Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Since today is Halloween and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I thought a pumpkin painting would be a good blog entry. The painting above, "Pumpkin Patch" places the foreground posts and pumpkins as the focal point of the painting. This is achieved by creating an "illusion" of a pumpkin patch in the background by painting wet on wet and dropping in colors.

The posts are painted using a technique I use for painting weathered wood. I used the steps below to paint the posts:

Begin with a pale, varied wash applied to a damp surface and let it dry. Wood colors vary. Use a wash of the following colors:
 Yellow Ochre
 Payne’s Gray
 Sepia

Do not paint all washes over the top of the other washes, but blend the colors together.

Use a flat brush with the bristles fanned out slight to drybrush in wood grain lines. Use a medium dark wash of Burnt Umber/Payne’s Gray or Sepia/Indigo.

Finish with wavy lines creating a woodgrain using Gray, Sepia or black. A fine liner brush can be used or a very fine line pen. These lines need to be soft, not hard heavy lines. Detail can be added using the following techniques:
• Spatter
• Alcohol drops to “bleach” out some of the wood color
• A knothole created using your knuckle.

Students in my November watercolor classes will be given the option to work on this painting. I had fun painting it! Give this painting a'll enjoy it too!

Happy Fall!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Avenue

I enjoy painting buildings, houses, barns, etc. So. when I saw a photograph of this street scene, I wanted to paint it. This street is a famous shopping area, but I like it because of its bright colors and the tile roofs.

Once the sketching was done, the painting went quickly. Most of the buildings are left white with only shading in places. This shading was done using violet or a mix of rose and Windsor blue. The roofs were painted with a mix of rose, medium yellow and burnt sienna. I varied the amounts of each color on the roofs to include shadow and light. I also used my palette knife to scrape in some tile shapes here and there. The palette knife was also used to scrape in lines on the palm trees and leaves in the palms.

I only used three (3) brushes and a palette knife for this painting. A flat brush to wash in the sky and the street, and to shadow the buildings. I used a #6 round brush for the tile roofs, the windows, and the greenery. A liner brush was used to put in the details on the windows, balconies, street lights, etc.

If you like buildings and streets, give this painting a try. One evening sketching and only an hour or so of painting will give you a fun, street scene that you can enjoy without spending money and shopping!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Plein Air Workshop Masterpieces!

Autumn at Herb Parson's
by Karen

Two weeks ago, the Brush Strokes watercolor class painted on location at Herb Parson's Lake in West Tennessee. Photos of our class were on the blog at that time. Sketches and basic paintings were completed on location with most of the paintings finished in class today.

Debbie's Painting

Each student took a digital photo of their subject, copies were printed, and painting done in class today using the digital photo.

Susan's Painting

What a difference a couple of weeks has made in our weather! Two weeks ago, the weather was warm and sunny. However, today the skies were cloudy and the forecast for tonight is for the possibility of our first frost of the season. Those digital photos came in handy!

Tracy's Painting

The students did a fantastic job on their paintings. Painting "plein air" is much different than painting in a classroom - more difficult in many ways. The photos of the completed paintings are scattered throughout this entry. Paintings are shown in "ABC" order by first name....except for the teacher's - mine is at the top (After all, it is my blog! :) And, every one's painting turned out so well that I simply could not showcase one at the top.). I'll have one more student painting to show in another blog - just as soon as she as she has time to finish it.

Great job, class! Hope you enjoyed this workshop as much as I did!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spice Junks

The painting above titled "Spice Junks" uses several techniques that I have discussed recently:

1. Painting reflections
2. Use of "wedgies" or an inclined board
3. Blending colors

An inclined board was used to assist with the flow of paint when painting the water and the reflections.

Reflections of the boats as well as the mountains in the distance were painted in the water. With the assistance of the inclined board, the water was painted and then the colors of the mountains and of the boats/sails were dropped into the water and allow to blend.

The sails were painted by blending paint using a wet on wet technique.

Most paintings can be painted using various techniques. I think each artist should use the technique they feel will create the look they are seeking. Using different techniques to paint the same picture will add a different mood and feel to a painting.

I think the main objection in any painting is for the artist to express themselves and enjoy the process. If the first attempt is not successful, try again. After all, to quote one of my students: "It's only paper!"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Plein Air Watercolor Class

Today the Brush Strokes watercolor class was a plein air workshop at Herb Parson's Lake in West Tennessee. The fall weather was ideal for painting "on location" with warm fall temperatures, a nice breeze, and sunny skies!

With so much beauty around, the most difficult part of the class was selecting what to paint. I'll share photos of the class in today's blog and share photos of the finished paintings in another blog later this month.

The following are tips for "plein air" painting:

Plein air is a term derived from the French phrase en plein air, which literally means 'in the open air'. It's a familiar concept today. In the late 1800s when the Impressionists ventured out of their studios into nature to investigate and capture the effects of sunlight and different times of days on a subject, it was quite revolutionary.

The following are questions and answers about plein air painting:

What and Where Do I Paint Plein Air?
Your subject matter is entirely up to you, but remember that you don't have to paint everything you see; be selective, think about what the essence of the scene is. Focus on what you see, not what you can imagine or intellectualize about the subject (otherwise you may as well be back in your studio. Look right around, 360 degrees, so you don't miss the possibilities 'behind' you. Look around first before you start painting.

Don't think that it needs to be somewhere far away or exotic, you can go to a local park, to a friend with a lovely flower garden, or even set up your watercolors on a table in a coffee shop. The ideal spot to set up will be in the shade, out of the wind, but this often isn't possible.

How to Deal With Spectators While Painting Plein Air
There's something about seeing an artist at work that makes people extremely inquisitive, more likely to talk to a stranger, and prone to giving unwanted opinions. It can be disconcerting, especially if your painting isn't going well, and quite disruptive. Considering positioning yourself where people can't come up behind you, such as against a wall or in a closed doorway. If you don't wish to chat, be politely non-responsive along the lines of "I'm sorry I can't talk right now I've only a limited time to do this".

Do I Have to Finish the Painting Outdoors?

Purists will argue that a plein-air painting needs to be started and finished outside the studio, but surely it's the end result that counts, not simply where you created it? If you prefer to sketch or make preparatory paintings to work up in the studio, do so. I recommend taking a photo of what you are painting to complete later in your studio. Painting outdoors can be unpredictable – weather, crowds, wildlife, etc. Take a photo of your subject so that the painting can be completed later. It is very difficult to remember details of what you were painting when you are finishing it up back in the studio.