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Category Archives: Watercolors

 

The paintings, above, are gouache resists. It is a process involving the use of ink, white gouache and watercolor. I enjoy experimenting with all sorts of images when I create these. They all turn out different. If you would like to try this I have a tutorial here.

My Grandchildren have been back and forth this summer sharing all sorts of activities with me. This summer I taught them how to grid a portrait from a photo reference, size their format for proper dimensions and grid their watercolor paper to help them draw their Dad’s.

The following is what they came up with.

9 year old

The photo reference for the above portrait was from a Christmas photo.

10 year old

The above photo is the same Dad as the 9 year old’s but at a recent rock concert (making a funny face).

11 year old

Photo taken at rock concert.

I was amazed how easily they caught on to gridding and how happy they were when they saw they could see where to put their drawing lines in relation to the grid lines. They needed very little help from me. Noses and mouths were what they needed help with, but not much. We used a very simple grid and  divided the paper into 9 sections. I have described how to do this in this post. It was a great exercise in math. They were able to see how math can be important in everyday activities. Children soak things like this up so quickly!

 

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Laura Butchko

Kara Morris3

Jim Wulpi5

 

Jan Reche

Diana Ringer2

Linda Flatley2

The above paintings are just a few from the spring classes in watercolor this year.

The beginning class learns about their supplies, basic techniques in application such as wet-in-wet, wet on dry and dry brushing. They learn about color combinations and value, texture and techniques to enhance texture. They learn to use masking fluid. We talk about things we need to be concerned with when painting trees, clouds, buildings and little people. If you would like to view more of the Beginning Watercolor  paintings,  there is a temporary gallery set up here.

The Watercolor Plus class worked on six different mixed media approaches with watercolor. They painted on masa paper. They worked with ink and watercolor and chose all sorts of different techniques with ink. One example using ink might be this technique. They used citrasolv collage and watercolor. They used white gouache to glaze a painting. They did a gouache resist.  Everyone painted on a textured gesso surface they created.

If you would like to view a gallery of the  Watercolor Plus class paintings click here.

Thank you to all my students who attend my classes and share their art here!

My Watercolor Plus class has been working away on trying to complete a painting a week; each one using a different medium with watercolor.

The photo reference for the above painting came from one of my students. Thank you to Dawn!

If you enlarge the above painting times three,  you will be able to see

the different rice papers I used for the nest leaves and grasses and the citrasolve collage papers I used for the adult bird’s feathers.  Just another way I enjoy working with watercolor.

For more on citrasolv click here. For more on rice papers and watercolor click here.

 

The above two paintings were painted on toned masa paper. It is one of my favorite supports to paint on.  If you would like to learn more about how to prepare and tone masa paper and some of the things you can do with it click here and here.

This painting was painted on a different support that I made with gesso juice. You can learn all about how to prepare and paint on this surface here. I have improved on creating different effects with this surface by sometimes adding white craft sand to the mix and sometimes torn pieces of rice paper.

I just finished Beginning Drawing and Creative Challenge Classes.

In drawing class we covered blind continuous line, contour line, cross contour, negative space, perspective and foreshortening, value and the different ways to make marks for shading with a pencil. We worked from still life and photos, both. We learned about the measurements of the human face and practiced self portraits in the mirror. We learned how to grid as well as how to measure real life objects with our pencil.  Below are a few examples.

Laura Butchko: Blind Continuous Line

 

Sonny Ulrey: Perspective

Sonny didn’t get a chance to finish this the night we studied perspective. I don’t mind this, though. Sometimes saying less is more.

Leona Smith5: Self Portrait

 

Jennifer Howey5: Still life and Perspective

If you would like to view all of their drawings please click, above, on Student Art: Beginning Drawing Spring 2017 or just click here.

In Creative Challenge we studied:

Nancy Longmate

…creating a center of interest on or near a “sweet spot”.

Linda Flatley4

…different ways to attract our viewer’s attention.

Jan Reche2

…shape and design and several ways to create a still life.

Melissa Scare3

,,,division of space and making no two passages the same. This particular painting is a portrait of the artist using symbols.

Janet Heffley2

…value. Everyone created an underwater painting.

Henn Laidroo

…color. the above painting was for an assignment using only secondary colors.

If you would like to view many other paintings created in this class, click on Student Art: Creative Challenge, above, or just click here.

Thank you to all my students for sharing your art here.

I am trying something new again! This technique is one that will keep me trying for years to come. I always like techniques that take time and that don’t allow me to be so hasty as to ditch what I am working on. This technique satisfies my desire to explore and to fix things in an existing watercolor that has taken a wrong turn. The above painting is my first attempt.

I learned about this technique from an article I read in the February 2017 issue of Watercolor Artist. There was an article about the artist Nadine Charlsen. She shared a step-by-step tutorial of one of her paintings, so I tried it. Please understand that my first attempts probably leaves out a whole host of things she does that I have been a bit hesitant to jump into in this first try. I strongly encourage you to look for this article or watch how she works on a few You Tube videos. I think this technique lends itself to a whole host of individual ideas as to how each artist may approach doing the same thing.

My first step was to draw the image I wanted to paint and wash in my darks with paynes gray. I think you could use sepia or van dyke brown in this stage, too. Whatever you think lends itself best to rendering those darks.  Nadine Paints her paintings on easels, so the paintings are upright as she paints. I was chicken, so this was painted with only a slight tilt.

Once the first step was dry, I dropped large puddles of water all over the painting. This breaks up some of the hard edges and softens the background. I wait for this to dry. I took stiffer brushes and rubbed out some areas where the color bled too much to my liking and to save portions of the painting that I wanted to appear lighter.

The above step was the most time consuming. I painted the color of the items in the booths and and on the opposing side of the alleyway. My painting was becoming  full of edges, again, and looking too perfect and not at all atmospheric. After the color dried, I tilted my board and began washing white gouache over the surface, top to bottom. I dabbed areas of darks and some of the color areas so they did not become too overpowered and washed out. I allowed this watered down wash to trail down the surface of the paper. I did this three times until I got the above look. I waited for that to dry before moving on.

I thought the previous step had washed out too much of the roof area and softened some of the foreground too much. I went back in and touched up some of the colors, the roof and the foreground chair. I spritzed water on the surface to break apart some of the edges that were created by that. Once that dried, I tilted the board and washed white gouache all over areas where I wanted it to show up. I blotted some of that wash with a tissue and rubbed small areas with a stiff brush to further soften an edge.

In the final step I worked on the foreground chair and the people, brightened areas of color and filled in things that looked a bit unfinished.

I think the point of dropping and spraying water onto the surface of the watercolor is an attempt to bring out a mood and to soften the edges of a scene. I think it gives air and depth to a scene. I felt like I could do anything I wanted and still bring something worthwhile back to the scene. Sometimes it looked like it was destined for the trash. At other times it began to look better than anything I had ever painted before.  I will be teaching these things to my students in their next class. We will probably have a messy good time of it. I hope!

Oh! Nadine uses Khadi paper, mostly, and sometimes 140lb Arches rough. I used the Arches rough because that is what I had on hand. I will try the Khadi at some point.

valuesummercows

quinachridone burnt orange

valuewinterscene

paynes gray

valuedesert

sepia

valuedesertcolor

The above series of paintings were an experiment in value. The top three were painted using only one color. It is not as easy as it looks. I had read in several watercolor books about trying this and then painting the scene in color. I did that with the desert scene. It was very helpful  for the desert scene because the reference I used for it was very blurry and mostly mid tones. It was so bad that I could not decipher colors very well. By having done a value study, before hand, the actual color painting worked out really well.

streetdrummer

The above is a painting I did on a grunge background. I have a tutorial for this technique here.

oldindustrial

I had a wet canvas reference photo for this laying around for about a year. I had found it in the industrial photos and have no idea what it is. It looked too difficult for me to even attempt and the colors in the photo were really dull.  I took this on as a challenge and tried to make it a little more interesting by brightening the color and paying attention to how I rendered all the different shapes.

Thank you for visiting as I have not been as present lately.

We just finished our fall/winter session of Watercolor Landscapes class.

Cindy Guzik3

Cindy Guzik3

We worked on five different challenges. We always begin with designing a landscape with a strong and identifiable center of interest. We discuss gridding a reference photo for perspective and cropping it  for the best composition .

Kathleen Smierciak4

Kathleen Smierciak4

Kathleen Smierciak3

Kathleen Smierciak3

In the second week we discussed value contrast and everyone was asked to paint two or three small value studies in one color and then translate one of those studies into a color painting.  We also talked about our palette and how some of our colors fit in value ranges of light, medium and dark.  I showed them how they could make color squares on paper to determine which ones were the darkest and which were lightest. We reached a consensus that most of our brightest colors fell in the mid value range. Our darks seemed to be the staining and more transparent colors of all. Of course there were exceptions but not that many.

Sue Mendenhall5

Sue Mendenhall5

Betty Bercot

Betty Bercot

We discussed how we could divide space and enhance depth and create drama just by changing the values within that space.

 

nancy-longmate4

Nancy Longmate4

henn-laidroo3

Henn Laidroo3

We painted buildings and man-made objects. Notice how the small cars in the fist painting and the people on the deck in the second one ad some life to a painting.

judy-notestine

Judy Notestine

The last week I asked everyone to attempt a painting they would not normally attempt or one that looked too hard.

If you would like to see all of their work you can scroll to the top of the page and click on Student Art: Watercolor Landscape 2016 in the list of pages or just click here.

Thank you to all the artists who shared their art on this blog!

littlebear2

This is Little Bear. She was a best friend to my sister’s family for years and years. I remember the first time I ever saw her. She was hanging upside down on a gutter outside the family room window and had grabbed a small wooden birdhouse, hanging there, between her front paws. She was peering into the hole in it. I laughed so hard.

I painted her once before here.

Every fall we begin our watercolor classes with a portrait class.

Ruth Karau

Ruth Karau

Dianna Burt3

Dianna Burt3

We painted people portraiture.

Beth Akey5

Beth Akey5

Cindy Guzik

Cindy Guzik

We painted animal portraits.

Marilyn Bultemeier

Marilyn Bultemeier

Janet Heffley

Janet Heffley

We grunged backgrounds and painted portraits right on that grunged paper.

Discussions included facial features, skin tones and color theory, composition as it relates to portraiture, and two ways to approach a portrait in watercolor.

If you would like to see all the examples of portraits painted by these artists click here or scroll to the top of the blog and click on the page labeled Student Art: Watercolor Portrait 2016.

Thank you to all my students who share their work here!