Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring Class - Foggy Morning

Spring break is over and it is back to class! The watercolor class is evolving from just painting flowers to painting a little bit of everything and experimenting with different techniques. So expect some different looking art on here.

This first week we are working on values again. Values can make or break a painting, I know many painters worry about the temperature of their colors, warm or cold colors, but without a good working knowledge of values in those colors the paintings don't work very well.

 This is the reference photo for the painting in class. It was taken early in the morning before the fog burnt off. I found it interesting because of the depth created by the fog on the trees and vegetation. Plus the color of the sky against the silhouettes of the trees created  a mysterious mood to the whole scene.

What I didn't particularly care for was that the trees bled off the bottom, so I made several changes to the final drawing for the painting. The trees have a base in the painting and I added a path and a birdbath.

After getting my drawing on the paper, 140# Arches cold press, I worked out the colors that would be used on the painting. The reason I did a color chart on this painting is because I really wanted a limited number of colors to help keep the mood of the painting. So for this painting I used Cadmium Yellow, Quinacridone Pink, Cerulean Blue, and Paynes Gray.

The Quinacridone Pink was a wonderful color to work with, mixed with Paynes Gray it made the perfect "foggy" mist, then adding a touch of Cerulean Blue  turned it into a more "smokey" ground mist.  I was surprised when I added it around the sun how a bit of an orange color around the bottom of the sun happened. One of those happy accidents that Bob Ross use to talk about!! I hope you all remember Bob Ross, he is still in reruns today.
 Okay, to start the painting I wet my paper, the paper should not have any puddles on it, but you want to make sure that there are no dry spots either. If you tilt the paper to one side you can see where it is wet and where you might need to add some more water. I have found a small fine spray bottle works great for this or a haku bush. Be sure you are using clean water. I started by putting the Cadmium yellow in the sun area, then added the Quinacridone Pink going towards the top of my paper, and tilting my paper towards the top to make the colors run. While the paper is still wet I started adding the Cerulean Blue below the sun, adding some pink and even some Paynes Gray as it moved more to the bottom.
When you are doing a wash of color like this keep in mind that once you have put the color down don't try to add or lift color while it is still wet. It will cause marks that are very difficult to remove. When you are doing a wash it has to be done all at once in a timely manner, before the paper is dry.
As the paper was drying I used a wadded up kleenex to blott out some clouds in the sky.

If you are working on a large piece of paper, do the wash in areas rather than the whole paper at once. In this piece the wash could be broken where the sky and fog meet. After the first few you do it becomes easier to do the whole background at one time. All it takes is a bit of confidence and a some preplanning on where you want to put your color. You can manipulate the colors in a wash by tipping and tilting your paper as it dries.

When the paper is completely dry, it's time to paint the foliage that is the farthest away. To give the illusion of distance and atmosphere a mixture of Paynes Gray and Quinacridone Pink and lots of water. This is the lightest value we will be working with. The composition has three main tree groups, the bushes and trees behind each group of trees is
 painted with the light value.

Where the bottom of the trees meet the ground I dropped in a little darker value to give the trees a base to grow from. This  also helps give shadow in the areas where there are many branches but not many leaves. 

At this point only the light value should be painted, everything is very flat and no sharp edges on anything. As objects move to the back, edges are softened and lost. If your edges do look sharp, run a clean damp brush along the edge until the sharpness disappears.

Now on to the trees. The trees on the left are the farthest back, then the middle group and the trees on the right are the closest. So value wise the trees on the left will be the lightest, but darker that the bushes behind it, the middle trees are darker, than the first trees and the bushes behind, and the trees
 on the right will be the darkest of the three groups of trees.

The trees are painted flat, what I mean by that is there are no marks on the tree of bark or holes. The light is dimmed by the fog so the trees are only silhouettes. Again, the edges of the trees may need to be softened to add to the illusion of distance, so take a damp brush and run it along the sides of the trees until it is softened.

Once the main trunks are in place add branches to fill in the upper area of the painting. Small groups of leaves can be put in place using variations of the lightest value to the middle value with an occasional pink leaf. Don't use the darkest value on the upper leaves of the trees.

Once the three groups of trees and branches are done it's time to put in the bushes and other foliage in front of the trees. This is where I changed the composition from the
 photograph. I added a birdbath in the lower right side, grass and rocks and more branches fill in the space. This is where the darkest values are. Using mostly Paynes Gray with just a touch of Quinacradone Pink, here the edges can show a bit of sharpness as these items are close. In some of the foliage there is still light and medium values to give them depth.
At the very bottom it is straight Paynes Gray, the branches coming in from the edge of the left side are the darkest of any on the painting. The fog is still covering the ground so much of what is on the ground is covered with only little bits showing through here and there.

This was a challenging painting, keeping track of the different levels of depth. In working on the painting I lightened some areas and darkened others, adjusting throughout the time I worked on the painting. I will be looking at this painting for a few days and perhaps  making even more adjustment.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Three Little Fishies

I started out just calling this painting "Koi", but the longer I worked on it the personality of the three fish took over the painting so the title "Three Little Fishies" came to be.

Not to sound like a broken record, but, be sure to check your drawing and make sure the entire pattern is there.  A question I get quite a bit is where to start painting. I usually start on the right hand side, I'm right handed, so by beginning there I'm not dragging my hand and arm across the painting smearing paint or wiping off my drawing.  Left handed people would do well to start on the right side.

Because there were so many elements, (fish, leaves, flowers, water) I wanted to do a little bit of each to work out my color palette.

Start the leaves by covering the leaf with a coat of light Sap Green, lots of water little pigment. As it is drying add more Sap Green where you want dark, into the dark also add some Paynes Gray. In other areas drop in some Quin. Gold or Yellow Ocher, add in some Cad Red and cad yellow and in some leaves even put in come Cobalt Blue.  When I say "drop" in a color, I mean just that, don't use a brush stroke, just dab the color into a wet area and let the water blend the colors. Try to make the leaves different looking, some will have more of a color than another. If part of a leaf overlaps another leaf the top leaf will be be lighter where it overlaps and
the underneath leaf will be darker. If a leaf has a turn up that will be more of a brown to it is green and red with perhaps a touch of yellow. When a leaf is almost dry you can take a clean damp brush to wipe out some color for highlights.

While doing the leaves put the yellow centers in the flowers, using your darkest yellow.

Koi, like the fuchsia, come in many colors and combinations of colors. I chose to do all three in the same color, that way they are all equal and none stands out, they are part of the pattern. I used Cad. Red and Cad. Yellow to make a bright
orange. First the eyes are painted Paynes Gray and the inside of the mouth, when dry a coat of watered down orange over the whole fish, while still wet add more of the orange, less diluted. In the darker areas add pure Cad. Red, for the darker shaded areas use Paynes Gray. If you want some lighter area after you have all the paint on, use a damp clean brush to pull up some of the color. Some of the darkness on the fish that you see was put on when I painted in the water. If there is any question in your mind about putting down a color, don't. You can always add more shadows when the rest of the color on the painting is put in. It is surprising how the
addition of a new color can change a color that is already down.

When all the leaves are painted it's time to move on to the flowers. The dark yellow centers should be dry by now, using the same orange as the fish, put in some small strokes around  some of the stamens.  I used a very watered down Paynes Gray to put in the shadows on the petals of the flowers. Like the previous water lily, work on one petal at a time so you keep some white areas on each petal. When all the gray shadows are in place. I used a watered down Hansa Yellow on
some of the petals. You can do the inside of a
petal or the outside, try not to do both. On the two flowers in the upper left, I also added a bit of pink, Alizarin Crimson. 

For now leave the flowers and start on the water. I started on the left side by the two flowers. Here I used Cobalt Blue, Paynes Gray, and Antwerp Blue. First putting down a layer of Cobalt, then dropping in the gray close to the objects. Let the water move the pigment, the layering of the color will give you wonderful water movement. The very highest waterlily is the only flower that is actually sitting in the water. So while the
paint is still damp, pull out the reflection of the
white petals in the water. Move around the top of the painting coming down on the right side with the Cobalt Blue. Don't try to paint all the area and then go back to add the dark. Do a small bit of the cobalt and while still wet keep adding gray to get a darker blue. To give distance, the farther away the water the darker the water. As we come forward a lighter blue base with arcing strokes  give the appearance of ripples from the water being broken by the fish. Here again you want to get some dark shadows underneath the leaves. If you can, leave a hairline of white paper between dark water and leaf.
Okay now this is a bit scary. Take the lightest blue of the water and brush it over the fins of the the two front fish. Leave some bits of the original orange showing through.

At this point looking at three fish with their mouths open, I figured there should be some food  for them.  I made a dark brown and painted little pellets near the fish. While still damp I used a damp brush to take out a bit of a highlight out of each pellet, then when dry I used some Antwerp Blue at the base of each pellet for shadow.

I still wanted to put some grasses in along the bottom of the painting. There are several different ways of doing that. You can use your quarter inch flat and carefully pull out the paint where you want to put in the grass, time consuming and not always satisfactory. You could have used a resist before painting the rest of the painting. Leaves nice clean lines to fill in with new color. Or you could use gouche mixed with watercolor and paint over the watercolor already laid in. Gouche is opaque watercolor, it always reminds me of tempera paint in texture.
I used the last method, exchanging the white gouche for gesso.

Gesso is used to prime canvases for oil or acrylic paint, but I have also found that it works well for priming watercolor paper for certain projects AND for mixing with watercolor for an opaque color to use over other colors. The gesso dries very quickly so once the color has been mixed in quickly stoke the grasses in, overlapping and bending some leaves of grass. I mixed several different colors of green, adding either yellow or blue.

Now you want to look at the whole painting see if there is any place that needs a darker shadow or a highlight that needs pulling out. Sometimes it can take days to see if there are changes or additions that you want to make or you will see it right away. Looking at your painting upside down or in a mirror will also show you if anything else needs to be done.
Here is the piece, I'm not sure if this one is finished or not,  I see some areas that I might want to do some more work to, but for the most part I am happy with the results. I hope you are happy with your painting and ready to move on to your next challenge.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Years ago when I first moved here from the Midwest, I started a series of flowers. There were to be six in all and all of them were to be pink. The first was a peony, then a rose, a stargazer lily, parrot tulip, a hyacinth and last but not least a fuchsia. Well I finished the first four and got half way through the fifth and the sixth never made it, until now. I pulled the drawing up for this class to show another type of painting. This is a very "stylistic" type painting. It's all about design, the way the branches cross over, the perfect angle of the flowers and lastly the box around the flowers with the leaf at the top and the branch at the bottom breaking the box and no background. Just another way of putting a painting together.
I can't really stress enough that you must be sure that your drawing is correct and all there before you put one brush stroke down on your painting. Watercolor paper can be easily damaged by too much erasing or pencil work, making your paint difficult to manage and can even cause the color to darken in areas you don't want it to.

I do all my drawing on tracing paper, sometimes going through 10 or 12 sheets to refine my composition to exactly where I want it so there will be no changes once it is on the watercolor paper.

Okay once you have your drawing on the paper its time to start painting! I started this painting on the lowest open flower on the left. I chose to do my flower in two tones of pink, probably a carry back in my mind to finishing the series I started many years ago. But I gave you the option of using
any color combination you wanted. Fuchsia come in so many
color combinations and they are all quite lovely.

Here you can see what the flower started out like, I was using Permanent Rose and Cobalt Blue for the top part of the flower and a mixture of Permanent Rose, Hansa Yellow, and Quin. Gold for the bell petals. Where I wanted to get darker shadows I very lightly used Paynes Gray. I didn't wet the area of the petals before I put my color down, but used a very light coat of color then as the area was drying I kept adding more and more color, allowing the water to blend the paint. If you get dark lines of color where pigment has floated to the edge of an area, use a clean brush, wet it, wipe it almost dry on a paper towel, then slowly run the tip of the brush along the line. Wipe the brush every little bit so the extra pigment is taken off the painting surface.

The stamens on this particular flower are the same color as the top of the flower, as is the stem of the flower. You can do
them as you do each flower or wait and do them all at one time when the body of the flowers are all done.

Following the flowers from bottom up I did the next flower, then skipped up to the unopened bud at the top. I did that one next because it is behind the other two flowers making it easier to make the petals of the front flower appear closer. It is a good rule of thumb when painting to consider the location of your items. Closer items will have sharper edges, items further back or behind will have softer edges. The further back an item is the softer, or blurryer (I'm not sure that is a real word, but you get the idea) an item will be. When I say item it can mean furniture in a room or the petals of one flower.  By making close up items sharp and in focus and farther away items softer you create depth to your painting.

After finishing the flowers on the right I went back and did the last two buds on the left side.  Why I saved them for the 
last I have no idea, it just turned out that way. And here is where I ran into a problem with color. The buds are the same color as the top of the open flowers, the left petal of the open flower ran over the right bud and got totally lost. Normally I would just use my quarter inch flat and pull some color out and put a shadow under the petal to make it stand out. In this case I couldn't because I was using Permanent Rose, and when they say Permanent they mean Permanent. So instead of going lighter I went darker, adding some Paynes Gray to the tip of the petal. Now because I did it on that petal I used the same mixture in the shadows of the other three petals on this flower and very sparingly on the other flowers and buds as well.

The stems of the flowers are the same color at the darker color of the flowers, as the stem goes up towards the branch I added just a touch of sap green while the pink was still wet.
 Before moving on to the leaves I want to point out an error I made it this painting that I didn't see until looking at the photos as I put them on this blog. The flower on the farthest right has a petal painted the paler color rather than the darker color. Do you see it? We all get tunnel vision when working on a painting, including me. This is an easy fix, all I have to do is go in with the darker color and  do a little reworking of the petal next to it and it will be okay. If it had been the opposite and a light petal had been painted dark, it might have required a bit more work but would still be possible. Because this particular flower comes in so many color combinations I would have changed the lighter colors on all the flowers to a dark purple and saved the painting. Never get so frustrated with a painting that you give up on it without going over all your options. If is beyond help, it is still a learning experience and after all it is only one piece of paper. Start again or move on to another subject.

Okay the leaves are all Sap Green, to lighten add Hansa Yellow, to darken add Cobalt Blue, to really darken add Paynes Gray, For these leaves I work one side at a time, quickly brush on a coat of Sap Green watered down, leaving the little stem white. While still wet I drop in the other colors. No two sides of the leaf is the same color, usually the side that is farthest away is darker, closer is lighter either by adding some yellow or watering down the pigment. The stem that goes down the center of the leaf and connects to the branch is a mixture of Sap Green, Paynes Gray and a touch of Permanent Pink. The stem will look better if you don't make it a solid color from tip to end. Vary the strength of the color by the amount of water you add to the pigment. If your color gets too dark you can use a damp brush to pick up some of the color, one of the reasons I love sap green is because it is pretty easy to pick up. the branches are next to last to do and are a mixture of Cobalt Blue, Hansa Yellow and whatever red you used in your flowers. You should end up with a greenish brown color. As you are painting the branch in some places add a little extra of the red to make a reddish brown. Again, try to vary the color as you move along the branch, your branch will look more dimensional if you do. The border around the edge is just straight Sap Green.

Here is the finished piece, or almost finished piece, I do have to go in and change that one petal!! Now that I see it I can't take my eyes off of it. Hope you enjoyed doing this painting.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Spring has Sprung in the Pacific Northwest!!

Beautiful weather here, daffodils, crocus, and various flowers are blooming, grass needs mowing and the flowering trees are bursting with color. Kind of scary really, it's only the last week of February and all those little tender shoots have a long way to go before they are safe from cold weather. Usually this time of year I am chomping at the bit to get out and do some gardening, so to inspire myself I try to do some spring flower paintings. I found this photo of some lovely pink and yellow tulips sitting on an old distressed chair with dandelions blooming in the grass, perfect, everything I love about Spring in one photo!! Yes I even love dandelions!!

This painting is a little more difficult than the waterlily, lots of greens. Green can be a difficult color to work with, and because there are green in green areas in this painting there is a tendency to want to use different shades of green. Doing that can cause the painting to loose its harmony. In a painting like this I use one color of green, in this case I used Sap Green, I changed the values of my green by

what I add to it. For the back ground on the bottom third I added Paynes Gray and some Ultramarine Blue, as I moved up I added New Gambogue and Yellow Ochre. Before I put the green down at the top I painted in the dandelions, let them dry, then finished painting in the Sap Green with a bit of Cad Yellow around them. I found when I finished that the green was a bit bright so when it was totally dry I did a wash of Quin. Pink over the entire background (not the dandelions). That grayed the green down to where the flower leaves would stand out.

One of the things I do before putting paint to paper, is to check my drawing. Using a No. 2 pencil, I connect broken lines, make sure the entire drawing has been transferred, darken any lines that are too light to see easily, erase confusing lines. The little bit of time you spend doing this will pay off big time when you are painting the picture.
After the background is in and dry, the next thing to get painted in is the the back of the chair. Cerulean Blue for that soft sky blue color. In this painting I did not wet the paper first before applying color, here I put the color down then wet as needed. It is a much more controlled way of painting. As the blue was drying drop in a little more pigment on either side, pull a little color out of the center, this gives the illusion the back is bowed. When dry a little line of darker color along the bottom to give it depth. The crackle lines are put in with a small brush, short straight lines angled into another straight line, very few curves. Paynes Gray works great for this task.

Next were the spindles, paint them all, including where the paint is peeling off with watered down New Gambogue, as it is drying add a little more pigment to the edges to create roundness. Get your edges clean and put in the shading where the knobs are. When it is totally dry it's time to do the peeling paint. The color is
a mixture of Sap Green, Quin Pink (or Alizarin Crimson), and Cerulean Blue, mix together until you get a reddish brown. You can make it lighter by adding more water or darker by adding a little Paynes Gray. Looking at the photo you can see where the paint is chipping off, dab the color on with short strokes. You can see in the photo I used some of the same brown for shadows in areas where the paint is not peeling. These areas should not be just a flat color, try to get variations in the brown by adding more pigment in some areas or pulling some out with a damp brush. the more variation in color you get the more is will round out the spindles.

When that is all done it is time to move on to my favorite part of the painting the tulips. For the pink tulips it is Quin Pink (or Alizarin Crimson), for the yellow New Gambogue. Leave the paper for the tops of the tulip, starting at the bottom of the petal, drop in your color, clean your brush, leave damp and drag the color up towards the top of the petal, leaving the top
of the petal uncolored. The inside of the tulip will be darker towards the bottom, lightening as it goes up toward the edge. In some cases I left a small line of white, in others took the color all the way to the top. The yellow tulip that is pitched forward has  a few dark pieces that are Paynes Gray.

Next was the stems and leaves. Just Sap Green, Cerulean Blue and Paynes Gray. No Yellow in the leaves, any yellow would make them disappear into the background. If you look at the photo, you can see that the leaves do not stand out that much, they are there but the tulips are
the center of attention. There is some yellow in the tulip stems, but more towards the inside. When doing leaves like the two branches sticking out to the sides, have a lighter side the overlaps the dark of the leaf underneath. That builds volume and dimension. The little dangling flowers are white paper with the same green as the leaves along the bottom.

The chair seat is Quin Pink and Rose Madder, and some of the brown from the spindles. You can leave some white areas or whatever to make the seat look old and battered.

This is where I ran into a bit of a quandary. I really didn't like the clear jar the tulips were in and although I had dropped a bit of the blue in the chair seat, the back was the only place with a noticeable blue in it. So I decided to make a change to the color scheme of the painting, by making the jar blue and the ball of string green.
To get the color of the old Ball jars I mixed Cerulean Blue and Sap Green. In areas where it needed to be a bit darker just adding some Paynes Gray did the trick. First decide where you are going to leave the glass reflections, if you are not confident about leaving those areas white use some friskit. Paint in the stems, using the same colors as the top, where the stems enter the water leave a little line of white paper. When dry put in the blue shadows on the jar, remember too that there will be reflections of the pink chair bottom and the green twine in the jar. All the colors and shadows get put in place now, When all of that is totally dry,  do a wash of the blue over the entire jar, except where you have left highlights. The wash should be light in color and go on in one or two light strokes. If you keep brushing it will pick up the paint underneath and it turns into a muddy color. If you want to pick out more reflections, use your 1/4" flat. The green ball of twine is green because "why not?". There is so much green in the painting it just seemed to fit in.
Here is the final piece, although I may end up doing a few more things to it after I have lived with it for awhile.

I harp on values a lot in class because they are so important for a successful piece of art, no matter what medium you choose to work in.  I read a quote today that really hits the mark.

Values do the work, Color gets the glory.

Think about it!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Waterlily - 2-10-15

The Waterlily

This week the painting we did was of a white waterlily in bright sunlight. One of the peculiarities of painting with watercolor is that for the most part not using white paint to show highlights or to lighten colors. The white of the paper is left unpainted to show highlights and as far as lightening colors it is just a matter of adding enough water to lighten the color. If you have used oils, acylics or pastels, you know that for highlights you add white paint for highlights as one of the final touches to complete a piece of art. In watercolor, whites must be planned in advance of laying down any colors, especially if you are using dark colors. Once color is down it is almost impossible to get your paper back to its original sharp white. That being said, this painting needed the pure white of the paper to show the light coming through the petals.

So in the areas where I wanted to keep white I applied masking fluid. I used PEBO masking, which is a water based liquid, nice and very easy to apply. One of the other things I normally do before beginning a painting is putting artists tape all around the area that will be the painting. This gives me nice sharp edges when it is removed. I use a white artists tape, available at most art supply stores, but you can also use painters tape, the same tape you would use when painting rooms in your home.
The background was the first thing that I painted. I mixed a combination of Antwerp blue and Payne's gray, about a 50/50 mix. I wet the paper being careful to not let the water go into any areas of the petals. I wanted a pretty solid background so after the first coat of paint was completely dry I added a second coat of the same mixture. While the  background is drying I started working on the shading on the flower petals. The photo's above show the shadows after I rubbed off the masking fluid. I used the same mixture of colors that I used on the background only adding lots of water to make the color much lighter.
Next I painted the stamens with New Gamboge (yellow), as the paint started to dry I added another coat of paint to the left side of each stamen to give the illusion of roundness. The base of the petals also gets a a light wash of yellow, the reflection of the stamens through the petals. Also now is the time to look at the shadows on the petals, perhaps adding a little more dark in some areas or lightening some others. There is a pattern of shadows underneath the petals and the water, I used the same colors as the background to lay them in.

Sometime, even though I had planned the painting out a certain way, as I work on the
painting I may decide to make a change to the plan. In this case I felt the petals were too stark and they need just a touch of color. So I did a light wash of very watered down quinactridone rose over some of the shadowed areas on the petals. I liked the little bit of warmth it gave to the shadows.

The reflection of the flower in the water was next. Using the same colors as the top, with the addition of a lot of water, I quickly brushed in the reflection of the shadows on the petals, added a bit of the yellow and rose. When almost dry I used my 1" flat, wet but not dripping wet, and dragged it across the reflected petals. Brushing in one direction only, if you brush back and forth it ends up just muddying the paint. When the petals
are dry I painted in the rest of the water with just the Antwerp blue, added some Payne's gray next to the petals and while slightly wet, using the 1" flat brushed the blue across the reflection of the petals. Last I put in the yellow reflection of the stamens.

There are 4 drops of water on the lily, very easy to paint. Using Payne's gray, put a shadow line around the drop where is overlaps the white petal, inside the drop leave a white area all around the inside of the line, then there is a shadow the goes from dark to light starting on the left side and then graduating to pure white
on the right side.  The three drops on the far left petal are a little darker. When I was sure all the paint was totally dry I removed the tape, used my kneaded eraser to take off any pencil lines that were still visible. Done!

Here are two more finished barn painting. Very successful!!

Saturday, February 7, 2015


I've been teaching watercolor classes for over 20 years and one of the problems that many artists have is seeing the values and translating them onto their paper. First of all I should explain what I mean when I talk about values.
VALUE is defined as the relative lightness or darkness of a color. It defines form and creates spatial illusions.
CONTRAST of value separates objects in space.
GRADATION of value suggests mass and contour of a contiguous surface.
If values are close, shapes will seem to flatten out, and seem closely connected in space; none will stand out from the others. If values contrast, shapes will appear to separate in space and some will stand out from the others. This works whether the colors are just black, white and gray, or whether hues are involved.

So when I found the photograph of the barns I thought they would be perfect to do a value study of, wonderful shapes and shadows. After the value study to do the same photo in full color would be a great learning experience.
 This is the value study I did using one color.  When choosing a color to do a value study it is better to pick a color that will give you a good dark. Remember that you can add nothing to the color you pick to get a darker value than what 100% of the pigment will give you.

To get the different values in watercolor it is just a matter of adding water to the color you have chosen to get the different gradations. Your darkest values are from the pigment with the smallest amount of water, just enough to make it move. You can get it a little darker by doing more than one coat of paint, but be sure the first coat is really dry. The lightest values are achieved by mostly water with just a touch of pigment.

If you get too much pigment down it is easily lightened with a bit of water and dabbing with a paper towel or tissue.

This is my finished color piece. I used a warm red, cad red med, and a cool red, alyziran crimson, plus paynes grey.  I also put in a little yellow ochre on some of the closest barn.

In both paintings I started with the sky, wetting the area with clear water then adding a light wash of paynes grey across the top then tilted my paper so the color would run down. I wanted the darkest sky at the top of the page and then fading as it went down towards the roofs. Anywhere there was snow I left the white of the paper, so where the roof of the tallest barn meets the sky there is only a small value change between the sky and the snow on the roof. I then painted the dark roofs to get my pattern of dark and light on the paper. Then I progressively moved forward painting the back barn first then the middle and lastly the front building.

Many times as I am painting I will go back and rework an area, either lightening or darkening.

When working from a photograph like the one at left, you as the artist need to make some decisions. In this instance I chose to leave out the grass in the foreground, changed the shape of the windows and darkened the shadows a bit more. I have a tendency to go for a more dramatic feel to the colored piece, although in the value study I followed the photograph a bit more closely for values. You, as the artist, can make changes in the composition, color and atmosphere if you feel it would make a more interesting painting. The more you paint and play with the colors the more confidence you will acquire and the more fun you will have painting.
 Here is a close up of the front building. Interesting how the one on the left photographed about the right color and the one on right so much darker. On both you can see how I left the paper to show snow and then used a very light paynes grey wash to indicate shadows.

 Two shot of the roofs, one showing the sky up against the snow on the roof and the other where some has either blown off or melted a bit.

Checking out everyone's paintings.
 At the end of class, in the last 15 minutes or so, I like to have everyone put their paintings up on the board and we do a critique of each others work. The thing that always amazes me is that everyone is working from the same photograph and drawing, using pretty much the same paint colors, similar paper and brushes, but every painting is different in big right down to subtle ways. That is my favorite part of teaching.

One of the most important things you will learn from me is to NOT compare your work with anyone else. YOU are an individual and the only one to compare with is yourself. Every painting and or drawing is a learning experience, learn from your successes and your failures. There is no right way or wrong way there is only your way.
Barn paintings in work.

Some of the value studies.

Artists at work!!

 Next weeks project is a waterlily in bright sunlight. I gave out the drawings last week and suggested that you might want to put on resist to keep the sunlit areas from getting any color on them. Here is where I applied it. The photo has some reflective areas and that is also where the resist is.

 See you Tuesday, Happy Painting!!