The above painting is another technique I tried with watercolor and rice paper.
I began by painting the landscape you see, above, on 140lb Rough Arches Watercolor Paper.
I chose a piece of textured and mostly transparent rice paper, measured it to the size of my painting and glued it on top of the painting. I mixed one part water with three parts acrylic matte medium and applied it to the back of the rice paper and carefully laid it over the surface of my incomplete painting. I used a large flat brush with soft bristles to apply thin layers of the glue mixture to the surface and gently push air bubbles out. A roller can also be used for this step. Handle the wet rice paper gently because it becomes very fragile when it is wet. The watercolor paper ripples and my rice paper lifted up when it did that. I solved that by reflattening the rice paper with my brush and drying areas with a hair dryer as I did that. I allowed this phase to dry overnight.
Then the work began. I repainted the original scene through the paper and added more colors as well as pushed my darks and detail. I added foreground rice paper shapes and more rice papers to the middle ground, playing with value and texture. The painting, above, is what I came up with.
You can also re-work a failed watercolor painting this way. It is very time consuming, so be prepared for that. I am going to be on the lookout for interesting textures in rice papers to experiment furthur with this technique.
Just got in from shoveling and blowing heavy wet snow around, hopefully, for the last time until next winter. Seasons are like interludes. Hope this storm was the final scene of the act of winter.
Reference photo from Paint My Photo.
The inspiration for the above painting came from several photo references. I recently suggested to my students, taking the composition class, that they could free themselves a little from the constraints of working from one photograph. I felt this would open up a new world for them to create from. We become, over time, so attached to working from one photograph that we forget that we have a wealth of information available to us from real life and our techniques we have learned from watercolor class. They were to take a landscape photo that really liked and include a dominant tree, something man-made and something living (other than a plant); like people or animals.
I chose a photo my sister had taken in New Mexico during the winter months and it included this worn home and the large shrub -like trees on the right. I searched Wet Canvas for a photo of children and found the three placed here on the porch of the home. I chose a tree from a grouping I found in my photo reference book for artists and used a portion of it for the large tree in the foreground that overlaps this scene.
The challenge became working with the values and colors of each of my photographs, as well as their proportions. The tree in the foreground had to be enlarged for this scene and the colors changed to balance with the warm oranges and reds in the prominent bushes on the right. The children became “wee” images of the original reference I had available. I had to change their clothing colors so they would be visible and not become lost in shadows cast by the large bush-like trees on the right. I was attracted to the splats of light in this as well as the long shadows reminding me of the early morning light in late February as the days are becoming longer and the promise of spring is right around the corner. I imagined the children I had created as waiting for their school bus.
I liked that creating a painting with guidelines like this prompted me to create a story. How interesting when we take that extra step into creating with what we have at hand…..
I had a blast creating this scene from a photo reference I found in a book of landscape photo references for artists. I wish I had taken time to snap pictures of the step by step for this one for all of you. I was very intrigued with the bright springlike colors of the moss hanging on the foreground tree and was able to capture that look somewhat close to how it looked in the photo. I liked the stretch of the farm lane leading back to the dense woods in the background. The sight was so peaceful, I just had to try it. I worked in large washes as I layed in the value transitions from foreground to background. The only thing I drew was the foreground tree. All the fenceposts, background forest, and small foreground trees were drybrushed in. I frisketed the hanging portions of the moss and went to town on drybrushing the little trees with a rigger and the foreground tree with a small round. Then I removed the frisket and greened in the moss and scumbled blurs of greens and raw sienna in the tree trunk and larger support branches. I stroked some white goache along the foreground tree’s large branches and dotted it on the top bumps of moss. I drybrushed the old fence posts along the lane and splattered the whole thing with a number two round brush, loaded with white acrylic, and declared it a SNOW DAY (something my kids always looked forward to!). Hope everyone is enjoying winter!
The above painting is the one I chose to paint for an assignment in my current landscape class. The assignment was to paint a landscape with trees paying careful attention to how you handled greens as well as what techniques you might use to re-create their textures. One could also insert a building or figure in their landscape, paying attention to its placement and form.
I used greens from my palette but mixed them with yellows, reds and magenta to calm down the garish look of brightness greens seem to produce when used alone. This has been a specific problem with greens for me. I used frisket for the dead pine tree right of center and pointillistic marks combined with wet-in-wet to render the other trees in this landscape. I was very careful to render the curvey forms of the buckskin horse, in the foreground, accurately. I tried to establish his form by painting his values correctly. His shoulders pierce the “sweet spot” for a center of interest in the lower left quadrant so I left him as he was in the photo reference. What I was most concerned with capturing was the brilliance of light throughout this scene, both in the horse and the landscape. I am very pleased with the combinations of colors that I chose to subdue my greens and will continue to experiment with this challenge, in the future. One of the students in my class never uses greens for his foliage and trees, choosing to use combinations of blues and yellows and neutralizing that with other colors and his look great!
The above watercolors were painted with the idea of studying value transitions in the landscape. It is the first assignment for my Watercolor Landscape class this session. We were to use one or two colors and enhance the depth by making decisions on how to divide the space in the landscape with value changes. We were to pay attention to not dividing our scenes in half with value and to make dramatic enough changes to provide contrast and depth. The above two paintings were painted with neutral tint watercolor paint and the bottom one was painted with burnt sienna and prussian blue.
I felt a sense of freedom painting these studies. It allowed me to pay attention to the composition and division of space as well as to concentrate on my brush techniques by taking the pressure off of having to think about color. I learned that we need to push the contrast in order to enhance the feeling of depth in a scene. I will do more of these in the future. It was fun.
I takes me a great deal of time to create these. They are never what I set out to create. They happen on the paper. I am still in the process of learning about the different rice papers and what the pigment does on them. I like going along the edges with my brush and a dark color, most evident in the top painting. I also like washing a transparent color over what I have created to accentuate a mood, most evident in the second painting. As I worked on this I tried to finish them toward the vision I saw coming from the design on the paper. The first one I titled Glacial Remnants and the second one, Canopy. I love this way of working. It is as though I am immersing myself in the art and the materials and allowing them to help me work a vision forward.
Happy New Year Everyone !
What a wonderful year of sharing with all of you, again. I enjoy this thing we call art blogging. I have viewed fantastic art and photos, read wondrous poems and stories by all of you. Thank you for enriching my life and giving me food for thought and helping me to grow. Thank you for visiting me. Your comments have helped me to see through new eyes and most of all helped boost my confidence to continue sharing. Thank you.
The above painting was painted in much the same way as the previous one. I painted all the large light washes first; the sky and foreground. I, then, splattered frisket and painted frisket on the branches of the foreground tree and the roofs of the tiny buildings in the background. I painted more of the washes of foreground and sky so the frisket would show up. After those washes dried, I went in and used burnt sienna, halloween orange, blue stone, naples yellow and sepia to define the background trees wet in wet. After it dried, I removed the frisket.
What can I say? Tonight will be the first night I teach how to prepare a sheet of masa paper for watercolor painting to my watercolor landscape students. For any who would like to learn this technique, you can find how to prepare the surface here and here. Several followers of this blog have taken up the challenge and also paint on masa paper and they can be found here and here.
I used a photo from the wet canvas site’s library for the above piece. I concentrated, mostly, on value, shape and color to paint the scene. I was interested in how the values in the photograph worked well and brought the scene into view without a whole lot of detail or definition. I need practice in this area of getting away from detail. To me, the scene looked straight from late august with flies and bees buzzing.
I am trying to keep up with everybody and thank you all for your patience as my time online continues to be at a minimum. I love you all and will be around soon.
The above painting was inspired by a poem and painting that Val Erde offered up to writers, photographers and artists here. Her poem is titled Tree. As I read it, much more came through for me than a singular tree. I thought about all trees. I then thought about us as many of the words she chose, in this poem, had a human quality and then an animal quality. At that point, it dawned on me that the feeling I had and thought was that of every living thing and what we face, this lifetime, this existence. I chose to begin abstractly and create a piece with no reference other than her poem and the things it spoke to me. I added rice papers and more color as I built my story of a lifetime here. When I scrolled furthur, I saw her digital painting that did have a humanesque form as well as a tree form and that was all she wrote. I was off and running. I don’t want to bore you with everything I thought as I created this as I believe an artform can mean many things more than what the artist is feeling. I will tell you that even the colors and shapes I chose spoke something of life here. I have titled this painting Renewal.
Many other artists have tagged their responses to this challenge in her comment section. You can view them by clicking on the tags the individual artists have left there.