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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!

nancystreet

by Nancy Longmate

camelride

 

I am bound and determined to learn the technique that Carol King shared on her blog post here. She learned this technique in a workshop she took from Tim Saternow.

The above two paintings are the result of my friend, Nancy Longmate, and my first attempts. It did not go so well.  She feels like she did not splatter enough and I feel as though I splattered too dark and could not soften the splatters down enough.  We refuse to give up. We both have our second attempts started and will post them when they are done.

Meanwhile, I’ll talk you through the steps I did on this one.

camelride2

 

We were to create a monochromatic painting in the first step. I used payne’s grey. You can use any color you wish for this phase. Make sure it gets dark enough to explore all value ranges.

camelride3

 

Once the painting is dry, drip copious amounts of water with a two inch flat brush onto the surface of the monochromatic study and allow it to dry.  I placed the painting on the floor and dripped onto the surface while standing above it.

camelride4

 

The third step is to drip a diluted warm color and a diluted cool color onto the surface of the painting. I chose burnt sienna and payne’s grey I think it would have been best if I stopped here with the dripping. The drips would have read better had I diluted the colors more, too.  This is a bit dark for the splatter phase. I’m guessing!  Anyway, I made the mistake of splattering again.  I did this by standing above the painting and dripping the colors with a two inch flat brush. Nancy felt she did not splatter enough.

camelride5

 

This is what it looked like before I began the finishing process. Like I said, I think I splattered too dark and should have diluted my warm and cool colors more.

camelride

 

After the splattered painting dries, begin to add some cool and warm colors and soften the drips where it is needed. The above painting is what I came up with.

I will be doing more of these. I think it is an excellent way to practice value study. It also satisfies my interest in being able to create something beyond copying a photo reference. It made me think about how much white space to leave and how I wanted to design the white space. Nothing more intimidating than splattering a tidy and clean monochromatic study. I like the energy, movement and depth it seems to add to the piece.  Carol kept reminding me that these paintings really can’t be ruined. I think she is right about that. It just opens a whole new set of challenges and suggests something new.

I will post my future attempts with this technique.

Thank you to Ahmed Farahat and his photo I used for reference from Paint My Photo.

theoutpost2

 

theoutpost

 

This is an example of what a goauche resist looks like before I paint into it. I took this one beyond and became very intricate in my drawing like some of the resists I’ve done of race horses. I waited some time before painting into this one because I liked the original black and white resist. My mind still argues with me as to whether I should have added color. I even almost threw this one away because I became so frustrated with it.  There was so much gray scale to this one that, when I added the watercolor, I could not see the image any farthur back than about six feet and that bothered me. Then, I said to myself , “go back in with white for the shack and see if you can pop it some”. That worked. It brightened up the colors I’d chosen and popped the image of the shack enough that it gave it an eerie time of day, maybe dusk. Sometimes it is just practicing enough with your techniques to bring something around.  There are many artists who resort to other mediums,  like collage and pastels, to bring something back to life. Sometimes it is better not to give up.  Sometimes you just have to walk away and move on. This time, I think it worked to change the plan.

malteseresist

 

 

malteseresist2

 

The above two paintings were created by using a gouache resist technique that I teach in my watercolor plus class. If you would like to try one, I have a tutorial on this technique here.

Both paintings were created with the use of one photo reference from wet canvas. It never ceases to amaze me, the amount of variation that can occur during multiple repeats of the same reference by the same artist. I think that is one of the reasons I am so drawn to fine art painting. What was the artist thinking? What was the artist trying to share? What was the artist seeing? Try as I might, I can not make a second painting of the same subject look just like the first one. Things change. I either see new things in the reference material or feel differently the second time through.

Every once in awhile I will give my students the same reference to work from and  they all look so different! Some choose to paint only a portion of the reference.  Their color choices always vary.  Their drawing styles and techniques are different.

For me?  Reading a painting is just like reading a book. There is always a hidden story about their creator in them. Creativity is a wonderful thing!

Cindy Guzik watercolor and ink

Cindy Guzik
watercolor and ink

 

Nancy Longmate wax resist

Nancy Longmate
wax resist

 

Dorette Hess citrasolv collage and watercolor

Dorette Hess
citrasolv collage and watercolor

 

Judy Notestine gouache resist,collage and watercolor

Judy Notestine
gouache resist,collage and watercolor

The above paintings are examples of what the artists in my Watercolor Plus class created.  Watercolor Plus is a nice class to end our yearly sessions with.  They created using watercolor and ink, wax, tape and gouache resists, citrasolv collage and watercolor, and gesso juice surface and watercolor and watercolor and pastel.  If you would like to see more examples of their creations. you can view them by clicking here.

Thank you to all the artists who take my classes and continue to share your creations on the student art page.

red-earedslider

 

OK, I’m going to send you to a few places if you want to go and explore this citrasolv use in art. I love it!  It was first introduced to me by Carol King on her post here. She is the one who gets the blame for why my garage smells like this cleaning agent about three times each year when I go to work making colored papers from National Geographic photos. I explain the process of how to make these papers here.  If you really want to know all the neat things that can be done with Citrasolv and view a huge artist gallery of art created from them, you can visit this site provided by the Citrasolv company here.

My students just shared their creations this week. They each used these wonderful papers in their own creations. There will be a few of them shared on in their student gallery I post in a few weeks. Thank you to wet canvas reference library for the reference image for this handsome turtle. It was not named in the photo, but one of my students looked him up and found this. He is a red-slider turtle. I have also done two collages, without paint,  here and here. When I use them this way, I call it drawing with paper.  I never set aside time to keep one of these going on the side. Maybe I should start doing that this summer. They are time consuming, but so worth it!

 

cjpond3

 

The scene, above, is a view of a private pond north of where I live. The owners have been kind enough to allow me to take photos of and paint scenes from their property.

In class, right now, my students are creating paintings in watercolor on different surfaces or incorporating different mediums. We do something different each week. Week before last was the crayon resist. This week we painted something on a surface that we prepared with “gesso juice”. I wrote a post about how to prepare the surface of your paper here. I actually added sand to the gesso when preparing this surface. If you enlarge the above painting, you can see evidence of the sand in that large tree trunk on the left.

This surface is very FREEING. It is not as slippery as Yupo, so it is easier to apply the pigment. You also have the ability to lift color and to play around in the image. I always spray these with acrylic matte fixative when I’m done. Otherwise, a drop of water could do damage.

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