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rivercanyon

Sometimes I draw and paint something that I am really excited about and it never quite gets finished. This is how I feel about this scene. I even set it aside, hoping for the inspiration or that special something to grab me again. I have learned, over the years, to allow some of my paintings to just be finished for the time being. Some of them are learning experiences that I don’t even know, at the time, what the lesson was. I return to some of them and complete them when the inspiration returns.  Move on is just the message I get sometimes. I have never been sorry I did.

This painting was started by using the elegant writer and adding the watercolor after the ink washes had dried.

 

winterbarnnight

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!

The Beginning Watercolor class also ended this week. I only had three students for this session. That meant we were able to cover quite a bit of material in a six week session.

Gayle Brown2

Gayle Brown2

The first week we learned about the watercolor paper (we use Arches 140lb coldpress right from the start), brushes and practice painting wet on dry, wet in wet, and dry brushing. We practiced washes and compared mixing colors on our palettes and mixing colors on the paper. Their first assignment was to paint a back lit scene.

Gayle Brown

Gayle Brown

The second week we learned how to create trees in different ways. This included using a sponge, pontillism and scumbling. I also introduced liquid frisket and showed different ways it could be used.

Kathy Gordon

Kathy Gordon

On the third week we talked about man-made objects and buildings, perspective and how to grid our paper to assist with drawing our buildings. We talked about how buildings are man-made and composed of geometric shapes. We also talked about how we could look for negative space to put our buildings together. I also taught them how to soften a line by tickling a hard edge while it is still wet.

Rose Clair5

Rose Clair5

On the fourth week we discussed clouds and the different techniques we could use to create them. We also talked about painting water and waves and what we can use to create snow.

Rose Clair

Rose Clair

Kathy Gordon5

Kathy Gordon5

The fifth week was devoted to learning to paint little people.

On the last night of class we worked on an elegant writer painting. They were not able to finish these for me to photograph but all three had a great start!

If you would like to view more of their paintings, please click here or scroll to the top of the page and click on Student Art: beginning Watercolor in the list of pages. You can enlarge any of the above paintings by clicking on them twice.

Thank you to all my students who contributed their art to this page.  :)

We just finished our 2015 class on Watercolor Landscape.

Ruth Karau4

Ruth Karau4

We discussed elements of composition as they relate to composition. We discussed how so many landscape paintings are devoid of little people or animals making the scene look empty. We all designed our paintings to include little people or animals.

Sue Joseph3

Sue Joseph3

Melissa Scare2

Melissa Scare2

The next week, we discussed value changes in the landscape and how the artist can control that. The whole class crated paintings using the Elegant Writer for this assignment.

Cherie Droege2

Cherie Droege2

We talked about buildings and man-made objects in a landscape and created landscapes with man-made objects or buildings in them.

Henn Laidroo2

Henn Laidroo2

Jan Reche4

Jan Reche4

We spent a session on  big sky, water or snow paintings and techniques for making clouds, waves and snow.

Cindy Guzik

Cindy Guzik

For the last week, everyone painted a landscape that could be on the front of a Christmas card.

If yu would like to view any of the above paintings in a larger form, just click on it twice. All the students’ paintings can be viewed by clicking here or by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking on the Student Art: Watercolor Landscape tab. There are over 70 student paintings in that gallery.

Thank you to all my students for their hard work as well as contributions to making this class experience so enjoyable…and for sharing your work so others can view it.

julypasture

I experimented, here. I liked the sky in the reference for this scene and added the horses.

I see the snow has begun to fall for our Holiday posts and this one is going to look a little funny with the snow coming down. Sorry about that. I know I can turn it off but kind of like that we get this treat once a year.

winterbarn

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had our first snowstorm of the season this past weekend so only fitting that I was working on a snow scene. The above painting was drawn and painted on a grunge background. I then drew the scene with the Speedball Elegant Writer and then painted it.

autumn

I have been raking leaves. I was thankful that we have had some mild and warm days to do this task. I believe the trees in my painting may be old cottonwoods. I liked the bright light.

I added the cows.

I chose to use a piece of watercolor paper that I had previously grunged as I described in this post.

riverscene

I have also been working on this river scene. This is Elegant Writer and watercolor. The pileated woodpecker was added.

I have noticed that many of my landscapes have been so empty. I am experimenting with adding wildlife and little people to them.

Thank you to Wet Canvas for the reference photos for these paintings.

bottles

I am still working with the elegant writer calligraphy pen. I introduced this pen as a drawing medium, recently, to my last beginning drawing class. I think it is excellent as a drawing tool as well as fun to use with watercolor. Here, I have used it to draw a still life of clear glass items.

Click here for an explanation of how you can use this pen for drawings and watercolors.

 

We just completed our yearly Watercolor Portrait Class! These artists are just amazing me with their paintings. Every single one of them just keep improving with each year that goes by.

Laura Lyndsay3

Laura Lyndsay3

We began the class by studying and painting parts of portraits. We discussed what things on a face define the likeness of someone. Some practiced hands, too!

Leslie Vrchota

Leslie Vrchota

The next week, we discussed the general measurements of a head and the facial features. We learned to crop a photo and measure the format of our watercolor paper to be dimensionally correct to the reference. We then learned to grid each of them to help us get accurate proportions to our drawings and paintings.

Roxanne Yoquelet

Roxanne Yoquelet

Some artists included animal portraiture.

Kathy Smierciak

Kathy Smierciak

We discussed composition and where our center of interest could be located and cropped our photo appropriately. We talked about value and how we needed contrast. Some artists included figurative work.

John Kelty3

John Kelty3

We learned how to paint little people because we have a landscape class coming up and are thinking we might like to work toward including figures in our landscapes.

I was most impressed, however, with the night we explored creating a grunge background and then painted a portrait onto that background.

Any of the above paintings can be enlarged by clicking on them.

There are 62 works of art, right now, on the student Portrait page. You can access them by scrolling to the top of this post and clicking on Student Art: Watercolor Portrait 2015 or by clicking here.

Thank you, again, to all the artists who share their work here!

grungetoy

The above painting was done on a surface that I kind of made up myself. I have long admired paintings done on backgrounds that have been disturbed in some way, maybe by other mediums or by textures added with paper, etc. I studied several different journal artists’ videos and a couple of water media artists’ videos in order to come up with this. I like backgrounds with glued-in and sanded papers but was not able to come up with a background that the watercolor worked easily on. Those backgrounds seem to require some use of acrylics, also. I wanted to avoid that since I teach watercolor and I wanted my students to be able to experiment with this.

If you are interested, I have outlined the steps we took for creating a grunge background for our portraits.

grungetoy2

We began by splattering or brushing on coffee. We dried this stage with a hairdryer before moving to the next application.

grungetoy3

Next, we splattered and brushed on gesso. We did this in two different ways.  We watered down some of the gesso 50/50. That was so the marks would only partially show through the watercolor pigment. We, then, applied some of the gesso straight, knowing that our paint would slide off of it and reveal the white of the gesso. We then dried this, completely, before moving to the next stage.

grungetoy4

In the next step, we watered down waterproof black ink and splattered that onto the paper. We could soften some of these marks by spritzing them with a spray bottle. This stage is better when you follow the less is more policy. Allow this stage to dry completely before proceeding.

grungetoy5

After preparing the surface, we all looked for a portrait that might work well with the background we had come up with. We chose portraits just because it is a portrait class we are in right now. This kind of background would work for any subject. Once we found our portrait reference we wanted to use, we turned our splattered paper around until we found the best imagery in the splatter for what we wanted to paint on it. Note that I turned my paper around 180 degrees for my subject. We drew the portrait on in graphite.

grungetoy6

The above is an example of my first washes. We just begin painting the portrait as we normally would.

grungetoy7

When I arrived at this point, I began to make decisions about placing more darks and bringing the image of the toy and girl out of the background more. I really liked how the gesso and the ink added abstract effects that I had very little control over. We were able to go back in with gesso, coffee and ink if we wanted to. I was getting good results with just what I had. We also knew we could collage and use colored pencil or wax resist in areas we may need to.

grungetoy

The above is my finished portrait.

I hope this gives you something new to try or consider when you sit down to paint. I decided I would not be so hasty, in the future, to throw away a stained or soiled piece of watercolor paper. It may just be that it would add to a painting rather than detract!

 

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