Saturday, July 29, 2017

Summer 2017 Watercolor Class

Watercolor Project: Summer Fun Week 4

I was finishing up my painting this week and put in the tire tracks with just a light shadow color (blue, purple and water) and made a series of little comma strokes. Making a series of comma strokes is better than just painting a line for several reasons: First a line looks way to straight and it doesn't look flat. Second the comma strokes can be varied in size to make the peaks look taller of flatter depending on the height of the "up" part of the comma. This is sand, so it is going to have a lot of variation depending on new tracks or people walking across the tracks. Finally, the bottom of the comma should flatten out so that visually the sand levels off between the ridges ___/  making you sand look flat. This takes practice and understanding, for now just trust me on this.

At the ends of some of the tracks I took some of the splash colors and used them at the very ends of the tracks, held my paper at an angle then added enough paint and water to make it drip, this ties it in to the drippy part of the painting and is optional if you want to try it. Remember we are experimenting with this painting and it is just a piece of paper.

The other thing I like to do when I am doing this splashing technique is to go over edges or and small detail with a permanent ink, fine point marker. If you have an India ink pen that works also. 

The lines help define the edges of things that might get lost in the splatters, try to keep the more solid lines in the foreground and broken ones in the background. The "AVE C" I did with a small paint brush and some gray I had on my palette.

As far as I am concerned, I am finished with my lifeguard tower, you can always find more to do but at some point you need to stop and live with it for a few days. Se it aside and don't look at it, after a few days set it up and step back 6 - 10 feet and look at it. If nothing jumps out at you, you are done. It is wise to not assess your work when you are sitting right on top of it, you need to stand back and see it in total and/or you can look at it in a mirror or upside down even upside down in a mirror, if nothing stands out like a sore thumb, it is done.

Next week we are going to be doing some more experimenting but this time we will be making samples of textures using various techniques like salt and Saran Wrap, you can use the backs of old painting you don't like or scraps of watercolor paper. This is a fun thing to do and will give you a catalog of textures as reference for future painting. 

keep painting and I will see you in class.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Summer 2017 Watercolor Class

Watercolor Project: Summer Fun Week 3

When you are working in watercolor, you work in layers or washes to build up value (darks) and color intensity (strength of the color), this is what I was doing in class this last time.

I added another layer of color over all of my lifeguard tower to intensify the color and to help it stand out from the back ground. I also added more dark colors in the shadows to make them stronger which give more intensity to the light in way of contrast.

I also added the shadow under the tower with a mixture of ultramarine blue and a tiny amount of purple to make a lavender blue color. Please look at the shape of the shadow on the ground because it will help set your tower down, it has a unique shape under the ramp and at the front of the tower. Most of you just painted  a solid stripe the same width and shape from the ramp to the back of the tower totally missing the fact that the ramp is offset to the other side of the platform and that here is some light that goes under the tower because the sun is low in the sky. ALWAYS LOOK BEFORE YOU PAINT. Shadows are important and they have their own shape, be aware of that fact.

The poster on the back of the tower doesn't require a microscope to put in what looks like writing and pictures. This is where negative painting comes in. Leave the areas you want as writing or the little squares you see in the photo, the under painting that is there PAINT AROUND those areas with a darker color so you leave the lighter under painting which now becomes a suggestion of words and pictures.

I also started to add shadows to the railings and posts.

I think I will be finishing up my project next week but if you still need to work on it longer take you time finishing you own project, we have about 3 weeks left in the semester. If you are done with your project bring something of your own in to work on and I can help you get started on your project.

Keep painting and I will see you in class.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer 2017 Watercolor Class

Watercolor Project: Summer Fun Week 2

In our last class I started the under painting for the lifeguard tower and the sand.

Remember that in watercolor we work from light to dark so if we need something to be light we need to save it.

The first thing I did was to paint the entire tower, except for the windows, with a light wash of color. I didn't paint around any of the posts or railings, I painted EVERYTHING in this first color. This will be come highlights if I need them. (I used my Cheap Joe's color of Andrew's Turquoise you can use any blue or add a touch of green to the blue if you want.)

When this wash was dry, I added some purple to my color and this time I painted around the railings and other light areas and put a wash of color over everything that is darker or in shadow. I may do this several more times to bring up not only the value (light vs dark) but also to increase the intensity of the color or its vividness.  Watercolor dries lighter so getting the right amount of intensity can take several layers and it is better to sneak up on the color rather than trying to get it in one shot because you end up putting the color on too thick and lose the watercolor look in your painting.

The windows are done in a couple of steps. the first step are the window frames. Because they are in shadow they are not white or we could leave the white of the paper. I mixed a gray of ultramarine blue and a touch of burnt sienna with a lot of water to make a tint of gray and covered the whole area and let it dry. I re-wet just the window pane areas with water and wend over with a light wash of blue, let it dry for just a second or two, then took a stronger mix of blue with a touch of purple (very little purple or you can use a touch of alizarin) then just made some shapes in the window. Look at the photo and all you will see inside the tower are dark shapes, that is all you are creating.

The flag is pretty simple, the thing you need to remember is the top and bottom stripes are red and the stripe under the blue is white. With my small angled shader, I used my ultramarine blue and just dabbed it in where the blue should be leaving a few white spots showing. You do not need to do all 50 stars, just suggest them. Same with the stripes. Because the flag is waving the stripes are not straight and may disappear or you only see parts of them. Don't over think it, keep it simple.

I will be continuing from this point in class, I hope you can get your paintings to this point for class.

Keep painting and I will see you in class,

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Watercolor Class Summer 2017

Watercolor Project: Summer Fun Week 1

There are times as artists we need to get out of our comfort zone and try new things just to expand our skills, our knowledge and to face our fears - yes fears. We are so afraid of making "mistakes" we forget that art is suppose to be fun, and I often fall into that category my self. I will see the rut I am in from the bottom looking up and realize I am just going through the motions and I need to find something that really challenges me and that is how I got into splattering.

I was in a rut reading one of my watercolor magazines when I came across an article on a woman artist and she started all her watercolors by splattering. It looked interesting and really wasn't in my comfort zone but if I didn't like it all I was out was a bit of time and a piece of paper. I had so much fun I started looking for more subjects where I could use splattering.

I find it works best if you have a simple subject but I have used it very effectively with more complicated subjects, I just think it brings a sparkle and a bit of fun when used in a simple setting.

I took the photo of the life guard tower and thought what fun this would be to add a bit of summer fun with splattering. I used my warmer colors (red, orange and yellow) in the sky but didn't sweat it if they went everywhere, same with the cooler colors (blue, purple and green) I used in the land area. It just doesn't matter. What does matter is to know when to stop. It can feel really good to just throw paint then next thing you know you have a pool of mud on your paper. You can always add more.

I also used plain water when I splattered and where paint and water touched, it created a bloom or back run a fun thing when doing this kind of thing. Then I let it dry completely when it was where I liked it.

I had already put my drawing on the paper so I now needed to start working on the back ground.

Notice how the negative painting makes the tower stand out.

The color you choose is up to you for your sky, I wanted it to say "California Sun" so I started with my yellow around the tower moving it out from the tower and the top of PV. While it was still wet, I went right into my orange and started the orange just inside the yellow and let the watercolor blend itself (the yellow needs to be wet for this to happen). I repeated this with my red but as I moved the red out towards the edges of the paper, I rinsed my brush often and used just water to move the red until it faded out. Rinsing your brush often is key to this technique.

The PV cliff were done using burnt sienna, a touch of blue and water to thin the color, the green trees I added Hooker's green to the sienna color to gray the green.

The water was my ultramarine blue with water and touches of thin purple.

Don't forget to paint the water and the cliffs behind the railings of the tower. This is called negative painting when you paint around an area and in watercolor it is important to remember this technique.

Try to have your paintings to this point when we meet again in class. I will be continuing from this point.