Saturday, April 16, 2011

Get Inspired!

Dixon Garden Dogwood

Get Inspired!  The BrushStrokes advanced watercolor class toured the Dixon Gallery and Gardens recently before continuing work on their spring palette painting!  The photo above is one of many beautiful plants in the garden area.  I have included a watercolor study of a dogwood I painted below.

Dogwood Study
The Dixon Gallery and Garden, one of the  art museum in the Memphis, TN area, specializies in Impressionist and  Post-Impressionist paintings.  The museum inspires the artist not only through viewing the numerous paintings, but through strolling the beautiful gardens, which display many seasonal plantings that are a riot of color from spring through fall. 

In addition to the permanent collection, the Dixon is host to numerous exhibitions through the year.  We were able to view many works of Joe Jones.  Mr. Jones was heralded in the 1930s as one of America's most powerful social realist painters. 

So, if you need inspiration of simply want to spend an enjoyable afternoon, tour an art gallery! 

Happy Painting!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Flowers!

Golden Trumpets
11" x 15" Mats to 16" x 20"
The technique used in this watercolor gives the painted paper a batik-look achieved without the traditional batik use of wax. Below is a short definition of batik.

Batik (pronunciation: [ba.te], but often, in English, is [bæ.tɪk] or [bətiːk]) is a wax-resist dyeing technique used on textile. Batik is found in several countries of West Africa, such as Nigeria, Cameroon and Mali, and in Asia, such as India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia and Thailand. However, it is in Indonesia that it is considered a national art form.

Painting instructions:

1) Do not tape down your paper before your sketch. Sketch in the flowers and leaves with little detail. Make the pencil lines dark enough on the flowers to be seen after the crumpling and wetting technique, but do not press hard enough to indent or scratch the paper.

2) Here’s the hard part………crumple the paper up in a ball as though you were going to throw it away. Concentrate on making wrinkles in all areas of the paper without tearing it….crumple easily.

3) Submerge the paper ball into water making certain it is evenly wet. Remove from the water and unfold carefully. Smooth onto your sketch board and tape along the edges. The tape will not stick well to the wet surface; however, it will hold enough to keep the paper in place.

4) While the paper is still very wet, float in the background of green and blue working around the petunias. I used sap green and Windsor blue; however, other shades of blue and green can be used with a pleasing effect. Use a large flat brush or mop to place in the background except for working around the flowers. Use a #6 round or similar size brush to work in the background around the flowers.

5) Let this dry COMPLETELY!

6) Flowers: Once the background is dry the daffidols are painted in using a wet-in-wet technique. Wet the center first and apply a wash of yellow/gold. A wash of clean water is painted on the areas to be paintedyellow. Then a wash of yellow is laid in starting near the center and letting the water pull the color to the edge of the petals. A darker yelow is worked at the edge and allow to run back into the first wash of color creating a deep center and deep edges with a slightly lighter center. Some of the blue and green from the background will be found in the wrinkles and creases of the paper and will look like veins in the petals. Also, the wrinkles and creases will allow the yelow color to bleed into the white areas of the petals. Don’t despair, that is what you want to happen and is part of the beauty of this technique. Continue painting all flowers, alternating petals that are touching.  After the flowers are completely dry, the centers are detailed slightly.

7) Leaves: The leaves are painted in only after the flowers are dry. If your leaves have become hidden under the washes, lightly sketch in some leaves. Using a mix of colors: gold, green, blue, add leaves using deeper colors to indicate shadows. Some of the leaves are simply painted with a wash of water to give the appearance of flowers fading into the background.

8) This painting can be matted on top of mat board with a torn edge in keeping with the batik look. Place a ruler along the edge of the painting and tear the paper lifting slowly and creating a jagged edge with layers of the white paper showing. Or, if you prefer, you may mat your painting in the traditional method.

Happy Painting!