Winter 2016 Watercolor Class: Cozy Cottage Week 2
Torrance class remember that the PV class is a week ahead of you so you will be using these notes as your review after our next class you do not need to have your painting to this level when you come to class on Monday because we have not gotten this far yet so do not panic.
This week we moved forward by getting the trees behind the cottage painted in and we based in the under painting for the house and some of the shadows in our snow along with starting the reflection in the pond.
The trees behind the cottage were painted with a dark, greyed green using my hooker’s green with a bit of ultramarine blue and a little touch of burnt sienna to gray the color you want it to be a medium dark color not a bright green but not a color that looks so dark it could be black. Remember that these trees are in the middle ground so they do not have a lot of brilliant color to them.
I always use one of my angled brushes, they're like a flat brush with a diagonal cut in the bristles to give them an angled shape, but this will work with a flat brush as well as a round brush the technique is just a little bit different so do not panic if you don't have an angle brush use the brush that you are most comfortable with but practice it first before you get to your painting.
To create a pine tree you first draw the top tip with the point of your brush if you are using a flat brush or an angle brush you can use the sharp chiseled edge to create this top of the tree then coming down a little ways from the top you press the tip onto this line and flick your brush out quickly. The longer you have your brush to the paper the longer your mark will be so if you want short branches at the top of your tree it’s going to be a very quick press and flick and when you flick your pulling it up off the paper quickly. This is going to take practice which I encourage you to do before you get to your painting I will keep saying that when we hit something that is different and new because you can't expect yourself to do this perfectly the first time especially if you are working on your masterpiece.
As you come down the tree give it an irregular, outside shape. Pine trees get wider at the bottom of the tree so branches get longer but there are also branches in front of the tree so you want to fill in all parts of your tree and not just have branches coming off the side of a trunk or your tree will look like a comb instead of round like a tree. Using that same quick touch and flip stroke I can make these trees as tall and as wide and as full as I need them to be with overlapping strokes but remember: These are not the first pine trees I have ever painted I have had years of practice which is what you need to do before you paint them.
Last week, we put down masking fluid where we wanted the snow to be on our pine trees using this as a guide and using the dark green color, I painted my trees as if that masking fluid was not there I painted outside the masking fluid I painted in between the masking fluid as far as I was concerned I was more interested in creating an interesting shaped tree then to worry about that masking fluid that is just there to protect the snow parts of the trees.
If you do not have masking fluid on the roof of your house you will have to be a little bit careful when you are painting your trees most of you should have protected the snow on the roof with masking fluid so that you could paint your trees and not worry about ruining the snow on the roof of your little house so before you do your trees if you have not covered your roof be sure that you do and let the masking fluid dry before you start working on your trees.
Once I have the trees in, I then went to put the base colors on my house. This house is made of fieldstone which basically means whatever they found in the field when they were preparing this land for farming they stack stones up and use them to build their houses so they are irregular shapes and sizes and colors. For our purposes I want this little cottage to have a warm and inviting look so I under painted the house with a very light yellow this will become the highlights for my house it is not the finished color just one of many you can also put this color into the thatching areas of the roof, thatch is basically grasses that they use to make the roof so it's going to have a lot of warm colors in it.
The shadow area of this house is a very light purple color I took that same light yellow which was cadmium yellow with a lot of water and to that I added just a little touch of purple to create a cool shadow color for the house again you do not want this to be a dark color this will end up being the cool highlights in the shadows so you don't want to get too dark too fast remember this is watercolor and we work from light to dark so at this stage in our painting everything needs to be very light we will get darker later.
When you are painting the roof you need to remember that it is grasses and they have a texture this will be done with a dry brush. What that means is that there will be very little water and paint in your brush when you were painting so that you have streaks. Again if you have not done this and you don't understand dry brush, you need to practice. So take an old painting or a piece of scratch paper, load your brush with any color to practice, dry out the bristles by squeezing at the base of the bristles near the metal ferrule and then lightly dragging your brush across the paper it should look like scratches or hair or wood grain, if it is filled in so that you don't see any lines whatsoever, you can have two problems: You either have too much water on your brush and/or you're pressing too hard or both it's a very light touch and little water.
Once you feel you understand dry brush, when you get to your roof you will be using orange with a little bit of burnt sienna in it in a little bit of water on a dry brush and then you want to be sure that when you pull your strokes on your paper that you are following the angle of the roof line. You don't want to pull straight down or straight across because it won't look like a thatched roof, you need to follow the roof’s angle that you are trying to create. When you are in shadow areas add just tiny touch of blue into that color and do the same thing but follow the roof line some of the grass hangs over the edge of the roof and so it will change direction and come straight down so be aware what your painting and the angle of what you are painting.
We need to start working on the reflection in the water reflections can be a bit tricky because they are not necessarily a mirror of what you see when you are looking at this scene a reflection from water is reflecting what is directly above it so some things like the pine trees are too far in the background to reflect into the water only parts of the house will reflect in the water. To find out what will reflect in the water, either using your fingers or the end of a brush, put the end of your brush on the top of the chimney and then mark with your fingers the bottom of the house, then move the top of your brush to the bottom of the house and see how far into the water your fingers touch that is the top edge of what you are going to see in the reflection so, in essence, you are not going to be painting the entire house it's mostly just the roof and the chimney.
The first thing we do with the reflection is we want to wet the whole area so with just water area with plain water, look at your reference photo and look at your drawing, we're only going to wet the water area not everything, just the water area. This means when you get to the fence in the front you're going to have to skip the part that is the fence and wet those little squares or shapes that you see between the fence parts. Into these wet areas you will add some crimson like you had in the sky just not too bright what will be above the roof of the reflected house (see the reference photo) and even some grey if you still have it. Pull these colors down so if any strokes show it will look like a reflection. Leave the house area for now, that will come next week.
Next we are going to start with our next layer of shadows. We already have covered the entire paper with a very light blue except those areas that we've protected with masking fluid we're going to add a little bit stronger version of that color but again we're not going for the darkest darks we are just going in for some of them middle shadow colors so it isn't a dark color you'll be using a lot of water. On your palate you will mix you're ultramarine blue with a little touch of purple and water you want a plum color then add enough water to lighten it to a soft lavender color, now you're going to start looking at your reference photo to see where the shadows are and that is what you're going to be painting. There are shadows around the house, there are shadows in the road, there are shadows around the little pond… but look at these before you start to paint and it doesn't mean you paint everything, just painting shadow areas. Leave some of what is there, that becomes the next lightest color and you need you need both lights and darks to create the sense of depth and texture in your painting.
When you are applying the paint start where it is the darkest color, like around the house, where there is a pile of snow next to the house, etc, start at the bottom where the shadows are going to be deepest apply some paint then rinse your brush and with just water along the edge of that color you just put down take your brush and blend out so there is a soft gentle transition from the light area to the darker area.
Use this technique when you do the shadows in the road. Come in with your color - and I kind of took my brush with a seesaw motion so that I have an irregular bumpy shape - rinsed my brush and then softened the edges of the section I just put down. Work in short sections so your paint is still wet and will blend.
When you are doing something like a road you have to remember that it is an indentation in the snow so it is going to have a u-shape, then as it comes up where it is meeting the top of the snow it is going to have the reverse shape so it ends up being like an S on its side again shape is very critical when you are painting to give your viewer enough information so that they can fill in details.
When the area around the house and trees is completely dry you can remove the masking from the house and trees ONLY, leave it on the rest of the covered areas.
PV class try to get as much of this done as possible by looking photographs of where I finished my work for this week and do the best you can so that we can move forward when we meet again. Do the best you can keep painting and I will see you in class.