Saturday, April 24, 2010

Big Sky

Big Sky

Watercolor 9" x 12" Mats to 12" x 16"

My watercolor above, Big Sky, concluded the study of landscape painting for this unit.   Various methods and techniques for painting building roofs were explored.  A slate roof and tin roof were highlighted in the landscape above.  Although the focus of this painting is not on the roof, knowing the color combinations for specific types of roofs play an important part of this landscape and any landscape containing a building.

Watercolor Tip:
How to paint a slate roof:
The colors for slate roofs can be described as a blue/gray. The following watercolors are often used for slate roofs:
• Burnt Sienna
• Burnt Umber
• Ultramarine
• Cobalt Blue
• Raw Sienna
Sketch a slate roof and paint using the following steps.
1. Paint the ridge tiles at the top of the roof with a medium round brush and Burnt Sienna mixed with a little Ultramarine.
2. Mix a slate gray from Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna or Ultramarine and Burnt Umber and paint the roof using a larger round brush.
3. Drop in Raw Sienna wet into wet.
4. Drop in your chosen mix of colors wet into wet: (Ultramarine and Burnt Umber or Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna).
5. Using a rigger brush or a small flat brush, add detail to the ridge tiles with this same mix of blue/gray – wet on dry.

Happy Painting!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Watercolor 11" x 15" Mats to 16" x 20"

I love the twisted truck on this tree growing by the water.  The time I spent on the preliminary sketch for this painting was not wasted time.  It would have been very difficult to paint in the twists and turns of  the truck without my sketch for reference. 

I masked in the branches and tree truck which extended into the sky and background trees.  This allowed continuity in the sky and background color.  Note that the ground is not completely painted, but many areas are left white; thus, allowing the contrast of the darker tree truck to stand out and drawn the viewer's eye to the tree. 

Watercolor tip:
To achieve a good contrast with the background and foreground and to emphasize the large tree, I avoided unnecessary background detail.  The soft haze of foliage in the background was achieved by sprinkling a little table salt onto the wet paint creating "instant leaves." 

Happy Painting!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

English Thatched Roof Cottage

On Fall Holiday

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

As I continue with my teaching unit on landscapes, the focus this week in my advanced classes was a thatched roof cottage.   In addition to the technique to paint the thatched roof, other techniques used in this painting include:  painting rocks, masking (the gate) scratching (highlights on the foreground branches) sponging (background tree foliage), and a wash for the fall foliage, and path. 

Watercolor tip:
I used a slightly different technique to paint the sky in this painting. I applied clean water to my sky area and while it was still glossy, dropped in Ultramarine Blue and Paynes Gray using a mop.  Instead of my usual method of painting the entire sky area and then using a tissue or paper towel to lift out the clouds, I painted around the clouds and softened the edges with a wet brush.  This helped to create an autumn sky to help put "a chill in the air" and tie in the colors of the thatched roof and the rock fence. 

Next week will conclude my series on landscape painting and we will be working on how to paint a still life in May.

Happy Painting!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

Spring Basket
Watercolor 11" x 15" Mats to 16" x 20"

May each of you have a wonderful Easter - full of joy and hope!

Happy Easter!
Karen Cooke
Brush Strokes