Thursday, April 10, 2014

Watercolor Class - April 8th

WOW!! This class is huge! I had planned on the first class to do a crocus painting using a little different method and a few twists. What I hadn't planned on were so many new students who weren't use to painting with me. So, I apologize for the confusion last week. How I like to work in the class is to have a painting done and hand out a pattern for that, then do another painting of a piece of the larger painting to demonstrate how I did the larger painting. I work with each student as I walk around the class. The pattern for the next class is posted on this blog by Friday before the next class along with a series of photographs showing how I painted the piece. You can download and make it the size you want to work with or you can wait until class to get the pattern.

Next week we will be painting white daisies, here is the pattern.

I had planned to make 3 of the flowers white, but while I was working with the yellow I forgot and made one of the flowers that was supposed to be white yellow. The top right yellow flower in white would have made the composition better, but I will have to live with it. As I worked on this area I cleaned the edges of the petals from the inside with a damp 1/4" flat then added more dark around the flowers to give the petals a cleaner line. When you are trying to keep your lines clean be sure the area where you are working is dry. The yellow flowers, to me, are the closest, so there is more detail in them with a cleaner line, as I work my way up the edges bleed into the background a bit more. I am cleaning up some of the pencil lines at this point but I am leaving some too.

This is how I am starting the white flowers, I
am using the same purple, ultramarine blue
and alizarin crimson-more towards the reddish
side of purple, that is in the background with lots of water added. If you look at the photo carefully you can see the hard edges of the wash I put in. Even after the wash is down and dry you can take a wet, not dripping, brush and go along the edge of the line and the pigment will move into a nice gradual shadow. Once the purple is down
you can use your 1/4" flat to wipe out some of the color to create the white shapes. Remember, your darkest darks work best next to your lightest lights.

I used the same purple color for the shading on this flower, but then added some paynes gray to get the heavy darkness is a few areas and also added some alizarin crimson to the two back petals in the back to give it some interest. I did the centers the same on both of the white flowers I filled in the center with the same darker yellow then with a semi dry brush I dragged some of the yellow up the petals. When the yellow was almost totally dry I went in with a small round brush and made circles with cad red, leaving a yellow center. After it had dried I added some of the dark purple for shadows. Using the 1/4" flat I cleaned up the color out of the flower petal edges and folded over tips. I wanted them to be perfectly white if possible. The very last thing I did was with the tip of my small round, I pulled the color out of the center of some of the center circles. Again make sure when you pull color out clean your brush and wipe on a paper towel. You want it to be just damp enough to grab the pigment sitting on top.

First purple flower, work it pretty much the same as the other flowers, using a reddish purple - alizarin and ultramarine. To do the darker areas use more concentrated color, the lighter areas use more water, less concentrated color. When the paint is almost dry, use a damp brush to pull out the highlights. I did the same color combination for the center. If you look closely at these photos, you can see the lines that the coat of gesso on the watercolor paper has left.

When I got to the last flower it needed to be a little darker than the flower in front of it, so I altered my formula, adding more ultramarine and a little less of the alizarin. For the really dark shadows I added a little paynes gray. At this point I realized that I had the point of a leaf sticking out behind the last flower, and angle of it needed a base somewhere. So using my ever handy 1/4" flat, I used the edge to pull the background color out below the top flower and to the left of the other purple flower. The background color has to be removed to make the green of this leaf match the others even though it is back further.

Now is the time to see what needs to be done to finish this painting. I erase as much of the pencil lines around the flowers as I want gone, leaving some here and there. I then added more dark background color around the flowers to make the petals stand out more, I also added the same dark in the centers of the flowers that had stamens showing. I sharpened up some of the whites by pulling some more of the color out. When I did the background I had pulled out some little circles down on the left hand side to add some interest,  in the completed piece I really liked the way they looked down there and decided to add a few more. Finally I was satisfied with how it ended up looking and finally signed my name! So off comes the tape and I am very happy with how the painting ended up.

I hope this has helped you finish your painting. If you need more help with it bring it back to class. If you have finished it be sure to bring it in for the critique.

Critique you say? Yes at the end of the class I like to have all the students put their work up front, sounds scary I know, but after a while you will enjoy seeing what everyone else is doing and learn to make changes or have questions answered that will make your paintings better.

Have a lovely weekend, enjoy the promised sunshine and we shall meet again on Tuesday.

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