Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Peppermist Twist
A watercolor painting
Karen A. Cooke
May each you have a wonderful Chrismtas holiday spend with family and friends!

Merry Christmas and Happy Painting!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Running Out of Time or Money?

Handpainted Bookmarks
Christmas is almost here!

If you still need presents and are out of money and almost out of time, consider painting a bookmark for a gift.

The bookmarks above are specifically for Christmas with pine cones and holly, but bookmarks can be painted for any occasion by simply changing the picture.  Below are instructions for painting bookmarks:

Painting instructions for Christmas bookmarks:

1)      Tape down the paper, measure and draw the size of the bookmarks on the sheet.    Depending upon the size of the paper, you can probably get 7 bookmarks from one sheet.  Draw or transfer the picture on each of the bookmark section

2)      Using a large  flat brush, apply an overall wash with yellow ocher leaving the color more intense at the top of the paper and gradually becoming lighter at the bottom.    Allow to dry.

3)      Spatter the entire sheet of bookmarks using a darker shade of yellow ocher or a light brown. 

4)      Using a #4 round brush paint the red ribbon lightly with a simple controlled wash.  Allow to dry.  Add the shaded areas of the ribbon.

5)      Wash the pinecones with a light yellow.  Paint the details on the pinecones with dark brown. 

6)      Apply a controlled wash over the holly stems and leaves using a mixture of green and yellow.  Allow to dry and add detail with a bit more green.  Be certain to leave the edges slighter as this is what will create a variegated effect.

7)      Paint the berries with a bright red.  Using a liner brush, dab in the darker shadows and final details.

8)      Allow the bookmark to dry completely.  Sign your name!  Cut the bookmarks apart.  Punch a hole in the top and add a piece of gold cord or ribbon cut to desire length.  CONGRATULATIONS!  You have completed your painting – your bookmarks are ready for gift giving!

9)      The bookmark can be given as is or color copies can be made at a copy store and then laminated for gift giving. 

Happy Painting and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Shopping for an Artist?

It is that time of year to be Christmas shopping.  Many of you may be shopping for an artist and would like to have a few ideas of what to buy.  If you are shopping for a beginning watercolor artist or if you are thinking about trying watercolor painting yourself, I would recommend the following for a "starter" set:
  • A set of watercolor paints.  A basic set usually contains the colors used most often.  I would recommend one of the higher quality brand of paints as these colors are truer and contain more pigment.  If the person wishes to continue with this hobby, additional colors can be added.
  • For starters, a watercolor artist can create a painting using only 3 brushes: a large flat brush 1" or 2" wide, a #6 round brush, and a small #1 round or liner brush for details. 
  • Watercolor paper:  I would recommend Arches 140 lb weight paper - 11" x 15"
  • A sketch pencil and kneaded eraser
  • Sketch board (large enough to hold the size paper purchased).  A presentation board can be used which is considerably less expensive than a sketch board. 
  • Misc. items that are inexpensive or can be found around the house.  (Container for water, paper towels for cleanup, paper/plastic plates for palette, and masking tape).
These are basic supplies and can be purchased at any art supply store.  Many stores offer 40-50% off coupons on a regular basis which makes trying watercolor painting and Christmas shopping cost less. 

Have fun shopping for an artist OR give painting a try yourself!

Happy Painting!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

How NOT to Paint?

Peppermint Twist
Watercolor painting by
Karen A. Cooke
How NOT to paint?  How crazy! 

Actually, this title is to illustrate a point that many times what is left "white" or unpainted is as important, and in many cases,  more important than what is painted. 

The painting above demonstrates this.  A sketch was made of a few pieces of peppermint candy.  The sketch was not very detailed and the emphasis was on the placement of color and shadow.  The areas of white, or places left unpainted, were as important as the areas of paint.  Without the white areas, the painting would not have taken shape. 

I used light washes of Windsor Blue, Scarlet with a little bit of Naples yellow.  The entire painting was done with varying washes and intensities of these three colors.  Many areas were left unpainted, and the eye makes the connection of the stripes and the wrapping.   Although the wrapping is every obviously present, it was only painted by use of shadows and light washes.

At this time of year when peppermints can be easily found, grab a few peppermints and a paintbrush and see if you can learn how NOT to paint!

Happy Painting!