Monday, February 25, 2008

Watercolor Painting - Trees - Demo Part 2

Okay kids...welcome to part two of my watercolor demo - Painting trees. My way.

Step 4 - When I have the shadow area of the tree the right shape, I make a thin wash of a yellow - you can use a cool or warm...whichever suits the color scheme you've chosen - and I wash it over the white part of the tree, dabbing with a paper towel here and there to keep some white, and not have it a completely even wash. I carry the wash over the edge of the shaded part too, but not over the whole thing. Gets too muddy.

Step 4 - light yellow wash

Next, I mix up a really dark dark using Fr. Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna and maybe some of the red...really nice and dark. I use this to define the knots and things. I like a lot of contrast in my trees, but you may want to do it's your tree after all. Just dab it on using lines, dots and smudges until you like how it looks. Remember to make sure that there is variety in spaces between the dark areas, and variety in the shapes. It's easy to forget, and do the same shape over and over again. I usually have to go back and change things to keep the variety.
Put some dark lines and dots on the light side of the tree too, making sure they follow the curve of the tree trunk.

After I add the darks, I go in with some pure color...Cad Orange and Aliz Crimson. I put quite a few dots and lines of it around the darkest's about the same color as that fungusy stuff you see on trees...and it looks fantastic next to the dark blue!

Then I hop around with a brush of Aliz Crimson, putting dots and lines here and there until I like it. I also go in with some pure Fr. Ultramarine, and some more purple, adding it where it's needed.

The last thing I do is, using a very small brush and some purple, make little dots along the area where the shadow turns to light. From a distance this helps the gradation from shadow to light look a little more gradual. I put in dots of different colors just to make it interesting close up too.

And that's about it! You can fiddle with these until the hairs fall outta your brush, always finding another spot to put in more color...but's done!

I hope you find this of interest...and of some help. If you have any questions, please ask. I've likely forgotten something...and if I don't know the answer...I'll make something up!! Aw...just kiddin'...

Please leave me a comment telling me what you think of this demo. It will be very helpful to me for teaching my watercolor classes. I want to do a good job. Thanks!

Happy Painting!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Watercolor Painting - Trees - Demo Part 1

Rhonda Carpenter asked me the other day about the process I use to paint these trees, so I thought I would do a little demo, to practise up for teaching my first watercolor class in April.

The process is quite simple really. Not overly difficult to plan or execute.
The first thing I do is decide on a color scheme. I usually use one blue pigment as the base for each color - in this case Fr. Ultramarine. You can choose a cool or warm theme, a more reddish or greenish color scheme, or use more realistic color (but that takes all the fun out of it).
I mix the blue with Burnt Sienna to make a nice light grey color, that shifts and settles on the paper in such a way that not all areas are a uniform grey, but varying shades of blue and grey, with spots where the Burnt Sienna shows too. Very nice. I use this first color to define the shaded area of the tree, and the areas where branches come out, and the scarred parts of the tree. I just scrumble it on, trying to follow the curve of the trunk to give it definition, leaving lots of white space for future color.

Step 1 - First layer of color.
Crop of Step 1.

After this layer dries, I use the same mix, add a little water, pull in some more blue, and add a red - Permanent Aliz Crimson, Windsor Red...whatever fits your color scheme - to make a nice purplish color. Using this mix, I fill in some of the spaces between the base color. I just scrumble the paint on again, overlapping in some areas, leaving white spaces. I do this until it 'looks right'...shaded areas work, color follows the curve of the tree trunk. Let this layer dry.

Step 2 - Second layer of paint

Step 3 - Third color layer, adding darks.

For the third layer I use the same mix, adding more water and pulling in more blue and Burnt Sienna, but making the mixture lean much more to the blue side, and darker than the first layer. I dab this color on in the darker areas - where branches emerge, where there are scars on the bark, etc. Just look at a'll know when you've got it right.
When this layer is dry, I step back and look at the painting, seeing where it needs adjustments - more dark, more shadow, more even color, a variety of dark and light areas.

Stay tuned for the next steps!!

PS I bought myself some W&N Kolinsky brushes...I love them!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sketching Class

I taught my first sketching class today! There were only 3 ladies in it this week...some couldn't make it today...but I think that was good for my first class. It was a wonderful experience...can't wait for next week. Here are some pics my daughter took...there were a lot of blurry ones...I think she was drunk...very sad. lol

The women were relatively new to drawing, so I started right from the beginning...obviously...
One of the things that I stress to anyone who asks me 'how to draw', is that drawing is seeing. That's the most important thing. We practised capturing shapes - cubes and circles (a bowl)...and it was interesting to see where the difficulty was for each person. Some can get their brains around the cube thing, and for others it's quite a painful process. So we worked on that for quite a while. It was nice to have a small group so I could give everyone lots of attention. I love teaching. It is immensely satisfying.
I spent this class just helping them to learn to see, and to capture the form of an object. Next class we will do some blind contour drawing to teach them to keep their eyes on the subject, not their paper. That's another thing in drawing that I find important - your eyes should spend more time on the subject than on the paper. If you look too much at what you are drawing, you start to lose sight of the actual object, and start to draw what you think it should look like.

And now I have to go and get beautiful...I'm going to a party tonight. It's been ages since I went out and mingled. I'll probably be home and in bed by 11:00. Ah well...a girl has to get out sometimes.

Happy Painting!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Watercolor Painting - Winter Sky III

Winter Sky III watercolor on Arches 21x30

Crop of Winter Sky III
Hi all.
I absolutely love painting these poplar trees. Sorry, to all you birch lovers, but these are poplars, not birches. The weather has finally warmed up - freakishly warm actually, not that I'm complaining! - so I hope to get out to take some more pics. Need some new trees to paint.
The color was incredibely hard to adjust on these...I think because there are so many different hues and weird mixes... each time I got one right, another was wrong. So I decided to just STOP, and here they are. One cropped for that fascinating close up view.
In trying to make the colors work together and create a unified whole, I remembered Myrna's 'mothercolor', and mixed the colors making sure that each contained a bit of the 'mothercolor' this case, W&N Indian Red.
I also tried to keep in mind Edgar Whitney's rule about variety - variety in shape (white spaces), in direction (branches), value (which doesn't show up too well, but it's there), in size (branches), and texture (smooth vs rough). I may not have accomplished all that as well as I could, but at least I kept it in mind while painting, which is a big step forward on my part.
Has anyone read his book Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting? It's fantastic, and I just love the way he expresses himself. I love his passion, and he's definitely not shy about giving his opinions about art, and artists, and what he thinks they should be. Brilliant stuff.
Okay. That's about it. Not much goin' on. Work pays the bills. I have about 12 precut mats to fill up. So I'm gonna get painting...
Tell me a story. You know I love the company.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Watercolor Painting - Poplar Trees

Winter Sky II watercolor on Fabriano (forgot to measure but it's about 14"x24") sold

Crop of Winter Sky II

So...because I was so frustrated with the whole wet in wet thing...I painted something else entirely. I have excellent problem solving skills!

I painted more of my trees. My framer lady, Audrey, was going through her inventory, doing a little early spring cleaning (REALLY early), and gave me a whole pile of precut mats. Lots of them. Big ones too. She is so very good to me!
I like this's like looking out the window.
I've included a closeup shot...for those interested in getting a closer look.
Somehow these don't look like they are the same color. The second one is the most accurate.
As for the weather...well...Saturday morning it was -42C (which is the same in F oddly enough). Sunday morning it was -30C....and Monday morning it was +2C. What the hell?! It's been lovely all week, aside from the wind...right now it's +2C (about +36F or so). Absolute bliss. I have the windows open, letting some fresh air into the house to sweep out the cabin fever bugs.
What else...hhhmmm...Oh yeah! Next weekend I get to start teaching a beginning sketching class. 3 hours on Saturday afternoon for the next 4 Saturday's. I'm really looking forward to it. I like teaching. I was going to be a teacher when I grew up...but I changed my mind...about the growing up part. I also get to do 2 all day watercolor in March and 1 in April. Fun!
Drop me a makes my day.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Graphite Sketches

Anyway. Did some more sketching last night. I realized that the shadows on the wall behind the pears was kinda cool. So I sketched them too. I like this one. So I think tonight I will paint it. I think the shadows are kinda neat, and I like the way the line on the tablecloth is about parallel with the shadow on the wall. We shall see.

The plums and pear one is okay, but I think I got caught up in the cloth, and didn't pay attention to making the plums not look quite so wonky. But I like this one too. The white cloth against the dark plums is quite striking.

So tonight I will begin my wet in wet adventure. Sandly Maudlin posted a fantastic little tutorial on her site today...all about this technique. Good timing...great lesson. Check it out!

Not much else to say. Kinda glum...need sunshine. February is a cranky month.

Tell me a story. I like the company.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Drawings - Remembering What I Forgot

I forgot how much I enjoy drawing, just for the sake of drawing! I have been concentrating so much on learning to paint over the last two years (started Feb 2006, not 2005), that I haven't drawn anything that wasn't going to be painted.
I started trying to do some sketches of the fruit still life pics I took, and just kept on drawing. I also remembered that I don't actually know how to sketch. I want to practise just sketching the subject, not drawing every detail. But I think I'll just enjoy drawing for a bit...worry about the sketching later.
So I did a drawing of a pear with two juicy plums. And then I did a drawing of my daughter from a pic of her that I just love...braces and all. Ain't she cute!?!? So that was last night's work. No painting! It's been a while since I've done that. Also, I got so wrapped up in the drawings that I forgot to smoke! Of course, I remembered later, and made up for lost time.
I also remembered that I have a cool book that concentrates on Wet in Wet painting. The Tao of Watercolor by Jeanne Carbnetti. It's a little cosmic, but I think it's gonna help me get the hang of this technique.

Go ahead and click on the pics to see them bigger.

That's about it. The temperature has risen some...only -24C...just in time for the snow storm.
But my house is nice and cozy, and I think I'll draw some...pears.

Drop me a line, tell me what you think about...stuff...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Graphite Sketch - February. Already!?

Another month has passed. I learned many things in January. I think the most important thing I learned was..."Think before you Paint". Seems simple, but I know I don't do it enough. Or at least, I don't think about all the things I should. Value studies, color studies, planning composition...all get forgotten and I just jump in flinging.
So! February will be Learning to Think month.
Myrna's challenge this month is a little less structured than last month. I am to pick a subject, choose a technique to work on, pick one design element to work on, and add one more design element per painting to emphasize.
So I have purchased some lovely fruit, taken about 3 dozen pictures of it. And that is my subject for the month.
I am going to work on the same technique as Myrna - Wet in Wet. I use it in small areas, but would like to learn what it can really do in a painting. Many of the artists I admire use it to great advantage, so I'm going to give it a shot.
The design element I am going to work on is value. I don't pay nearly enough attention to value in my paintings. I never do value studies, and I do not really know how to plan the values so they enhance a painting. So that's what I'll be working on this month - The Values of Wet Fruit!

Here is the first picture I'll be painting from, along with the first sketch. I assume that as I work on seeing the varying values in a picture, I'll eventually better understand how to use them in my paintings. Any tips and critiques you can give are more than welcome!

I have some lovely pictures of these pears, plus some with wonderful dark purple plums, and a mango. But, I'll just start with the pears, and see how it goes.
Not much else going on around here. Had a house full of kids this weekend (nieces and nephews). They are great kids, and I love them all to pieces, but boy oh boy, I do enjoy the quiet when they go home!! Lovely.

Okay. Off to do some 'sketches' of fruit. See where it takes me.

Drop me a line...tell me a story!