Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'm ready for Spring!

I'm ready for Spring, so I decided to paint a small watercolor of poppies! I saw a photo of these flowers on a greeting card that I had purchased and made myself a quick painting before I mailed the card. That was one way to have to finish a painting quickly...I had to mail the card!

I drew a sketch of the flowers and painted the background in first working around the flowers and leaves. I did not mask the flowers or leaves. I used wet on wet for the background, but after the background had dried, I dry brushed in some darker shades of the background color to add texture. The flowers were painted using wet on wet and I allowed the paints to blend on the page. This was accomplished by dropping color into color on each petal. Paint alternating petals allowing the petals to dry. Working on the next petal before one has dried will cause the paint to run together and the petals will not be distinct and separate, but one continuous blend of color. After the petals dried, I dry brushed in some detail. The leaves and center of the flower were painted last and details were added after the paint was dry.

This is a simple and quick painting....a fun way to bring Spring into your home when the weather outside is not quite Spring-like!

Happy Painting!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gritty Textures

The painting above demonstrates the use of sand texturization to create "gritty" textures in paintings.

Any kind of sand can be used as long as it is clean and does not contain any "concrete" additives. Garden sand or play sand is what I usually use as it is easily found at a home or garden store and the remainder can be used in the garden. Fill up a container to keep in your art studio. I have even been known to dig some up in my garden when I did not have any in my studio!

After the hinge was sketched, a flat wash was applied to damp paper and allowed to dry thoroughly. This creates the base color for the hinge. I used a pale mix of indigo and burnt sienna. Over the base, stroke on a varied wash of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and touches of indigo.

Here's the fun part! Sprinkle sand over the wet wash. See example painting. This must dry completely. Remove the sand by brushing off with either your hand or an old toothbrush. The sand has created the rust on your hinge.

Finish painting the hinge using a wet on dry technique. A wet on wet technique will dissolve your rust. Do not overwork this area. Scraping paint off using a craft knife will add highlights to your painting and a little spatter will add more character.

Helpful hint: I usually put my painting in a box to sprinkle on the sand as sand just seems to get everywhere!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Garden Gate - Background foliage

Step One:

Finished Painting:

The photo above shows the first stage in painting the Garden Gate. After a rough sketch of the painting, the gate was masked in using artist's tape. The background foliage is first washed in with a light shade of green - I like Sap Green.

Watercolor tip:
I have found that Sap Green is a different shade when produced by different manufacturers (name brands). I prefer the shade of Sap Green by Grumbacher.

After the wash has been laid in and before it dries, sponge in various shades of green. Try mixing a little Ultramarine Blue with Hookers' Green and sponging that in along with a brownish green made from Sap Green and Burnt Umber along with Sap Green. This will provide depth to the painting and indicate shadows and branches. As the paint dries the sponge textures become more distinct. Don't overwork this area.

Be certain to work around the areas where the flowers will be placed.

Next week, we'll remove the tape and complete the painting.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Gauze Technique - Response to MauiArtist

I had success with the gauze technique by following the steps below.

1. I wet the paper first and then applied the gauze.
2. I applied the paint to the wet gauze. If the paper and gauze dried before I had applied all the paint, I rewet the area before applying pigment.
3. The gauze and the paper must be completely dry before removing the gauze. If the gauze is removed before it is completely dry, the texture will not be as distinct.

Hope this helps answer your question and that you have success using the method I use.

Many thanks to all my readers for the kinds comments about my blog.

Happy Painting!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Garden Gate

The above painting is one of my favorites and is the painting I am using in my beginner watercolor class this month. This one painting teaches several watercolor skills and techniques including laying down a wash, masking, sponging, spattering, etc.

Watercolor Tip:
The gate is masked to allow the background to be painted between the slats of the gate and post without fear of getting paint on the white areas. Masking is the only safe way to apply background paint without getting paint on specific areas of a painting and are applied before washes are laid down. This preserves white areas and highlights.

Areas can be masked using one of the following:

1. Artist tape
2. Liquid masking fluid (liquid frisket)

Artist tape is used when one needs to make straight lines and is much faster to apply.

Masking fluid is used for reserving areas and highlights that can't easily be painted around and which contain curved lines, dots, or are an uneven size. Always use an old brush to apply the masking fluid and rinse it immediately. Masking fluid is "painted" onto an area before the paint is applied.

In this painting I used artist tape. This tape is similar to masking tape; however, it has a special adhesive that will not tear the watercolor paper when removed. Since my garden gate was all straight lines, artist tape was the logical choice.

If you have never tried artist tape, give it a try. It will make it much easier to apply paint in small areas and to keep white areas white and paint free.