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.
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.
We painted people portraiture.
We painted animal portraits.
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!
I don’t know why I like working on a background that has marks on it already. The above two paintings were drawn and created on watercolor paper that I had “grunged” with coffee, ink, and applied gesso to in advance. Here is a post that describes the process.
It is not just the challenge of working on a surface that has been disturbed that I find interesting. It is examining the marks and finding a subject that they work with or discovering new ways of working with or around abstract marks. It is seeing that all these marks can increase the feeling of depth in some paintings.
The top painting is Teddy, my dog. The bottom one is a self portrait.
Sorry for my long absence. I will slowly be getting back to visiting all of you and hope to post more frequently.
The above two paintings were done by using the gouache resist technique that I have outlined for anyone to try by clicking here. I have always enjoyed this process, even though it is lengthy. I like the rustic block print-like look to them. Some of them, I have liked in the black and white stage and choose to not color them in with watercolor.
Another painting I worked on was one that I combined waterproof black ink and watercolor to create. I initially splattered the surface of the watercolor paper with white acrylic gesso and waterproof black ink ( I use india ink). I then drew out my composition and used two separate techniques to lay in the inking. I drew and scraped in the mane on the foreground black and blue horse with a razor blade. I also drew some of the fine lines on the background horses with the tip of the razor blade. The larger black inked lines were drawn with an eye dropper and spritzed with a fine mist from a spray bottle.
The last painting I completed was a self portrait of me with my new rescue dog. This is painted with watercolor, first. Then I added numerous paper collage. The dog is mostly rice paper and watercolor. The dark creases in my sweater and the bit of blouse under my chin are citrasolv collage papers.
Again, I apologize for my long absence and will be around to play catch up and see what you all have been working on.
The above painting was created on a gessoed surface. I mixed some water, acrylic matte medium and acrylic white gesso together to make the juice. I roughly follow a formula that Kathleen Conover outlined in an article in Watercolor Artist magazine. However, I have found that I may ad a bit more gesso than she outlines. I probably use a bit more gesso to make the mixture thicker. I pour a dollop of the mixture onto the watercolor paper (140lb Coldpress Arches) and spread it with a credit card, swirling it and making slashes in the mixture so as to texture the surface. I have even added torn pieces of rice paper and sometimes sprinkle craft sand into the wet mixture. All of these things make for a nice textured surface to paint on. I allow the surface to dry and then draw and paint on it. In order for the pigment to respond well on the slicker surface, I use a bit less water. In some areas, where the gesso is thinner, the pigment sinks in. In other areas, it slides off the ridges created by the credit card. Where the gesso is the slickest, you can lift and change the washes and the whole creation begins to take on a life of it’s own. Because so much of the painting is created on top of this harder surface, I have to allow them to dry and then spray the entire painting with a good matte fixative.
If you would like to try painting on a surface like this, I have a step by step tutorial here.
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.