Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brenda's Barn

Brenda's Barn
Watercolor 9" x 12" Mats to 14" x 16"

My watercolor painting above was painted from a photograph taken by one of my friends.  Her photo was taken across the street from her home during our last snow...just a week ago.  She is an excellent photographer who has a knack for composition in her subjects.  Her photo caught my eye as an excellent subject for a painting.

My watercolor class is concluding a unit of study on the winter palette;  so this painting was an excellent way to end this unit using the colors of the winter palette.    As a recap, the follow are colors in the winter palette:
Payne’s Gray

• Ultramarine

• Burnt Sienna

• Sap Green

• Burnt Umber

In my painting above, I used ultramarine and Payne's gray for my sky as well as the snow shadows.  Tree branches and trees were painted with a mix of burnt umber and Payne's gray. The barn was a mix of reds and burnt umber to give a weathered texture to the red barn.

This was a fun painting for me....I love painting old barns; and this was is even more special since it was painted from a photo taken by a friend.

If the groundhog was right, Spring is just around the corner.  We will start a new unit of study in our watercolor classes for March - the Spring palette.  So, good by winter....see you next year!

Happy Painting!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Snowy Trail

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

It keeps snowing, so I keep painting snowscapes.  If it keeps snowing where you are as well and want to keep capturing the cold weather to help cool you off in July, the following are some tips for painting snowscapes.

Advice on Painting Snow:
Snow transforms a landscape, softening edges and imposing tonal harmony. In bright sunshine, its reflective quality gives the landscape a dazzling brilliance, with trees and other features standing out in contrast to the prevailing whiteness.

When painting a snow scene in watercolor, you need to work logically from light to dark, conserving the white of the paper for the snow and applying washes carefully to the surrounding areas. Using masking fluid as needed to preserve the white of the water.

Warm and cool color contracts are very evident in snowy landscapes. Shadows are a characteristic blue-lilac color and were often depicted in winter scenes by Impressionist painters, who understood how these colors complemented the yellowish orange of the winter sunlight.

Advice on Painting Winter Trees:
When painting winter trees, especially leafless ones, consider their structure and growth pattern carefully.

Use the flat of the brush for the main branches and the tip of the brush for the small ones.

When you paint towards the end of a branch, the line will naturally become thinner as you complete the stroke, creating a realistic effect.

A liner brush, a rigger, or a small palette knife can be used to paint very fine, thin branches.

Three Things to Remember When Painting a Snowscape:
Snow white paper….the snow is represented by the white of the paper itself.

Cool shadows are painted using cool violet-blue paint to contrast with the white of the paper and the glint of sunlight.

A crisply painted tree, fence post, house, or other object will create a focal point to draw the eye into the painting.

Don't complain about the snow.....paint it!  You'll be dreaming of this cold weather in July and August!

Happy Painting!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Frosty Windows!

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

In my watercolor painting above, Frosty Morn, the windows were "frosted" using a fun technique.

The painting was lightly sketched in using a ruler to make straight lines for the window panes.  The wooden part of the panes was masked out using art masking tape.   The snow can be masked using masking fluid. 

NOTE:  Artist tape is much easier to use then masking fluid when straight lines are needed. 

Instructions for "frosting" a window:
  • It is important that you pre-wet the area of the window pane, but not the snow at the lower section of each frame. 
  • Pre-wet these sections using a flat brush. 
  • You will want to apply pigment to these areas while the surface area is wet and shiny.  Apply variation of hues using several shades of blues and lavender.  Remember watercolors dry lighter. 
  • Start with the top frames. 
  • While the windows are wet, place a slightly wrinkled piece of plastic wrap over the top of the paint.  Repeat this process on all window frames.   
  • The plastic wrap can be taped in place if needed.   
  • It is important you leave the plastic on the surface to form the “frost” until the surface is DRY. 
  •  If you life the plastic while the paper or the paint is wet,  the pigment will have a soft edge and will not “frost” the window panes. 
  • If the color is not as dark as you would like you can re-wet the area with clean water, apply more pigment, and plastic and let dry. 
  • When dry, remove the plastic wrap.
  • It is very tempting to lift the plastic wrap to see what is happening under the plastic wrap, but be patient - the finished result will be forth the wait.

Happy Painting!