The above painting began as an abstract. I applied alternating color washes and torn pieces of rice papers, allowing each layer to dry. After each layer dried, I rotated my board and looked for something realistic in the patterns that were created by the washes and papers. When I located the whale, I began layering and painting to bring that imagery forward. It is one of my favorite ways to work. Here is the one I did last year.
The above painting began with a detailed drawing of the Bateleur Eagle but took several layers of watercolor and rice papers to bring the image to completion. The head feathers, face and yellow beak are watercolor. The wing and back feathers are torn pieces of rice paper with watercolor painted into them. I thank wet canvas for the reference image for this collage painting.
I love painting “Little People” !
Beginning Watercolor class ended this week, too.
The first week included an explanation of supplies and how they were to be used. We practiced wet-in -wet, wet on dry and drybrush applications. We talked about how to create darks and that a solid color is always more beautiful if more than one color is allowed to mix on the paper rather than the palette. We discussed allowing the water to do the work and become our partner.
The second class was devoted to learning the color wheel and the basic color combinations. I taught them how to crop and then grid a photo reference and their watercolor format for the difficult perspective paintings.
The third week we talked about different ways to render trees. I introduced and demonstrated the use of liquid friskit, salt, saran wrap, scumbling, Pointillism, sponging and using a rigger for tiny branches.
The fourth week we talked about buildings, their perspective, how they are put together with shapes and to look for their cast shadows and how the foliage may fit around them.
The fifth week was devoted to learning to paint “little” people to insert into our landscape paintings.
On the last night of class, I introduced the “Elegant Writer” Calligraphy pen and how it could be used with watercolor.
If you would like to view other examples of their work click here or scroll to the top of the page and click on the Student Art: Beginning Watercolor spring 2016 page.
Thank you to all the students who participated and shared their artwork here.
My watercolor and collage class just ended . This is probably the most time consuming, creative and experimental class I teach.
The above collage paintings were created using watercolor and Citrasolv collage papers that we made from treating National Geographic photos with Citrasolv. If you would like to know how to make these papers, click here.
Next we created abstracts by experimenting with the different textured rice papers we had purchased and layering watercolor and rice papers, one atop the other. We payed attention to elements of design as well as attempting to create a center of interest. The purpose of this assignment was to get used to the use of the papers, pigment and glue.
The next week we began much the same way with layers of pigment and rice papers and searched our compositions for something representational and developed it to portray what we saw. Both of the first exercises were free of any reference material until we saw something begin to appear. If we needed a reference, it was only to be used to help us bring what we saw forward.
For the final week, we created something realistic with watercolor and rice paper collage.
If you would like to view all the watercolor collage paintings created by this class, click here or scroll to the top of the page and click on the page Student Art: Watercolor and Collage.
These are the most recent two paintings I have finished. The tree frog has a saran wrap print background that I returned and painted in each abstract shape by following the pattern that the saran wrap left. To get that print, I wet the entire background with juicy watercolors. I was careful to not wet any portion of the frog. I then took large sheets of saran wrap and crinkled them atop the washes, covered it with another drawing board and added the weight of several books atop the board. I left this overnight for the pigment to dry before removing the saran wrap. If you remove the saran wrap too soon, the water will soften and sometimes disturb any design. The background came out too light, so I repainted each individual section wet on dry and wet-in-wet.
The rice paper abstract began with a grunge background like I explained here.
I layered in some watercolor I wanted to use for this abstract and allowed it to dry.
I select various rice papers with textures and colors I think might go with what I already have and begin glueing them to the surface of the paper. I use a mixture of acrylic matte medium of one part water to four parts matte medium. I blot each paper as I glue it on so there is little glue residue left on the surface of the paper. I allow that initial layering to dry and paint or add gesso splatter and marks, more watercolor and ink marks and allow that layer to dry.
I alternate layers of media, in this manner, until I feel I have developed a center of interest and decide I am done.
Here is a another post that describes this process.
The above painting was created by using colored collage papers that I made by treating National Geographic photos with a solution called Citrasolv. I have a tutorial on how to create one of these here.
I felt the initial painting of these cows looked a bit washed out and wanted to deepen the darks in the cows and connect them a little better; allow them to stand out.
The original painting can be viewed here.
The above painting was created for an assignment I gave for my composition class. I asked them to create a flower like they have never seen before and ad a number and word or letters. It was designed to get them ready for our watercolor and collage class that began last week. I designed my flower from Fuschia and added things and decided to go giant with it. I need to do more of this. Those of you who follow my site might remember we had an assignment last year that was to create a tree like you have never seen before. You can view that here.
I just completed a six week course in Beginning Drawing. There were only two students who hung on for the entire six weeks and completed the course. We studied Blind continuous line drawing and continuous line drawing, contour and cross contour line drawing, negative space, perspective, gridding a photo reference, value study and the different marks we could make with graphite pencils, still life study and value studies using the Elegant Writer pen.
They began with Blind continuous line drawings of each other:
They finished with clear glass still life studies using the Elegant Writer pen.
If you would like to view more examples of their progress click here or scroll to the top of the page and click on the top bar where it says Student Art: Beginning Drawing Spring 2016.
Thank you to these artists for sharing their work on this blog!
Every year my watercolor students take a class titled Creative Challenge. It is the six weeks of every year we try new things and learn about the guidelines of composition. It is the one class that I try to assign interesting and challenging assignments to encourage them to be creative. We always review center of interest and the Rule of Thirds (finding the “sweet spot”) so we know where to locate the best place for our center of interest.
We review value and division of space, shape, texture, color, and line. We study ways to attract attention through emphasis or exaggeration at the center of interest, repetition, simplifying a composition and enhancing movement or color.
Here are some examples:
The above illustrates movement and division of space.
The above piece was created using repetition and to fulfill an assignment where the title of the painting was to be “Way Cool Cat”.
The above is a good example of simplifying a scene.
The above paintings are examples of creative ways to use shapes in a painting.
If you would like to view other examples of the student paintings from this class click here.
The above painting required some planning. I had a photographic reference sent to me from my daughter of this cat laying on his back, his favorite pose. I tried to lay it out and come up with some way to paint him that might be interesting, other than just him in paint. I finally decided on using another reference photo where there were a large assortment of overlapping grasses and combined the two. I also decided to use a sheet of masa paper to enhance the texture and maybe create more interest. I have a tutorial on how to prepare and use masa paper with watercolor here.
The above is my take on a lunar landscape.
The above painting is a gouache resist. I was attempting to create a composition using shapes. I describe how to create a gouache resist here.