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.
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
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.