Saturday, June 27, 2009

Green Leaf Study

I have been working on painting green leaves for a little over a week now. There are certain challenges that they present. In a way its like graphite. How do you differentiate the colors? But look at all the shades of green in the painting!

I achieved the different shades of green by glazing greens and reds. Some of the leaves were warm and some cold so I choose my colors carefully.

It was also challenging to soften the edges in places for the colors to flow.

I also worked on the values and darkening the shades of green. While working on the painting I thought it was too dark, but now I look at the photo and see there are plenty of lights to balance out the darks.

I really feel like I learned some new techniques and I also had alot of fun working on this painting.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mixed Media - Watercolor Crayons

This is a demo I did for my Mixed Media class. In it I show samples of different ways that you can mix watercolor crayons with watercolor. If you double click on it you can appreciate the different ways of using the watercolor crayons.

The first thing I did was sketch out the brick pattern and put in red earth colors in watercolors. The first line of bricks shows how you can use the watercolor crayons as if they were watercolors. First you scribble some of the crayons on a piece of scratch paper. Then you apply a damp brush to it and loosen up the crayon. It turns to a "watercolory" substance that you can now paint with. I then painted the bricks with a wet on wet wash.

In the second row of bricks I used the crayon like a crayon and drew over the brick. Then I used the damp brush to moisten the crayon and it melted into the brick.

The third row of bricks I used crayon sharpenings on scratch paper and wet them with the damp brush. I then got a little clumpier watercolor mixture than I did in the first row and I painted the bricks with it.

In the forth row I wet the bricks with some water and drew with the crayon into the wet brick. The crayon melted onto the paper as long as the paper stayed wet.

Then in the fifth row I dipped the crayon into water and then drew with it. The watercolor crayon just flowed over the paper and let go of it's color.

Finally I painted the grout in between the bricks. (Is it called grout or something else?) I did this in a different way than I did any of the bricks.
Can you guess what I did? If you are one of the first two people (with an address in the continental United States) that sends in a correct answer then you win an 8 X 10 print of one of my paintings. You need to send your answers to the little CONTEST in a COMMENT.
I hope you enjoy these little "classes" on mixed media and watercolor and I hope you get the chance to try some of them.

Good luck with the contest!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Red Berries

In my watercolor class I have been working on painting green leaves and have been glazing greens and reds. It is alot of fun and hopefully it will come out good enough to post.

It made me remember the story of my Red Berries painting. About twelve years ago I painted this painting. My next door neighbor at the time was also an artist. His wife fell in love with the Red Berries. So we traded paintings and I received a painting of a waterfall. For many years I missed my Red Berries.

Often it is so hard to let go of my art work. Especially recent paintings. Once I did a drawing in colored pencils of Autumn Leaves and I framed it and hung it in a show that weekend. A woman came by and fell in love with it and bought it. I felt like saying "No you cannot have it, it is too soon for me to let it go." But I did believe that she would take care of it so I let her purchase it.

So I repainted the Red Berries and here they are. They are a little more detailed than the original.

I love the use of complementary colors, especially red and green. When you use them next to each other they make the other one appear brighter, more intense. But if you mix them together they dull the other one down.
For example if you've painted a field of poppies and the ones in the background are just as bright and the ones in the foreground, the best thing to do is add a little green to those poppies that you need to tone down.

In watercolors you can mix the greatest neutral colors with your complementary colors. (These are the colors oppostie from each other on the color wheel.) The main compliments are red and green, blue and orange and yellow and purple. Play with them, you will enjoy it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mixed Media-Pen and Ink

I painted this picture in watercolor and then I added pen and ink. I use ultra fine sharpie pens for the pen and ink part. You can use any felt tip marker that is permanent or ink pens.

This Mixed Media is very similar to graphite pencil. It is certainly a little sharper and you can use multiple colors. Or you can use just black or a color of your choice.

When I mix pencil and watercolor I usually do my drawing first. When I mix pen and ink and watercolor I usually do my watercolor painting first. This is a personal choice. You can mix the media in whatever order you like.

When I painted this painting I did not plan on using anything except watercolors. I started by masking out the eggs and some of the twigs in the background. I then layed in my watercolor washes. I loved the way my washes in the background looked but there was not enough value differentiation between the background and the tree limb. (I did like the values of the eggs in the nest.) That is when I decided to add pen and ink to the painting.

I do not always mix media but sometimes it is the perfect way to improve a painting.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mixed Media - Graphite

Last evening was the first meeting of my Mixed Media class. In this class we will explore mixing other media with watercolor painting. I teach it at the Kempsville Recreation Center. I always like to do a different class in the summer. Last year I taught Watercolor pencils and it was a great deal of fun. I tell my students that they need to have fun while painting or else why do it?

Last night's class was on mixing graphite with watercolor. Most watercolorists use some pencil in their paintings. I use it to provide an outline of the subject to follow with my painting. But some artists do more of a drawing on their paintings than just an outline. You can see and appreciate the graphite drawing under the painting.

Often beginners do more drawing than is typically used in watercolors. I always let them know that it is a choice how much of the drawing they want to put in the painting. This is one of my philosophies about teaching. I always try and encourage individuality in my students. I let them know what the options are and how they project themselves into the painting as well as the pros and cons. Then I let them know that they can explore their options and see how they like doing the task at hand. This way students learn to express themselves in their painting.

I usually do a demo of what I am presenting in class. The first picture shows my pencil "line" drawing. I did my drawing before I painted with watercolors. You do not want to do alot of blending of your pencil drawing because when you add your watercolor it will smear. Also you need to do a drawing not just an outline.

Next I added my watercolor. For this demo I used hot pressed paper. It has a very smooth surface and allows smooth work. It dries very fast as the paint does not get absorbed by the paper but sits on the surface. It also is prone to many blossoms as the paint can move around more.

This combination of media is good when you want to show lines and or details in your painting. It has a great deal of control for those people that like to control their watercolors. It combines your skills in drawing with your skills in watercolors. Try it you might like it.

Next week we are doing pen and ink. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please send me comments on what you would like to see more of.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Japanese Magnolias

I love to paint Magnolias. This is the first painting of Japanese Magnolias that I have done. In front of my mother's home she had a Japanese Magnolia tree. Every year it was a question of how they would bloom. My parent's lived in New York and often there was a frost in the spring which would effect the bloom in a negative way. One year there was even the question as to whether the tree would survive. But more often than not it would bloom and it was magnificent. The gentle, delicate flowers would grace the arms of the tree.

I painted this painting on Masa paper. I first layed in multiple pale colors. I then drew the outline of the flowers in. Then I negative painted the painting. I put my colors in surrounding the shapes of the flowers to be. After that I went into the flowers and added values to make them more three dimensional. Then I looked at the painting and saw that the background was not dark enough so I layed in another layer of color.

This is a fun way to paint. When you do negative painting your subject(s) jump right out at you. It is fascinating to see it happening before your eyes.