Posted in painting

Watercolor Wednesday: Rust

This rusty car was our assignment at the art association open studio last Wednesday. I think I got a pretty good likeness of the photograph. The hardest part was deciding when to stop.

I used a palette of raw sienna, burnt sienna, cerulean blue, cobalt blue and ultramarine blue. Painted on Fabriano Studio cold press paper.

Posted in painting

Watercolor Wednesday – Not Wordless

I have just a few comments to make about this watercolor of a coleus plant.

The subject was chosen as I work to use my own photographs for reference images. The picture you see on my computer screen was taken in my laundry room. It has the best sunlight for growing plants. By aiming the camera down from above, I achieved a simple image very suitable for a small painting.

After sketching with Prismacolor water soluble pencils, I added green-gold, Thalo blue, unltramarine blue and quinacridone magenta to a 4×6 piece of Fabriano cold-press paper.

Posted in painting

Watercolor Jack

It’s been a very long time since I have seen one of these in the wild:

Photograph by Mitch Zeissler

When I was a child roaming the woods in Ohio, we called this plant Jack-in-the-pulpit. This very wonderful photograph brought back memories and enticed me to try a watercolor version of it.

Sketch and initial wash on the background.

Finished painting

Most of the paints were Daniel Smith, a few Winsor & Newton. I used yellow ochre, green-gold, Winsor green, ultramarine blue, carbazole violet, alizarin crimson and quinacridone red. I also placed a few dabs of white gouache. Paper is Fabriano Studio cold press.

Posted in painting

Watercolor Wednesday

I have been saving this image from Unsplash for the time when my skills were sufficient to paint it. I think I’m ready now.

There are several challenges:

  1. Painting the pink flower with shading and without losing its delicate transparency.
  2. Making the background black enough while keeping the crisp edges of the foreground.
  3. Rendering the texture of the leaf in the foreground

It took me a few days and several stages.

Pencil outline of the flower and underpainting of the leaves. I added some colored pencil on the foreground, but these lines completely disappeared under subsequent glazes.

Before I proceeded to the next layers, I reserved the edges by coating them with masking fluid.

First layer of paint on flower and background, second glaze on leaves.
Second layer of paint on flower and background. Once it dried, I rubbed off the masking fluid.

Final painting. To render the curves of the foreground leaf, I decided to add a dark color band which doesn’t exist in the original photograph. I used a blue Prismacolor pencil to draw in the delicate veins which are visible between the large ribs.

I like the glowing look of the flower. The crimson petal tips really come forward visually. I’m happy with the foreground leaf. I’m wondering if I need to darken the leaf in the background.

Maybe I will wait a day and see how I feel about it.

Painted on Fabriano Studio cold press paper with Winsor yellow, quinacridone magenta, alizarin crimson, prussian blue, viridian, gold green and sap green.

Posted in painting

Learning Lessons, Trying Stuff

I’ve chosen the title to this blog because it’s the message I give students who are learning new skills in fiber arts (and other arts, in my case.) This blog is about my latest water color painting lesson and the resulting painting.

First, my inspiration. I have a lovely birdbath in my backyard. Everyday I watch the activity around the birdbath and think about painting it. So I chose it as my subject, for what I intend to be a series of paintings.

This is a morning shot. I am using this photo as a reference for my first painting of the backyard birdbath. In this first stage, I paint the subject.

I have sketched in a male cardinal to provide a focal point for the painting.

Next I used pale yellow and gold washes for the background underpainting. Let me say now that This was my Favorite Point in the process. Everything looks the way I want. The rocks, the pottery, even the background. From here on, it was a struggle.

Next came layer two. I added green to delineate the background and painted the cardinal with a wash of red. My instructor showed me how to paint a reflection in the birdbath and how to paint blades of grass in the middle ground.

Once everything dried, I added shadows to the birdbath, finished the bird, added the foreground, and dropped in a few spots of color to the middle ground. I also used a dark blue to under-paint the background. Here is the finished painting.

There’s a lot I like here, but there is plenty that I don’t.

I did Try Stuff. I Learned Lessons, and now I am ready for a Do-over.