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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I began, as usual, working toward abstract washes and marks and allowing the watercolor to mingle.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!!
Once again, my class is working with watercolor and rice paper collage. I always encourage them to create an abstract for their first assignment. We use the same glue (acrylic matte medium with a little water mixed in so it is not so thick) and tear our rice papers or cut them and glue them to our painting. We, then, go back in and paint some more as each layer dries.
Above are some examples of rice papers I use.
We begin by choosing a color palette and making marks on our watercolor paper in abstract patterns. This phase can include drips (by turning your wet painting several directions), splatter, light and loose washes and marks with different brushes. I always advise my students to keep some of the white of the paper and ask my students to look for potential areas to work toward a center of interest on or near a “sweet spot”. In the above painting, it is that area that is so dark near the upper right sweet spot. I wait for this initial wash to dry and then begin tearing and cutting different rice papers and adhering them to the paper with the glue I made. Make sure you use only enough glue to adhere the paper. Too much glue dries thickly and interferes with future applications of watercolor. The above photo has some rice papers already glued into it. I try not to think too much in the first layer. I am always working toward the area that I think will become my center of interest. I try to allow the painting to tell me what it wants and try to not get too dark or muddy in the first two layers. The gluing phases of these creations always takes longer to dry, so I try to have two paintings going at the same time and alternate between the two.
The above image is what my painting looked like after three layers of rice papers and watercolor painting. My center of interest was still not strong enough and I wanted to add more gold and some of that lime color to make it pop some more.
In the above, you can see I added those greens and golds to grab the viewer’s eye. Then, I chose a rice paper with some shiny silver things in it and designed a moon-like image on my sweet spot. I chose to lead the viewer’s eye there with some torn strips of that sparkly paper. After that dried, I took a small round brush and darkened some lines and shapes leading to the moon with diox violet.
I really like that I never know what I am going to get. It allows me to relinquish some of my control and let the values, lines and shapes draw me into what is forming on the paper. No two paintings are ever alike and there are endless possibilities!
I had so much fun working with this scene on masa paper. My sister has been generous enough to share photos of her journeys along the east coastline of Lake Michigan. She is a “lake girl”. I fell in love with the colors of this scene and the chair waiting for someone to come and sit in it. Thank you, Sis!
This lion was painted on masa paper, a rice paper that can be crinkled, soaked in water, toned, dried and glued to the surface of watercolor paper in order to provide a watercolor artist a different surface to paint on. The textural possibilities are varied and, oftentimes, very interesting. They, generally, take me longer to paint, but the extra time spent is well worth it. I have several tutorials. The first one is located here. The update is located here.
If you would like to view a selection of the paintings I have completed on masa, just click the tag, masa paper, under the title of this post.
In my recent composition class, I gave an assignment asking the artists to create a tree like no tree they had ever seen before and include a number and a word or words. There were so many interesting paintings that came from this assignment. You can see some of them on the Student Page here.
The above tree is my rendition. It is a combination of watercolor, ink, rice paper collage and collage. The entire background was created, first, last year. I had wanted to do an abstract painting that resembled bark and had torn pieces of fibered rice paper and glued them to the surface using a two parts acrylic matte medium, one part water glue. I then painted the bark-like forms with browns siennas and olive greens. I pulled this bark-like thing out of my stow-aways (unfinished things) and drew a humongous trunk of a tree and reaching branches on it using waterproof ink, which I spritzed with water, before it dried. It caused the ink to spread and follow various fibers and the edges of the torn rice papers, enhancing the bark-like look and feel. I let that dry overnight. I then painted into the tree trunk with darker tones of siennas and greens and browns and let that dry overnight. I found the word “Major” running across the trunk and darkened the rambling letters with ink. You might make it out if you study it carefully. The letters are wiggly and ghost-like starting with an “M” at the base of the trunk on the left and the tails of the “R” end at the figure’s leg on the right. I added the ghost-like figure, next. May I mention that this became all-consuming as I created and I enjoyed every minute of the time it took to ramble around this tree? There is a huge figure of a woman kneeling, made up of the left side of the trunk and spreading arms of two of the large branches. Her nipples are quite distinct as knotholes on that side. It is as though her head is tossed back and she is rejoicing in the light of day. Enlarge the piece, stand back and look for her. You may see her, too!
I found words in a magazine that I wanted to include in my tree. There are four eyes in this tree and a bird (colored black like a silhouette). Can you find them? I chose blue and gray citra solv papers to cut the leaves from and glued them on. I wanted them to have a shimmering effect. I don’t know that I achieved that, but tried. I so enjoyed working on this and wish every painting I ever created was this much fun. I felt like the imagery was giving back every bit as much as I gave to it as it changed on the surface of the paper. By far, the most enjoyable mixed media I have ever worked on.
We began this drawing class by learning to “see”, drawing objects, blindly, with what is called blind continuous line. We, then, drew continuous line drawings while looking, paying careful attention to the cross contours in our subject material.
We studied negative space and began to recognize when we could use the shape and space behind an object to help us describe the subject.
The students worked very hard to begin to see perspective and to measure the angles of lines with their pencils. They used a corner of a room as their subject.
During the fourth week, they cut photos in strips and practiced laying in three values. They worked from black and white as well as color photos to do this.
They studied the values they saw in a glass, still life study.
They learned to grid a photograph and measure and enlarge that photograph by creating a proportionate grid on their drawing paper.
They studied drawing their self portraits. If you wish to view a larger selection of their drawings you can find them by clicking here or by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking on the small label Student Art: Beginning Drawing. If you click on each drawing, they will enlarge. Thank you to all the fine artists who took this class!