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We just finished our Watercolor Landscape class for 2014. I have posted 53 paintings that my students agreed to share here.

Cherie Droege

Cherie Droege

Nancy Longmate2

Nancy Longmate2

Everyone worked two weeks on the new splatter painting technique.

David Hess

David Hess

They worked on creating a landscape with a very definite center of interest.

Kathleen Smierciak

Kathleen Smierciak

They worked on a painting of “Big Sky” or “Big Water”.

Robert Einhaus3

Robert Einhaus3

They created a painting with a building or man-made object.

Joel Alwine2

Joel Alwine2

The last night of class we worked on painting little people to insert into the landscape.

Ann Smith

Ann Smith

Jan Reche

Jan Reche

…and high praise for the two students who worked outside the box to come up with a more abstract vision of a landscape.

Thank you to all of you who follow this blog, regularly, and to the students who continue to attend my classes and share their work here.

Roxanne Yoquelet

Roxanne Yoquelet

Roxanne Yoquelet4

Roxanne Yoquelet4

We began our class with an introduction to brushes, pigment and paper. We practiced washes and glazes and were introduced to three ways to apply watercolor (wet in wet, wet on dry and dry brushing).

Laura Lindsay3

Laura Lindsay3

Laura Lindsay

Laura Lindsay

We talked about different color combinations and practiced painting some of them.

Laura Lindsay4

Laura Lindsay4

In the third class it was all about trees and foliage and the different ways (sponge, pointillism, scumbling, salt, frisket) texture could be rendered in watercolor.

Roxanne Yoquelet3

Roxanne Yoquelet3

Laura Lindsay2

Laura Lindsay2

Roxanne Yoquelet2

Roxanne Yoquelet2

Then it was on to “Big Sky” and “Big Water” and how to allow the water on your paper to mingle color. How to splatter and how to let go of the reference material a little and allow the water to help create the painting.

Roxanne Yoquelet5

Roxanne Yoquelet5

Laura Lindsay5

Laura Lindsay5

On the fifth week, we discussed buildings and perspective and that they were composed of a collection of shapes that fit together.  I was knocked off my feet when I saw the two paintings, above! What beautiful work after only five weeks.

littlepeople2

littlepeople3

On the last night of class, we practiced painting “little people” to use in our landscape paintings in the future.

A huge thank you to Roxanne and Laura for giving me permission to share their paintings with others.

fallfarm

 

keystoneconcrete

 

Those of you, who follow my blog, know that I and a friend spent the summer learning to paint from a monochromatic rendering and transform it with splatter and drips and color. The explanation of how to approach these is found here and here.

I shared this process with my watercolor landscape classes this fall. The above paintings are a result of my demos and explanations for these classes. The top one is a composite of several different photo references I had taken. The horses are from one farm, not this one. The high tension wires were from yet another farm than the one I chose to sit in the distance. Tip on “how to” wires? I lightly used a graphite pencil, first. Then I painted them really carefully with a rigger and paynes gray, resting my hand on the paper and dragging the brush at a 45 degree angle as I slid my hand across the paper. I softened and blurred those wires with light rubbings of a magic eraser so they would appear to fade and return, varying the values of the wires in spots. I used liguid frisket to preserve the white of the paper on barn roofs, white buildings and the foreground horses. I had to splatter those areas following painting in the details. That painting developed, gradually, and changed with every layer I painted into it.

The concrete works piece was purely experimental on my part. I wanted to see if I could create something a little different and unique with interesting shapes.

I will continue to create paintings like this. I like all that goes into them and the fact that I’m always creating something new with each and every one.

pmpknmonochrome monochromatic

I spent some time working with the simple color combinations we talk about and use all the time.  I try to cover these in every beginning class I teach and then keep tossing out reminders in the advanced classes.  Sometimes, our paintings just aren’t what they could be.  We confuse our viewers with too much color or don’t provide enough contrast with our colors. We know we can paint anything! any color we choose! We can create a pink horse, a green person, and change the grass to black and the sky to purple if we want! But we do need to be mindful of our viewer if we want our work to have contrast and read well for a viewer.

I sat down with 6 x 9 inch pieces of 140 lb Arches watercolor paper and practiced painting this pumpkin in the five color combinations I talk about in classes.

The first combination is monochromatic. That means taking one color and rendering your entire painting in that color or variations of that color. I chose paynes grey for this one. There could be many versions of a monochromatic. It all depends on how much of the painting you decide to leave white and how much you make your darkest darks and how much midtone values you include. I will save that exercise for another day.

pmpknanalagous analagous

The above example is an analagous color scheme of orange and yellow. Analagous paintings are those that have colors next to each other on the color wheel and one of the colors is usually dominant. I believe the orange is the dominant in this and could have stretched my color range to include red, but opted for a neutral of burnt umber instead. This one stretched my value skills because I chose to paint more of the pumpkin than in the monochromatic example. I had to use varying amounts of water to get the value transitions in yellow and orange.

pmpkncompliment complimentary

Complimentary colors are those found opposite each other on the color wheel. Mixed together, they can cancel each other out to appear black. Next to each other and they enhance contrast. I used no other colors than one orange and one blue to create the pumpkin above. Had I chosen to paint an apple, I’d choose red and green. Had I chosen to paint a lemon, I’d choose yellow and purple.

pmpknsecondary  secondary triad

This is where it gets fun! I could use three colors!  The secondary triad is composed of the secondary colors orange, green and violet on the color wheel. I liked this one, because it looks the most believable for the subject of a pumpkin. I liked how these three colors produced varying shades for all the shadows in this. I found this painting  more soft and relaxing, in appearance, when compared to the next one I tried.

pmpknprimary primary triad

The last color combination I tried was the primary color triad of red, yellow and blue. Wow! This one became so vibrant because I could use bright yellow and red to create my oranges and even the blue came through as vibrant on this one. I would call this my festive pumpkin. There seems to be more energy in a primary color painting.

Try this one with a simple reference and see what you come up with. These are the only color combinations I teach. It does not mean I stick with only those colors. I add other colors to my paintings. BUT, if I squint at them and there is not a distinct look of one of the above color combinations in them, I go back in develop the painting more until there is.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Thank you to wet canvas for the image of the pumpkin I used for my reference.

paytonsabner    6 yr

sedonashorses  7 yr

polarbear 8 yr

The above paintings were painted by my three Granddaughters this past weekend. Yes, I have created watercolors and drawings with them since they were little. Their Mothers have also encouraged them with their art. One thing I did not do, however, was purchase less expensive paints, brushes and paper for them to use. I find many of the student grade papers and paints uninspiring, often resulting in dull colors, brush hairs falling out into paintings and paper that tears or won’t hold up to multiple glazes or layers.

All three of them begged me to be able to paint and helped me to tape their paper to the board. The oldest ran for my pile of photo references. They used to select pictures from their coloring books that were easier to draw but would have none of that this time. The 6 chose a portrait of Abner, my daughter’s dog, the 7 chose a photo of my daughters three horses and mini donkey, and the 8 chose a photo of a polar bear! I said, “Are you sure you can do these?”  The 8 said, “Yes. We can draw them by feeling the edges of the lines while we draw!”  They have all practiced drawing with a continuous line, before. I helped a little, but not a lot! Mostly just to point out an angle of a line or a bump on a horse knee or jaw. The drawing of the polar bear was totally unassisted! I cautioned them about rinsing their brushes before they went back into the palettes for their colors and that was all she wrote. They were off and painting!

Insert, here, praise for their art teachers. The conversation around the table started to revolve around what their art teachers had taught them in school. One Granddaughter stating that her teacher taught her that a painting was just lines, shapes and then add color! Another said her teacher had told her to use bright color and another talked about her teacher teaching them to use the whole page.

And they didn’t get bored! Thank you to all those Moms and Art Teachers out there who recognize the value of creativity for our children.  They may never make a living creating art, but they are learning skills that will stick with them a lifetime about exploring, creating and making choices. Plus! They will have one more thing they can enjoy doing in their free time!

 

 

 

sedonadrumming

 

sydneyposing

 

The last thing we practiced in watercolor portraits was rendering hands in a way that they are believable. One of the most common mistakes in portraiture are hands that are too small, proportionately. Another mistake is the artist not rendering the parts of the hands that bend by using properly placed cross contour lines to delineate the joints of the fingers and thumbs. Hands without joints always appear gloved and stiff.

Another watercolor portrait class has ended and I have posted up to two paintings by each artist who took one of the two sessions of this class. Some of the artists have been painting for years. Several have only had one year experience and have come to this class from beginning watercolor, so it is very diverse. They also have very different interests and make different choices about the techniques and references for their creations.

 

 

Sue Joseph2

Sue Joseph2

Barbara Steinkamp2

Barbara Steinkamp2

They studied face parts by painting eyes, noses, hands, mouths and ears, individually. They learned work from the use of a grid for proportion and to work toward a likeness. They studied composition and how to design a portrait that would be more pleasing. They studied skin color and

Leslie Vrchota

Leslie Vrchota

how to create a rich and colorful black using yellow red and blue.

This class was not limited to the human face and included figures in landscapes and animal portraiture.  I also handed out a list of watercolor ideas  to challenge them to reach.

Henn Laidroo2

Henn Laidroo2

John Kelty2

John Kelty2

The above portraits show people doing something and suggest a story for the viewer.

Kathleen Smierciak

Kathleen Smierciak

One artist challenged herself to paint white on white.

Mary Smierciak

Mary Smierciak

Another artist created a colorful gouache resist of her son in his winter bicycle gear.

If you would like to view the entire gallery of this fall’s watercolor portrait class, click here. You can also access this page by clicking the link to the Student Art: Watercolor Portraits at the top of this blog page.

Thank you to all of you very talented artists for continuing to take these classes and share your work here. I continue to be inspired by your talent and creativity!

thegirls

 

I was lucky enough to be able to spend time with my three Granddaughters this summer.  We went to the zoo and I snapped the reference photo for this portrait right before they rode the train. I am a lucky Grandma.

In order to draw this composition, I used a simple grid.

thegirls2

 

I frame the composition that I want from the photo.  I use two “L shapes” that I have cut from a matte in order to do this. I then draw a grid over the surface of the photo dividing it into three sections vertically and horizontally. This grid helps me to draw the scene or figure in proportion. It also shows me the four areas or “sweet spots” where it is best to create a center of interest. I chose this composition because the foreground and background girls were near and in a good place for a center of interest.

thegirls3

 

I then have to measure my watercolor paper (height and width) to be proper multiples of the dimensions of my reference photo. I grid the watercolor paper (lightly) with graphite and draw my composition.  Before I begin to paint, I gently erase the grid lines with a soft eraser.

I do not grid everything I create but it helps with more difficult subject material where proportion or likeness is needed.

By Roxanne Yoquelet

By Roxanne Yoquelet

By Paula Pritchard

By Paula Pritchard

By Laura Lindsay

By Laura Lindsay

The first Beginning Drawing class of this year has ended. I can’t resist posting these blind continuous line “selfies” that they learn the first night of class in order to get out of their left brain and really begin to “see” and feel the contours of a subject. There is such honesty in them as I know many of you understand. These students worked hard through six weeks of learning to use line and value. They studied negative space, perspective and cross contours, also. They learned to use their pencil to determine angles and measure length. They began using plumb lines, practiced gridding a photo reference and learned how to crop for scenes and subjects for a center of interest. If you would like to view more of their work, I have devoted a page to that. You can access that gallery by clicking here.  …or by clicking on the Beg. Drawing page at the top of this blog.

Thank you to all my students who allowed their work to be posted here!

ponyteam2

 

It has been so long since I’ve posted. I don’t know where the time has gone. I did start my 2014-2015 art classes, so perhaps I am just a bit slower this year.

The above is a repeat attempt on a pony team I first painted here. I wanted to paint it in color. Thank you to wet canvas for the photo reference.

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