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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.

michlighthouse3 

                               Big Red Lighthouse

michlighthouse4

                                 White River Lighthouse 

A couple of years ago, Richard McNaughton challenged many of his fellow art bloggers to paint lighthouses. My sister was up for this! She has always been drawn to lighthouses and visiting them when she travels. To make a long story short, she made sure I had reference photos of five of them for the challenge. You can see the paintings I did from those references by clicking here.  For a while, now, she has wanted me to paint two more of the lighthouses she has visited.  I finally sat myself down and drew and painted them for her. These are both lighthouses from Michigan that she has visited. She says they call the one on the top “Big Red”.

One thing I had to keep in mind is how I painted the previous five as she would like to hang them together. For these, I used a wonderful coldpress watercolor paper called Cartiera Magnani. I also kept these to the size that I had painted the others and tried to stay true to the colors I had used for the others. I had to use liquid frisket to save small areas of white in each painting, since I worked so small. I really enjoy working on this paper but have not been able to order large sheets of it. Every time I try, I am told it is out of stock. I have two blocks of the small 9 x 12  inch sheets remaining. It is a soft paper with an interesting texture and the water and pigments soak into it immediately. It is great for a rather detailed look and retains the brilliant color of the pigments exceptionally well.

 

by Nancy Longmate

by Nancy Longmate

horsefriends

 

horsefriends2

STEP 1 :        Monochromatic Study

horsefriends3

STEP 2 :   Splatter

horsefriends

STEP 3 : Lift and Soften Edges of Some Splatters and Add Color

 

The above two paintings are Nancy”s and my final attempts with working together on splatter painting. We completed five paintings, each, experimenting with subject material and color. We practiced and painted a grisaille, first, in all five paintings. We used this technique to paint buildings, portraiture, city scenes and landscape.

I have learned that it is very difficult to ruin a watercolor and that it is harder to get mud than I thought. I learned I could paint a monochromatic study and still return to vibrant color. The splatter helped to create interest  and  enhance depth in some of them. We called them our dirty paintings because we had to get used to the way they looked following the splattering phase. I think the splatter helped the “look” of what I normally paint just like the masa paper and citra-solv collage helps my paintings.

A tutorial of this technique can be found here and here.

by Nancy Longmate

by Nancy Longmate

walkingthedog

 

There is not much more I can say about this project than my friend and I are still experimenting with splatter paintings, described here and here. We have always started with a monochromatic study of our reference and then splattered or dripped clear water and color on them, before refining and adding more color. We have branched out to experiment with figures in a landscape and adding more color.

My photo, above, is a  street scene of Pirates Alley from wet canvas and a figure I found in another wet canvas reference photo. I made the dog up (fashioned it after my maltese dogs but a little larger). I will probably continue to use this figure. He is so versatile!

I was fascinated with all the abstract color in Nancy’s elephants! This is a truly adaptable technique that opens all sorts of possibilities with your personal style. It is also underscoring that about anything is possible with watercolor. It is really hard to wreck them.

 

by Nancy Longmate

by Nancy Longmate

herschellcarousel

 

The above two paintings are Nancy’s and my third attempt with splatter painting.

We are adding more color even though we begin these with a monochromatic study in payne’s gray. I think I’d like to try one in sepia some time, too. Carol King has been helping us with this via emails since she took the workshop with Tim Saternow. She has also sent me links to his article in “American Artist Watercolor” (Winter 2012) and several other links of artists who use similar techniques. I think a watercolor artist can probably adapt this technique to how he or she likes to work. The splatter and drips ( if you tilt your board) add something spontaneous and fun to work with. The value study sets the tone.

I promised to post my steps on this post, so here are the steps to the Herschell Carousel. Thank you Wet Canvas for the reference image!

herschellcarousel2

 

First, I do a detailed drawing and use liquid frisket to save any little white areas.

herschellcarousel3

 

I, then, paint a value study of the reference in Payne’s gray. This could be done in neutral tint or sepia, also. I would think the color you would use for this phase would have to be considered a dark color in order to get strong value changes. Tim stated, in his article, that he applies his pigment in thick impasto in the darkest areas. I’ll have to try that sometime. I have not applied it that thick, as yet.

herschellcarousel4

 

Next, splatter with clear water. I use a two inch flat and load it with water. With the painting laying on the floor, I stand above it and drip the water over it copiously. On this one, I tinted the water a bit with Payne”s gray and also tilted the board to get some drips on this phase. I let that dry completely.

herschellcarousel5

 

Then I chose a warm and a cool color and splattered the entire painting with these two colors. Some artists pour the color over the painting and tilt the board to get a drip effect. After this, my darks had washed out some and I repainted many of them. I chose the colors Halloween Orange and Phthalocyanine Blue for my splatter colors. I wanted more color due to the subject material.

herschellcarousel6

Then I began adding color. I decided to put more color into this painting than my previous two. I thought the subject called for it. I had also taken time to view quite a few paintings by artists using this technique and saw that some of theirs had more color in them and that Tim had made mention that he allows the subject material and what is happening on the paper to guide him in how much color to use.  I also removed all frisket from the painting during this phase.

herschellcarousel

 

I finished by lightly coloring the background items, darkening the background blacks and re- painting the darks in the foreground horse. With this painting, I splattered more blue and orange at the very end.

by Nancy Longmate

by Nancy Longmate

churubuscovalero

 

These are Nancy’s and my second paintings inspired by Carol King’s post here.

An interesting thing is beginning to happen with these. I have seen this happen, time and time again, in our watercolor classes. We study a technique and it grows into all forms of styles.  What I really like about this technique is the strength in value it lends to a scene and the element of interest the splatter and runs create.

I completely forgot to do a step-by-step with my painting but have another in the works that I will post that illustrates the monochromatic and splatter phases.

Our first attempts, with description of technique, can be found here.

My painting of a street corner is from a reference photo I took , near here, in Churubusco, Indiana. It is so small town Indiana!

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