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Tag Archives: portrait

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.

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!

teddy

 

leslie2016

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.

islandponies

twoturtles

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.

carouselinkandwc

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.

tedandme

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.

 

We just finished up our last watercolor class of this school year. I always save this class to finish out the school year. Each week, we use a different technique in our paintings. Sometimes we change the support we work on. Sometimes we add another medium to watercolor.

The first week we worked on a toned masa paper support.

Nancy Longmate5

Nancy Longmate5

Masa paper is a type of rice paper that you can crinkle, wet, tone and allow to dry before gluing it to the surface of your watercolor paper. Once that dries, you can paint on that as your support. The student who created the above took the process a step farther and collaged other papers onto the surface of her watercolor painting. If you would like to try this technique, I have explained the process here.

The second week we worked on a gesso juice prepared surface.

Henn Laidroo2

Henn Laidroo2

We made a mixture of acrylic matte medium, gesso and water and brushed it onto the surface of our watercolor paper. Before that dried, we scratched into the surface with a credit card. Some of us added rice papers and/or craft sand to the wet surface. Once that dried, we used that as our support to paint on. If you would like to try this technique, I have explained the process here.

The third week we worked with ink and watercolor.

Judy Notestine3

Judy Notestine3

This offered the most possibilities. We could choose to paint with ink and use varying values, splatter, draw with it with an eye dropper, a razor blade, or nib or spritz our applications of ink with a mister (spray bottle with water). The above ink and watercolor was also created on a grunged background. Here are some ink tutorials:

drawing with ink and razor blade

drawing with an eyedropper and spritzing

drawing with a nib and spritzing

using an elegant writer and watercolor

The fourth week we worked on a gouache resist.

Linda Flatley

Linda Flatley

In this technique, we used gouache to coat any area of our painting that would require color later. Once that dried, we coated a layer of waterproof ink over the top and allowed it to dry. Next, we rinsed the entire painting with water (hose is best) to remove the ink from the gouached areas. This leaves a block print-like image. We then paint the white areas once the surface has dried. If you would like to try this, I have explained the process here.

The last thing that everyone tried was a self portrait combining watercolor and collage. They could work on any surface they wanted to and could collage with any papers they wanted to.

Laura Lindsay

Laura Lindsay

Kathy Smierciak4

Kathy Smierciak4

We use a glue made with acrylic matte medium and water. There are many posts within my blog that discuss citrasolv collage and rice paper collage. Just insert either in the search block below and you will find explanations of these in the event you are interested in trying these techniques.

All the student’s works for this class can be found by clicking here.

Thank you to all the artists who have shared their work here. Have a great summer break!

songsparrows

HAPPY SPRING EVERYONE!

bateleureagle

We are studying composition in my classes, right now. One of the first things we do is work on discovering the most interesting portion of the imagery we use for reference.

I teach my students the Rule of Thirds.

sweetspots

This means we divide our format (the space that we are going to use to create a painting on) into thirds vertically and horizontally. The areas of the format that are good to use to place a center of interest in are near or around where the lines intersect. Time has proven that creating two dimensional art where the most interesting aspect of a painting is placed in the center usually results in a static image or an isolated and boring composition. Greg Albert calls these intersections “sweet spots” in his book “the simple secret to better painting”.

In the image of the Bateleur Eagle, above, I decided the eye, surrounded by all that bright red was the most interesting aspect of the image. In order to place it on my watercolor paper, I had to crop the reference photo and draw a grid over the image dividing it into thirds, horizontally and vertically, so the eye and red area would be near a sweet spot.  You can see that the eye and red portion of the eagle are surrounding the “sweet spot” in the upper left quadrant.

Below are examples of two other paintings I designed from my reference photos in this manner:

thegirls2

I had too much foreground in the above photograph, so I used two “L’s” that I created by cutting a matte in two, to crop the photo to meet my needs. By cropping it in this manner, I was able to place the far child in a “sweet spot”, the foreground child between and to the left of the left side “sweet spots” and connecting the middle child to the first child in a “sweet spot”. This creates a pathway for the viewer’s eye to follow when viewing the portrait, beginning with the first child and ending with the far child.

thegirls3

The resulting drawing would look like above. The artist then erases the grid lines and creates their painting.

However, when you work from a grid, it only works when you create a format space that is proportional to the format space of your cropped image.

Here is an example of how to do that in the easiest way I know.

grandpaandme2

I crop and grid the above image. Note that the sweet spots are on the heads of the two people. The arm of the Grandfather holds the viewer’s eye on the page and leads to the book that they are both reading.

grandpaandmemeasure

I then place the photo in the corner of my watercolor paper and angle a ruler or yardstick from the corner of the photo and watercolor paper through the opposite corner, diagonally, and make a mark somewhere along that diagonal line. Anywhere on that line is a multiple of the dimensions of the cropped photo that I plan to work from.

grandpaandme3

I then divide the format in thirds

grandpaandme4

….and draw the image.

Thank you to Wet Canvas for the reference image for Bateleur Eagle.

The eagle was painted on a grunge background. I describe how to create a grunge background here.

We just completed our yearly Watercolor Portrait Class! These artists are just amazing me with their paintings. Every single one of them just keep improving with each year that goes by.

Laura Lyndsay3

Laura Lyndsay3

We began the class by studying and painting parts of portraits. We discussed what things on a face define the likeness of someone. Some practiced hands, too!

Leslie Vrchota

Leslie Vrchota

The next week, we discussed the general measurements of a head and the facial features. We learned to crop a photo and measure the format of our watercolor paper to be dimensionally correct to the reference. We then learned to grid each of them to help us get accurate proportions to our drawings and paintings.

Roxanne Yoquelet

Roxanne Yoquelet

Some artists included animal portraiture.

Kathy Smierciak

Kathy Smierciak

We discussed composition and where our center of interest could be located and cropped our photo appropriately. We talked about value and how we needed contrast. Some artists included figurative work.

John Kelty3

John Kelty3

We learned how to paint little people because we have a landscape class coming up and are thinking we might like to work toward including figures in our landscapes.

I was most impressed, however, with the night we explored creating a grunge background and then painted a portrait onto that background.

Any of the above paintings can be enlarged by clicking on them.

There are 62 works of art, right now, on the student Portrait page. You can access them by scrolling to the top of this post and clicking on Student Art: Watercolor Portrait 2015 or by clicking here.

Thank you, again, to all the artists who share their work here!

grungetoy

The above painting was done on a surface that I kind of made up myself. I have long admired paintings done on backgrounds that have been disturbed in some way, maybe by other mediums or by textures added with paper, etc. I studied several different journal artists’ videos and a couple of water media artists’ videos in order to come up with this. I like backgrounds with glued-in and sanded papers but was not able to come up with a background that the watercolor worked easily on. Those backgrounds seem to require some use of acrylics, also. I wanted to avoid that since I teach watercolor and I wanted my students to be able to experiment with this.

If you are interested, I have outlined the steps we took for creating a grunge background for our portraits.

grungetoy2

We began by splattering or brushing on coffee. We dried this stage with a hairdryer before moving to the next application.

grungetoy3

Next, we splattered and brushed on gesso. We did this in two different ways.  We watered down some of the gesso 50/50. That was so the marks would only partially show through the watercolor pigment. We, then, applied some of the gesso straight, knowing that our paint would slide off of it and reveal the white of the gesso. We then dried this, completely, before moving to the next stage.

grungetoy4

In the next step, we watered down waterproof black ink and splattered that onto the paper. We could soften some of these marks by spritzing them with a spray bottle. This stage is better when you follow the less is more policy. Allow this stage to dry completely before proceeding.

grungetoy5

After preparing the surface, we all looked for a portrait that might work well with the background we had come up with. We chose portraits just because it is a portrait class we are in right now. This kind of background would work for any subject. Once we found our portrait reference we wanted to use, we turned our splattered paper around until we found the best imagery in the splatter for what we wanted to paint on it. Note that I turned my paper around 180 degrees for my subject. We drew the portrait on in graphite.

grungetoy6

The above is an example of my first washes. We just begin painting the portrait as we normally would.

grungetoy7

When I arrived at this point, I began to make decisions about placing more darks and bringing the image of the toy and girl out of the background more. I really liked how the gesso and the ink added abstract effects that I had very little control over. We were able to go back in with gesso, coffee and ink if we wanted to. I was getting good results with just what I had. We also knew we could collage and use colored pencil or wax resist in areas we may need to.

grungetoy

The above is my finished portrait.

I hope this gives you something new to try or consider when you sit down to paint. I decided I would not be so hasty, in the future, to throw away a stained or soiled piece of watercolor paper. It may just be that it would add to a painting rather than detract!