Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Island in the Lake" - Sky, Water and Reflections


Island on the Lake
9" x 12" watercolor painting
Karen A. Cooke


The painting above provides great practice for painting sky, water and reflections.  All elements of this painting are loosely painted with minimal amounts of detail.  The painting was also painted on a slight slant to allow the paint to flow on the paper.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (type and size of your choice)  - I used a 9" x 12" piece
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: flat, liner and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Paint:
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Sepia
  • Payne's Gray
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Yellow Ocher
  • Sap Green
  • Hooker Green Deep

Painting Instructions:
Lightly sketch this painting on your paper.  This is not an involved sketch, simply drawn the horizon, the island and make exterior shapes of the trees. 

Sky:
Use a large round brush to paint the sky area.  Wet the sky from the top down to the horizon using clean water. Using a pale wash of Cadmium Orange drop in some color in various locations in the sky.  See above photo for location.  While this is still wet, paint in a wash of the Cobalt Blue, apply the paint working from the top of the painting down to the horizon .  However, do not completely cover the entire sky area.  Allow some white areas to remain.  Using a tissue or paper towel, lift some of the paint to create lighter areas in the sky for clouds, if needed.  Work around the island and trees.  Allow to dry.  

Water:
Deeper the wash of Cobalt Blue.  Continue using the round brush and paint in the water.  Again, do not complete cover the area, leave some spaces unpainted.  Add a light wash of Cadmium Orange in various locations in the water was well as wash of a deep brown mixed from the orange and green.  This will create the shadows of the island.  Refer to the photo above for placement.  The reflections closer to the island are painted with a mix of Payne's Gray and Cobalt Blue.  Paint this quickly while the water area is still wet.  Allow to dry.

Trees:
The trees are painted with a light wash of Sap Green and the deeper colors are added next working light to dark.  Mix Sap Green with Cobalt Blue and Hooker Green with Cobalt Blue and add the shadows.  In some locations, use only a deep Blue from Cobalt Blue and Payne's Gray.   Allow to dry.    Note:  Tree branches will be painted in a later step. 

Island and Rocks:

Using a pale wash of Payne's Gray, start painting the rocks and land areas of the island.  Drop in the blue and Sepia in various locations to create the land areas and the rocks.  Refer to the photo above for location. 

Tree Branches:
Using a liner brush, paint details of branches on various trees (not all of them)  with deep shades of the green.  Do not overdo....less is more.   Allow to dry.

Finishing touches:
Review your painting and add any shadows that may be needed for depth. 

Congratulations!

Happy Painting!
Karen



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jed's Barn - Painting a Winter Landscape

Jed's Barn
9" x 12" watercolor painting
by
Karen A. Cooke


Painting winter landscapes can and usually do involve painting snow.  Snow can be achieved with watercolor painting by simply painting shadows and leaving the other areas of the landscape  unpainted.  Sounds easy - but this can often be tricky.  In order to contour the ground, shadows and shapes need to be considered as well as intensity of color.  Shadows can be shades of blue or grays and even browns, depending on the object creating the shadow.  The painting above of the old barn is an example of a winter landscape.  The focal point of this painting is the red barn; however, the snowy landscape is a large factor in emphasizing the barn.

Let's paint!

The watercolor above was painted on  140 lb. cold press paper.   I did not use my usual preferred paper (Arches).  This paper is Strathmore.  This paper is a heavyweight paper suited for beginning watercolorists or for experimenting with new techniques.  It is less expensive than Arches paper  and does not allow for excessive working or lifting of color.  I always recommend a 140 lb. weight paper for beginners as it is easier to work the paint on the page.  A good student grade paper is less expensive and keeps the beginner from being as worried about the possibility of ruining an expensive piece of paper.   Use the brand and type of paper you prefer, can afford, and feel comfortable using.

Don't worry about ruining a piece of paper.  Feel free to explore and learn new techniques......after all - "it is only paper!"
Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (type and size of your choice)  - I used a 9" x 12" piece
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: flat, liner and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Paint:
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Sepia
  • Payne's Gray
  • Van Dyke Brown
  • Alizarin Crimson

Painting Instructions:
I sketched this drawing on my watercolor paper. However, if you feel you may need to erase multiple times, you may want to drawn on a piece of sketch paper and transfer your completed sketch to the watercolor paper. I discuss how this can be accomplished in my blog of May 11, 2016.


As a reminder: Multiple erasures can damage watercolor paper and cause pooling of water as well as differences in the way the paint is absorbed into or on the paper. Deep sketch marks will show up in a finished painting, even if they are erased. Correct perspective is an important part of this painting. Confirm that you like the perspective that you have executed in your sketch before you start painting. A poorly executed sketch done in a hurry cannot be overcome no matter how great a job one does with the paint.

Sky:
Wet the sky from the top down to the horizon using clean water. Using a wash of Cerulean Blue, apply the paint working from the top of the painting down to the horizon.  Using a tissue or paper towel, lift some of the paint to create lighter areas in the sky for clouds.  As the wash begins to dry.  paint in the impression of trees in the distance using a mix of your blue paint and Payne's Gray.  Allow to dry.  

Note: 
Larger trees:   You will paint over the top of the trees you sketched with the sky color so that the sky will be smooth.  Since the trees are painted using a darker color than the sky, they will be painted after the sky is completely dry. 

Barn:
I painted the siding of the barn first and left the roof for last.  The wood siding is painted with Crimson and Payne's Gray. 

Prepare a wash of crimson, varying the intensity from a deep red to a pale red.  Using the photo above as an example, paint the siding of the barn varying the color intensity of the red in various locations.  While the red is still wet, drop in the Payne's Gray.  Allow these colors to blend. 

Note:  Deepen the shadows under the roof line on the side of the barn with a deep shade of Payne's Gray.  This is done while the paint is still wet so that there will be no transition line from the shadow to the side of the barn. 

Barn Roof:
The roof of the barn is covered in snow.  Therefore, only the shadows are painted to indicate areas where the snow is blanketing the roof.  Areas of the roof are old and missing.  Painting wet on wet and using a mix of Payne's Gray and Cerulean Blue, paint in shadows referencing the photo above for shadow placement.  Using a deep shade of Payne's Gray, paint the areas where the roof is broken and missing on the right hand side of the roof.  The areas of broken roof where the siding shows through on the side of the barn were painted when the siding shadows were painted.  Allow to dry. 

Snow - Land contour and shadows
Using a pale wash of Payne's Gray, paint the snow on the left hillside, deepening the shadows cast by the trees.  Referencing the photo above, paint the contours on the ground and around the barn using a pale wash of Payne's Gray and Cerulean Blue. 

Note:  The shadows closer to the bottom of the page are painted with a light wash of Cerulean Blue with the intensity deepening as one moves further away. 

Trees/Grasses: 
Using  a wash of Vandyke Brown paint the trees.  Deepen the color on the trunks of the trees in various locations with Sepia. 

Add some grasses showing through the snow in various locations near the barn and under the trees.

Allow to dry.

Finishing touches:
A few details can be added in the siding on the barn now that the paint is completely dry.

Use a liner brush and Payne's Gray,  paint in a few lines for the boards adding a few deeper areas where the boards are cracked.  Do not make this very detailed.  When the paint is completely dry, use a utility knife to scratch off the paint on the siding in a few areas for highlights. 

Look over your painting and paint any finishing details you would like to add. Then, sign your painting!

Congratulations!

Happy Painting!
Karen


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Walking in the Rain

                        

The painting above is a "loose" watercolor painted with a minimum of sketching.  I did drawn the lines for the sidewalk and the basic shapes of the people and their umbrellas.  Needless to say, there is very little detail in this paining.  The object of this painting to provide a feeling of the rain not a detailed "photo."

The watercolor above was painted on Arches 140 lb. cold press paper.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (size of your choice)
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: flat and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Spray Bottle of water
Paint:
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Sepia
  • Payne's Gray
  • Yellow Ocher
  • Crimson

Painting Instructions:
This a very simple painting done quickly in wet on wet. 

Background Buildings, Sidewalks and Street
The light colored umbrellas are the only objects left unpainted on the first wash of color.  The umbrellas can be painted around or masked out with masking fluid or a piece of masking tape cut to the shape of the umbrella.  I simply painted around the umbrellas, but painted over the shapes of the bodies since the colors are very pale. 

Wet the entire sheet taking into consideration the umbrellas and your choice of masking.  While the paper is still wet drop in the following colors:  Ultramarine Blue, Payne's Gray, Yellow Ocher and Crimson mixed with Ultramarine to create purple. Using a vertical stroke, pull the colors down to meet the sidewalk leaving the impression of buildings in the background obscured by rain.   Using the same colors, brush horizontally across the sidewalk areas.  Brush strokes in this area can also be vertical to indicate the falling rain.  While the area is still wet, use a tissue to pull the paint from areas, leaving white streaks.  Allow to dry.

People and Umbrellas:
Using Payne's Gray, paint in the silhouettes of the people allowing areas to be lighter on various parts of their clothing.  Allow to dry and then paint the umbrella.  I used Cerulean Blue on one umbrella and a pale mix of Crimson and Yellow Ochre on the other colored umbrella.  The dark umbrella was painted with undiluted Payne's Gray.  Allow to dry.  When dry,  add the shadows of the people with a wash of Payne's Gray and the purple used above.  Spray the shadows with plain water to allow them to blur.  Allow to dry.

Sidewalk:
I used a fine liner brush to put in the sidewalk using broken lines. 

Details:
Use a utility knife to scratch in highlights on the umbrellas.


Congratulations! 

Happy Painting!
Karen

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Painting a Day - Every Day?

A Painting a Day - Every Day?  Why?

I counter with "Why not?"  Daily painting can be a habit and can make a painter more creative and successful and painting more enjoyable whether one enjoys painting as a hobby or a profession.  I received the book above for a birthday present and it offers a few tips on daily painting. 

I am often asked these questions:
  • "How often you paint? 
  • Do you paint every day?
  • How do you know what to paint?
  • Is painting work for you or is it fun?
  • Why paint?
Some of these questions will attempt to be answered in today's blog.  The frequency of my painting has changed over the course of time based on the various seasons of my life.  If painting is not one's full time profession, then painting must fit into one's schedule of life, family, work and recreation.  As with all things,  priorities must be set and how often one paints depends on those priorities.    Painting for me has been a hobby and a profession during various times. 

When painting is a profession, painting is a top priority and one paints more often - at least, if one would like to be successful.    When painting is a hobby, it often gets set aside to allow for other items in one's life.  When painting as a hobby, then one must address painting as one would any other hobby - make time for it!

This post will address painting as a hobby rather than as a profession.  Work is work;  and like any job,  painting should be treated as any other profession.  However, if painting is a hobby that  is a different subject.

So,  let's start off with reasons one starts a hobby.  According to info I have read from numerous sources and from my own experiences, here are a few reasons:
  1. Hobbies are healthy for the mind and body.  If you take time for a hobby that you enjoy, you can lose yourself in it and forget about your worries for a while.  Great stress reliever!
  2. Hobbies make one more confident - period!  When one finds a hobby they enjoy (and one does not have to be good at it),  one practices a skill and improves by practice thus creating the motivation to continue.  According to the Huffington Post, pursuing a passion is a great way to build self-esteem, giving one an enhanced sense of purpose and improving overall quality of life. 
  3. Hobbies help one structure time by "making" time for the hobby - no matter how small the amount of time.    Now, this does not need to be daily, but can be weekly, etc.  Whatever will fit into your schedule.  The point is to avoid stress, not create more by trying to fit too much into one day.  (I have been guilty of this.) 
  4. Hobbies can help you grow as a person by building new social connections, adding to your identity and richness to your self concept.  You will not only feel more inspired when you have a rich and active life, but you will inspire others as well.
What does one paint?  Anything and everything!  Look around the house, outside,  on the internet, in books - paint whatever catches your interest.  

Schedule time to paint or draw - just do it!  Invest 5 minutes, 15 minutes,  half an hour or more.  Whatever amount of time fits your schedule.   I have found that the more I paint, the more I want to paint!   Practice, as with all things, make one better. 

In the past, I have taken a few minutes each day to sketch in a small sketchbook.  One that can be carried to work for a quick lunch time sketch, taken to your child's afterschool activities while waiting in the car, grabbed while you are waiting for the water to boil for the spaghetti noodles, picked up during a commercial of your favorite show (instead of the potato chips), etc.  You get the idea - be prepared and art will happen.  Like any habit, it will become 2nd nature to have that sketchbook with you. 

So, pick up that sketch book, pencil, paint brush and get started!  You'll be glad you did!

Happy Painting!
Karen




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Painting Dogs - Easier Than It Seems


"Diesel"
A watercolor painting by Karen A. Cooke
Following along with painting animals from last week, this week's post discusses how to paint a bulldog.  I am not a "detail" painter and prefer a more Impressionist style of painting, the bulldog painting, conveys the dog's personality without detail - not even detailed fur.    However, you can add as much or as little detail in your painting as you like and that fits your style of painting. 

Below, I have again included some tips on painting fur from last week's blog post:
  1. Most animals will have different types of fur in their coat - short smooth, long wispy  and thick/clumpy fur.
  2. Animal fur is thick and will require layers of color and or detail.
  3. When working with watercolor it is important to paint the lightest color fur first and build up the darker layers.   The light base color is painted first with brush stokes placed on top. 
  4. Vary your brush stoke to keep the fur from looking uniform.  Animal fur is usually a little bit "scruffy" and unkempt looking. 
  5. Also, be certain to leave some white unpainted areas for highlights. 

The watercolor above was painted on Arches 140 lb. cold press paper.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (size of your choice)
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: round, liner and flat or fan
Spray Bottle of water
Paint: 
  • Sepia
  • Black
  • Payne's Gray
  • Crimson
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Mars Black
Note:  The colors above are the ones I used to paint the dog above.  Your paint colors will vary based on the color of the animal you are painting. 

Painting Instructions:
Sketch the basic shape of the dog with the most detail and attention given to the eyes, nose and mouth.  The detail of the body will be shaped by the color of the fur to define and shape.  


Body
I painted wet on wet by first wetting with clean water sections of the dog's body that I wanted to paint.  I left a dry, white area in places where I did not want the color to blend.  This white area will help define the shape of the dog rather than having one large painted area.  This gives shape without having to define it with color.  In the case of this bulldog, it also indicates areas of wrinkled skin.  Blend your colors allowing some of the painted areas to be lighter than others. 

Ears:
The ears are painted in the same manner as the body per the instructions above.  Vary the intensity of the paint leaving some areas white.  Refer to photo above.

Eyes:
Paint the eyes.  In this case the dog's eyes are brown.  Use a wash and paint the outer section of the eye with this color and allow to dry.  Paint the pupil last leaving a small white dot of white paper unpainted.  Allow to dry.  Using a liner brush or a watercolor pencil (see tip below) outline the eye.  Allow to dry. 

TIP:  Watercolor pencils can be used to help outline and define the eyes.  This is especially helpful if you feel uncomfortable or unsteady using a fine liner brush for details.  Steady hands come with practice and becoming comfortable with painting.  However, remember - it is only paper!

Nose, mouth and muzzle area:
Using a pale wash of Crimson, paint in the lower muzzle leaving some areas lighter fading into white unpainted paper and drop in some Payne's Gray.  Allow to dry.  Using a pale wash of Payne's Gray to add shading and color in in the nose and lower muzzle.  Refer to photo above.  Add dots of color using the tip of a round brush for the part of the muzzle where the whiskers are growing.  Allow to dry.  The nose is painted with Payne's Gray leaving some areas white and using black to deepen some of the areas. 

Details:
Using the liner brush and black, brunt umber and burnt sienna, paint in a few details to indicate lines, claws, etc.  Refer to painting.  Don't let this become too involved. 

Foreground:
Using Crimson and Payne's Gray in a very light wash, add a shadow in the foreground to help "ground" the dog in place rather than leaving him "floating." 

Check for any other details you would like to add.  When you are satisfied,  sign you painting!

Congratulations! 


Happy Painting!
Karen

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

How to Paint Cat Fur

"Prince"
5" x 7" watercolor painting of my cousin's cat
Karen A. Cooke

Different types of animal fur require different types of techniques and different brushes.  What method used depends on the animal and the final result you desire.    The following are some things to remember about fur:

  1. Most animals will have different types of fur in their coat - short smooth, long wispy  and thick/clumpy fur.
  2. Animal fur is thick and will require layers of color and or detail.
  3. When working with watercolor it is important to paint the lightest color fur first and build up the darker layers.   The light base color is painted first with brush stokes placed on top. 
  4. Vary your brush stoke to keep the fur from looking uniform.  Animal fur is usually a little bit "scruffy" and unkempt looking. 
  5. Also, be certain to leave some white unpainted areas for highlights. 

Now. let's paint!


The watercolor above was painted on Arches 140 lb. cold press paper.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (size of your choice)
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: round, liner and flat or fan
Spray Bottle of water
Paint:
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Sepia
  • Black
  • Payne's Gray
  • Crimson
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Yellow Ocher
  • Hooker Green
Note:  The colors above are the ones I used to paint the fur on the cat above.  Your paint colors will vary based on the color of the animal you are painting. 

Painting Instructions:
Sketch the basic shape of the cat with the most detail and attention given to the eyes.  The detail of the cat's head will be shaped by the color of the fur to define and shape.  


Basic head shape:
Use the lightest wash of yellow ocher and a round brush to define the outline of the cat head and fur.  Remember to leave some areas white for highlights.  While this paint is still wet, pick up some of the deeper colors (burnt sienna, etc.) and place in various locations to indicate the changes in color of the fur.  Leave the area around the nose and mouth as well as around the eyes white.  This will be shaded in later. 

Ears:
The ears are painted using a pale wash of crimson.  This paint will blend with the color of the fur surrounding the ear.  Vary the intensity of the paint leaving some areas white.  Refer to photo above.

Eyes:
Paint the eyes.  In this case the cat's eyes are a gold green.  Use a wash and paint the outer section of the eye with this color and allow to dry.  Paint the pupil last leaving a small white triangle of white paper unpainted.  Allow to dry.  Using a liner brush or a watercolor pencil (see tip below) outline the eye.  Allow to dry. 

TIP:  Watercolor pencils can be used to help outline and define the eyes.  This is especially helpful if you feel uncomfortable or unsteady using a fine liner brush for details.  Steady hands come with practice and becoming comfortable with painting.  However, remember - it is only paper!

Nose, mouth and muzzle area:
Using a pale wash of Crimson, paint in the nose and mouth leaving some areas lighter fading into white unpainted paper.  Allow to dry.  Using a pale wash of Payne's Gray to add shading and color in in the nose and lower muzzle.  Refer to photo above.  Add dots of color using the tip of a round brush for the part of the muzzle where the whiskers are growing.  Allow to dry.

Details:
Using the liner brush and black, brunt umber and burnt sienna, paint in a few individual pieces of the fur.  Don't let this become too involved, just the illusion is all that you will need. 

Whiskers:
The whiskers of the cat can be done in two different ways:

  1. Using a utility knife, scratch in the whisker, or
  2. Using a liner brush and white paint, paint in the whiskers. 
This is your preference.  In the photo above, I used a liner brush and white paint since this would show up better on this color fur.  Darker fur would make the scratch method more useful in that the scratch would be more easier seen.

Now, track down a pet or pull up a photo on line and get started painting!


Happy Painting!
Karen



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Magic Tea - Blending Watercolors

Magic Properties of Tea
Watercolor Painting - 5" x 7"
by Karen A. Cooke


I received several blends of tea this Christmas and while waiting for a cup to brew, I watched the swirls of steam rising from the tea.    This made me think of how the swirls of steam were moving and how this might be accomplished in a watercolor.  Teas are blended to create pleasing tastes and aromas, so I wanted to play around with color to accomplish a similar result in my painting. 

The magic of watercolor painting is how the paint can be blended to create pleasing and unique designs.  This painting will illustrate how to accomplish the magic of watercolor blending in a simple painting of a cup of tea and it's "magic" steam. 

Now, let's paint!

The watercolor above was painted on Arches 140 lb. cold press paper.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (size of your choice)
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Salt (table salt and/or larger grain sea salt)
Brushes: flat and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Spray Bottle of water
Paint:
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Sepia
  • Payne's Gray
  • Crimson

Painting Instructions:
This a very simple drawing of a teacup and saucer.  Do not draw in the steam rising from the cup.  The paint will take care of this. 

Cup and Saucer:
Wet the cup with clean water and using a blend of Payne's Gray and Sepia, drop in color to indicate shadows.  The cup is actually white, but you are simply painting the shadows.    I used a round brush to paint these shadows and used it to line the outside of the cup to separate the cup from the background.   Make this line very faint and light.  Allow to dry.  Be certain to allow the cup to dry before painting where the cup touches the saucer so that both appear as distinct items.  If the paint is wet, the colors will blend and the cup and saucer will appear as one piece rather than two distinct pieces. 

Tea:
Using a blend of Payne's Gray, Ultramarine and Crimson, paint the tea in the cup using a wet in wet method.  Start with the Ultramarine and Crimson in the center of the cup and add the Payne's Gray on the edges.  Allow the colors to blend and swirl together.  While the paint is still wet, drop in some salt crystals to push the paint around and create an interesting texture.    Allow to dry and brush off the salt crystals. 

This is one of the "magical"  qualities of watercolor painting:  each crystal of salt chases away the pigment to make a lighter area beneath it. 

TIP:  Salt does not always work the way expected.  It involves the paint pigment at the correct wetness as well as the speed that the paper and air dry.  However, the best results usually occur when the paint is damp and shiny.  If the paint is too dry, the technique won't work.  Conversely, if the paper has puddles of water, it will be too wet for it to work.    Practice this on a scrap piece of paper to determine the right ratio of paint and water.    This technique can be used for snowflakes, small flowers, etc. 

Magic Steam:
Wet the area of the painting above the teacup in a pattern to indicate the swirling mist of steam rising from the hot cup of tea.  Drop in Payne's Gray, Crimson and Ultramarine Blue.  Refer to the painting above for location.  The Crimson and Ultramarine will blend on the paper to create a purple.  However, you may want to blend these two colors on your palette as well to apply to the painting. 
While the paint is still wet, mist the outside edges of the paint with the spray bottle and add the salt crystals to the swirls of paint.  Allow to dry and brush off the salt crystals. 



Congratulations!  You have learned one of the "magical" qualities of watercolor painting! 

Happy Painting!
Karen

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway - How to Paint old Buildings

 
Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Watercolor painting by Karen A. Cooke
 
I have always enjoyed painting old building such as the mill above as well as cabins, old doors and windows, etc. This painting was done from a photo taken on a recent trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia in early fall of this year. Before we start painting, below is just a little background information on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the mill above.
 
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and an All-American Road which is the longest linear park in the United States running for 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina. It runs through the Appalachian Mountains from its northern terminus in Virginia at the Shenandoah National Park south through Virginia and North Carolina to its southern terminus at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Mabry Mill is a watermill located at milepost 176 of the Blue Ridge Parkway approximately 70 miles southeast of Richmond, VA. It was built in 1903 by Edwin Mabry. The mill was first a blacksmith and wheelwright shop, then a sawmill and finally a gristmill. The mill is considered to be the most photographed structure in the United States. 
 
Now, let's paint!
 
 
The watercolor above was painted on Arches 140 lb. cold press paper. 
 
Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (size of your choice)
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: flat and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Paint:
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Yellow ocher
  • Sap Green
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Sepia
  • Burnt Umber
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Payne's Gray
  • Van Dyke Brown

 
 


 


Painting Instructions:
I sketched this drawing on my watercolor paper. However, if you feel you may need to erase multiple times, you may want to drawn on a piece of sketch paper and transfer your completed sketch to the watercolor paper. I discuss how this can be accomplished in my blog of May 11, 2016.

As a reminder: Multiple erasures can damage watercolor paper and cause pooling of water as well as differences in the way the paint is absorbed into or on the paper. Deep sketch marks will show up in a finished painting, even if they are erased. Correct perspective is an important part of this painting. Confirm that you like the perspective that you have executed in your sketch before you start painting. A poorly executed sketch done in a hurry cannot be overcome no matter how great a job one does with the paint.

Let's Paint!

Sky and Background Foliage:
Wet the sky from the top down to where the sky meets the buildings and the horizon using clean water. Using a wash of Cerulean Blue, apply the paint working from the top of the painting down to the horizon allowing the intensity of the color to become lighter.

While the sky is still wet, drop in a small amounts of Sap Green, Burnt Sienna and Yellow to paint in the shapes of the trees. This was early fall so there were hints of color change in the background trees. Allow to dry. Using a liner brush add in some tree trunks and branches in various locations. Refer to finished painting above. 


 




 
How to Paint Old Wood:
Wet the wood area with clean water and apply a place wash of yellow ochre, Payne's gray, and sepia. Drop in the colors in various locations. Some areas can even remain without color. Since the area was wet before the paint was applied, the color will run and blend.

Let this dry. Using a flat brush with the bristles fanned out slight, dry brush in wavy grain lines with a wash of Sepia and Payne's gray.

Let this dry and use a fine liner brush and draw in a few lines to further indicate the wood grain.
Don't forget to deepen the color in the shadows under the roof line.








 

Mill:
Paint the mill siding and roof as above in the "How to Paint Old Wood" section. After the initial wash drives, add a few lines to indicate shingles. Do not paint each individual shingles/siding. Allow to dry.

Mill Run:
Using Payne's Gray, Sepia and Burnt Umber paint the mill run using various intensities of paint.
Refer to the photo above for the deeper areas. Use a clean brush to remove the paint for the posts. I originally thought I would mask out the posts with masking fluid, but decided that I preferred the indistinct quality of the posts. Allow to dry.

Mill Wheel:
Use a clean dry brush and painting wet on dry, paint the wheel with Burnt Umber. Add Payne's Gray for the water paddles and between the spokes of the wheel. Keep these lines fairly straight, but do not go completely top to bottom, leave a few gaps. Allow to dry. Using a utility knife and referencing the finished painting above, scrape in the water cascading down the paddles to the pond below.

Mill Pond:
Using a wash of Ultramarine Blue and Cerulean Blue Refer to the painting above. Painting wet on wet, drop in paint for the reflections from the mill, stone wall and grasses on the bank using the same colors. Let the colors mingle for the reflections. Use a deeper shade of blue at the base of the water wheel. Allow to dry. Use the utility knife to scrape in some water splotches at the bottom of the water wheel to show reflected lift from the water as it enters the pond.

Foreground Grasses and Foliage by the Mill Run:
Using Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber and Ultramarine, paint wet on wet. Refer to painting above for colors and placement. Allow to dry.

Finishing touches:
Using a mix of Payne's Gray and Burnt Umber, add the split rail fence on the left side background. 
Using Sap Green deepened with Ultramarine, add some taller grasses near the edge of the pond.
Using a sponge and various shades of green mixed from Sap Green, Yellow Ochre and Ultramarine, add the foliage on the building.

Look over your painting and paint any finishing details you would like to add. Then, sign your painting!

Congratulations!

Happy Painting!
Karen






 
     







Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Simple Christmas Acrylic Painting

Bringing Home the Perfect Tree
an acrylic painting
16" x 20"

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


A Simple Christmas Acrylic Painting

 

Sometimes a simple painting can be the perfect decorative item for your home during the winter months.  The acrylic painting above, Bringing Home the Perfect Tree, is an example of just that. 

 

What says winter and Christmas more than snow, a sled and an evergreen tree?  This simple version is painted as a “sketch” with even a few pencil marks showing for the scale of the sled.    The painting shows movement and allows one’s imagination to come to life in the painting….it encourages one to use imagination to tell the story of the painting  through the sled and tree moving off of the painting on the right. 

 

Supplies Needed:
Canvas panel:  I used a 16” x 20” white primed stretched canvas

Brushes:  flat and round  (sizes of your choice)

Paint:

  • White
  • Black
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Medium Orange
  • Cadmium Red Lt.
  • Crimson
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Raw Umber
  • Sap Green 
     
    Note:  Learning to mix colors is an important part of achieving harmonious colors in your paintings.  Practice mixing the paint rather than using a premixed color. 

  • Brown can be mixed from the colors above (red, yellow and blue or orange and blue).
  • Green can be mixed from the colors above (yellow and blue).
 
Painting Instructions:
Lightly sketch the sled on the canvas with detail given to the sled runners.  Refer to painting above.

Snow:
Using a flat brush, lay in the snow areas of your painting.  Snow is not only “white.”  Notice the shadows in the snow (especially under the sled) and add a little black to make gray or a little bit of blue paint.  See where the snow was compacted under the sled runners?  Painting those areas with a white mixed with blue or black will show those shadows.  The snow under the sled is also in shadow from the tree.    Paint a light wash of white over the pencil marks around the sled, allowing these markings to show through the paint. 
 
Sled:
The sled is painted in various shades of brown mixed from Raw Umber as well as a brown mix from orange and blue.  White and/or yellow can be added to lighten the shades of brown.  Blue can be added to deepen the shade or brown.  Black can be used sparingly to add shadow on the runners.  Work with the colors and refer to the painting above for shadows and light. 
 
Evergreen Tree:
Trunk:  Block in the truck with Raw Sienna and come back over the top and add in darker and lighter areas of brown to indicate the bark on the trunk.  This does not need to be detailed.
Branches:
Prepare several shades of green paint before starting to paint the branches.  The branches will be shades of light, medium and dark green to show light and shadow.  Using either a large round brush or a flat brush, paint the branches in a sweeping motion painting from bottom to top.  Add layer on layer of varying greens to make the tree realistic.  Again, this is not detailed – step back from your painting to view your painting and see where you need to add paint.  Let some background white snow show through. 
 
Details:
Check the sled for any details you would like to add.  The snow can be deepened and movement can be created in the background snow using shadows to show “humps” in the now.  Rarely is snow on a completely flat surface.   The “pencil marks” can be enhanced by using a liner brush and painting these sketch marks. 
 
You can make this painting your own by add
 
Sign your painting!  Congratulations!

Happy Painting!
Karen
 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Painting Leaves with Salt



Winter Trees
9" x 12" watercolor painting



Salt Technique to Paint Fall Leaves in Watercolor

 

Many techniques can be used to create leaves and foliage in watercolor painting.  In the watercolor above, salt was used to create the leaves.    This blog entry will discuss the technique for using salt in watercolor painting. 

 

Salt can be used to create interesting patterns in the paint for various subjects.   When salt is scattered into wet watercolor paint, the salt absorbs the water in the paint pulling the pigment across the paper in abstract patterns.   All sizes and types of salt can be used.  However, remember the bigger the piece of salt, the more it will absorb and the larger the abstract patter you will achieve. 

 

I wanted abstract patterns in the background and leaves with only a definite shape in my tree trunks.  I selected blues, golds and orange as my dominate background colors.  The trees are a nice contrast in white.  Select whatever colors you would like in your background and foliage and let’s get started painting! 

 

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper – your choice of size – I used a 9” x 12” piece of 140# Arches watercolor paper
Masking Tape
Watercolor board

Salt – small grain table salt as well as larger, coarse grain salt

Masking Fluid and old brush
Brushes:  flat and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Paint:

  • Yellow Ocher
  • Windsor Blue
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Payne’s Gray
  • Sepia

  • I made green from mixing the colors above (yellow ocher and Windsor Blue).  Green made from mixing the colors used in the painting make for a more harmonious color blend.
  • Also, the brown in the painting was mixed from the blue and burnt sienna. 
 
 
Painting Instructions:
Sketch only the tree trunks.  The darker branches will be painted in last.   Apply masking fluid on the areas of the tree trunks you want to remain white.  I left a break in the trunks to allow the foliage to cover parts of the trunk.   Allow the masking fluid to dry.
 

Foliage and Background:
Wet the entire area of your paper with clean water.  Using the painting above as a guide or painting as you would like, drop in deep concentrations of watercolor.   Leave some areas of the paper white.  Let the colors mix on your paper.  While the paint is still wet, drop in the salt.  I used both small grain and coarse grain salt.  The coarse grain salt was used where I wanted larger “leaves” – mainly out the outside edges of the painting.  The finer grains were used in the center section of the painting and along the bottom edge. 
When the paint is dry, gently rub off the salt.

 
Tree Trunks:
Remove the masking fluid.  Each tree truck is painted separately.  If the trunks touch, let one dry before painting the adjoining tree.  Wet each trunk with clean water.  While still wet, use a round brush and Payne’s Gray and/or Sepia, and apply the paint along the right side of the trunk.  The water will pull the paint across the trunk leaving a dark line on the right side of the tree.  A pale wash of Windsor Blue also be added on the trunk for additional shadows and to tie in with the background. Allow to dry.  When dry, use the same color paint and make small lines and indentations on the trunk. 
 
Branches
The branches were painted using a small round brush and Payne’s Gray and Sepia paint.  These can be added randomly; or if you are uncomfortable with only using your brush, the branches can be added with a pencil and then the paint applied. 

Details:
The only details I added were a few spatters of “leftover paint” on my palette.  A few spatters of green, orange or brown.  If you do add spatter, be certain to cover your tree trunks so that they remain white.
 
Sign your painting!  Congratulations!



Happy Painting!
Karen