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.

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