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Tag Archives: abstract

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!!!!!

spring20151

 

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.

ricepapers

 

Above are some examples of rice papers I use.

 

spring20152

 

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.

spring20153

 

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.

spring20151

 

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.

Here is one I created last year.

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!

jammin'

 

The above painting was a result of an accident. I was just working away at creating another abstract using rice paper and watercolor. I was paying attention to my color choices, values and areas of interest and not trying to come to much of anything of an image. In fact the image I was working on was this one:

torque

 

I took it outdoors in the sunlight and photographed it. I had already planned to title it “Torque”. It looked twisted and sort of like a landscape in turmoil from wind or avalanche or fire.  So much of this that we hear on the news.When I came back in from doing that, I set it, turned a quarter of the way around, quite by accident. When I turned to look at it, I saw this:

jammin'2

 

Immediately I saw the figure in it and the guitar, the hooded jacket or sweatshirt he was wearing.  How exciting. The whole time I’m telling myself, “Don’t ruin him.”  I like this idea of working with the elements of composition and arriving at something new. It is as though the mediums and the artist come together and work together, one influencing the other. It is so much more fun!

I put a few finishing touches to it and called this done:

jammin'

 

ensorcelled

I learned a new word, ensorcelled, which means to bewitch or enchant. I found it in a poem written by Pen titled “Effigies”.  Thankyou, Pen!

I think I was so intrigued with the new word, it was part of what went into the above abstract. Also, there was a lot of talk about the “blood” moon this past month and I must have picked up on some of that while creating the above painting.

ensorcelled2  click to enlarge

It all began with this image, created in watercolor.

ensorcelled3 click to enlarge

Then came a layer of rice papers that I tore in abstract shapes and glued to the surface. My glue was made with one part water added to two parts acrylic matte medium. I devote two old brushes( one large, one small ) in order to attach the papers to the surface. Even though I clean the brushes following each use, they still get stiff and gummed up. I am very careful to not apply the mixture thickly or allow it to run onto the non-rice paper portion of the surface (this will affect and distort later applications of watercolor).

ensorcelled4  click to enlarge

I then go back and paint again, paying attention to what I see appearing on the paper. This is the most fun part of the painting. I am still learning how to let go and create from what I see appearing in the colors and the shapes. There is always an element of the unknown with these because I use different rice papers with textures running through them and they all accept the paint differently.  My partner becomes the materials I am using and the imagery that presents itself on the surface.  In otherwords, I never know what I am going to get when I start one of these.

ensorcelled5  click to enlarge

In the above step, I tried to pull the painting together by adding darks in and through the forms. I defined the orbs more. I gave it a promise of spring by adding some spring greens.

ensorcelled  final painting

To finish, I darkened the upper orange and yellow strip at the top, allowing for the suggestion of two more orbs or moons. I went back through the branches and, with little pieces of fiber strings I pulled from one of my ricepapers, I textured those gnarly branch-like forms. I also added fibers to the leafy greens, mid left.

For other posts with rice papers click here.

 

 

 

windswepttree

The above painting is another experiment in format. Instead of cropping an image into a long and narrow format like in the previous post here, I cropped my reference photo to a square. A square will often give an up close and personal look at the image you are creating. It is a non-commital format but can be used to attract attention when hung alongside the much used rectangular formats used for landscape. This week, my landscape students have been asked to create a landscape, using the guidelines of composition, within a long and narrow format or a square.  This means they need to be mindful of their area or center of interest.  It is my hope that this exercise will inspire them to reach for an interesting crop with their reference materials and open the door to more creative interpretations of the world around us.

I was fascinated by the image of the above tree when I found it on wet canvas. I do not know what kind of tree it is. I liked the contrast of the warm colors against the snow and those foreground shapes with the deadwood branch pointing back to the tree, above. There was a lot of movement in that old gnarly trunk and the foliage offered me a chance to play around with color and wet-in-wet applications.  I liked the feeling of playing around with abstract forms to render something realistic. I also thought this image could be created in collage papers rather effectively.

Thank you, again, to wet canvas for the reference for this.

hills

I have been feeling like I have been painting rather tight, lately. The above image was taken from a really abstract photo reference I found on wet canvas. I cropped the image to create a panoramic scene. I like how the light fell on the distant hills and the moisture came up from the surface of the ground in steamy looking fog. The whole scene, in the photo, was darker and cooler throughout and I added my own choices of color to this. I wanted the ground to cool in the foreground and the hills and middle ground to be warmed by the light coming through the clouds.

I am working with a new paper called Huile or Arches Oil Paper and I am really liking that I can paint and lift on the surface of this paper. It allows for me to play with the water and my brush longer than any of the other watercolor papers.

aquariumabstract2

I began this painting with an abstract watercolor and rice paper collage. This would serve as my background for the painting I wanted to create. I thought this particular painting suggested an aquarium-like feeling, so I went in search of a photo reference of a fish.

aquariumabstract3

Thank you to Wet canvas reference library for the photo reference of the fish. I drew the fish on a large sheet of drawing paper, first. I then selected a textured and fairly transparent piece of rice paper and traced the fish drawing onto it with a black sharpie. Any kind of waterproof ink can be used for this phase. The drawing can even be transferred to the rice paper using brush and ink.  I then cut and tore my fish image from the sheet of rice paper and affixed it to the surface of  my abstract painting. I used one part water to three parts acrylic matte medium to create my glue mixture. I was careful to smooth the image down to the surface of the paper with my brush, I brushed from the center of the image outward in order to get rid of any air bubbles trapped under the image. I waited for this to fully dry before proceeding.

aquariumabstract4

I painted many of the colors from the background through the fish rather than painting the fish to stand out from the background. It was a personal choice but brought some challenges with it by doing so. My fish appeared flat and lost in its background of colors. Had I chosen to use colors less like the background, he may have stood out better.

aquariumabstract5

I carefully cut dark strips of rice papers for my fish’s tail and fins and glued in some colored shapes along his back. I used india ink to blacken his eyes. I used white acrylic for the gills and white around his eyes and mouth. I then tore strips of textured rice paper and shaped some strands of seaweed in and around him. I hoped this would create some depth to my painting.

aquariumabstract6

After the rice papers dried, I painted the seaweed with several shades of green watercolor and acrylic white. This helped to give some depth to the painting as well as help the fish to become more visible within it.

aquariumabstract finished painting

The last thing I did was to push his head forward more and make it more visible by washing in acrylic white and cerulean blue washes under his chin and left side of his face. This helped to lighten the background without getting rid of the local color and shapes already there.

To view other rice paper paintings I have created click here.

My Granddaughter and I recently spent a Saturday, together, working on an art project. I am beginning a watercolor and rice paper collage class and my Granddaughter remembered that we had done this together once before.

redrockcollage2

My intent was to begin with a cruciform design created with washes of wet-in-wet watercolor.

redrockcollage3

Next, I experimented with different rice papers and tore them into strips and glued them to the surface of my paper, dividing my page into foreground, middleground and background areas. I made the glue from 3 parts acrylic matte medium stirred in with 1 part water. The glue should be runny, not thick. I am careful to not use too much glue in this process and try to keep it just on the papers. If it is allowed to pool in puddles around the papers, it dramatically changes the look of how the paint sits on untouched portions of the watercolor. paper.  I wait for the paper to dry or dry it with a hair dryer prior to moving on to the next step.

redrockcollage4

In the above step, I went back into the painting with color. I was careful to use colors I had already used in order to avoid too much muddying. I began to envision a large rock formation in the upper right quadrant. I could see a shape, in the distance, that could serve as another rock formation and enhance the depth of the landscape.

redrockcollage5

I knew I needed to develop a foreground and middleground for the distant rock formations. I mixed a dark from the greens and reds I’d used for my initial washes and began to carve out the lower edges of the rice papers. I did this in strips, thinking about the striations of rock.  I allowed this to dry before moving on.

redrockcollage6

I painted in the two rock formations in the background and darkened the the greens between them. I decided the foreground area was too large and bland and needed something to enhance depth. I glued down more textured rice papers in abstract tree or shrub-like shapes. You can see them, faintly in the foreground and middleground of this step. I again waited for the paper to dry.

redrockcollage finished piece

For the final step, I painted these shrubs and trees using my darkest darks, created from the reds and greens I’d used for lining the striations.

My Granddaughter liked many of Gerald Brommer’s compositions she viewed in his book on this subject. She decided to draw a distant house and paint and create a pretty colored foreground to the house.

houseinfield2

She drew her house and stream and painted large washes of greens, various shades, into the foreground. She painted her blue wash for the sky, and while the wash was still wet, dropped in some yellowy-green wash behind the house to attract attention to it.

houseinfield3

She then glued down all types of rice papers in torn shapes and glued them to her foreground green washes. She had more fun choosing all the different papers and glueing them down. She was pressed for time, so she dried this with a hair dryer.

houseinfield finished piece

Then, she painted her foreground area with colors she chose from my palette. She painted in her stream and used colored pencil on her house in the background. Oh! She outlined the house and the windows with a black sharpie.  My Granddaughter is seven.  I am always amazed by a child’s ability to create.

The above process takes time, so don’t rush yourself if you should try this. I enjoy the freedom and the shove to explore that the rice papers bring to a painting.

More posts using rice papers can be found here.