Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunlit Coconuts Lesson 11

Quinicridone Gold becomes my focus color today. I have used it to glaze a gold wash over the coconuts and several other areas of the painting. This wash doesn't have to be terribly strong, but I still saved some of the white areas on the coconuts to show where the sun was hitting directly on the object.

It never ceases to amaze me how valuable one light glaze of a certain color can illuminate a painting! The sun here in Florida is really strong and it casts deep, dark shadows. The contrasts of warm, bright, sunlit areas against cool, blue, soft shadows are really striking. Quinicridone Gold is one of my favorite colors for producing this effect.

Here I have also used Prussian Blue, carefully to develop a few of the deep impressions on the trunk and here and there within the shadows. Prussian is a very intense, staining color, so use it with caution! A little goes a long way!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sunlit Coconuts Lesson 10

I want to develop more of the darker values now. I have used VanDyke Brown under some of the vines. I washed a stroke of medium value VanDyke Brown under the vine, then immediately softened the lower edge of the wash with a clean, damp brush. This wash flows over several of the vines below and creates the illusion that some of the vines are behind others and in the shadows of the coconuts. Subtle shadows are worked into the vines throughout the piece using VanDyke Brown, Prussian Blue, and French Ultramarine Blue individually.

Again, remember when you are glazing, don't brush too much! Use a light touch on your brush and use very wet pigments. Your brush should just push the puddle of pigment around. If your bristles bend you are pushing too hard.

I have also used greens in some of the vine areas. I added Hooker's Green and Perylene Green to the palette. I added some palm fronds against the sky with Hooker's Green. I also used Prussian Blue around shadows near flowers and around some of the details in the vines. Here and there I dab at the still-wet pigments with a clean, damp brush to soften edges.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sunlit Coconuts Lesson 9

Here I have added some Permanent Sap Green to the tree trunk. After it dried I used some Burnt Sienna and created a wet stripe down the tree trunk. Before the pigment dried I softened both edges with a clean, damp brush. This became a soft shadow on the trunk.

If you would like to get the drawing and photo references for this project, please visit my online etsy shop and click on the Online Class Icon. For $5.00 I will send you a pdf file with all of the references and the drawing so you can follow along. Most people prefer to order the references, and print the daily lessons until they are complete. Then they use the printouts as a workbook to do the painting.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sunlit Coconuts Lesson 8

Today I have added another wash of Aureolin Yellow to the coconuts. By leaving some of the sparkling white of the paper, I can show the crisp light shining on the coconuts. Glazing the yellow over several areas creates a subtle warmth and shower of sunlight to this piece.

I glazed some yellows onto vine areas above and below the coconuts. Vary the edges for interest and depth.

You can paint along with this lesson if you would like. To get the pdf file of the reference photo and the drawing, go to my etsy online store, click on the Online Class icon, and let me know you would like the coconuts lesson. For $5.00 you get the drawing and references, and you can follow along with the lesson as we go.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sunlit Coconuts Lesson 7

Using the various colors that were implemented in the previous washes from the beginning, I begin to develop the darker values and details around the piece.

Look carefully at your reference and compare your painting so far with the reference. Search for areas that require warmth in color and add the Burnt Sienna, Winsor Red and VanDyke Brown. Look for areas that can be pushed cooler and use the greens and blues. You can introduce other colors here if you like. 
Pay attention to the shadow sides of the vines and paint in little half-moon and semi-circular shapes to indicate some of the intricate depressions in the vines. Soften edges with a clean, damp brush here and there to create depth and soft details.

When softening an edge, pull the clean, damp brush INTO the still-moist pigment. If you pull from the pigment to the clean paper, you will only pull the pigment out, dilute it, and create another crisp edge. If you pull the water INTO the pigment from the dry area, the edge will be softened without dragging the pigment out where it isn't desired.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunlit Coconuts Lesson 6

Now it's time to build some of the beautiful colors in the coconuts! Using Burnt Sienna in a very wet mixture, I glazed a wet wash onto some areas of the coconuts where I wanted them to look warm and a bit darker. Some of the edges are crisp (painted on dry paper). Some of the edges have been softened with a clean, damp brush. I used a stronger wash of the same color on the lower coconut. The value needs to be darker, and therefore the stronger color (less water).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunlit Coconuts Lesson 5

Burnt Sienna is glazed over the darker areas of the tree at this point. The blue under-painting must be totally dry before this application is made. When glazing colors be sure to use a very light touch. If you over-brush, or push too firmly on the brush, you will lift the first glaze, mixing the color applications together and creating mud. Use the Burnt Sienna here and there on a few select vines under the coconuts. Work over a very small area with jabbing-type strokes, then quickly rinse your brush clean, touch it to your paper toweling, and touch some of the edges of the still-wet strokes to soften them. Be sure to keep this non-uniform. It is supposed to look organic, not patterned or polka-dotted.

I used Winsor Red to add a few touches of light, warm tones to the flowers under the coconuts. VanDyke Brown was used in the tree trunk and on some of the viney branches to create shadows.
Take your time, be selective and practice the brushwork. It can make all the difference in the world when working on organic objects. Allow the edges to be "lost and found", but softening some edges with clear water, and other edges to remain crisp.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunlit Coconuts Lesson 4

Today I am going back to my French Ultramarine Blue and adding it as an under-painting where my darker values will be developed. I like to build my shadow areas with glazes. If I start out in the light to middle value range, I can easily correct colors as I progress through the painting. This process also helps me to navigate through the piece.

Each painting is a study project for me. I love to study the values, shapes, colors and textures of whatever I am working on. If I work slowly, I can see more clearly every little detail.

Since this piece is very detailed and there is a lot more in the reference photo than I actually want to paint, I sometimes use bits of scrap paper to mask off areas of my reference photo. This helps eliminate some of the visual clutter in a very detailed subject and I can more easily focus on the area at hand.

I have added some Permanent Sap Green in the cooler, shady areas near the bottom of the piece. I varied the concentrations, values and edges to help create depth and interest.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sunlit Coconuts Lesson 3

The next big wash will be on the coconuts. I have puddled some clear water onto the areas of the coconuts that I will be adding pigment to. Allow the puddled water to soak in just a little to sink into the paper. This will give you more time to add colors and tip the paper, which will blend the pigments. I want to use a rather strong concoction of Aureolin Yellow and a little New Gamboge, here and there.  Since the paper is already wet it will dilute the pigments. I drop some yellows into the wetted areas of the paper. The bottom coconut is in a little more shadow, so the colors will appear cooler. I use the same wet-in-wet method to drop in some yellows with the addition of Permanent Sap Green. Again, I have used the same method to add some greens to the coconut on the very lower left of the picture. I have also added some yellows to the palm tree trunk at the right.
Don't brush too much. Put your brush down and pick up the board. Tip it back and forth and allow the water and pigments to blend with gravity. Don't let them blend too much, as this takes away the effect of the soft edges of color transitions.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sunlit Coconuts Lesson 2

When I start a painting I generally look for the largest and simplest washes first. Here I have used French Ultramarine Blue and created a flat wash in some of the areas where the sky shows through behind the plant. Mix up a puddle of pigment and water and test it on a scrap piece of watercolor paper to see if your mixture will provide the correct value. I like to use a value chart number 1 through 6 to help me define and establish the values in a painting - the lights and darks. I really believe that if you have a nice composition and a good range in values you will have a successful painting. Use some of the French Ultramarine puddle to glaze in the shadow area of the tree trunk at right also.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Lesson - Sunlit Coconuts

A new lesson! This is a fun lesson with lots of washes. The end result will have lots of textures and patterns that will tickle the eye. If you would like to get the drawing and photo references for this project, please visit my online etsy shop and click on the Online Class Icon. For $5.00 I will send you a pdf file with all of the references and the drawing so you can follow along. Most people prefer to order the references, and then print the daily lessons until they are complete. Then they use the printouts as a workbook to do the painting.
Today I have just put the drawing on the watercolor paper by scrubbing a soft layer of graphite onto the back of my drawing. Then I tape one small spot on the drawing to the watercolor paper and lightly trace. It's really important to use a very light touch so that you don't deposit too much graphite onto the fragile watercolor paper.
Remove the tracing, and tape your paper onto a foam core or gator board with masking tape. Now you are ready to paint!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lunch Line

This is my newest painting, which I call "Lunch Line". These birds were all lined up on a board walk near the marina here in Melbourne. I couldn't resist painting them. I really liked the rhythms and patterns of the birds, the shadow of the railing and the ripples in the water. It was also fun to create the soft textures in the birds and to try to give each one a little personality.
We matted and framed the piece with a wooden frame that is very complimentary to the wood in the dock and palm trees. The overall dimensions with the frame measures 36 inches tall and 28 inches wide.  Let me know what you think!
A new lesson will be posted soon. I was in Michigan for a two week vacation, so I am just now catching up. I have a lesson painted, and photographed, but I need to work on the descriptions. Stay tuned and you can paint along as we work on some "Sunlit Coconuts".
To see more of my work, please visit my website and my etsy shop.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 24

Ah, the finished piece! I only wish that Scooter and Riley could enjoy this as much as I have enjoyed painting it!

If you would like to paint along with my blog lessons, you can get the photo references and drawings sent to you by visiting my etsy shop, clicking on the Online Lesson icon, and pay a small fee of $5.00. I will then email all the photo references and drawings to you. Some people have found it helpful to order the references, then print the daily blog lessons, and begin when the online postings are complete. That way, they know what is coming next and they can see what the finished piece may look like.

If you are local to Melbourne, Florida, I also teach classes and workshops locally. Check out my Classes page on my website for more information.

Thanks so much for visiting. Become a Follower by clicking the link at left!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 23

At this stage I am close to having a finished painting. I spend some time just looking at the piece, in a space other than where I painted it. I make notes, yes, I write them down. I note areas that need to be darkened, lightened, warmed up, cooled down. I note where there are areas that bother me. I turn the piece upside down and check my values, shapes and colors. Then I tweak any areas that need tweaking.

When I feel like I am almost done, I stop. If I work until I think I am done, then I find that I have overworked the painting. Once I sign the piece I won't allow myself to work on it anymore. That forces me to stop and then I can get excited about my next piece!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 22

Now it is time to add some texture to the pillows. I sketched in a simple vine and leaf pattern onto the pillow, making sure the pattern followed the contour of the rounded pillows. If you are painting along with this lesson, you will see that you have a guide to use for this pattern. You may choose to use a different pattern if you like.

I used my number six round brush and my number 6 Fritch Scrubber to gently lift out a subtle pattern in the pillow. I like this technique for this type of application because it lifts only some of the color and the edges of the lifted areas are soft. If they were very crisp they may take away from the focal point of the dog's faces.

To lift, I simply dipped my brush in water, and, using a very light touch, rubbed tiny areas with the damp brush and then quickly dabbed the area with a paper towel. Be gentle and don't overdo this step. Too much lifting will make your watercolor look more like a pastel.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Daughter's Artwork

Okay. I am a proud mom. My daughter is nearly ready to graduate with her MFA in Fine Art.
Here is one of the images she has been working on during an artist retreat in PA.

Here is a link to more of her drawings...
Hope you enjoy them!

Scooter and Riley Lesson 21

Scooter and Riley seemed to be floating a bit too much for me so I used the mixture that I just added to the background to create a shadow under the dogs.

I wet the area first, applying water beyond the point that I knew I wanted the shadow to be. Then I used a number 10 round brush and applied a strong pigment into the water, along the very edge of the dog and the brown couch (or whatever it is they are sitting on).

The water softened the edges. I kept the board tipped so that the strongest color stayed at the dark shadowed edges of the dog's bodies, and the water flowed into the pigment, rather that allowing the pigment to flow into the water.

Be sure that when you create the shadow areas under the dogs that the shadow falls on the opposite side of the light source. My light source is on the upper left, so my shadows all had to fall on the lower right.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 20

After looking at this piece I realized that I wanted the background value to be much darker to help draw the viewer's eye to the dogs, my focal point. I mixed some Perylene Green into the mixture that I used for the brown area under the dogs to create a wet, rich color for the background. I applied a wash of clear water to the background then, I dripped color from this mixture into the wet background area.

I used strong color and allowed it to flow around by tipping my board. I didn't want to completely cover the gold in the background, but I wanted the gold to shine through here and there. Once I dripped in some color here and there, especially along the edges of the pillows and over the dark areas at the sides of the painting, I put my brush down and just tipped the board to allow the pigment to soften and flow.

When working wet-in-wet with watercolor, the brush is used to drop in the paint, but water and gravity do most of the work.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 19

Now the values in this painting are really beginning to take shape.

I noticed that I had left out the sparkle in some areas of the dog's eyes. To fix this problem, I used a tiny scrubbing brush, a number 2 Fritch Scrubber, to gently lift out a very tiny sparkle in the corner of the eyes. If you find that you need to lift an area in the dog's eye's, use great care to lift only a very tiny spot. I wet the scrubber, tap it once on my paper towel so that it does not drip onto the painting, and work a very tiny, gentle motion where I want to lift. Then, I quickly touch the area with a paper towel to lift off the loosened pigment. It's nearly impossible to lift the pigment back to absolute white, but it isn't necessary. 

This technique creates a little light area in the eye which is reflecting the light source. Be sure to lift in the relative same area of the eye that the light spot is located in the other eye. What I mean is that if the light spot on one eye is on the upper left (reflecting the light source) be sure to lift the other spot from the upper left in the other eye.

This glimmer of light will enhance the wet-look of the eye and will accentuate the fact that the eye is a round, moist object.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 18

Small, wet strokes of color create the illusion of fur. Use a light touch. Use primarily the same color over all the areas at this stage of painting Riley's body. This uniform color will give unity to his body.  Again, the close up view doesn't look that great, but when you pull back, look at in a mirror, or from across the room, it is amazing how the eye pulls it all together. When you allow the viewer's eye to do some of the work, the piece will have the impression of more life to it than if you paint in every hair and leave nothing for the viewer to enjoy or ponder.

I teach classes in the Melbourne, Florida area. If you are interested in drawing or watercolor classes you can learn more by visiting my website - click here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 17

Continued from the previous post...

Here you can see how I have applied some of the brushwork for the fur on Scooter's face. Allow the blues to show, and use thoughtful applications of brushwork to develop the fur. Close up it doesn’t look that great, but when you step back a few feet, the eye pulls it together.

Caution! Don't overwork the piece!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 16

Using Quinicridone Gold and Burnt Sienna, both separately and together, work around the light areas of the dogs and develop patches of light and dark where appropriate.

Use other variations of the colors we used in the previous washes to develop deeper values, small brush strokes for fur where appropriate, and to be sure that areas make sense to the viewer.
Be sure to step back often at this stage to view the painting as a whole.