors as well as the shadows.

I did most of my overall painting of the pumpkins before I took the masking off the smaller pumpkins in front. Once I was to a point where I was adding color more carefully, I wasn't worried about accidentally painting over something I shouldn't to I could take the masking off.

Please note that I have left the masking on the blue pumpkin where the texture will be and the stems.

I based in the small yellow pumpkin and suggested shadows with a light mix of blue and purple into the yellow color.

Remember: when you want a lighter color you add more water NOT WHITE.

I have under painted the other light yellow pumpkin with a very dilute mix of cad yellow with a tiny touch of orange with lots of water and the small white pumpkin with a very light gray made with blue and sienna and lots of water. I left the areas I wanted white unpainted though I did rinse my brush and soften the edges of the gray.

On the large orange pumpkin I was adding color to intensify the color (make it deeper/more vibrant) and to establish highlights and shadows.

Please note that each segment is curved side to side and top to bottom, your brush strokes and your shading also need to follow those curves.

Try to keep up as best you can, I will be working a bit faster so I can try to finish this before the end of the semester. Keep painting and I will see you in class. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall 2016 Watercolor Class Week 4

Fall 2016 Class Project: Windblown Final Week

The final version of Windblown. I have added more detail to the tree trunks and added more grasses to the foreground.

Using a combination of my angle brush and liner brush I added more grass to the foreground.

With the angle brush (you can use a flat brush as well) and using a dry brush technique (very little water on the brush) I flipped up some tops of clumps of grasses or flipped down to create shadows behind lighter grass in front (negative painting).

With my liner brush I pulled some of the longer, taller grasses out of the clumps but in both cases I had to remember that the grasses needed to bend in the wind to add to the idea that the tree and the grasses are bending in the wind.

Pumpkin Parade - Week 1

After I sketched in my pumpkins I used my masking fluid (the gray color in the photo) to protect areas that I want to leave white for now. This will let me paint and not have to worry about accidentally getting a color where I don't want it.

 Don't forget to do the bumps on the blue pumpkin with the masking but do notice that they do follow the curves of the pumpkin.

I wet the paper behind the large pumpkin in the back and added some cad. yellow light with a touch of orange (Indian yellow on its own would also be good) and painted a glow behind the pumpkin. This may or may not play into this painting at the end but I need to put it in now because later will be too late.

I based in the  two orange pumpkins with a very light wash of cad orange and lots of water. The blue pumpkin is also a light wash of blue with a little touch of that thin orange to dull it slightly. You can use either ultramarine blue or pthalo blue if you have it.

Be sure you use a very thin/light wash when you are under painting, these thin light washes become the light areas of the pumpkins so they are very important.

Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fall 2016 Watercolor Class

Watercolor Class Project: Windblown Week 3

This week I continued working on the foreground tree adding more branches and texture. I used my liner brush for the small branches and twigs and my 1/4" angle brush to create texture on ly tree trunk and larger branches as well ad more shadows.

To create the texture, I used the thin, chiseled end of my angle brush when adding another layer of color remembering to leave some of the lighter color that was there for highlights and following the angles and curves of the trunk, branches and roots. I added several layers using a darker color for the shaded side but always leaving some of the previous lighters color to create the texture.

To get the smaller, thinner branches and twigs, I used my liner brush and a darker paint so it will show up slightly against the darker background. Be sure that your paint is the consistency of ink or it won't flow off your brush. It is more natural to have a lot of these smaller twigs in the tree then just a few bigger branches. You will get a lot of practice using your liner brush on this painting.

I still have a little bit more to do but I may also get started on my pumpkin painting if I have time. This is an optional project, if you want to do your own thing I am fine with that, though I do suggest you watch the demos to learn techniques.

Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


Watercolor Class Project: Windblown Week 2

This week we added in the foreground tree. I chose the golden color for this tree because it will go well with the green.

I added some highlights and suggested shadows to the background tree by lifting out color with a damp brush for the highlights and adding a bit of ultramarine blue to my green to darken it for the shadows.

After removing the masking fluid, I under painted the foreground tree with a very diluted color made with yellow and a touch of burnt sienna. this is a very light tint of a wash. You can see 4 different layers in this photo. Remember: in watercolor you work from light to dark so you must leave your light areas if you want highlights. (I am still working on these branches)

Working in layers of color - sienna with a touch of orange and water as my base - I deepened the color of the trunk adding touches of blue or purple for the darker shadows into the base color or orange and yellow for the golden, warmer colors. I did leave some of the under painting for highlights in the tree and to create the texture I used the very edge of my 1/4 angle brush, just tapping it to create the texture of the bark. I was also following the angles of the trunk, branches and roots with my strokes and tapping.

To suggest that there are grasses at the base of the tree and around the roots, using my 1/4 inch angle brush, I used the tree color and negative painted the grass. What that means is I was painting the root but leaving the suggestion of grass in the color that was there. You are painting the root between the grass blades.

More negative painting.

Once I had the main branches mostly painted in, I switched to my liner brush to make the smaller branches. Note the color change in the image to the left, the color is the very same color as the lighter color but because the lighter color was where I had masking and the darker part of the branch is going over an area that already had color, the existing color influences the new layer of paint that I put down because watercolor is suppose to be transparent and all previous layer will effect any new layers that go on top. You need to remember this as a watercolorist.

Be sure when you get going on your branches and twigs that you put enough in to make it look like tree branches. Go out and look at trees and see how many there actually are and how they get smaller as they go to the ends. Also don't be afraid to overlap your branches or change directions, again, look at those trees, this is a very natural thing for them to do.

Try to have you painting to this point for our next class. We will continue to work on the tree and maybe finish it up. Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Sunday, October 2, 2016


This project can be any combination of colors that you want if you have someplace you think you might want to hang it you can match the color theme of the room, this is the beauty of this painting is that when you change the color it changes the mood of the painting, this is a fun thing to do.

I saw these trees down in front of the Redondo Beach Library in Veterans Park near the pier and I really liked their shape but I didn't like what was around and behind them but I'm an artist so I get to do whatever I want and I decided to just use the trees as inspiration and to create my own work of art from them.

You as an artist need to learn how to do this. Too often I find students bring in photos that have a lovely subject with a horrible background and what do they do they spend all their time sweating over? Creating this horrible background that their lovely subject gets lost in then they aren’t happy with the results. If you look at the photo of the trees that I took, you can see all kinds of unimportant stuff in the photo. There are apartment buildings, there are park benches and trash cans and who knows what else that do not need to be a part of my painting. I tell my students that as artists we are the ultimate in Photoshop we have an artistic license and we need to use it and this subject is a prime example.

For this project my paper is going to be twice as long as it is tall mine is basically 10 by 20 inches and I am using my regular hundred and forty pound cold press watercolor paper if you are using a tablet or a watercolor block you can either cut your paper to the appropriate size or you can mask it out with masking tape and leave the paper whole, you just want a size that is approximately twice as long as it is tall.

The first thing I did was to mark where my foreground starts and that is approximately a third of the way up from the bottom it does not need to be exact because this is supposed to be rolling hills or grasses and so it will be uneven just approximately a third of the way up.

Next I sketched in the main parts of my foreground tree such as the trunk and the main branches and a few of the roots, you do not need to put in all of the smaller branches in the foreground tree you will do that with your liner brush. I did not draw in the background tree I just free handed that with my brush when I got to it.

When I had finished sketching in the main portions of my foreground tree I covered the tree with masking fluid and then I had to let it dry. For those of you who have never used or are unclear on the use of masking fluid, it is like rubber cement and watercolor artists use it to protect areas the want to keep white or light so they can paint over those areas instead of around them and not introduce colors into that area they do not want. When we remove the masking fluid the paper underneath will still be white.

The first thing I did before I started to paint was I wet my paper thoroughly. You want the paper to be wet so that the colors will blend on their own and you won't have to do too much blending which can cause back runs or lifting of color or strange streaks, so be sure that you have wet your paper well. You can spray it with your spray bottle and then take your large wash brush and go over the paper to be sure that the paper is what.

I used my large wash brush for this first part of my painting because I need to cover the paper quickly because the paper and the paint need to remain wet, that is why I used the biggest brush I have like my big wash or blending brush.

Once the paper was wet, I picked up some light yellow and a touch of sap green and lightly mixed it in my palate with a little water then starting in the right third of the paper I added this color in a circle covering about half of that area. Next I picked up some more sap green and added it to the yellow and green I had on my palate but no water this time, then just on the outside of the lighter circle, I added this new light green color. If you do this correctly the two areas will blend on their own however if they don't seem to be blending your paper probably wasn't wet enough so you will have to help them along by rinsing your brush and then with a damp brush just go over the area between the two different colors and add just a touch more water and let them blend. Next you will take more of the green and add just a little touch ultramarine blue to it and repeat the process coming out to about the two-thirds mark from the right. Again you want to make sure that the two areas between the light green and this darker green are blending on their own if not you may have to help them along.

Finally on the far left and up in the corners of the right you will add more blue to the green so it is a very dark blue green and finish covering the paper. Then you will need to let it dry a bit.

When your paper has dried to the touch you will mix a medium yellow green color using your cadmium yellow light and you're sap green, start on the outside edges of the light area and make the first band of grasses for the back tree. You want to make sure that these grasses bend as if they are in the wind they because will go in the same direction as the tree, just work your way across. I used my three quarter inch angled brush and the point makes a very nice suggestion of grasses. The grasses that go across the light area need to be a bit lighter just add water to lighten this color and work your way over to the other edge of the light area.

One of the things I want you to look at on my painting is how I used positive and negative painting to suggest the grasses. At the top of the background grass I was positively painting the grass with my brush: that is, the darker grass against the lighter background using the contrast to suggest these grasses however if you look down at the second layer of grass in the foreground, I used what's called negative painting because instead of painting the grasses with my brush I painted the spaces between the grasses with my brush leaving the light area that was there to become the tops of the foreground grass and the darker color I used becomes shadows in the background. Learning to paint negative spaces is not only important for a watercolorist to do it is also important to understand because we work from light to dark we must leave lighter areas to suggest the light in our paintings.

You will probably use a couple of different brushes for the back tree a larger brush for the trunk and the bigger limbs and branches and your liner brush for the smaller twigs and branches of this tree be sure that you practice this before you get to your painting this liner brush is a little tricky but it makes absolutely gorgeous trees and grasses and bushes so you will need to learn to use it.

I started with my half inch angled brush to create the trunk and some of the bigger limbs and roots of the background tree and I used a darker green that was a mix of sap green and blue and I painted in those main parts with this color.

When I had painted as many of those larger branches with my angled brush as I could, I then switch to my liner brush. The trick to the liner brush is loading it with paint: the paint needs to be about the consistency of India ink and when you load your brush you need to roll the whole brush into the paint and then as you lift the brush off your palate you spin it between your fingers to form a point. To make larger bigger branches you press down harder and use the whole brush to create the thicker branch then as you move out into smaller parts of the branches you left your brush until you get to the point, so you will need to drag and lift, you can make some very, very fine lines with this brush. Do not worry about a little shake in your hand as you do this because if you look at tree branches you will see that there are a lot of little twists and turns in them so that shake in your hand is helping you, however, you do need to learn how to control the pressure on this brush.

When you go to make a new branch start in either the trunk or an existing branch pull along it and then make a new branch off of the old branch it will have a much better transition than when trying to start the new branch right off of the old branch or trunk because you will sometimes get little overlaps and ticks that do not look like a branch coming off of another.

You need to put in a lot of little branches the more the better. If you only put in a few it will not look natural it will look like something is missing so you will need to put in a lot of those smaller finer branches this is good practice for using this liner brush.

Try to get as far along on this as you can I will be taking off the masking in our next session and will be working on the foreground tree so try to have your painting as close to what I have and we will continue when we meet again so keep painting and I will see you in class.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Summer 2016 Watercolor Class

The Torrance version of Working the Steps: The final week.

 All the masking is off and I shaped and adjusted the white areas in the foam and rocks.
 Texture is created with layers of color and shapes. The more layers or colors and shapes the more texture and depth you get.

Note the angles in the sand and the road give the impression that there is a change of direction from flat to vertical and angles down to the water.

This is the final for this project for the Torrance watercolor class.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summer 2016 Watercolor Class Week 4

Watercolor Class Project: Working the Steps – Week 4

PV students if you want to review the strokes we did in class, look under the pages in the sidebar and you will find a list of them with photos.

Torrance class, most of your instructions are in the previous posts but I did want to show where I am in your class and to suggest that when you are looking at the photos on the picture page to zoom in to look at the detail and see where colors overlap colors, where there are hard line but mostly where there are soft blurred transitions between colors and between values.

I use water almost as much as I use color because water is your blending medium. I’m not talking about dripping brush loads of water, more often than not it is just a damp brush that I use to go over the edges to soften them or to blend them into existing colors or values.

HAVE YOUR REFERENCE PHOTOS IN FRONT OF YOU! I look at my reference photos before I start painting and double check each time I am about to put brush to paper so I know what I am doing.

Remember to keep your layers transparent so you don’t lose the transparent nature of your watercolor. To make something darker, you need to do layers. Every time you add a layer of color to another layer of previous color, that previous color will influence the new color both in its value (light to dark) and it’s intensity of color (vividness of the color), you just need to be patient and work the steps to get what you want.
Add uneven layers of color and blend with a damp brush
to create texture in your cliff walls.

Zoom in to see the overlapping brush strokes and where
they are blended. Also use the darker colors to shape the
lighter closer rocks and cliff.

Start with a lighter color that will become your highlights
as you add darker layers on top.

Use the same colors you used before in the water to  shape
the foam patterns in the water. Watch the direction of your
strokes if you want the water to look flat your strokes need
to be horizontal.

We only have 3 weeks left to finish this project so please try to have your paintings to this point for our next class.

Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Friday, July 29, 2016

SUMMER 2016 WATERCOLOR CLASS Project : Working the Steps Week 2/3

I hope that everyone did a value study either in watercolor or as a pencil sketch. This is such a great way to learn about your subject and to learn about value without the complication of color, it is just a very good way to paint. A value study gives you insight to the detail and nuance of your subject, while it is not always necessary to do a value study, it is certainly helpful especially when you have questions or have a difficult subject, by doing a value study and working out those problems before you get to your paper, you won’t wonder where you need to go with it. Keep this in mind as you continue on your painting Journey.

Before I started, I had all of my reference material in front of me. I had my photograph, my original watercolor and I had my value study where I could see them all. You cannot paint something you cannot see so it is best to have these things right where you can just turn your head or look up and see them so you know where you're going and what you need to do.

One of the things I did after I got my drawing on my paper is I wanted to protect my lightest light areas. The white of the paper is the traditional white in watercolor so for the sparkles around some of the rocks in the foreground and the sparkles on the rock path from the beach to the cliff, using my masking fluid, I tapped in the fluid to protect the areas I wanted to be white. When you are the using the masking fluid you do not need or want - under most circumstances - to paint solid lines, most of these areas I protected are just little dots and dashes.

When I got to class I wanted to show how to use masking fluid on wet paper. The first thing I did was too wet the foreground water with just water, then with my masking fluid I just touched the surface with the masking fluid to create shapes of foam patterns. I will come back and adjust these areas later but I need to protect them now so I do not have to try and lift them back out. Let this dry as you are painting the sky before you start working on the water.

Starting with the sky I wet the sky area with just water using a big brush my three-quarter inch angle brush so that I could get my paper weight quickly so that I could work quickly. Once my paper was wet starting at the upper part of my paper I took my ultramarine blue a little touch of purple, please be careful the purple is a very powerful color and you don't want a purple sky, working down from the top to the bottom and using a crisscross stroke I worked my darker color across my paper and down about an inch or two I rinsed my brush and with just water came back into the bottom part of that dark color and started working color down the page so that it will lighten as I go and every inch or so I would rent my brush and with just water go to the bottom of what I just painted and work the color down even further. You want what's called a graded wash that means that it is darker at one end and lighter at the other this does take some practice but it is a great thing to know for Skies.

Towards the bottom of my sky area to the color that I was using which is the blue with a little touch of purple I added a little touch of alizarin crimson to make a soft warm lavender color I put that right along the horizon and if you want you can turn your paper upside down to paint this color in and it will flow back into the blue that is there.

If you want clouds there are a couple of easy ways to do this especially if your paper is still wet. The first is to just take water on your brush - you want your brush damp but not dripping - and then just touch the brush to the paper with this damp brush and create cloud shapes. The water will come off your brush and onto the paper and will create blooms making absolutely perfect cloud shapes. The other method you can use is while your paper is still wet take a tissue or a Viva paper towel and lift out cloud shapes you can also add darker areas to your cloud shapes while the paper is still wet, whether you have lifted or just dropped water on to your paper, by taking some of the darker blue and purple and just touching it to the surface where you want the shadows in the clouds the watercolor will do the work for you.

The last thing you need to do before your paper dry is to paint in the peninsula in the background you want a color that is just about a half to a full shade darker than your sky and it will be a mix of your blue and your purple or blue and alizarin crimson and keep it kind of on the purple side, then let this dry before moving on.

When your sky is dry you can start working on the water and on the cliff.

Remember that when you are painting in watercolor you are painting from light to dark so as we paint the cliffs and the water we are just painting the highlights that we will see. Later we will add some darks to our colors working in layers of color to create texture and shadows.

Starting on the cliff I used burnt sienna with a little touch of orange and a little touch of yellow to create a golden color if you have raw sienna or yellow ochre those colors would work well by themselves. I started at the top of the cliff on the outside edge next to the sky painting in this lighter color keeping in mind the whole time I am painting one I am painting a very textured surface not a wall so my brush strokes are going in every direction – it’s called scumbling - and I'm working on dry paper. You can, if you want, wet the area first it'll make the paint go on easier just don't get it to wet because you want to have those brush strokes show. The other things I am keeping in mind is that these cliffs are made of sedimentary rocks so there are layers that goes slightly downward at an angle from top to bottom so as I am painting and adding color and working I am adding these diagonal shapes with my brush. By painting in diagonal lines this will help you in the end to create the idea of textured, layered rocks and rock formations.
From the PV class
Working from the light edge of the cliff with the cave I add other more blue, sienna or umber and touches of purple so the cliffs became darker as I go towards the dark part where the cave is and stopped about halfway to the cave. I quickly mixed a dark color of blue, sienna or umber and a touch of purple and a little water, using this new color I started in the cave area and worked my way towards the lighter area I was just working in, where the cave is should be the darkest part of that cliff but as it moves out into the light use just water to pull and thin the color and also use some to the lighter warmer colors until you have a soft graded blend when you get to the where you stopped with the warm color and blend the two areas together using that angled scumbling stroke while you are adding and blending your paint.

Starting my water in the back by the peninsula, I used my ultramarine blue with alot of water to make it a light blue and even add a tiny touch of sienna to slightly gray the blue, you want a weak color, and then I painted in the distant water behind the peak as I came forward closer to the peak I started adding color such as blues and green a little bit of purple some yellows closer to the shore I even added some sienna because there will be some sand and dirt stirred up in those shallow waters. You have masking where the foam will be so just ignore it and paint over it all. If you can learn to paint wet into wet you will get a very realistic-looking water I kept my brush strokes going more or less parallel to the top and bottom of the paper so that the water look flat as I added color into color and let the watercolor do most of the work. This is where most beginners have problems because they are trying to manipulate the watercolor and they end up just creating mud. Learn to let the colors blend themselves and you will be a lot happier.
When the water was dry then I started working on that little point.  using a similar color to the cliffs though a little more on the Sienna side I added the lighter top and pathway of that little point while it was still wet I switched to that dark color to paint in the shadows and where they touched I just used a damp brush to help the process along to create an uneven transition between the dark and the light.

Torrance first week of painting.
This is where I had to stop in my Torrance class however at the PV class I was able to paint in the other front cliff very similar to the way I painted in the first cliff using similar colors and similar strokes. Towards the bottom of the front cliff there are some rock piles that I painted in first with a light grey then when it was dry I came back in with a little bit darker value and just created some shapes leaving some of that light grey to suggest some highlights on those rocks because they are in shadow, the highlights will not be bright they will be darker than the rocks in the sun but the will show that there are rocks and texture in the shadow.

In both classes my water was dry by the end of class and I was able to remove the masking only in the water not on the Rocks because I am still working on the rocks.

PV First week of painting
Because I didn’t get the blog up last week, I am combining two weeks together the following is what we did in class this week:

Torrance class: The closer cliff is done as I have written for the PV class above, don’t be afraid to add colors or shadows into your rocks and use a more scumbling stroke along with pats and dabs that will create texture in your rocks and the cliff. And remember that you need a slight downward angle to the direction of your strokes to give the cliffs the look of sedimentary rock.

Current Torrance class
Everyone: The eroded road in the bottom left corner is painted with a mix or yellow, burnt sienna with a touch or purple to grey it, however, if you have either yellow ochre or raw sienna all you will have to do is add a touch of purple to make a shadow color as they are pretty close to the color you need. If you are mixing the color, you may want to mix enough that you can take part of it and add a bit more sienna and purple to create the shadow color so you can work back and forth between the sunny color and the cooler shadows, letting the watercolor do the blending. You will also use this darker color in the sand patch below.

Finished PV class
Please look at the reference photo before you start painting. This eroded path has rounded edges not sharp edges so adjust your strokes accordingly, in other words, follow the shape of the dirt with your brush. I was working on dry paper and it will probably help you control the paint better if you are also working on dry paper, where you put down paint will wet the paper enough that when you add the sunny or shadow colors they will blend enough on their own you won’t need to do much at this point, any detail will come later.

The sand in front of the cliffs is that same darker color you were using but if you ran out it will be brunt sienna, a tiny touch of purple and a touch or yellow. Keep this a bit stronger in color then start down behind the rocks nearer the water so it is a bit darker in value, then with just water, pull that color up the beach so you get lighter values. This will make the sand look wet near the rocks and dry up by the eroded sand.

The under painting for the scattered rocks on the beach and near the water is a light gray (blue, burnt sienna and a tiny touch of purple with lots of water). Fill in most of the area using pats and short choppy strokes, leaving little bits of paper white showing is okay, those areas may become highlights or may disappear with the next layer but you do want to cover the area fairly solid, the next layers will start defining the rocks.

Torrance I think this is as far as we got in class, the following is for the PV class but if you want to try and work ahead you can follow the instructions below though we will be going over this in class.

With the basic under painting finished in the PV class, I worked on finishing my painting by increasing the values and the colors and adding detail. Increasing the values and color is basically the same as doing the under painting, just adding more of the same or similar color all the while using those colors and values to create more rocks and texture in the cliffs and piles of rocks. I leave some of the original color and add dark or other colors around shapes, then take just water to soften edges or to pull some of the color over an area I just want to tint.

This is more a feel type of thing so really look at the photo and get a sense of how those cliff and rocks look – where are the darker and lighter colors? What are the shapes I see? The angles of the cliffs? – THEN you paint. You are just trying to create the impression of the cliffs so you don’t need to put in every rock but you don’t want them to look flat either. Take your time, but check the reference photo often.

The foam on the water needs to be refined. Right now it has no shape and covers too much area so we need to make it look more like foam. You can use a small round brush if you want, I was using my ½ inch angle brush tip because it is what I am use to, use what id comfortable for you. You will be using similar colors to what you used in the water before though you will want them a little bit stronger (blues, greens, little purple and sienna), and you will be making a series of overlapping flat “U” types strokes like bananas, rocking your brush back and forth to create the suggestion of waves while making the foam patterns smaller. Don’t cover up all the white paper, just give it more shape. You might want to go down to the beach and look at the foam patterns before you paint so you understand what you are doing or go online and look at waves and foam.

Also make these banana strokes in the water area to give some action to the water, just don’t cover up everything that is already there because that becomes the highlights of your water.

I did not remove the masking fluid I had on my rocks until I had most of the color and values
down on them. The smaller rocks along the beach near the water and the bigger rocks near the cave entrance are very dark because they are wet, however, I did not go straight to the dark, I did several layers to shape the rocks and give them texture.

Using the blue, sienna or umber and a touch or purple I made my dark gray color and shaped my rocks. On the beach I used my small round brush because I wanted more control but basically I was just scribbling with it, making a series of varying sizes of overlapping domed shapes. I also patted the brush to leave shapes but I wasn’t thinking individual rock, more a mass of rock shapes. I did this several times to get darker areas but leaving bits of what was there before for texture. I used the same technique on the drier rocks just using a lighter version of the color (more water). The bigger rocks at the opening I used my ½” angle brush and did layers with this same color.

Once those areas were dry and I was satisfied with color and value, I removed the remaining masking from my paper. Again, I have to modify the white areas so they are not just glaring spots of white, cutting down the size and making them look more like the sparkles on the rocks.

I am done with my painting. I will live with it for a while to see if anything glaring shows up in a couple days when I can look at it with fresh eyes but for class purposes it is done. I will be doing demos on request and I will be going over brush strokes, so if you are also finished with the project look for something you want to paint and I will help you get started.

Keep painting and I will see you in class.