Saturday, April 30, 2016

WATERCOLOR CLASS Project: 3 Poppies Week 3

PV Class: Remember that you are a week behind the Torrance so go to the previous post to review what we did in class last time. Some of this post will also be helpful just remember I will cover everything in class so you do not need to try and figure it out if it is something we have not covered.

This week will you continue to add color to bring up the intensity of the colors and also the values of our poppies. The difference between value and intensity is:  value is the lightness or darkness of a color; intensity is the strength of the color and these poppies are very intense in color.

I also painted in the stems of these flowers, however, you need to look at the stems in the reference material before you start painting the stems of the left and center poppies. Looking at the reference photo, you will see that there is tinge of orange especially on the center stem, this is light coming through the other poppy and being cast on to the stem and pod of the center poppy. This is easy enough to do but you will need to plan for it.

First you need to wet the area of the stem on the left, you want it damp but not dripping so that the paint will move when you apply it to the paper. Next you will need to mix a green and have it ready, that green will be either sap green or Hooker’s green with a little touch of orange in it to grey the green a little and water to thin it. This color will be for the center and the left side poppy.

Rinse your brush and pick up some straight cad orange with enough water to make it drip and then just touch the top of the pod under the flower on the left side which is like a little flute over champagne glass, watch it spread, it should go down into the pod if it doesn’t, touch the area with your brush and let the dampness of the water spread the color.

On the center stem you want to just touch with that orange down the side of the pod until it gets to the stem and when I say touch I mean just touch the tip of your brush to the paper and let that damp paper do all the work. Rinse your brush then pick up the green and working from the opposite side of the stem on both pods and working over to the orange areas, bring in this green color. Again, you are not doing a lot of painting it's more like touching the wet paper and you will see how the damp paper blends the colors together. Do not try to force the orange and the green to blend or you will get mud just bring them together let them touch and let them do their own thing. While the green is still wet you can take ultramarine blue and add it to that green color just by touching the paper, starting in the shadowed areas which is on the right hand side and working over to create shadows, letting the wetness of the paper blend your colors.

The stem on the poppy on the right is a little bit lighter so you will mix your sap green with touch of yellow and a little touch of orange to create a lighter warmer green color and paint the entire stem with this color. You don't necessarily need to pre-wet with water first, this
light green will act like the water to wet the paper, while the area is still wet, looking at your reference photo see where the shadows are, add a little touch of ultramarine blue into that light green painting around where the bright highlight is and just touching the wet paper with the blue to create your shadow.

One of the problems that you may see is that the stems are very close to the same color and value as the background so we have to one or the other and one way to correct it is to make one of them darker. You need to have dark to show light I choose to make the background darker and a bit greyer, there are several ways that I can do that I've already put in at least one layer of wash using my green with a little touch of orange in it and washing the sections around the flowers, I also add some blue to that color too deepen the value to create more of a shadow, but I want to make sure when I am doing these washes that I don't keep going over and over the area especially when the area is wet or I will ruin all of that nice texture that I got from the plastic wrap.

The other thing I'm going to do is to look at those shapes that were made by the plastic wrap and paint some of them darker especially towards the bottom of the paper by using my Hooker’s green with ultramarine blue and a touch or burnt sienna to paint in the darker areas this will make it look like a tangle of leaves and stems and weeds and whatever else is under there and it will increase the value of the things in the background making the stems appear lighter.

The alternative is to make the stems darker and that is an option if you wish to follow it. I prefer, for my own purposes, to make the background darker again I am thinking about contrast and this time it's the contrast between light and dark the darker I can make things around the poppies the lighter the poppies will look and they will look like they are glowing.
PV Class Week 2
Try to get your paintings up to this point we will probably finish this up next time we meet so start looking for something that you want to paint and I will help you get started and get demos as needed for those problems that will come up so keep painting and I will see you in class.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Watercolor Project: 3 Poppies

PV your painting should look similar
to this.
PV Class, I want to remind you that you are a couple of weeks behind my Torrance class so you will want to scroll down to the last post to get the instructions for what we did in class last week.

Both classes, I have cropped my painting to better reflect how I will frame it - if I do frame it – as I had thought of this as more a long horizontal just in case you are wondering why it looks different than what you see in class.

This week we started working on the flowers themselves and this is where, if you watch what you are doing, you can work around your painting and not have to stop because of a wet area needs to dry. Many of you I saw weren’t watching what I was doing and you were having trouble with your paints, so let me explain:

If you are painting next to a wet or damp area and your brush touches the damp area you will get what is called a bloom or a back run. Just like a damp sponge will absorb water faster than a dry one so will damp paper, the wetter moisture coming off your brush pushing its way into the drying area and taking the paint with it. If you know how and why this happens you can make it work for you when you need it, or you can do things to avoid it so won’t happen. By working in small areas around your painting, keeping dry areas around the area you are working on, your water and paint will stay where you put them and not invade surrounding areas, just watch for buildups of big drips or pools of water that may run down your paper do to gravity. You should always be working on a slight incline so you paints won’t just sit still creating muddy pools, even an inch or two will help our paint move.

The colors you will be using will be your cad yellow, cad orange, napthal or cad red even a touch of alizarin crimson, to make a color stronger use less water. We will not be adding any of the darker colors like blue or purple so we don’t muddy our clean, warm colors.

 Look at your reference photo and pick a petal, any petal on any of the flowers because they will all be done the same, just have that photo in front of you at all times. With clean water, wet JUST THAT PETAL so the area is damp, you will be working wet into wet.

Remember that each time you add a wash (thin coats or color) you will be increasing not only the color but also the value (light to dark) of the color that is already there so if you have an area that needs to stay lighter such as the curls or edges of the petals you will need to avoid painting those areas, since you will just be doing one petal at a time, this should be easy to do if you are paying attention. Again, LOOK AT YOUR REFERENCE PHOTO.

Find the lightest area of the petal and start there with the cad yellow and paint the entire area with the yellow, then pick up a diluted mix or water and orange for the lighter oranges paint those and add stronger oranges and reds where you see them for that one petal and only that one petal. Follow the growth lines you see which may curve as the petal curves even though the color will diffuse in the wet area will stay to show the shape of the flower.

When you are done with that one petal, move to another flower, pick another petal as long it is not touching the petal you just worked on and repeat the process. If you plan it right, you will be able to work continuously without the problem of your paint flowing into areas you want them to. This is a good practice to get into because it allows you to work around your painting and not get stuck in one area finishing as you go which can make your painting look overworked in some areas and under worked in others. Also breaking it down into smaller pieces a complex painting won’t seems so overwhelming.

There are a couple of curl backs on the flowers and once again, look at the photo before you start painting. Note that it us usually darker under the curl than it is on the top and also watch the shapes. I will do a bigger demo in class for those who are a bit nervous about trying this on their painting.

Try to get at least one more layer of washes done on your painting for class and be looking for something you want to paint next because I think that we will be done with this painting in the next week or two and you will need something to work on for the rest of the semester. I will give help and demos as needed.

Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spring 2016 Lerri's Watercolor class

Spring 2016 Watercolor Class: Project – 3 Poppies

I will be working on a half sheet of water color paper so my painting is long. The sketch I provided is twice as long as it is tall (6 x 12”) however, you can use a standard size paper if you want. I will have to cut mine down if I frame it, the extra paper will not hurt anything.

Have your sketch on your paper before you start. With watercolor you need to know where you are going – usually – so having a good sketch or drawing on your paper will act as a road map to your painting.

Before you begin, have ALL your colors out. Do not put out just what you think you will need because if it isn’t there, chances are you will not stop to put out other colors and your painting will look flat and monochromatic, it does not hurt watercolor to dry out so you will not be wasting paint.

Also, have everything else ready before you start painting because we will be working quickly on this first stage. We will be using plastic wrap for this background so have several pieces ready and wrinkle them up in little balls before you use them, we need those wrinkles.

The first thing I did was with my ¾” angled brush - you can use a large flat sable or rand brush – I quickly wet the top corner of my paper going around the poppies. I do not want the poppies to get wet, you can mask them off if you feel the need, however, these are large enough areas you should be able to paint around them.

I just painted maybe the top quarter of the paper with the water so I can work into it while it is still wet, work in sections as you go across the top of the paper then down.

Into this wet paper I added a strong mix or ultramarine blue and touches of purple (be careful with the purple, it is a very strong color), you want a strong color at this point so you do not have to go back and repaint the area. Near the top of the bottom poppy and touches of sap or Hooker’s green and yellow. This should still be very wet.

Take a wrinkled piece of plastic wrap and squish it down into that wet paint. You want wrinkles in the plastic wrap but press it down so that it makes contact with the paper. Move on to the next section and repeat the process.

The bottom 2/3s of the painting will be mostly your greens but also add blue, sienna even touches of purple, the closer you get to the bottom of the paper. While the green is still very wet you can drop – and I do mean that literally – some orange into the green before you put on the plastic wrap.

When you have all of the background painted and covered, you will have to let your paper dry completely. This will take longer than usual because of the plastic wrap but if you set it out in the sun for about 15 minutes it should be dry enough for you to take the plastic wrap off. You can use this again and again so don’t throw it away.

A word of caution when using the plastic wrap: If you remove the plastic too soon and the paper is still very wet, you will lose the unique patterns that are left by the plastic so be patient. It is better to wait a bit longer than to watch all your hard work fade to nothing. Been there, done that and I knew better. If you have doubts, lift a corner and feel with the back of your hand if it is cool or wet, put the plastic back down and go get a cup of coffee, check your email, just leave it alone.

Watercolor dries lighter so if areas such as the green bushes behind the poppies isn’t dark enough you can add another layer of color, the trick to not ruining the pattern left by the plastic is to work quickly an do not keep going over the area while it is wet. Be sure that the paper is totally dry before adding another wash of color, as well.

I added some darker greens to the lower sections of my paper behind the poppies because you need to have dark to show the light and my background just wasn’t dark enough in my opinion so I added some more color. The pattern is softened a bit but is still visible looking like leaves and twigs. I did nothing to the blue, I liked the way it turned out.

I also under painted the poppies with a mix of cad. yellow light with just a tiny touch of orange, painting all of the flowers and the stems in this color. This is as far as I got in class I do hope everyone can get their paintings to this point by next class.