Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy Spring! How to Paint a Loose Watercolor Daffodill

"Spring"
A watercolor painting by
Karen A. Cooke


Happy Spring!  The daffodil has always been the flower that tells me that it is Spring!  I have loved this bright yellow flowers since I was a little girl.  In springtime, we would pass a huge field of these flowers on my way to and from school.  An elderly woman would sell bouquets of these and my mom would stop and let me purchase bouquets of these flowers regularly on my way home from school.  These flowers always make me smile!

The painting above is a quick, loose watercolor from a photo I snapped in our front yard. 

All elements of this painting are loosely painted with minimal amounts of detail.  The painting was also painted on a slight slant to allow the paint to flow on the paper.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (type and size of your choice)  - I used a 95" x 7"  watercolor sketchbook
Brushes: round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Paint:
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Cadmium Yellow Dark
  • Sap Green
  • Ultramarine Blue
Painting Instructions:
Lightly sketch the flower on the page along with the stem and leaf placement.    You can use my painting as a reference, take a photo yourself or paint in plein air outside. 

Flower:
Using the round brush and painting wet on wet, paint the flower working from light to dark and leaving some of the spaces unpainted and white for highlights.  Refer to the photo above for color placement.  White the flower is still wet, drop in the Sap Green at the base of the flower.

Stem and Leaves:
Using the round brush and painting wet on wet, use shades of Sap Green and Ultramarine Blue to paint the stem and leaves.  Note the yellow at the base of the stem as well as lighter shades of green and blue. 

Finishing touches:
See if you need to add addition leaves or splashes of yellow or light green in various locations on the page. 

Tip:  Loose watercolors are intended to be loose and flowing, so not attempt to paint in details - that is the joy of loose watercolor painting!

Photo used for the painting

Congratulations!

Happy Painting!
Karen



Friday, March 17, 2017

"Splash" - How to paint a drop of water

"Splash"
5" x 7" watercolor painting
by Karen A. Cooke


Painting water can be challenging.  Since water itself is clear, the key to painting water is to use the color of it's surroundings.  In the painting above, I used blue to reflect the color of the sky and make the water stand out on the paper.

The painting above was painted with only one color of paint - Windsor Blue  The intensity of the color is regulated by the amount of water added to the paint and how the paint is layered on the paper.
Using this type of technique will help beginners understand the strength of color when water is added and how much water to use.  This technique also helps with learning how to layer the paint to achieve color variation.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (type and size of your choice)  - I used a 5" x 7" piece
Masking tape or watercolor notebook
Watercolor board, if using sheet paper
Brushes: round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Paint:
  • Windsor Blue

Painting Instructions:
I sketched the shape of the water splash to make the painting easier to do. 

Splash:
Look at the painting above and using a pale wash of blue start painting at the top and work your way down to the bottom of the splash.  While this pale wash is still wet, start adding additional washes of Windsor Blue in deeper intensities allowing the washes to blend together.  Refer to the painting above for location.  Allow to dry. 

Water/Reflection at base of splash:
Painting wet on wet add washes of blue in the same way as the splash with the deepest intensity near the base of the splash.  Be certain to leave some areas unpainted and white.  Allow to dry. 

Finishing touches:
Using a liner brush, add a some deeper lines of Windsor Blue to define areas of the splash.   Refer to the photo above.  


Congratulations!

Happy Painting!
Karen

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How to Paint Storm Clouds


Texas Storm Clouds
9" x 12" watercolor paper
by Karen A. Cooke


This watercolor was painted from a photo taken by a friend during a recent trip to Texas.  I liked the clouds in the photo and asked permission to use her photo to demonstrate painting clouds.

Photo used for painting reference on left;
Painting on right


The painting above provides great practice for painting storm clouds..  All elements of this painting are loosely painted with minimal amounts of detail.  The painting was also painted on a slight slant to allow the paint to flow on the paper.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (type and size of your choice)  - I used a 9" x 12" piece
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: flat, liner and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Old credit card or palette knife
Paint:
  • Sepia
  • Payne's Gray
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Yellow Ocher
  • Ultramarine Blue

Painting Instructions:
Lightly sketch the horizon on the page.  No other sketching will be needed. 

Sky:
Use a large round brush to paint the sky area.  Wet the sky from the top down to the horizon using clean water. Using a pale wash of Cadmium Orange drop in some color in various locations in the sky.  See above photo for location.  While this is still wet, paint in a wash of the Paynes Gray, apply the paint working from the top of the painting down to the horizon.  Add Ultramarine Blue in various areas of the sky and also increase the intensity of the Paynes Gray in some areas.   However, do not completely cover the entire sky area.  Allow some white areas to remain.  Using a tissue or paper towel, lift some of the paint to create lighter areas in the sky for clouds, if needed.  Pick up the painting and tilt to the bottom left to add some flow to the watercolor on the page and create some movement in the clouds.  Allow to dry.  

Horizon Trees
Using a deep wash of Paynes Gray and your round brush, paint in the trees on the horizon.  Vary the heights of the trees to add interest.  Refer to the photo above for placement. Allow to dry.

Grasses:

Using a wash of Brunt Sienna and Yellow Ochre, paint the base of the grassy area moving from lighter shades in the back and moving to darker shades in the front.  While still wet, drop in a wash of Sepia in various locations for the base of the tall grasses.  While this area is still wet, use either the sharp edge of a credit card or a small palette knife and pull up some paint to indicate the grasses.  Allow to dry. 

Finishing touches:
Using a liner brush, add some additional grasses moving from small and short grasses in the horizon to taller grasses in the foreground.  Allow to dry.  Using a utility knife, scrape in some highlights in the tall grasses. 

Congratulations!

Happy Painting!
Karen

Thursday, March 2, 2017

One Color Painting

Quiet
5" x 7" watercolor painting
by Karen A. Cooke


The painting above was painted with only one color of paint - Paynes Gray.  The intensity of the color is regulated by the amount of water added to the paint and how the paint is layered on the paper.
Using this type of technique will help beginners understand the strength of color when water is added and how much water to use.  This technique also helps with learning how to layer the paint to achieve color.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (type and size of your choice)  - I used a 5" x 7" piece
Masking tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Paint:
  • Paynes Gray

Painting Instructions:
The only pencil line I used on this painting was the one for the horizon.  This helped keep me focused on the horizon and allowed me to keep the waterline/treeline consistent across the page. 

This painting was painted quickly wet on wet.

Sky:
Wet the sky area all the way down to the waterline.  Using a very pale wash of Paynes Gray, paint in areas of the sky.  Do not paint the entire sky, leave wide spaces of unpainted area.

Trees:
The trees are painted first with a pale wash of Paynes Gray, slightly deeper than the sky.  Paint the background trees from their tops down to the treeline.  While still damp, add in some deeper shades of Paynes Gray to indicate trees closer to the front.  Continue adding trees and painting deeper shades of Paynes Gray to the waterline.  Allow to dry.

Water/Reflection:
The reflection is painted using the same method used in the trees.  If you feel more comfortable,  rotate your paper and paint in the "normal" direction rather than painting "upside down."   Allow these trees to be "wavy" to indicate the reflection in the water.   Allow to dry. 

The water toward the front of the painting was painted in the same method as the sky.    This painting is basically a mirror image from the treeline to the sky and the treeline into the water. 

Finishing touches:
Using a liner brush, add a few trucks/branches in several locations.   Refer to the photo above. 

Congratulations!

Happy Painting!
Karen