Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daffodils Are Blooming - It's Almost Spring!

Daffodils are blooming here in West Tennessee--daffodils and sunflowers are my two favorite flowers. If daffodils are not blooming where you are, paint the picture above and bring an early Spring into your home!

This painting uses a technique that gives the painted picture a batik-look achieved without the traditional batik use of wax.

Batik is a wax resist dyeing technique used on textiles usually found in several countries of West Africa, such as Nigeria, Cameroon, and Mali, and in Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia, and Thailand. In Indonesia it is considered a national art form.

Instructions for painting this picture using this technique:
1. Do not tape down your paper before you sketch. Sketch in the flowers and leaves with little detail. Make the pencil lines dark enough on the flowers to be seen after the crumpling and wetting technique, but do not press hard enough to indent or scratch the paper.

2. Here's the hard part.....crumple the paper up in a ball as though you were going to throw it away. Concentrate on making wrinkles in all ares of the paper without tearing it....crumple it easily.

3. Submerge the paper ball into water making certain it is evenly wet. Remove from the water and unfold carefully. Smooth onto your sketch board and tape along the edges. The tape will not stick well to the wet surface; however, it will hold enough to keep the paper in place.

4. While the paper is still very wet, float in the background of green and blue working around the flowers. Use a large flat brush or mop to place in the background except for working around the flowers. Use a #6 round or similar size brush to work in the background around the flowers.

5. Let this dry COMPLETELY!

6. Once the background is dry, paint in the flowers using a wet-in-wet technique. Some of the blue and green from the background will be found in the wrinkles and creases of the paper and will look like veins in the flower petals. Also the wrinkles and creases will allow the flower colors to bleed into other ares. Don't despair that is what you want to happen and is part of the beauty of this technique.

7. The leaves are painted in only after the flowers are dry. If your leaves have become hidden under the washes, lightly sketch in some leaves. Using a mix of colors: gold, green, and blue - add leaves using deeper colors to indicate shadows. Some of the leaves are simply painted with a wash of water to lift paint and give the appearance of flowers fading into the background.

8. The painting can be matted on top of a mat board with a torn edge in keeping with the batik look.

Enjoy creating an early Spring at your house!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

First Aid or Watercolor Painting? Part 2

The following will answer a question from Gin on how to paint the picture below:

The large trees are masked in using liquid masking fluid before any watercolor is placed on the paper. Then I painted in the following order:
1. The sky was put in down to the background foliage. The mountains were added on top of the sky at a later step.
2. The background foliage was added using the surgical gauze technique.
3. The background mountains and distant evergreens were added.
4. The snow shadows were floated in.
5. The masking was removed from the foreground trees and then they were painted.
6. Details were added last.

First Aid or Watercolor Painting?

When you see the photo above, you might wonder if my blog today is about first aid. Actually, this blog discusses a watercolor texturization technique using surgical gauze. The background foliage in my painting above titled, Winter Aspens, uses this technique.

Adding texture to a painting can be accomplished in many ways. One interesting way to add texture is the use of surgical gauze.

How and why does it work?
The gauze will absorb the paint and leave a mark when lifted. The difference in color from light to dark formed by the weave of the gauze will leave an interesting design.

What is important to remember when using this technique?
Manipulation of the gauze to make irregular patterns will create more interesting designs. The watercolor paper must be wet to hold the gauze in place before the paint is applied.

When should this technique be used?
This technique can be used to create spider webs, foliage, basket weave, etc.

How to texturize using surgical gauze
(1)Wet your watercolor paper with clear water. This will hold the gauze in place.
(2)Use a single layer of gauze if your gauze is doubled.
(3)Using your hands, manipulate the gauze into place purposely placing it irregularly on your painting unless a regular pattern is desired.
(4)Rewet any areas that may have dried.
(5)Using a flat brush, apply the paint. One single color or several colors can be used depending on the result you are trying to achieve.
(6)Let the gauze dry and remove it.
(7)Add any details with a round brush if there are areas that are not the consistent color or pattern you would like.

Texturization can add much detail and interest to you paintings and create designs that are not achieved easily by other methods. Use of surgical gauze is one of these methods.

Watercolor Tip on Using Surgical Gauge
Buy the cheapest gauze you can find. I purchased a name brand gauze and I am certain it would do a wonderful job on bandaging on injury. However, it had too many "good" qualities for painting. The best type gauze is one that contains no elastic or other material to make it return to its original shape. My first attempt using this gauge resulted in it returning to its original shape after it dried....while on my painting. I crept back to its original shape and did not leave the desired marks on my paper.

In addition to rolled gauze, gauze pads can also used.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Breakfast Anyone?

The painting above is a fun one to paint; I enjoy the way the watercolors blend.

Painting the reflections in the coffee pot is much easier than it looks. The secret is using a wet on wet wash and once the paint is applied...leaving it alone. The problem with many of us is learning when to let the paint alone instead of trying to help it along. The paint will blend and look much different when dry than it does wet.

Watercolor Tip
After sketching the coffee pot, dampen one section of the pot with clear water. Lay on stripes of color and let them bleed together. This is the tip.....leave it alone...let the paint work its magic for you.

After each section is dry, do the next section of the coffee pot in the same way.

I think you will be happy with your results. Then you can relax, and enjoy a cup of coffee!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Painting Only a Fisherman Could Love!

The painting above might be one only a fisherman could love! But, it demonstrates a technique that is useful in watercolor painting - using alcohol to add interesting texture. Alcohol was used to create the bubbles in the water surrounding the fish. The largest bubble was made using a dropper, the medium sized bubbles using a fingertip, and the smallest bubbles using a Q-Tip.

Use of alcohol is an interesting way of adding unique textures to your painting. As with most alternative techniques, the result is varied and is not easily controlled. This technique is best used when accuracy and a set result is not required. "Fish eyes" are a signature of this technique and cannot be achieved using any other technique.

How and why does it work?
Alcohol and watercolor paint do not mix well. Alcohol repels the paint pushing it away and leaving a lighter tint of the wash exposed. The results of this "fight" on the paper are organic in nature and not achievable using any other technique.

What is important to remember when using this technique?
The alcohol must be added while the wash is still wet. As the wash dries and the water evaporates, the result is not as impressive. Although results can still be seen as the wash dries, once the peak time of wetness has passed, the results are not as dramatic.

When should this technique be used?
This technique can be used in many ways to give the illusion of bubbles either int he water or on the surface of a point, lake, etc. The technique also lends itself to mossy surfaces on trees or rocks or ground surface in boggy areas. This technique is only limited by your imagination. Once you have used this technique and know the look that is achieved, it can be incorporated in many different ways.

How to texturize using alcohol:
  • Lay in a wash using colors of your choice - deeper colors show more dramatic, purple, red, brown, etc.
  • The alcohol can be applied by fingertips, dropper, or a Q-Tip.
  • While the wash is still wet, drop or tap the alcohol directly into the wash.
  • As the wash continues to dry, continue to drop in alcohol for a variety of effects.
  • You will notice a "fish eye" effect in the middle of most of the lighter areas when the color slightly darkens.

Use as much or as little of the alcohol you would achieve the results you want...have fun!