Saturday, October 29, 2016

Seed Heads in the Sunlight

A simple drawing of a local Sequim barn on Bell Bottom Road.

The two tone sky in a light wash.

premixed colors

Added the mountains and the dark, muted field grasses.

Painting large, variegated pieces of the barn.

Darkening and adding shapes to the foreground and adding details to the barn.

Adding vibrant trees behind the barn; started with raw umber and dropped in green and burnt sienna.

- and now the pastel -

Seed heads in the shade.

Seed heads in the sunlight!  I love to read, leave one please.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

FLowers, Glass bottle and California poppies

We covered quite a lot in class today - thanks to all of  you for your hard work, attention, and enthusiasm!  There is a lot of information in the blog today, so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and kick back.

Here is the subject for this coming week - please come to class with this image drawn in pencil on your watercolor paper.  This is a more complex composition so we will need to get right to work and save the critique for last.  As always, give this a try if you would like to come to class with your own questions.

Here is the black and white reference for seeing the values clearly.

If you would like to try painting glass and flowers together, here's an image that will challenge you for sure (and make you wish you owned 1,000 pastels)!  Remember, think in values, and cool - vs- warm....and of course, DETAILS LAST!!  If you want a simpler challenge, zoom in on just one or two flowers.

We had fun painting this simple glass bottle placed on a lovely linen.

First the watercolor under painting of large color shapes (no detail) in dark, neutralized colors.

Pastel was added to enhance the patterns of the fine linen tablecloth, the sheen of the table and of course the glass bottle.  As you can see, drafting skills are important....sadly, the bottle neck appears quite off kilter in my painting.  Take time to examine your drawing in a mirror to save yourself this problem.  There are 3 things make us humans assume we are seeing a glass object; the sparkle (highlight) the squiggle (distortions in the glass) and painting the background right through the glass shape.

We reviewed the process of a commissioned painting I just finished:

I did the initial drawing on 300# Arches with a hard, mid value pastel  as it would be easy to erase if the drawing wasn't accurate.

I then redrew the image with a firm pencil line that would be visible after the watercolor was applied.

I washed in the blue sky, lavender hills, tree and grasses working from top to bottom and from cool to warm.  In this image I have also begun to suggest the branch structure of the live oak tree.

I alternately stroked on cobalt blue, green blue, and blue violet pastels to suggest the brilliant blue California sky.  I also began to introduce pastels to the distant rolling hills indicating great swaths of poppies and grasses.  

I was struggling to make the tree colors dark and dense enough so I painted the dark brown and green pastels with clear water so they would melt into the paper - thereby filling the tooth of the paper with a dark, dense under painting.

I added pastels to the tree and began to indicate the poppies and grasses in the foreground.

I added more sky holes and bits of the distant poppy fields to make the tree appear more airy.  I also broke up the too even rhythm of the undulating hills by joining the two nearest hills into one larger shape.

The foreground poppies lacked punch because the green under painting was showing through the red flowers and neutralizing them.  So, once again I used clear water to turn the red pastel into an under painting.  After the poppy shapes were dry I was able to add real brightness to the flower clusters.

Here is a close up of the newly under painted poppies.

Here is the finished painting "Lyrical Live Oak in a Sea of California Poppies"

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Intermediate pastel over watercolor: Three reference photos

Hello painters,
I am so impressed with all the paintings you brought to class yesterday; it gladdens my heart to hear you say you couldn't wait to paint - that's EXACTLY how I feel about painting!  You are a bunch of go-getters and I am having a blast painting with you!

Yesterday we created a vibrant pastel painting of fall trees and grasses with a watercolor under painting.

From my original image I created 2 additional reference images a black and white 'value finder' and a pixilated 'large shapes finder' (all three images were printed on one sheet of paper which is why the B&W is vertical).

I use these two altered reference photos for the simplified drawing, the watercolor under painting, and initial pastel block in.  I keep the original photo face down on my desk until it's time to add the details.  This practice keeps me focused on large shapes and large value patterns when it really counts, in the beginning of the painting process!

Painting large dark shapes color-next-to-color (so there are no hard edges) with a size 16 round brush.

Very loose drawing indicating big value shapes.  I used a firm pencil line so it will be visible after the watercolor is applied.

Beginning to lay in darkest pastel passages after the watercolor is dry.

Adding medium and then light values in pastel.  Pushing branches and 'leaves' into the sky.

Adding more depth of colors and some large details, allowing watercolor to show through.

Last pass I add the lightest lights and the details such as 'sky holes' and sunlight on tree trunks.  I will lightly fix the pastel before carefully cutting the watercolor paper off the block.

Thank you to Liz Bumgarner for the photos!

Next week we will work on the small still life (below) with one glass object, I have created all three reference images for you, please print them out and bring them to class with you along your pencil drawing on a 9" x 12" watercolor paper.  

As always, if you have the time, I encourage you to "try painting it at home first" so you will come to class with specific questions and therefore will get much more out of the class.  

If the image isn't to your liking, you may substitute your own composition, but KEEP IT SIMPLE please!

Thank you and I'll see you on Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A rose

Hello again students,
Yesterday we worked on painting a flower (I chose the rose) using our pastel over watercolor techniques.  I was so pleased with how you all worked on this project - I know it can be frustrating at first, buy you'll get it!

If anyone has a photo of my watercolor painting before I added the pastel, please email it to me I would like to add it to this blog post.  

Here is the image I was working from and the small painting I did.  
The main points I wanted to share are:

  • Make your pencil drawing fairly dark on your 140# watercolor paper so you can see it all the way through the painting process.  You will be able to cover it easily with the pastel at the end of the process.
  • Remember, the watercolor under painting is NOT the painting; which is so difficult for us watercolor folks to grasp.  Think of creating areas of dyed paper to add pastel to.  Use your biggest brush and hold it near the end of the handle, not up near the ferrule.  Let go and swash buckle a little.
  • The watercolor under painting should be loosely painted using, dark, neutralized colors.  Allow colors to flow into one another.  Remember, it will dry 20-60 percent lighter, so be bold!
  • With pastel we work from dark to light so lay in the darkest, largest shapes first, then the medium value shapes.  Save the lightest values and the details until last.
  • Initially, paint with the long side of your pastel stick, blocking in the biggest shapes.  Press firmly enough to lay down some pastel, but softly enough to see the under painting beneath. 
  • Remember, you may add several layers of pastel to an area if you don't overload the 'tooth' of the paper in the first passes.  If you have hard and medium hard pastels, use them in the first couple of layers which will help reserve the 'tooth' for later passes of your softest pastels.
  • Save lines, dots, and other details until last.

  • For next week, let's work on a simple landscape with a few lovely fall trees.  Here is the image I will work from, choose another if you prefer, but keep it simple or you won't have time to finish it in class.
    Click on the image and download it to your computer so you can print it out - or make your drawing from your computer or tablet.

    Please make a drawing of this image on your watercolor paper by just indicating the simplest possible forms - with virtually no detail.  Remember to squint to see the large shapes only.  In class we will lay in the watercolor under painting and then add pastel.  

    Let's hold our critique near the end of class next week - it can run a little long otherwise and cut into our painting time.

    So what are you to do with that UArt paper?  Well, using a hard pastel, try drawing one simple (albeit well lit) object and laying in the watercolor washes.  What did you notice after it dried?  Next, add pastel and see if you like the feel of sanded paper.

    What to do with the Kitty Wallis paper?  No watercolor under painting needed here, the paper is already toned so just try laying in a pastel drawing with your hardest pastels first, then a layer or two with medium pastels and finally the brightest, lightest passages with your buttery soft pastels.

    Here's a link to my old blog showing a local scene

    Want to see the real pros?  Check out these links

    See you next Tuesday, hope the predicted storms aren't too bad, but get your candles out just in case! 

    Wednesday, October 5, 2016

    Intermediate Class - Pastel over Watercolor

    Hello Students,

    I enjoyed our class yesterday and I hope you did too.  In case you want to try painting the plums again here they are, one burnished and the other with the filmy coating still on it.  
    I believe you can click on the image to download it to your computer.

    I painted the subject myself this morning and found that it was considerably more difficult than I had anticipated.  I apologize for choosing such a challenging subject and encourage you to hang in there while I come up with some easier subjects for future classes.

    Here is my watercolor under painting.  I didn't paint the darkest plum purple dark enough but otherwise this painting was about right.

    Here is my finished plum; it took 30 pastels to complete this painting.  I found that the filmy areas were pale pink, pale peach, pale orange, pale red-violet, pale violet, pale blue-violet, pale blue, and medium blue.  Phew!  You can see how a pastel artist's tableau can become very large.  

    So when you buy open stock, be sure to buy pastels in value runs of at least 3 (preferably 5) values as shown in this color chart from pastel manufacturer Blue Earth.

    Below are some flower subjects you may use for next week's assignment.  Or, if you have leaves and/or flowers in your own yard photograph them and work from your own photos.  Remember to bring your reference photos to class next week along with your other supplies.  

    Your homework is to draw your chosen subject twice (as large as possible) on a sheet of 140# cold pressed watercolor paper.  Using rich, saturated watercolors, and a loose painterly style, paint one of the images.  Bring this partially completed piece to class and we will work on them together.

    Please paint the background too, using a neutralized color will make the brightly colored flower really pop off the page.  Notice how the background in the following images has several values from top to bottom....painting your background with these same value shifts makes the image seem more three dimensional.