Friday, July 31, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 15

This is an on-going lesson in watercolor. See the previous posts for more.

Set the piece against a wall and walk a distance from it. Look at the values. Do you see a wide variety of darks and lights? Are they in the appropriate places? Hold the painting up to a mirror to see it with fresh eyes. What areas do you need to correct at this stage? Have you worked around the entire painting or have you worked only in some areas, leaving others lagging behind?

Note the areas that you need to work in to catch everything up to the same stage and go back to develop those areas. Be careful not to overwork any area of the painting. This will give it a fussy look, instead of a crisp, completed look.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 14

At this stage of my painting I introduced Sepia to the palette of colors to develop the shadow areas. Sepia is a cool, brown, which creates a nice contrast when using delicate strokes around areas that have been primarily painted in warm browns like Burnt Sienna and VanDyke Brown.

I also used a mixture of Sepia and Perylene Maroon, mixed with a little water for a rich application of deep, transparent color to the areas of black around the face.

If you remember that earlier, we painted these areas with an underpainting of Prussian Blue. To make them appear very dark, almost black, I apply a dark, warm mixture of color. The glazes of cool and warm colors create a beautiful black that does not look dull, but alive.

When painting around the eyes, don't completely cover the Prussian Blue area. Only cover the small areas of deep, intense shadow around the outside edges of the eyes, outer area of the nose, the nostrils, and the deepest shadows around the mouth and corners of the eyes. This will add depth and volume. You'll be surprised at how much detail this creates, just by leaving some of the previous glaze showing!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 13

This is the next stage of an on-going watercolor lesson.

At this stage I am going back to check the entire painting for value ranges. I want the strongest values changes, the most color, and the most detail around the dogs faces, which is my focal area.

I used VanDyke Brown to develop the darker shadows around the ears, mouth and eyes. I also used Burnt Sienna to develop the mid range values around the face and in the shadow areas of the legs and tails.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 12

Using the previous color variations (see previous post), I spent several hours working around the dog's bodies and faces to develop their shapes. I used the existing puddles on my palette, with lots of water added, and a number 10 round brush to begin to develop small, fine strokes here and there to represent hair.

Don't fall into the temptation to paint every hair!!! Only paint a few strokes here and there to indicate where some of the hair may show. Be sure when applying these brush strokes to turn your paper so that you can carefully control the direction and curve of the strokes. Especially on animals with long fur, the areas of hair may curve and twirl. You may want to practice these loose, light brush strokes on a scrap paper to get the feel before trying this on your important painting.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 11

Here I used a very wet application of the same colors from the previous wash (New Gamboge, Quin. Gold and Burnt Sienna) to Scooter's back, where he sports a large brown spot. Be careful to use soft edges where the fur blends from light to dark and dark to light, but use a dry, crisp edge when there is a definite change from one value or color to the next.

You can see the crisp edge on Scooter, where the white hair blocks the light and creates a distinct value change in the center of his chest. You can see it again where the brown spot on his back meets the white hair on his shoulder.

Crisp edges must be painted on dry paper, whether it already has an underlying color or not. Wet paper will create soft edges.

More values are developed with French Ultramarine Blue for cool areas, and Burnt Sienna and VanDyke Brown for warm areas.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 10

This is the continuation on an on-going blog lesson. You can see the previous lessons by visiting my most recent posts.

Now it is time to work around the dog's bodies and develop the over-all color and values. This is done very wet-in-wet. I applied water, then dripped pigment into the relative areas where the lights and shadows were represented in the reference photos and my drawing. I want these edges to be very soft. I will work in details later, but these foundational glazes are very important to the over-all impression of shapes in the painting.

I applied a very wet mixture of New Gamboge, Quin. Gold and Burnt Sienna to Riley's body, leaving a few areas of white paper where the values were the lightest.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 9

Riley needs a collar.

I used Sap Green and applied a fairly wet wash of strong pigment to the collar. Then, I dripped in some Perylene Green into the shadowed ends of the collar to create the illusion of the collar going around Riley's neck. Again, don't over blend. Just allow the wet colors to soften by themselves.

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 references to you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 8

Using Prussian Blue, and a number 10 round brush with a good point, I painted in the darkest values of Scooter and Riley's faces.

Be careful to only apply this pigment to areas that you want to appear very black. Either paint around the white sparkles or first use masking to save those areas.

If you use masking, be sure to allow it to thoroughly air dry before applying any paint. These little white areas are very important to make the dark eyes sparkle and look as though they are moist and life-like.

I also used some VanDyke Brown and Burnt Sienna to begin to develop a few more areas of shadow shapes around the dogs faces and bodies.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 7

At this stage of the painting, I used a very wet wash of Prussian Blue in the back-middle area.

I applied the blue, and as it was drying I applied wet drops of VanDyke Brown to the wash. This created a really nice, dark value that had some depth to it.

Do not over-blend or over-brush! Allow the pigments to run and blend together as they will, but don't force them to blend completely. Too much blending is what makes watercolor "mud".

Monday, July 20, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 6

This is a continuation of our on-going lesson.

Be sure the previous washes are thoroughly dry before applying this wash. I have physically mixed Burnt Sienna, VanDyke Brown and Permanent Alizarin Crimson in a very wet wash to lay in the brown color of the base. This can be worked in very wet, again using a one-inch flat brush. To get into the nooks, crannies and odd shapes, I hold the brush straight up and down, or tip it to use just the corner of the brush. This makes the application much more efficient than switching to several different brushes during the wash.

Allow to thoroughly dry before moving on to the next stage.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 5

Using Antwerp Blue and French Ultramarine Blue I laid in some color for the pillows.

The light source is coming from above, so I used the darker pigments closer to the bottom of the pillows, and used the lighter, more wet pigments near the top. I'll add texture and details to the pillows at a later stage of the painting. Right now, I just want to develop relative values throughout the composition.

I used the same colors to create the collar for Scooter, on the right.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 4

At this stage I am using VERY WET pigments. I want to create light stains to develop some of the variations in value. I used various combinations of Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine Blue, with a wet-in-wet technique. I applied small puddles of clear water to the areas I wanted to paint, then dripped in the wet pigments and allowed the edges to flow and soften. I worked on a very small section at a time and worked around the fellas so that the previous areas could dry. I looked at my photo references and searched for warm and cool variations and applied them in the corresponding areas on my watercolor paper.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 3

I often like to paint the backgrounds of my paintings first. Backgrounds are often the largest washes, and if I mess it up, I do it right from the start. It also helps me to establish a beginning value range.

Here I have mixed New Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, and Quin. Gold in a very big, wet puddle. I applied this mixture as a very wet, juicy, flat wash. I used a one-inch flat and held the brush straight up and down to paint around to top of Scooter's head.

The more you practice handing your brushes, the more efficiently you will find you can use them. Always use the largest brush you can get away with. Avoid the tiny little brushes until you absolutely must use them for the tiny details at the very end of your piece.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 2

Step Two of the Scooter and Riley lesson.

After enlarging the drawing, I scrub graphite onto the back of the enlarged image. I like to use a Chunky Graphite Stick, found a It is a nice, soft graphite stick, which is very large, easy to hold, and covers lots of paper quickly. I use a lot of pressure to deposit as much graphite as I can. I like it to be thick and dark. Then I use a tissue or paper towel to gently rub over the graphite to remove crumbs and extra residue. If the graphite is nice and thick, I will not have to  use much pressure to trace the image onto my watercolor paper.

To apply the drawing to the watercolor paper, I align the drawing where I want it to be, then I tape one edge with masking tape. This helps to secure the drawing yet allows me to lift the paper to see my progress. I use an ink pen to do the tracing. With an ink pen, I can see which areas I have traced, I don't have to press hard which would create dents in my watercolor paper (bad!!!) and it deposits nice, thin lines to work from.

Trace only the lines you need to navigate through the painting. If you have created your own drawing, or developed some thumbnail sketches of your subject, the information you need to complete the painting with correct values and shapes should be deeply ingrained in your brain!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Scooter and Riley Lesson 1

A new day, a new lesson.

I met Scooter and Riley while visiting a client for a commission painting of a home in Vero Beach, Florida. These characters were too cute not to paint! Here is the drawing I developed from several photos I took of Scooter and Riley. I drew this in my spiral bound sketchbook.

To develop the painting, I scanned the drawing into my computer and printed out tiled pages enlarged to the size I wanted for this piece, which will be a half sheet of watercolor paper, about 14 by 22 inches. As I worked on the drawing I thought about how I might develop the values, shadows and details of the piece in watercolor. The drawing process is so valuable. I hope that all watercolor enthusiasts will take a drawing class to develop their skill. It is important to do the drawing and preliminary work before you paint. Somehow this preliminary work gets information into your brain and helps you to solve problems before you ever touch your watercolors!
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 references to you.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lemons Lesson Number 13

Again I add another wash to the background to deepen the value. This time I used very wet puddle of Indigo. This cooled the background color, darkened the value and really made the fruit pop. I used variations of Indigo (very wet!!!), VanDyke Brown, French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna to further develop small areas of detail around the bowl, fruit and plate.

Remember to spend more time looking at the reference than you do painting. Look for value, shape, color, and edge quality - crisp edges require an application of wet paint on dry paper, soft edges require clear water on the softened edge of the pigment either before or after the stroke is made.
After tweaking a few small areas, I think it is done!

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 references to you.

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.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lemons Lesson Number 12

I want to heighten the white of the plate, so I added a pale, very wet wash of cool French Ultramarine Blue to the table and the shadow under the plate. This wash will also slightly soften the edges of the plate shadow and bring the focus back up to the fruit, which is the focal point.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lemons Lesson Number 11

The relative value of the background was looking a little too light for my taste, so I used the background mixture from before, but I added some VanDyke Brown and Permanent Alizarin Crimson to it to darken the value of the mixture.

Then I applied another flat wash to the background. It might be too light in value, even after this wash. But allow this to dry before the next step. Then re-evaluate.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lemons Lesson Number 10

I wanted to warm up the lemons, so I used a wet mixture of Burnt Sienna and a touch of VanDyke Brown to add to the shadow areas.

I continued on with this color to develop more of the darker values in the glass bowl. On the right side of the top part of the bowl I added a pretty strong value of the background mixture because at this part of the bowl the background shows through the glass.

I also glazed some New Gamboge, very wet, on the lighter areas of the lemons.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lemons Lesson Number 9

Now I am going back to my French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna pigments. As a general rule, I either paint the shadows of an object first, or I work from large shapes, to smaller shapes with lighter values to darker values in the process. Here I am working to slowly develop the darker values, paying attention to color, value, shape, edges, all in relation to one another.

Sometimes it is helpful to use small scraps of white paper and cover over the areas of the reference photo that you are not looking at. Expose only the small areas you want to see. Isolating the area often makes it easier to distinguish the shapes, values and edges, and helps increase the accuracy of your brushwork.

You can see the blues and browns in the shadows of the plate and bowl. These objects are reflecting what is around them, so the colors used in the table, background and lemons, will all show up in some form in the shadows and reflections.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

Being a patriotic American, I have to wish you all a very Happy Independence Day!
May God Bless America!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lemons Lesson Number 8

Continuing on with our lesson...

Using the Aureolin Yellow mixture, I painted some reflections into the plate and bowl. I cannot emphasize enough to use a light touch. Look at the reference before you add color.

Only put the color where you really see it. Keep the value of the tones in mind as well as the shape of the areas to be painted. Also pay attention to the edges. If your edges need to be soft, apply the pigment, then use a clean, damp brush and soften the edge very gently with moisture. Don't over brush or your subsequent layers of color will be applied to a fuzzy surface and you will lose the crispness of the reflections in the glass. The idea is to study your photo reference and understand it, look more than you paint. If you aren't sure, don’t paint it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lemons Lesson Number 7

Here I have used the French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna in a very thin, watered down consistency to develop some of the reflections in the glass and added more color to the shadows in the lemons. I used the colors separately and mixed together in various mixtures to add depth to the shadows.

I also used a very thinned out mixture of Aureolin Yellow with a drop of Burnt Sienna to paint the table area. I painted this mixture over the white of the table and over the previously painted shadow area under the plate.

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 references to you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lemons Lesson Number 6

I want to begin to develop some of the shadow values in the lemons.

Using French Ultramarine Blue with a lot of water, I lay in some of the shadow shapes in the lemons. As this is drying I use a touch of Burnt Sienna here and there to warm up the shadows and deepen the values.

Blue and red-brown (Burnt Sienna) are relative opposites on the color wheel. Using them mixed together or glazed wet-on-dry, will create warm, dark values of neutral color.

Mixing French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna in a stronger mixture is one of my favorite blacks or dark browns. If you keep it transparent, the color just glows!