Photos for Drawing & Watercolor Painting

•July 15, 2014 • 2 Comments

I wanted to explore the possibilities of using the photos of the long horn cattle in an enlarged version. Below is the photo I took at my friend’s home in Vermont.

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LongHorn Cattle2

I cropped the original photo into 3 pieces and using an Adobe Photoshop Elements filter I was able to change them into the black & white photos I use to help me draw my subjects. By making them into shapes & values I can easily see what I need to do to create my painting.

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Cattle right Cattle right torn edges_______________________________________________________________

Look at each photo and see the interesting dark shapes. When I start my watercolor painting I know where the dark & light patterns are, which make up the animals and I choose a color to make those configurations. I do not have to use the actual colors of the cattle. As the artist I can choose any colors I want as long as I keep the values accurate.

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Each photo is then printed onto 8×10 paper. I align them up and clip them onto a large board.

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Now I have larger images to rearrange into any configuration of cattle I desire. I might use only the large animal on the left & paint a single portrait. I am intrigued by the composition of the 3 cattle, center to right. I will use those faces as one of the many studies I do of these majestic animals. 

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Please try using some of your photos and see what interesting compositions you can come up with. Play around with the pictures and find the ones that captivate you make you feel excited to paint it. Get busy and have fun playing with all different combinations of colors. 

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Paint with Me

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Photos Reference for Watercolor Painting

•June 9, 2014 • 3 Comments

Lately I have become enamored with the faces & shapes of certain animals.  These photo, taken at a friend’s home in Vermont are an example of the images I find captivating and I have the desire to paint. Here I share with you the photos I use as reference for my paintings.

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This is the cropped photo and below is the image changed into a photo of black & white shapes.

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I can clearly see the shapes I want to paint and eliminate the unnecessary & distracting details in the picture.

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LongHorn Cattle2

LongHorn Cattle2 cutout

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I used 2 different filters on the above picture giving me a unique image of the cattle to paint.

This allows me to focus on my choice of colors & values as I’m creating my new series of paintings.

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I admire artists who can paint the most realistic depiction of an animal. I prefer to design and give birth to a painting that stimulates the viewer and draws them into an undefined likeness of the animal I am painting.

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When I use these photos as reference dor my new

Usine Tape as a Masking Product for Watercolor Painting

•May 19, 2014 • 3 Comments

 

I saw this technique in a book and thought I would try it and share the results with you. Gently tear a strip of masking tape lengthwise. Use tape at least 1″ or wider. Lay the strips back to back with the straight edges facing each other & the torn edges facing out. Position them on your watercolor paper as the shapes of trees. The tape will act as a masking product to save the white of the paper.

Paint the first background wash of the painting.

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Torn Tape 1

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Continue painting the background while the tape is still on the paper.

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Torn Tape 2

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I have removed the tape and the negative shapes of the trees are ready to be painted.

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Torn Tape 3

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You can choose how you want each tree to be painted. Add additional branches if desired.

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Upon completion of the painting I see several things I will do differently when I try this technique again, and I will do this again because it was fun & easy to do. As I look at the composition I see that the spaces between each tree are almost exactly the same size. I added an extra tree between the 2nd & 3rd tree to change the size of that space. The placement of the 3 trees still bothers me but not as much now. The 3 trees are still too alike and uniform, I’m not finding this painting to hold much interest for the viewer.

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Torn Tape 5

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Not everything we paint must turn out to be a masterpiece but it MUST be fun and rewarding for me as an artist to go through the painting process. Each time I journey through a painting the trip takes me into a delightful learning experience filled with the choices of colors & shapes. There are no bad paintings. All paintings I do are successful because I become a better artist with each new painting I create.

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Paint with Me

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NEW COLORS FOR MY PALETTE

•April 8, 2014 • 1 Comment

Most of us find shopping for spring clothes, shoes or accessories helps to breaks us out of the winter blues. I look forward to the major art supply companies sending out their spring discount flyer. It’s the time of year I order my much needed supplies of paper, brushes & paint. It is always exciting when I purchase a few new colors to add to my palette.

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This set by M Graham titled “Jewel Tone” featured several colors I use often and a few that were new to me. Hansa Yellow & Cobalt Violet are a constant on my palette. I’ve used M Graham watercolor pigments before & I’m very pleased with how good they are. I put a pinch of each color on my palette and play with them to see how they mingle, blend and granulate. Or how well they play with others.

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Daniel Smith Watercolors are one of my favorite paints, (along with Holbein). I love all the quinacridone colors and when I saw they now offered a ‘Q Deep Gold’ I had to try it being I adore Q Gold & Q Burnt Orange. As you can see on the test strip, the Deep gold falls in right between the Gold & Burnt Orange pigments. The Piemontite Genuine gave an amazing granulated effect which will work well in many of my paintings.

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New Paint Colors3Here are 2 samples of these new colors

New Paint Colors2

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A great affordable way to try new colors is to see what Daniel Smith is offering in their “Triads”. You can find them on their web site under -Daniel Smith Watercolor – Triad Sets. This is a chance to experiment with gorgeous color mixes and some limited editions colors too. Incredible value each set is only $18.95 and free shipping.

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Let the new colors on your palette wake up the artist in you. Spend more time in your studio being creative. Just like the sound of birds singing lets us know that spring is here, playing with colors awakens the joy within us and lets us know that the world will be filling with colorful flowers and brilliant greens.

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Paint with Me

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Winter Watercolor

•March 3, 2014 • 5 Comments

Sometimes I feel the need to paint & play mindlessly so today I choose a soft, snowy, winter landscape as my subject. I did not use a reference picture. I used my imagination and ideas from winter paintings I’ve done in the past. I laid down a cool violet-blue wash grading it to white at the bottom of the paper. This saves the white of the paper and helps create the snow-covered ground. I used masking fluid to save the white shape of the moon. I very rarely use any masking product but I wanted to have the freedom to work with a very wet wash and didn’t want to be restricted by the small white moon.

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Silent Winter1

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When dry, I paint the distant mountains keeping them light in value & cool in color. Using a darker value I added the distant fir trees. Next I add the foreground trees. Winter trees are fun to paint because without their leaves you can show off the trunk, branch and twig shapes.

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Silent Winter2

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Working a very light wash over the top of the trees gives the illusion of the tiniest or finest branches that would barely be seen individually but together they are seen as a slightly darker mass at the tippy top of the winter tree. Now that I’m working in the foreground of the landscape I can add some warmth to my color palette. The contour of the road is created by painting along the curve and blending the paint up to form the snow bank. This is something I had fun practicing by painting lots of holiday cards

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The most important finishing touch is establishing the shadows. This will pull the entire painting together and give it viability. Shadows give form & curve to the ground. Remember, colors live within those shadows, they are not just gray blobs 

Using Chinese White & water mix to the consistency of heavy cream Splatter paint drops into the painting by tapping a loaded brush against a dry brush handle. First practice this using a piece of scrap paper Little snow flakes will appear on your winter painting.

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Have Fun!

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Playing with Flowers

•February 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Like most places in New York I am dealing with another dreary winter day filled with gray skies with ice & snow covering the ground. A perfect day to spend time in the studio playing with watercolor and painting flowers.

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This was a painting I began quite some time ago. I was not happy with the results so I took it to the sink and washed it to remove the paint. I gently scrubbed the surface of the paper with a very soft toothbrush. [ I am doing this on Arches paper ] When completely dry I reworked the painting and now I’m liking the flower shapes & colors. It has mostly hard edges but the flow of pigment gives it a soft feel.

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This painting has mostly soft edges. I painted it entirely wet in wet allowing the paint to mix on the paper. It’s fun to drop pigment on damp paper and watch what happens. A great way practice your control of water to pigment ratio. Too much water and the paint spreads too fast and colors are diluted. Not enough water and the paint can’t move & flow on the paper.

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What we consider failures can become great learning & practice pieces. Search through your old art and find some of what you feel are your failures and rework them. Take risks and try new techniques. Let the fun begin!

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Paint with Me

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Layering Leaves by Negative Painting in Watercolor

•January 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

An easy & fun way to practice negative painting is by layering leaf shapes one on top of the other. In a previous post I showed you the simplicity of negative painting    ( http://wp.me/pqBNY-KB ). Now I’ll do a painting with a variety of leaf shapes showing how I’ll create depth within the painting.

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I start the painting with a colorful wash. Don’t be afraid to make your wash full of colors and textures. Use your favorite colors or try experimenting with colors you rarely use. We all have those tubes of paint we purchased but haven’t fallen in love with. Squeeze  some of those paints onto your palette and play with them. This is also an opportunity to see how your colors mix together or a good time to use new pigments to see how you like the colors. I recently purchased a variety of new Quinacridone colors that I love playing with. The wash I start my painting on are  thoroughly dried before I proceed with adding the leaf shapes.

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Golden Fall

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The leaf shapes can be traced from a real or artificial leaf or drawn free hand. I then choose a color slightly darker than the original color of the first wash. I paint the negative shape around each leaf shape. The new wash will be blended to the outside edges of the paper. You can see the salt I added to my second wash which will add more texture at this stage of the painting.

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Golden Fall3

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Golden Fall4

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When you complete a layer of shapes and it is fully dry draw the next layer of shapes placing them “UNDER” the 1st layer.  NEVER PLACE THE NEXT LAYER ON TOP OF ANY PREVIOUS LIGHTER SHAPES OR LEAVES & NEVER PAINT OVER THE LIGHTER SHAPES…ONLY AROUND THEM. The only time I will paint any surface leaves will be to detail them or help separate them with shadows.

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Golden Fall7

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Here’s a closer look so you can see the details I added to some of the leaves.

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Each wash I add gets darker. Don’t be shy using a juicy dark mix to create depth. Let the viewer see how far you can push the background within your painting. Do add some details to the leaves being careful not to make them too dark or they will no longer sit on the surface of the painting.

I also added vines or branches to the painting using the same negative painting technique, I just painted around them to make them appear. I splattered the completed painting with a beautiful gold watercolor paint by Holbein. I love using Holbein’s  gold & silver paints to add a bit of light to my paintings.

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This painting was fun, filled with exciting colors & shapes. Try negative painting and shift the way you see an object. You can always paint a leaf, now challenge yourself by painting the space outside the leaf and let the leaf appear as the light or unpainted object on the paper.

Once you start seeing objects in the negative you’ll love painting outside the lines.

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Paint with Me

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