Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pier Sunrise


Pier Sunrise
11" x 14" Watercolor
Karen A. Cooke









As summer is coming to a close and thoughts are turning to fall, I thought I would paint one more memory from the beach.  The above painting is a view of the sunrise at the pier looking across at the shore where the land juts out.  The fishing boats have already headed out for their day on the water, the tourists have not stirred from the hotels and it is just the sun, the ocean and the birds out this early on the pier.  So, now to capture this scene to bring back memories when the snow is falling outside. 
 
Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper  (size of your choice)
(The watercolor above is a 11" x 14" done on Arches 140 lb. cold press paper.) 
Masking Tape
Masking Fluid with applicator or old brush
Watercolor board
Brushes:  flat and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Paint:
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Windsor Blue
  • Medium Yellow
  • Light Yellow
  • Cadmium Red
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Sap Green, if desired
  • Sepia
  • Paynes Gray
  • Van Dyke Brown
Painting Instructions:
Sketch:
Tape the watercolor paper to your board with masking tape to prevent buckling of the paper.  This painting will use a wet on wet technique for the sky and the ocean which will get your paper extremely wet.


Sketch the painting.  Using the photo above for reference, lightly sketch the picture.  Use a ruler to draw the straight lines of the pier. 


Using the masking fluid, mask in the sun, a few of the clouds (the ones painted yellow or peach only), and the reflection of the sun on the water.  Mask the yellow light at the top of the lamp post.   Allow to dry.




Sky:
Prepare the following washes for the sky area:
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Peach - mixed from Cadmium Red, Cadmium Orange and Yellow
Place a small wedge under your watercolor board or prop your painting up for a slight tilt.  Wet the area of the sky from the top down to the horizon with clean water.    Starting at the top and working down use a dark Cerulean Blue wash at the top moving down without adding additional paint to the midpoint of the sky.  Dip your brush in water and paint one time across the last brush stroke of blue to lighten it.  Rinse the brush.  Using a wash of light peach work from the lightest blue down to the horizon with the deepest peach at the horizon.  Allow to dry.




Note:  You will be painting over the top of your sketch since all the other colors in this painting are darker than the sky and the sketch will be seen through the wash you have applied.    This will make for a smooth transition of color. 




Ocean:
Wet the ocean with clean water.  Using the same colors you used for the sky, apply in the reverse order:  peach at the horizon moving to darker blue at the bottom of the painting.


This can be painted in one of 2 ways:
  1. Start at the horizon and work down to the bottom of the page, or
  2. Turn the painting with the bottom at the top and work from the top down to the horizon.
Use which ever method works better for you. 




Note:  Increase the intensity of the peach/orange at the location of the sun - both in the sky and on the water.




Allow to dry.




Land (horizon):
Prepare a wash of a light purple using a mix of blue and Cadmium Red.  Paint the distant land mass on the left side working to the right where it meets the trees on the nearer shore.  Prepare a wash of Vandyke Brown and paint the trees on the right shore.  Allow to dry.  Prepare a wash of Sepia and apply using a dabbing stroke to indicate tree foliage on the right hand side.  Make this random and let the lighter brown wash show through in various places.  Deepen the foliage area at the base of the shoreline.    Allow to dry.




Sun and Clouds:
Sun: Remove the masking fluid from the sun and the clouds.  Wet the sun with clean water and apply the Light Yellow paint at the edges of the circle for the sun.  Note:  Leave the top center of the sun white. You can add a bit of green flash to the sun using a touch of green - wait until almost dry to add the green so that it will not spread into the entire area.  Allow to dry. 


Sun Reflection in the water:
Using light yellow drop in the sun's reflection, again leaving some of the area in the center white paper.  Allow to dry. 


Clouds:
Using peach and yellow, paint in the clouds that were masked.   Use the photo above for reference.
Paint the other clouds using the purple paint used in the previous step for the land on the horizon.  Vary the shapes of the clouds.  Allow to dry.




Pier, Posts and Light:
Pier:
Using a wash of Sepia and Paynes Gray, paint the pier in a wet on dry method.  If you feel your brush may be unsteady and your bridge lines wavy, apply masking tape on both sides of the rails of the pier to paint.  This will ensure a straight line.  Remove the masking tape immediately after painting to prevent any bleeding of paint under the tape. 


Pier Supports:
Paint the pier supports (vertical posts) in the same method as above.  However, these posts will be darker in color since they are in the shadow of the pier. 


Lamp Post:
Paint the lamp post and lantern using the same colors as the pier.  Keep the center white.  When the lamp post drives paint in the yellow light on each side of the lantern.  Leave a bit of white in the center.  Allow to dry. 




Rocks in the water:
Paint the rocks using a wash of Sepia and Paynes Gray.  Each rock is done separately.  First, wet the rock with clean water and paint the rocks with Paynes Gray and drop in Sepia and Ultramarine blue in various locations on the rocks to add texture and shadow.  Allow to dry.




Water and Pier shadows:
Water and Waves:
Prepare a wash of Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine and Windsor Blue.  Working from the bottom of the painting and from right to left, use the darkest shades of blue to paint in waves and shadows around the rocks.  The darkest colors of blue are used to paint the water under the pier in the shadowed area. 

Prepare a wash of the peach and paint the waves in the top section of the painting with the peach and the lightest blue (Cerulean).  Add a few peach waves in the darker areas of the waves to show where the sun is hitting the water.  Allow to dry.




Pier shadows:
Using a wash of the same colors used to paint the pier supports, paint in broken lines for shadows moving down toward the bottom of the paper.  Refer to photo for reference.  Allow to dry.




Details:
Look over your painting and add any details you feel are needed.




Sign your painting!  Congratulations!  You can now take a trip to the beach any time you would like.....from your nice, warm home when the weather is stormy, snowy and cold! 




Happy Painting!
Karen













Thursday, September 22, 2016

It’s a Wrap! Plastic Wrap, that is!

Poolside
Watercolor Painting
9" x 12"



The watercolor painting above is painted from a little different perspective to add interest to a common swimming pool setting.    The view looks down on the pool from a higher viewpoint (bird's eye view) – from a balcony or other area above the pool. 

 

The focus is on the water in this painting.  The texture is added by a watercolor painting technique using plastic wrap.  The swimmer enjoying the pool is painted in a more impressionistic style rather than photographic.  The emphasis, again, is on the water and light reflections. 

 

Supplies needed:

Watercolor paper (140 lb. - I like Arches) Size of your choice; I used 9" x 12"

Brushes - flat brush, round brush
Masking Fluid and old brush or applicator
Masking tape
Plastic wrap


Paint: 
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Ultramarine
  • Windsor Blue
  • Burnt Umber
  • Crimson
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Vandyke Brown
  • Paynes Gray


Painting Instructions:
The sketch or setting up the painting:
Sketch the swimmer slightly to the right of center and to the upper half of the paper.  Do not make this detailed.  The shape is all that is needed.  The small amount of detail that is painted is done with shades of paint only. 

Drawn very light horizontal lines in the top third of the painting to indicate the location of the shelf at the edge of the pool.    There are three lines:  the top line indicates the top edge of the pool; the middle line is the shallow area or ledge where the swimmer's arms are resting and last line indicates the shelf where the swimmer is sitting below which is the deeper water of the pool.  These areas will be lighter or darker to indicate the depth of the water. 

Mask the swimmer including the hat.  Allow to dry.

Painting the water:
Prepare washes of the following shades of blue:
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Windsor Blue
  • Ultramarine
Wet the painting and paint quickly in the following order:
  1. Paint from bottom to top with a wash of Cerulean Blue with the deepest color at the bottom and moving to mostly white at the top.  Add clean water as you move from bottom to top.
  2. Drop in deep shades of Ultramarine and Windsor Blue in random locations -  the lightest colors at the top with the exception of the deep shadow behind the swimmer.  Use deeper blues around the swimmer for shadows. 
  3. While the paint is still wet, press a scrunched up piece of plastic wrap on top of the wash.  Tape in place and allow to dry. 
It will take longer than usual for the paint to dry covered with the plastic wrap.  Resist the urge to peek at the results as movement of the plastic wrap will disturb the pattern. 

When dry, remove the plastic wrap and see how the plastic wrap created your light reflections in the pool. 

Very light lines are painted across the various ledges of the pool as shown in the finished painting above.

Painting the Swimmer:
The swimmer is very impressionistic and the only parts that are seen are the legs, arms and shoulders (hands and feet are covered by water and are very blurry and indistinct).   Prepare washes of the following colors to paint flesh tones:
  • Burnt Umber
  • Crimson
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Vandyke Brown
  • Paynes Gray
Using a round brush and a very light wash of Burnt Umber paint one body part at a time.  Add darker colors to indicate shape and shadows.    Refer to the painting above to contour the shape of the body using various shades of the above colors.    Allow to dry.

To indicate the water covering parts of the swimmer, add a very light wash of Cerulean Blue across random areas of the arms and legs.  Allow to dry.

Painting the Hat:
Wet the hat with clean water.  Paint the band of the hat with Cerulean Blue and allow to blur slightly.  Add shadows with Paynes Gray and a touch of Crimson as well as Cerulean Blue.  Keep the circular shape of the hat with the way the shadows are painted.  Allow to dry.  If needed, go back and repaint sections of the band to give more emphasis to the shape.  Allow to dry.

Details:
Using a wash of dark blue either Ultramarine or Windsor Blue or a combination of both, spatter the water in the pool.  Be certain to cover the swimmer with a piece of paper towel before spattering.
Allow to dry.

Using a utility knife, scratch in some white highlights, if needed. 

Deepen shadows around the swimmer with a wash of the darker blue, if needed.    Do not overwork the water in the pool or the design of the plastic wrap will be removed.

Sign your painting.  Congratulations - it's a wrap!

Happy Painting!
Karen







Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Right Track

The Right Track


The Right Track
Watercolor painting
11" x 14"



I have always enjoyed old train depots and imaging the many travelers and their destinations.  One can sense the hustle and bustle and excitement in these old building.  So, when I saw this old train station when on vacation, I knew I had to paint it.  I specifically left off the name of the city as well as changing the landscape up slightly (artistic license, of course) so that this old train depot could be a depot in any town or city.....all with the same excitement and history....and melancholy of a day gone by.








The watercolor above is a 11" x 14" done 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
  • Crimson
  • Paynes Gray
  • Van Dyke Brown
"Kleenex" tissue or paper towels












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 for both the tracks and the depot.  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:
Wet the sky from the top down to where the sky meets the mountains on 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.  Using a tissue or piece of paper towel, remove some of the sky color to indicate clouds. 






While the sky is still wet, drop in a small amount of yellow ochre at the horizon and let it blend into the light area of sky.  Allow to dry.






Note:  It is not necessary to use masking fluid to mask out the telephone phone since you will be painting a darker color over the top of the light blue sky. 








Mountains/Trees and Background Foliage:
Mountains:  Prepare a wash of purple for the mountains using Ultramarine Blue and Crimson and paint the mountains. 






Trees and Background Foliage:
The taller trees were painted using Sap Green and Yellow Ochre.  The smaller trees/bushes were painted using Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre.  Wet this area first with clean water and paint in the trees with a round brush and allow the edges of the trees to blend together.  Drop in some Sepia to deepen the color of the tree leaves in random places.  Allow to dry.   Tree limbs and tree trunks can bee added after the foliage has dried.  The evergreen trees on the right side of the background were painted after the other trees had dried with a mix of Sap Green and Ultramarine to make a rich shade of green.    Again allow to dry. 






Train Depot:
I painted the train depot next starting with the roof and working my way down. 


Roof:  Using a wash of Paynes Gray and Ultramarine, paint each roof segment separately.  Refer to the painting above for shadows, etc.   After the initial wash drives, add a few lines to indicate shingles.  Do not paint each individual shingle.  Allow to dry.






Depot:  The depot is made of old and weathered wood.
Painting old wood is easy to do using a mix of different muted colors.



Here's how:
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 and on the right side of the painting.




Train tracks:
Using Paynes Gray, Sepia and Burnt Umber paint the tracks in the following order:
Paint the vertical rains first, using Paynes Gray for the "silver" shine on the rail.  Allow to dry.
Using shades of Sepia and Burnt Umber, add the sides of the rails.  Allow to dry.




Tresses:
The wooden tresses are painted using a wash of Sepia and Paynes Gray.  Wet the area first and add the wash.  When the wash has almost completely dried, use the edge of your flat brush and add the darker lines of the tresses.  Keep these lines fairly straight, but do not go completely from one side to the other, leave a few gaps.  Paint these both inside and outside of the rails.  Allow to dry.




Sidewalk:
Using a wash of Paynes Gray and painting wet on wet, add the sidewalk deepening the color on the edges and where the sidewalk and building meet.  Refer to the painting above.  Allow to dry.




Foreground:
Working from back to front and left to right, wet the area with clear water.  Near the trees in the background drop in Burnt Sienna and move forward with a wash of Sepia and Paynes Gray.  Leave some areas unpainted and/or very light.  On the right side foreground paint the grasses  using Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber near the building and drop in some Sap Green.  While still wet, add a few lines of Sepia using the edge of your flat brush. 




While this area is still wet, spatter with Paynes Gray this section.  Cover all areas of the painting except for the foreground dirt and grasses with paper towels so that the spatter of paint does not spill on the tracks or the building.  Allow to dry.




Using a wash of Sepia and Van Dyke Brown, paint in the utility pole and the wooden supports on the depot.  Allow to dry. 




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




Congratulations!




Happy Painting!
Karen













Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Appalachian Bald


Appalachian Bald

 
Appalachian Bald
Watercolor
5" x 7"






 
The painting above is a bald which was painted from a photo taken during a hike in the spring.  This would have been a fun one to have painted plein air; however, I did not have my painting equipment with me.....so a camera had to capture the moment for me to paint later.
 
Balds are mountain meadows covered by native grasses or shrubs occurring in areas where heavy forest growth would ordinarily be expected.  These mountain meadows are called balds in the Appalachian mountains as the one above in the Great Smoky Mountains.
 
The watercolor above is a 5" x 7" done on Arches 140 lb cold press paper. 
 
Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes:  flat and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Paint:
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Windsor Blue
  • Yellow ocher
  • Sap Green
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Medium Yellow
  • Sepia
  • Burnt Umber
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Crimson
Tissue




Painting Instructions:
Sketching:  Yes or No?
This painting can be painted without sketching at all.  However, if you feel more comfortable with a sketch on your paper, make a very basic sketch of the mountains/horizon.  The tallest mountain on the right is about one third of the way down the paper and the distant mountain on the left is only slightly shorter. 




Note:  The mountain on the left side of the paper is in the distance and is lighter in color.  The mountain on the right is in the near distance and is darker in color. 


Do not sketch in the trees as they will be done after the sky and mountains have been painted.




Sky:
Using a flat brush, wet the sky area first with clean water and painting wet on wet, use Cerulean Blue to paint in the sky allowing the color to be darker at the top and become lighter as you paint down towards the mountains.  On the left side of the painting where the sky touches the mountain, drop in yellow ocher and allow the colors to blend.  While the paint is still wet, use a tissue to remove some of the paint to create clouds.  Allow to dry.




Mountains:
Using a flat brush, wet the mountain area on the left side.  Using a wash of Windsor Blue paint the mountain varying the wash from dark at the bottom of the mountain to lighter at the top.  While still wet, drop in a light wash of Crimson to mix with the blue to create purple.  At the very top, a small amount of yellow ocher can be  added as well.  Allow to dry. 




Wet the mountain on the right side.  Using Sap Green paint, the mountain from top down to the start of the meadow.  While still wet, drop in Ultramarine and Burnt Umber in various locations to add some texture to the mountains.    Allow to dry.




Bald:
The bald is painted using bands of Yellow Ocher, Medium Yellow, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.  As well as bands of green grasses painted in Sap Green, Burnt Umber and Ultramarine.




Using a round brush, lay in the yellow areas first using a wet wash of Yellow Ocher and dropping in touches of Medium Yellow, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.  Refer to the painting above for placement.




Then paint in the areas of green grasses using predominately Sap Green and dropping in touches of Burnt Umber and Ultramarine.




Notice a dry area of dirt is located on the lower left side at the bottom of the painting.  Using a pale wash of Burnt Umber, paint this in with a round brush leaving areas unpainted.    Allow to dry.




Note:  Leave some area unpainted in the bald for highlights.   



When the bald area grasses are dry, use the flat brush with the bristles fanned out  pull in some individual pieces of grass.  You can also use the tip of your round brush to pull in the grasses.  Allow to dry.




Trees:
Decide on placement for your evergreen trees.   Using the edge of your flat brush, paint a narrow line from the top of the trees down to the bottom with Burnt Umber.  Using a mix of the following colors, use the flat brush to randomly dab in the branches of the trees. 




Tree washes:
Sap Green
Sap Green and Ultramarine to made a dark evergreen color
Sap Green and Medium Yellow
Sap Green and Yellow Ocher


Paint each tree using the directions above varying the heights of all of the trees. 


Allow to dry.




Check your painting for any details you would like to add.




Sign your painting!  Congratulations!




Happy Painting!
Karen




 
 
 
 
 
 





Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Let It Flow!



Let It Flow!



Along the Switchback Trail
Watercolor painting
9" x 12"



The watercolor painting above was painted in a method considered "spontaneous" painting.  Spontaneous painting is done without an initial sketch using washes of paint;  and the paint is simply allowed to flow. Spontaneous painting is done quickly while the paint is still wet, so be certain to give yourself enough time to paint without interruption. 






Although there is no sketch,  one must have a subject in mind or one will wind up with just an abstract painting.  And that is OK too as long as that is what you want.






I spend a lot of time hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains and see rocks exposed on the mountain side, often with water flowing down them when it rains.  This is not a painting of a waterfall, simply a mountainside with rocks exposed due to ground erosion from rain over the course of time.  I did not want details in the painting, but wanted to emphasize the exposed rocks on the mountainside and the trees at the top.  This is a view from a switchback on a trail looking up to the next level of the switchback. 






Supplies needed:
Watercolor paper (140 lb. - I like Arches) Size of your choice; I used 8" x 10"
Brushes - flat brush, round brush and liner brush
Masking Fluid and old brush or applicator
Utility Knife


Paint: 
  • Sap Green
  • Sepia
  • Yellow Ocher
  • Ultramarine
  • Paynes Gray
  • Burnt Sienna
Painting Instructions:
The instructions below are for painting a version of my example above.  Feel free to use a subject of your choice and follow the general directions for spontaneous painting.






Since my objective was to emphasize rocks on the mountainside, I started by masking in some rock shapes cascading downward from the horizon to the lower right side of the paper.  Mask only the larger rocks, as the smaller ones will be lifted out with a wet brush.   I also masked in some of the grasses at the middle horizon to save area for lighter paint and highlights.     Allow the masking to dry.






Wet your paper and while still wet, drop in the following washes of color.   Look at the example above as you perform each step for additional guidance.   Feel free to pick up your painting and help the paint to "flow" by tilting in the direction you would like movement. 
  • Down the middle of the paper moving from middle to right, drop in a deep wash of Ultramarine Blue, add some Paynes Gray
  • While the above is still wet, drop in Sap Green on the outside edges of the blue above,  pulling with your brush to the edges and down. 
  • Drop in Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna at the bottom left and on the left and right sides of the horizon.
  • While the paint is still wet, add some spatter of Ultramarine Blue and Paynes Gray in the area below the horizon and in the rocks and while spaces.  Allow to dry. 
  • Working now from the horizon up, drop in Paynes Gray and Ultramarine near the horizon pulling paint to both left and right.
  • While the paint is still wet, drop in Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna on both sides.
  • Using a flat brush, paint in the tree foliage with a mix of Sap Green and Ultramarine Blue to make a deep green.  Pull the foliage out with the tip of the brush allowing white spaces to show between the branches.  Allow to dry.
  • Using Sepia and Paynes Gray and a round brush, paint in the tree trunks around the foliage.  Vary the color lighter and darker on the trunks for shadows and texture. 
  • Using the tip of the round brush and the same color paint, add some limbs, and distant trees.  Allow to dry. 
  • Remove the masking fluid from the rocks and the grasses.
  • Wet each rock one at a time with clean water.  Drop in various mixes of paint from your palette of Ultramarine, Sepia, Paynes Gray and Sap Green/Ultramarine mix.   Don't put too much paint on each rock or they will not stand out from the background. 
  • Using clean water and a round brush, lift rock shapes in and around the rocks which were masked to indicate rocks in shadow or partially exposed. 
  • Using the tip of a round brush, add a few cracks in the rock with Paynes Gray. 
  • Wet the masked foliage at the horizon and drop in Burnt Sienna.  Allow the water to pull this paint up into the masked foliage shapes.  Drop in a very small amount of Paynes Gray and Ultramarine at the base of the foliage and allow the colors to blend.  Allow to dry. 
  • When all paint has dried, use a utility knife to pull in highlights in the foliage.  This can also be done on any rocks that may be darker than you would like.
Sign your name!  You have created a spontaneous painting!




Happy Painting!
Karen





Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Thrown Paint?

Thrown Paint - What?



View from the Trail
Watercolor
9" x 12"



The watercolor painting above was painted using a "thrown paint" technique.  It is not as messy as it sounds.  This technique lets the placement of the paint determine how your subject will be painted to some extent.  You will need a subject of some sort in mind; i.e. beach scene with ocean waves, tree with foliage, such as the one above, etc.  You are only limited by your imagination.   


The areas of the painting to remain light are masked.  then the washes for the foliage are thrown on using a mop brush.    When the paint is dry, the masking fluid is removed and other shapes are painted to fit in with the shape of the thrown paint.  This is a fun technique that can result in some interesting paintings....one never knows what shape the thrown paint will take.






Supplies needed:
Watercolor paper (140 lb. - I like Arches)
Masking fluid and old brush or masking applicator
Brushes - mop brush, flat brush, round brush and liner brush
Tissues (Kleenex)
Paint: 
  • Sap Breen
  • Sepia
  • Yellow Ocher
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Ultramarine
  • Crimson
  • Paynes' Gray
Painting Instructions:
Before paint is applied to the paper, determine you basic  design.  In the painting above, I wanted a landscape with trees and a peek at the mountains in the distance and some areas of sky.




With the design in mind, made a preliminary sketch on the paper so that you will know what areas need to be masked out and what areas will receive the first step of thrown paint.    Allow the masking to dry.  Rushing this step will ultimately result in a messy painting. 




Note:  I masked tree trunks, root areas and sky.   Remember you cannot paint over the top of watercolor paint and expect coverage like one is able to do with acrylics.  Once the paint has been applied to the page, only minor lifting can be done with some paints.  Therefore, be certain to plan for enough white areas in your painting and other color light-colored areas. 








Now for the fun part - throwing paint!
Mix up washes of Sap Green, Sap Green and Yellow Ocher and Sepia.  Wet the painting area with clean water.  While still wet and using the mop brush,  "throw" on paint in the previously prepared colors to make foliage as well as areas of the ground around the lower section of the painting. 


The area on the paper you would like the paint to be applied can be controlled.    However, the way it flows and blends on the paper cannot be controlled.    Enjoy!


Relax, allow to dry!









Now the fun begins.  When the paint has dried, remove the masking fluid.  Masking fluid can be removed in several ways:
  • Rub gently with an eraser over the masking fluid.
  • Rub gently with a bare finger over the masking fluid.
  • Wrap your index finger with masking tape an tap your finger up and down and rub gently back and forth to remove the masking fluid.   The tape will pick up the masking fluid.   
Once the masking fluid has been removed, access the shape the paint has taken and move forward with your painting.   In my case, I "saw"  windswept trees along the trail with a peak of the mountains across the valley.   The next steps in the painting, are painted in the order that you would use for any other watercolor:  sky first and working down from top to bottom finishing with any details you would like to add.






If your painting turned out similar to mine, below are the steps to finishing the painting like mine.  Be careful to paint "around" the thrown paint areas so that your paint does not blend together and your edges stay sharp.  Remember, paint will flow only onto areas that are wet.  This is an important reason to wait until the paint is dry before proceeding. 






Sky:
Use Cerulean Blue work from top to bottom painting wet on wet for the sky areas.  Don't forget to paint the patches of sky that  are located in the tree settings.  Use a tissue and dab off some of the areas of paint for clouds. 




Using different colors of paint for the sky can change the tone of the painting.  Deeper blues and grays can indicate storm clouds.  Adding yellow, red and orange can indicated a sunrise or sunset...your choice. 






Mountain:
Having recently returned from a trip to Alaska, I painted "higher elevation" mountains that can be seen from a distance on a trail.  It is early summer in my painting, so there is still some snow near the top.   Simply paint around areas of the mountain to indicate snow.  I used a purple made from Ultramarine and Crimson for my mountains and added a touch of Sap Green at the bottom edge to indicate trees at the lower elevation as seen from a distance.  Allow the mountain to dry.






Trees/Roots:
Your foliage is already painted - thrown in from our first step!  Now you will need to paint the trunks and branches.


Wet the trunk of the tree and paint, one at a time, using a pale wash of Payne's Grey.  You want a very light gray shade.  While still wet, pull in some Sepia along either the left or right edge and alternate in places...deeper in shadows and a drop here and there for knots and other imperfections in the tree trunk.  Using the round brush, paint in some branches.  Refer to the photo above. 


The areas at the bottom of the tree trunks were already dark - thanks to the thrown paint in the first step.  However, the roots were masked.  Paint the roots with Paynes Gray and Sepia similar to the tree trunks.  Allow to dry. 






Foreground:
Using pale washes of Sepia, Paynes Gray and light green from your pallet, drop in the foreground colors. Allow the paint to blend.   When dry spatter a darker shade of the green and gray in the front area of the foreground. 






Details:
Look at your painting and determine what details, if any, you would like to add.  I used a liner brush and Sepia to paint in some lines on the tree trunks and in the root area. 






Sign your painting!  Congratulations!






Hope you enjoyed "throwing paint!"






Happy Painting!
Karen





Monday, August 15, 2016

Alaska Mountain Peaks

Alaska Mountain Peaks







My summer break from my blog has ended.




Summer is winding down and it is time to get back to "work!"  Although I have not been blogging during the summer months, I have been painting!    So, grab that paint brush and let's get back to work!




I did some traveling during the spring and summer and some of the paintings you will be seeing in upcoming blogs are landscapes of the beautiful scenery I enjoyed during my travels.  The painting above titled "Mountain Magic" was painted from a photo taken while traveling in Alaska.  The mountains are located in Denali National Park. 




Let's get started!  The painting above is an acrylic painted on an 12" x 16" canvas. 




Supplies needed:
Canvas (size of your choice)
Brushes - flat and round
Palette knife
Pencil/eraser


Acrylic paint in the following colors:
  • White
  • Crimson
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Black
  • Sap Green
  • Burnt Umber
  • Burnt Sienna 
  • Yellow Ochre
Painting Instructions:
As a reminder, when painting with acrylics as opposed to watercolor, the paint is applied from dark to light.  In watercolor, one paints from light to dark. 


Using the painting above for reference, lightly sketch the mountains and the lake.  This is not detailed, but just enough to indicate where the foreground and background mountains are located as well as the lake shore. 




Sky and Lake:
Using Cerulean Blue and white start painting the sky moving from dark to light down to the tops of the mountains.   Start with blue and mix in white as you move down the canvas.  Clouds will be added later with a palette knife. 


And in reverse, paint the lake moving from light down to dark with the light area where the water meets the shore. 




Mountains:
Painting the mountains using aerial perspective........


What is aerial perspective?
Aerial perspective is the optical effect that the atmosphere has on objects viewed at a long distance.
For example, in the daytime, a mountain range will usually appear bluer and lighter as it gets further and further away from us.  The air in the atmosphere contains various impurities and these act as a filter stopping certain wavelengths of light reaching our eyes.  This gives the illusion of a change of color and value.  Cool colors like blues and greens get through the ‘filter’ of air more easily than the warm colors so mountains usually appear bluer.


5 points to remember
  1. As the distance between you and the mountain increases, the contrast between the mountain and its background (usually sky) decreases.
  2. The further away a mountain is the less detailed it becomes.
  3. The color becomes less and less saturated (intense) as it disappears into the distance and becomes closer to the background color. As objects are viewed at increasing distances the color change effect is more pronounced, and (if viewed in the day) progressively from purple to blue. This will give the illusion of depth.
  4. The elements most altered by aerial perspective are the dark tones, e.g: a dark green will change more dramatically than a light green.
  5. Warm and cool – Use the power of warm and colors to add even more depth. Add a red highlight in the foreground to bring your viewers gaze forward and to heighten the effect. Warm in the foreground cools in the background
Now, let's paint!
Paint the mountains with shades of brown with the brown bordering on purple.  So mixing a brown using red, blue and yellow will achieve the result you will need.  You can add more or less of each color until you achieve the shade you will need.  Paint the mountains working from the distant mountains to the ones on the shoreline with the lighter brown in the distance.  Add shadows by deepening the nooks and crevices.


Allow the mountains to dry before adding the snow. 


Snow on the mountains:
As you will note in the photo above, the snow is not just white.  Areas of highlights and shadow are painted by adding pink or blue "snow" to certain areas of the mountains. 


Using a palette knife drag white paint down the shape of the mountains referring to the photo above.  Do not completely cover the mountains with white, allow some of the brown paint to show through.


After the white paint has dried, use the palette knife again to add blue and pink highlights and shadows to the snow on the mountains.  Again, allow some of the white and brown of the mountain show through.


Shoreline:
Dark and scrubby evergreens are found on the shoreline.  Paint these using a dark green shade which can be mixed from Sap Green and Ultramarine.  Also, prepare some lighter green by adding white and/or yellow.  I painted these using "dabbing" stokes with a small flat brush.


Lake:
The base color of the lake was painted previously.  Now you will need to add reflections from the shoreline and the mountains.  Using the same colors used to the paint the mountains and the shoreline trees, dab these colors in the lake and use short horizontal strokes to blend with the paint already applied to the lake. 


Clouds:
Using a palette knife pull in several clouds in the sky; make your placement random.


Foreground Trees:
The tall foreground trees growing up from below the edge of the canvas are black spruce.    They are tall, but skinny trees and are typical of this cold climate.  The trees must adapt to the cold and must invest a lot of energy into building\ structural tissues (wood)  which gives them a competitive advantage for light.  Leaves/needles are sometimes put at a disadvantage where resources, such as warmth and nutrients are concerned.  Therefore, the trees are tall, but scrubby with shorter branches than trees in the lower 48 states where the temperatures are warmer and light is prevalent year around. 


I decided how many and where I wanted my trees and using a round brush with brown paint, I painted a vertical down where I wanted my trees.   Using my vertical line, I started painting my trees with a flat brush and dabbed and pulled the paint from the center trunk out to the tip of the branches.  Remember these trees are sparse with the branches short and angling downward.  Vary the placement of the branches.    I used various shades of green and brown paint to create the tree branches and trunk. 


After you have finished painting the trees, step back and look at your painting to see if any highlights need to be added.


Then, sign you painting!


Congratulations!


Happy Painting!
Karen








Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How to Transfer a Drawing to Watercolor Paper

Transferred sketch 


Many changes may be needed to be made to a drawing before it is ready to be used for a painting.  Although one can draw directly onto watercolor paper, often it is better to make all the changes, erasures, etc. on sketch paper first and then transfer the final drawing onto watercolor paper using graphite transfer paper. 

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to transfer your line drawings onto watercolor paper.
Materials needed:
  • Watercolor paper and watercolor board
  • Masking tape
  • Kneaded Eraser/Pencils
  • Ruler
  • Sketch paper
  • Graphite Transfer paper
  • Your sketch
Attach your watercolor paper to your board first.

Tip:  Hold the sheet of paper up to a light and look for the brand's watermark. If it reads backwards, you are looking at the back of the paper.

Place your watercolor paper right side up on your board and attach the paper to your board by securing all four sides with masking tape.

Tip #2:  To prevent the masking tape from tearing your watercolor paper when it is removed from the board, do the following.  Before taping the watercolor paper to the board, tear off the amount of tape needed for one side of the paper.  Place the tape on your clothing (to pick up a little lint and remove some of the sticky) before taping the watercolor paper to the board.  Continue taping all 4 sides. 

Prepare your sketch.

Center your drawing over your watercolor paper and tape it at the upper left and the upper right corners. The tape will serve as hinges. Lift your drawing and lay your graphite transfer paper face-down on top of your watercolor paper. 

Using a light to medium pressure, trace a few lines of your drawing.  Lift the sketch and the transfer paper to test the pressure of your marks.  If  they are too dark, ease up a bit on the pressure exerted during the tracing.  Dark lines can be difficult to remove.  If they are too light, increase your pressure slightly.    Do not press down hard enough to indent the paper. 

Lift the sketch  and check to see if all lines were transferred.  Make certain that straight lines are straight.  These can be corrected directly on the watercolor paper using a ruler. 

When you have checked for accuracy, remove any smudges with the kneaded eraser. 

You are ready to paint!

Happy Painting!
Karen
 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Do I need to be able to actually draw? Drawing and Watercolor Painting


Drawing and Watercolor Painting

I am often presented with this question from people interested in painting:

 Can I paint without being able to draw?  I can’t draw, but I would still like to learn how to paint. 

My answer:  Yes AND No.  Let me explain in the following blog post.

 
NO:
Drawing is an essential part of all art. In watercolor painting, drawing is used as a plan in order to save the precious white areas of your painting.  Typically white paint is not used in watercolor painting.  White areas remain white because no paint is applied – white areas remain unpainted.    With a good plan and just a basic sketch you can create a successful painting. 

Drawing is a plan for your painting.  You will be painting the image; therefore, you will only need an outline of the areas and shapes you will be painting.  Shadows and shading will not be needed in the drawing; those areas will be painted.    You will want to outline the shadow area to remind you where to paint the dark and light, but the drawing is basically only for your use.  You will determine how much detail you will need to include to create your painting. 
 
Below is an example of simple design that did not require much actual drawing skills:


 
YES:
Drawing takes time and practice; and like all things, you will become more proficient the more you draw.  Basic drawing skills can be learned with a little practice.  All pictures can be broken down into their component shapes:  circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, lines.  It is simply the combination of these items that will make up your drawing.  Yes, it is that simple.   IF you are able to analyze your subject you will find the shapes mentioned above.    It is simply a matter of putting these shapes together to form the whole picture.  

 
Paintings can be abstract without  details of a photograph.  Basically, it will depend on how much detail you, the artist, are interested in putting into your painting. 

Below is an example of a painting that was drawn first on a piece of sketch paper and transferred:



 
Another question I am often asked regarding a watercolor painting:

 Do I draw directly on my watercolor paper?

 Answer:  Yes AND No

Yes:
Draw directly on your painting if you can draw your subject without needing to excessively erase.

No:
If you selected a subject that has a good deal of perspective, the drawing may be difficult to achieve without multiple erasures.  If that is the case, it is better to drawn on a piece of sketch paper and then transfer your drawing onto the watercolor paper. 

The main concern is to not “rough up” or indent the paper.  When this happens,  the paint will pool into any crevices or darken in areas that have been damaged by the eraser.   Thus, your erasure marks will be evident in your final painting. 

Happy Painting!
Karen
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How to Paint a Tile

Tile painting
Sunflower
 
How to Paint a Tile
 
 
The photo above is an example of painting a tile.  All sizes of tiles can be painted for multiple uses - from coasters to small tables, etc.  The photo below shows the steps involved in painting a tile.  All tiles regardless of the size or use will be painted using the same method. 
 
 
 
Step 1:
Determine the design you would like on your tile and cut a piece of sketch paper the size of the tile.  Wash tile with warm soapy water to remove any residue that might prevent the paint from adhering to the surface of the tile.   Allow to dry.
 
Step 2:
Transfer the pattern to the tile.  If the tile is dark in color, rub the back of your pattern with white chalk.  If the tile is light in color, you can use transfer paper.   Using a pencil, trace the design onto the tile.   
 
Step 3:
Using acrylic paint, paint the design on your tile.  Allow to dry completely.
 
Step 4:
Spray with a clear sealant to prevent the paint from wearing off. 
 
The above steps can be used in painting any tiles.  Tiles make great coasters and well as decorative kitchen trivets. 
 
Use your creativity!
 
Happy Painting!
Karen