Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Summer in France

"Summer in France"
Summer in France

A watercolor painting by Karen A. Cooke

This painting lends itself to the properties of watercolor.  I like the way the bricks of the cottage can be painted with the illusion of detail as well as the surrounding greenery.    The focus of the painting is the door and the bike, both of which have slightly more detail, but are not “photographic.”

 Since this painting will need to be sketched in more detail than some paintings in order to get the perspective correct for the door, step, bike and sidewalk, as well as the lines of the bricks, you will need to decide where to do your sketch.   Depending on how comfortable you feel with your sketching, you can sketch directly on the watercolor paper or prepare a sketch on the same size paper and transfer to your watercolor paper when complete.  Watercolor paper does not hold up well to too much erasing;  so if you feel as though you will need to erase multiple times to get the perspective right, then prepare a sketch on a piece of drawing paper and transfer to the watercolor paper once you are satisfied.     As always, the sketch is not main focus of the painting, but should be a guide for the placement of color.  Details will be added as the painting processes with your brush. 

 Materials Needed:
140# Watercolor paper – I use Arches
Multiple size brushes of your choice, I used the following:
·       #12 round brush
·       Flat brush
·       Liner brush
Masking fluid

 Watercolor Paint: 
Below are the colors I used; however, feel free to use the colors you would like.  For example, a different color door could be substituted for the red I used.
·       Grumbacher Red
·       Burnt Sienna
·       Medium Yellow
·       Windsor Blue
·       Payne’s Gray
·       Sap Green
·       Ultramarine
·       Yellow Ochre
·       Van Dyke Brown

Let’s get started!  This painting takes time and is executed in several steps to allow the paint to dry.  Don’t rush the work and enjoy the painting!

Masking will play a big part in this painting.  In order to maintain areas for white or lighter colors in the dark brick, greenery and the bike, masking is an important step.

Examine the photo above and you will see that the following will need to be masked:
·       Brick – some, but not all lines for the bricks in the cottage
·       Roof – highlights on the shingles
·       Highlights on the wood on the porch
·       Greenery – some lighter stems
·       Flowers – both in the pots and growing on the bricks
·       Window panes
·       Bike
·       Highlights in the sidewalk cracks

This can be a very time consuming process, but is very important to the final outcome of the painting.  A very fine brush will need to be used to make these lines or you can use a fine line masking fluid pen.    I used a masking fluid pen on this painting.  The one I like consists of a small plastic bottle that can be filled with masking fluid and has a small, hollow metal tube that allows the fluid to flow out of the tube onto the paper.  Various types can be purchased on line or in art supply stores.  A fine liner brush will also work; however, the pen allows for easier control of the size of the line and helps prevent bubbles in the fluid.    

Let’s start painting!  The greenery, bricks and sidewalk will be painted using a wet on wet wash.   

Prepare a wash of various shades of green from light to dark.  Prepare the paper by brushing on clean water in the areas for the greenery.  Paint the green to the left of and above the door first using deeper colors of green beside the door and allowing the colors to lighten as the greenery grows up and to the left.  Drop in Ultramarine blue in the greenery near the sidewalk.  Work around the yellow flowers above the door and paint the flowers in after the greenery has been painted.   Allow to dry.  

Paint the greenery on the right side, painting around the red flowers.

Prepare a wash of Burnt Sienna, Paynes Gray and Yellow Ochre.  We will be painting wet on wet; so using clean water, wet the brick area working around and up to the edges of the greenery.   Using the photo above as an example, drop in the paint allowing the colors to merge moving from lighter yellow on the left side and deepening the colors by adding sienna and gray as you paint across the page.   Allow to dry. 

 Porch Roof and Sides:
Paint the wooden sides of the porch with a light Van Dyke Brown varying the color to indicate highlights.  Drop in Paynes Gray in several places as indicated on the photo above.  Allow to dry.

 Paint the porch roof using a wash of Van Dyke Brown mixed with Burnt Sienna varying the intensity in several locations on the roof.  Allow to dry. 

Paint the door wet on wet using a deep intensity of paint working carefully around the mail slot and the porch light.  Add in a little Van Dyke Brown to vary the color on the door deepening the color at the door edges and to create shadows on the door.  Allow to dry. 

 Sidewalk and Steps on Porch:
Using Paynes Gray mixed with Ultramarine, paint the steps and the side walk letting the color become lighter as it flows out toward the street.  Drop in Burnt Sienna on the step behind the bike and on the right front side of the porch bricks.  Add Van Dyke Brown to the gray mixture as you paint down the sidewalk towards the street. 

Add some Ultramarine to the sidewalk mix, dilute with clean water and paint the street.  Drop in deeper colors of this mixture with Van Dyke brown in the cobbles of the street.  Do not overdo this section.  Let the paint fade to almost clean as you paint to the far left corner of the street. 

 Flower Pots and Flowers:
Using Van Dyke Brown, paint the wooden areas of the pots and drop in Paynes Gray for shadows in various locations on the wood.  Allow to dry.   Paint the metal stays of the pots with Paynes Gray leaving some sections lighter than others.    Note that the pot on the left is darker than the one on the right as it sits in the shadow of the porch and greenery. 

 Leaves and Flowers:
Using various shades of Sap Green from light to dark, paint the leaves of flowers in the pots working around the blooms.    Allow to dry.    Drop in the colors of the flowers varying the intensity of the color.    Allow to dry.

Remove the masking that protected the shape of the bike while you painted the all the surrounding areas. 

 Using a light mix of Paynes Gray and Ultramarine, paint the bike tires.  Allow to dry.  Using a pale wash of Paynes Gray and Van Dyke Brown, paint the frame of the bike using the same color used for the tires as shadows on the frame.  Refer to the photo for placement.  Allow to dry. 

Paint the window frame with a light wash of Ultramarine, Windsor Blue and Paynes Gray.  Allow to dry.  Paint the windows with the same color increasing the amount of Paynes Gray to deepen the color.  Drop in a pale wash of Burnt Umber in various locations to indicate reflections.  Allow to dry. 

 Finishing touches:
Remove the remainder of the masking from all areas.  Using a light wash of Yellow Ochre mixed with Burnt Sienna, brush over the top of the brick lines where the masking was removed.   Use this same paint on the lines on the porch where the masking was removed. 

 Using a mixture of Paynes Gray and Van Dyke Brown, paint the address sign.  Using Paynes Gray and Yellow Ochre, paint the lamp on the porch.  Allow to dry. 

 Using a liner brush, add some accent lines in the sidewalk and the street.  Check for any other areas that may need to be highlighted.

 Great job – sign your name!

 Happy Painting!


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