Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Tea" Time

In the painting above, I used "tea" texture on the pottery to add some "age" and to help accentuate the crack. In addition to texture, the tea mix added color and shine.

Texturing your painting with instant iced tea mix is similar to using salt or sand. However, when instant iced tea mix is used, in addition to texture a color stain is also deposited.

The effects will vary according to the following factors:
• How wet the paint is, and
• How thickly or thinly the mix is distributed.

How and why does it work?
Iced tea mix is granulated like salt and will leave texture. Tea is very staining and will also leave a brown stain on the paper after any residue is brushed off when dry.

What is important to remember when using this technique?
Practice first before it is used on a painting so that the amount of iced tea mix and water can be determined for your specific application.

When should this technique be used?
Use this technique when a painting calls for texture and color, such as pottery, rocks, trees, leaves, etc. One of the students in my watercolor class used this technique to add texture and color to a pear in a still life she was painting. It turned out great. Tracy, hope you like the results!

Use only unsweetened tea mix - without flavors, sugar, or artificial sweetener.

Another student suggested instant coffee. I have not tried that yet, but I happen to have a sample of instant coffee which I will never drink! I'll just have to try that and see what results I get. Thanks, Susan, for the suggestion! If anyone has tried instant coffee, let me know how that works.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Using a Palette Knife with Watercolor Painting

Use of a palette knife in watercolor painting is much different than using a palette knife in oils or acrylics.

In the watercolor painting on the left titled Wake Up Call, I used a palette knife to scrap in feathers. The scaly lines in the feet are scraped in using the palette knife as well as a few veins in the grass growing through the fence.

The rooster on the right titled Fighting Mad, was painted in oils using only a palette knife - no brush at all. All paint was applied using the palette knife.

Watercolor tip
When using a palette knife with watercolor paint, you must scrap in your lines/design while the paint is still wet. A palette knife can also be used to put in small lines, such a grasses or small, fine tree limbs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Watercolor Wedgies


*Or to Incline or Not - That is the Question!

My painting above, Taos Pueblo, illustrates the use of an inclined surface to force the paint to flow as demonstrated on the bottom of the above painting.

There is a debate among watercolor artists as to whether to incline/ slant the watercolor surface when painting, or not. Some watercolor artists use easels, some use props (such as my Wedgies - photo below) and others prefer to lay the painting on a flat surface and lift as needed.

My husband made me the wedges "Wedgies" above in two different sizes so that I can increase the amount of incline that I need for a specific application. An easel can also be used or one can do something as simple as propping the painting board on a book.

Pros and Cons
• An inclined surface allows one to paint using gravity to help pull the paint down and across the page.
• An inclined surface assists in painting techniques requiring the paint to run as part of the painting process.
• An included surface helps prevent pooling of water and backruns.
• An included surface may make your paint run into areas where the artist does not want it to go!
• A flat surface allows the artist to place the paint where it needs to be and when – the artist controls the flow, not the incline.
• A flat surface can always be tilted or raised in certain parts of the painting.

What it comes down to deciding which way to go – incline or not – it is the artist’s choice. Use whichever method works for you and your painting style. There is no question….paint to fit your style!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bold Boulders

The painting above is of a lighthouse on a rocky shoreline. Lighthouses are always fun to paint. I take photos of them whenever I find one during my travels and bring those photos home to paint later if I have not had the time to paint on location.

Painting the Boulders
I used a 2 inch brush and painted background color on the boulders. I used a wet on wet technique and painted the background of the boulders in a light gray green created from a mixture of Paynes Gray and a little Crimson and Pthalo Green. I added a pale wash of Crimson, Raw Sienna, and Medium Yellow in the center to had some variety in the background of the boulders. This will only show through slightly, but will give you a hint of color and make the boulders more interesting. Let this background wash dry.

Make a thicker mixture of the gray mixture above and using a 1 inch flat brush begin to shape the rocks by painting the dark shapes. The strokes you make with determine the rock shapes. Add a dark crevice and bleed out the color using clean water to fill in the rock.

When you have finished creating your boulders, give them texture by splattering with Brunt Sienna using a toothbrush. Use a #4 or #6 round brush to add in some cracks or interesting detail.

Watercolor Tip
Be certain to let some background color in the boulders show through and let your brush stokes show as well.