Classes have started at Green River and I will be using this blog to post the next weeks project for the water color class and as the class finishes their paintings I will post some of them. This session has 11 students, from total beginner to experienced, so this is going to be a lot of fun!! This week the project was a tree peony on 300lb water color paper. For the next 2 weeks we will be concentrating on just a flower head. the purpose of that is learning how to handle the ratio of water and pigment, and letting the water do most of the work. Whether you paint very loosely or tight how and when you use water will make a huge difference in the outcome of your painting. For this project the petal being painted was painted with clean water, when the sheen from the water was gone the watered down pigment was applied from the base up, letting the water on the paper pull the pigment along to the top of the petal. If there were shadows from curled petals the shadow was then applied. The main pigments used in the painting were alizarin crimson, with a touch of new gamboge, the shadow is ultramarine blue. To get the very dark reddish color I used alizarin and paynes grey. The center was painted new gamboge with areas of cad yellow medium, then using a mixture of alizarin, new gamboge and ultramarine (creating a dark reddish brown) I outlined the little stamens. After that was dry I went in with a small damp brush and pulled out some of the yellow to give the stamen highlights. I did put a background on this flower of a purple made with alizarin and ultramarine, after that had dried I ran some cobalt blue on one side and paynes grey over the top for interest.
Next Tuesdays painting will be of a pink rose, my sample is painted on Ampersand's watercolor board with a 2" cradle. I am beginning to really like these watercolor boards because after the painting is finished I can just varnish and hang, no framing or glass to deal with. The painting was done with alizarin, cad red medium, new gamboge, ultramarine blue and paynes grey (hmmmm I am beginning to see a pattern here!). Yes I do use the same colors over and over, occasionally adding a another color if needed, this is what is called developing a palette. It is not necessary to purchase every tube of paint made to be able to paint a picture. Working with a limited palette will teach you more about color mixing than anything else. Again this painting was done in a similar manner as the tree peony, wet a petal with clean water (and this cannot be said enough, CLEAN water, do not use the water you clean your brushes with, it can ruin your painting), with a wet brush dipped in watered down pigment apply color from the bottom of the petal to the outer edge of the petal. In watercolor less is more, you can always darken a color, but it is a lot of work to lighten a color if it can be done at all. Using white paint is not really an option with water color, adding white turns your color into a pastel instead of a lighter version of the color you are working with. The white of the paper you are painting on is the white that you use in the painting. Lighter colors are attained by adding water to the pigment, the amount of water you add plus how wet the paper is results in the color you get on the paper. Darker colors are less water more pigment. Working the way I do, wetting a petal at a time, means that you only want to work on a new petal if the one next to is is totally dry or you will get bleeding over and lose the lines of the flower. Then it is just a matter of going around until all the petals are painted, go in and do some final touch ups of dark and the painting is finished.
Here is the finished painting.
And here is the drawing for the painting.
Remember the most important thing about art, be it drawing or painting, is to have fun with it. Every painting will not be a masterpiece, but every painting is a learning experience. So have fun and