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.