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churubuscosunflowers

 

The last project we worked on in Watercolor Plus class was wax resist with watercolor. Wax in the form of crayon or a white candle has always intrigued me for the textural qualities the watercolor artist can get from it. I often pick up a crayon when I need a bit of sparkling light in a painting somewhere. Here, the crayons I used were made by Crayola. That’s right, just the ones you find on any store shelf. The wax is all in the sunflowers and their leaves and stems. Make sure you push really hard on the crayon or your paint applications may not slide off the wax. I find it best to do all my wax applications prior to painting but think that more wax can be applied in a layering effect. If you want contrast, however, strive for contrasting colors between wax and watercolor applications.

The subject for this painting is just north of me by about 13 miles on my back roads trek to my daughter’s farm. There is a farm on a cross roads that has a gigantic garden and a vegetable stand. In August they have a huge plot of sunflowers blooming right next to the road. It is a site to see!

We just finished our last class of the school year 2014-2015 last night. I save this class until the end each year because it is composed of five different ways to use watercolor with other mediums. It is designed to stretch our creativity and give us other options to use when creating our paintings. It is probably the most challenging of the classes because these take an investment of time that some of the other classes don’t require.

Kathleen Smierciak2

Kathleen Smierciak2

The first week we worked on anything ink and watercolor.

Linda Flatley2

Linda Flatley2

Jan Reche2

Jan Reche2

The second week we worked on Gouache Resist.

Mary Smierciak

Mary Smierciak

Sue Joseph4

Sue Joseph4

On the third week we learned how to make gesso juice, apply it to our paper and create texture in it.

Melissa Scare

Melissa Scare

Roxanne Yoquelet

Roxanne Yoquelet

The fourth week was devoted to learning how to treat National Geographic photos with CitraSolv to make beautifully colored collage papers and use them to create watercolor and collage paintings.

Nancy Longmate5

Nancy Longmate5

Ruth Karau3

Ruth Karau3

On the fifth week we worked on creating paintings using wax resist.

On the sixth and last night everyone worked on a technique where they paint into a soaked piece of watercolor paper, developing the painting as it dries. They could even use pastels and work them into the watercolor.

If you would like to view the other paintings created by these students you can click here or scroll to the top of the page and click on the page that says Student Art: Watercolor Plus 2015.

Thank you to all my students who shared their work here! :)

beardedvulture

I had so much fun creating this image! This bird caught my eye the minute I saw the reference photo on wet canvas. I think it was just listed as a vulture. Thank you to wet canvas for continuing to supply artists with inspiration through your reference library!

When I first drew this bird, I did not include the beard because the background in the reference photo was so dark you could not see it. The other thing I was intrigued by was the full hood and crest of feathers, which were mostly white in the reference photo.  Ha! I began a search for this strange bird and found him and his hood and crest were red or reddish brown! Those in the wild “dust bathe” and the red coloration comes from the soil. I found a good description of him here. The reference photo was probably of a bird kept in captivity. Their hood and crest are generally white.

I began this with a line drawing and painted the entire bird and background before I added CitraSolv collage papers to his wings and hood. Click here if you would like to learn how to create these beautiful collage papers and use them in a watercolor painting.

I just read a really creative post on Carol King’s blog here. She used an Elegant Writer pen to design her composition and then painted into it to cause the ink to run. I took the time to watch the video about the technique and wish I could have tried it with this vulture prior to painting and collaging him. I am definitely going to try the Elegant Writer, watercolor and citrasolv as a mixed media this summer on my break. Thank you, Carol, and all of you bloggers who continue to share what you learn! I first learned of citrasolv from Carol’s blog, also.

facesilly

 

facefrown

 

We just finished working on gouache resists in my class. If you would like to try this technique, I have described the process here. I have used this technique for a landscape, animals, and still life but had not tried a human portrait. I used a really interesting book titled “Facial Expressions” by Mark Simon. It is a book of references of hundreds of expressions done by people of all ages to be used as reference material. I want to try doing a family member in gouache resist. This was an interesting project and fun to do.

goldarab

 

My class is working on watercolors painted on a gessoed piece of 140 lb Arches coldpress paper. We mix the gesso by using one half gesso, one quarter water and one quarter acrylic matte medium. We then use a large brush to spread this mixture onto our watercolor paper. Before the gesso dries, we  take a credit card and make marks in that wet gessoed surface. Some of us have stirred art sand into the mixture as well. The card marks and slashes, plus the sand, give an interesting textured surface to paint on, once dried. I have posted a tutorial here if you would like to follow it and try this interesting technique. You can also click on the image of the horse, above, to get a better look at the texture of the surface. I have read, recently, where you can take cut out papers and gesso them into the surface as well. I would like to experiment with that this summer.

curlydog   This is another ink and watercolor. I used frisket and inked lines with a #4 round brush this time, prior to spritzing it with water as in the elephant. After all that dried, I washed in the colors. I then removed the friskit and went back in with watercolor and ink. The last thing I did was splatter with a small rigger. Thank you to wet canvas for the beautiful reference image of this dog.

baldeagle

 

The above painting began with a simple line drawing of a bald eagle. I used liquid frisket, masking fluid, to save the white of his hooded head, beak, talons and stripes between his wing feathers. I outlined the drawing using an eye dropper filled with waterproof black ink. Before those lines dried, I spritzed the ink drawing with water, creating all that blotchy and flecked look to the wings. For the eagles body, shoulders and legs, I wet the entire area with water and dropped ink along the outer edges (along the white of the hood, over the shoulders and along the eagle’s left wing) and allowed it to flow into the water. That left that lighter area along his shoulder and down into his left leg. After all the ink dried, I removed the frisket and painted the remainder of the piece with watercolor. It is the same process that I spoke of when I created this elephant. This gives you the idea of how the black and white looks prior to painting. Don’t be too concerned with the bleeding of the ink. It begins to come together more as you add color. You can view two more eyedropper and ink creations here and here.

I really enjoy exploring adding other media with watercolor. Some subjects just beg for a little something extra.

I was really sad to see this class end. The group worked so well together, learning from each other, asking questions, and eager to learn more. They always had assignments done, and often did two paintings.

Exploring Watercolor is the class we offer that gets the artist started with watercolor.

Here are examples of some of the things we do:

Todd Dunn5

Todd Dunn5

The first night is devoted to introducing the different brushes and their uses, the palette and how to set it up. They learn wet-in-wet, wet on dry and dry brushing applications and we talk about how to make convincing and rich  darks by using mixtures of dark colors rather than rushing to neutral tint or just paynes gray and ending up with a flat dark. The above painting shows darks created with mixtures of colors and has evidence of the three different ways to apply watercolor.

Lorri Medaugh5

Lorri Medaugh5

I also ask them to paint a backlit painting the first week. This gets them working with their darks from the beginning. It has been my experience that artists first bridge to cross is getting that contrast between light and dark. In watercolor, many artists fear getting dark too fast. One of my students chose a back-lit photo of hers that she had taken on vacation of a back-lit koi pond. I really liked the abstract quality of this. Note how her darks are washes of several colors mixing together on the paper.

Linda Flatley4  Analagous

Linda Flatley4 Analagous

Beth Akey 4   Complimentary

Beth Akey 4 Complimentary

Alan Pareis5   Primary

Alan Pareis5 Primary

The next week we learned about color and which ones were opaque and which were more transparent. We discussed color combinations and identified them on the color wheel. They all designed their paintings this week to a chosen color combination.

We also began practicing softening an edge and learned the difference between a hard and soft edge.

Alan Pareis2

Alan Pareis2

Lorri Medaugh4

Lorri Medaugh4

The next week was all about trees and how to paint them. We talked about using a liner or rigger to create the tiny branches. We learned how to use a sponge and frisket, about pointillism and scumbling,  dropping salt and splattering; all to create textural effects in our trees. Every painting these students brought in was fresh and new and they all brought their own take to the scene they created.

Susie Covitt5

Susie Covitt5

Todd Dunn4

Todd Dunn4

During the fourth week we painted studies of clouds, skies and water. What fun when they learned about tissue paper and lifting wet paint and swiping with a sponge or making wax resist clouds and frisketed foam on water. They were able to use their skill of softening an edge in these, also. We talked about how to paint reflections in water and how to save the white of  moon or sun and soften around the edges of the sun.

Susie Covitt2

Susie Covitt2

Linda Flatley2

Linda Flatley2

During the fifth week we practiced painting “little people” described before here and here. They learned simple dimensions of the human form, how to allow the colors to run together and how to ground them into the surface they were standing on by running a shadow off of them.

Beth Akey

Beth Akey

The last night of the class, we touched on buildings and how they are man-made shapes clustered together and that they cast shadows. They provide contrast with the surrounding natural forms.

Thank you to all of you who took this class and were willing to share your work, here, on this blog, for others to see. If you would like to see more of their work click here or scroll to the top of this page and click on Student Art: Exploring Watercolor.

 

Laura Lyndsay

Laura Lyndsay

Henn Laidroo3

Henn Laidroo3

Cindy Guzik3

Cindy Guzik3

The artwork, above, are three of the paintings created by students who just finished a class on working with painting on masa paper and using rice paper collage with watercolor.

If you would like to view many more of these paintings you can click here or scroll to the top of the page and click on Student Art: Masa and Rice Papers and Watercolor in order to access the page.

whitedove

 

This is a new abstract using the rice paper collage with watercolor. As I worked on it, I saw a dove appearing in the upper right quadrant. I couldn’t help but to bring that dove forward and let it be about her, or him.

whitedove2

 

I began, as usual, working toward  abstract washes and marks and allowing the watercolor to mingle.

whitedove3

 

I glued some torn rice papers on the surface with glue made from one part water and three parts acrylic matte medium. You can also make a mixture of water and PVC glue or acid free Elmers glue. All three work for these. I waited for the glue to dry and painted some more. As I work these stages, I prop the painting up on my mantle and move away from it and study it as I wait for it to dry, sometimes overnight. I will turn the painting all different ways and search for imagery in it, especially areas where I can develop a center of interest.

whitedove4

 

I began to see an image of a dove appear and started darkening the shapes around her by adding more papers and painting around and through them.

whitedove5

 

As the dove came forward, I felt it time to begin balancing the red of the sun and describing the background just enough to suggest a few things like a horizon line, a watery landscape and maybe a bridge, trying not to get too detailed. I want to let the viewer see their own story in this so I just concentrate on guidelines of composition like values and contrast of shape and line and color combinations. I like it that these pull out a viewer’s imagination.

whitedove

 

To finish the painting, I darkened and textured the the blue water behind the dove and carried that darker color over to the left. I added a rice paper that had little silver bits in it to the waterway under the bridge and softened the abstract shapes under the dove by adding some more stringy rice papers there.

These are fun!!!!!

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