Saturday, March 27, 2010

Paris, anyone?

On s Street in Paris
Watercolor 8" x 10" Mats to 11" x 14"

Even if we can't visit Paris whenever we would like, we can create a scene in our minds.  I liked this simple street sign in Paris on an old stone building with the metal sign showing wear and rust.

I masked out the white areas using masking fluid---all the numbers and letters as well as the sign border edges.  I was able then to paint the blue and green of the sign without worring about keeping a straight line.  The sign was painted first, then the building.   I added the rust last.

Watercolor tip
The building background was painted and allowed to dry.  The darker green stone colors were sponged on using a simple kitchen sponge with wonderfully straight lines.  I did not mask out the spaces between the blocks on the painting. I simply carefully placed the sponge.

So, take a visit to Paris - one way or another!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring!

Sunny Side Up

Watercolor 8" x 10" Mats to 11" x 14"

Since today is the first day of Spring, I wanted to share a spring painting with everyone.  A Shasta Daisy is an early bloomer and is a fun and simple subject to celebrate Spring!

This painting combines details with a controlled wash.    I did not mask off the flowers but this can be done if you are a little tentative about painting around the flower.  The background is done in a wash of several colors:  blue, greens and yellows.  The green and yellow background provide an out of focus field of daisies surrounding the detailed flowers. 

Watercolor tip:
Keep the background fairly dark to lift the foreground subject off of the page.

In my area, we are experiencing a nice, sunnny, and warm first day of Spring!  I hope you are too!  If not, grab that paintbrush - Spring is only a brushstroke away!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Coffee, anyone?

Columns in Time
Watercolor 11" x 15" Mats to 16" x 20"

Usually when someone offers coffee, it is to drink - but, not in this case! The painting above, Columns in Time, is painted with coffee. Have you ever painted with coffee? Believe it or not, it’s a wonderful medium for monochromatic artwork, with a wide range of rich brown hues.

I had a great time painting this one and enjoyed the aroma of the coffee too. I used instant coffee for my painting, but brewed coffee can be used as well. I find that it is easier to adjust the intensity of the shade when using instant. Not dark enough? Just add another teaspoon of coffee. In addition to the coffee, I only added a few touches of watercolor paint: Sepia, Paynes gray, and Hookers Green. These colors were only used in a few places - the majority of my painting was done with coffee.

• Change the coffee/water ratio to achieve a lighter or richer color. Darker hues will require less water than the lighter shades.
• Use 140 lb. watercolor paper, paper towels for blotting up excess coffee, and several small plastic cups to hold your "paint."
• Coffee lightens when it dries; so no matter how dark your thickest mixture is, you will probably want it to appear even darker on the paper. You will need to go over your paper quite a bit until you reach the desired appearance.
• Wait until the previous layer is completely dry before adding the next. You can use a hair dryer to dry each layer and speed the process; it works beautifully.

Give it a anyone?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Teacup Garden

Teacup Garden
Watercolor 7" x 10" Mats to 11" x 14"

This week's blog is done in honor of my aunt, Dorris, who passed away this past week.  She was 92 years old and a very special lady.  She always loved paintings of flowers and pastel colors were her favorite.  My painting above, Teacup Garden, reminds me of her.   She will be missed!

Watercolor Tip:
When painting flowers, each petal must be done separately or there will be no distinction from one petal to the next.  Wet each petal with clean water and drop in color.  The water will pull the color and when dry create a nice color transition.  To speed up the painting, paint every other petal.  By the time you have returned to the first petal painted, the touching petal will be dry and can be painted.