Lian Quan Zhen Watercolor Workshop 8-7-2014 Day 3

•August 7, 2014 • 2 Comments

When I arrived at today’s workshop, Lian passed out the image for today’s lesson and I was excited to see we were going to paint Polar Bears & a winter snow scene. Little did I know what a challenge the lesson would become for me.

Lian had us sketch the subject on to our paper and then he started his demo by applying a colorful  first wash over the dried mask he had applied earlier.

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Lian Quan Zhen  8-7-2014 f

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Lian Quan Zhen  8-7-2014 b(Lian’s Painting)

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 I took photos of the images on the video monitor. It was large & clear for all of us to see.

You can see his painting in progress and the photo reference he is painting from. It was great to see how he builds up the layers of washes to bring the subject to life. The painting still has the mask on to save the white of the paper.

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Lian Quan Zhen  8-7-2014 c

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Lian Quan Zhen  8-7-2014 d

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In this photo (on the right leg) you can see the individual strokes he made to reproduce the fur on the bear.

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Lian Quan Zhen 8-7-2014 g____________________________________________________________

I struggled with this painting. I am sharing this photo to show you that a tremendous amount of work needs to be done if I ever want to finish this piece. Today was frustrating and at times I wanted to leave the class. I don’t like feeling as if everything I’m painting is NOT working out. But without a day like today I would not know the happiness of success. Not every piece of paper turns into a painting, no matter how hard I may try. With growth come setbacks. Today was the day I felt defeated and crushed as an artist. But I will start fresh tomorrow and learn from what I did & didn’t accomplish today.

I won’t give up when I am not successful. I will accept what went wrong and try, try again with a newborn determination to improve & sharpen my skills as an artist.

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Paint with Me

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Lian Quan Zhen Watercolor Workshop 8-6-2014 Day 2

•August 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Day 2 of Lian Quan Zhen’s workshop was filled with lots of jaw dropping moments as he continued his sunflower painting that we prepared in yesterday’s class. This is the sketch with the masking completely dried and ready to paint.

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Lian Quan Zhen 8-6-2014 a(Lian’s Drawing)

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The entire painting is achieved using only 3 colors…Red, Yellow & Blue. The face of the flowers was our starting point because it is the focal point of the painting. The 3 colors were dropped onto the paper and using a brush or our fingers the paint was spread over the flower.

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Lian Quan Zhen 8-6-2014 b (Lian’s Painting)

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Here you can see Lian at work continuing to add the pigments. By carefully working each section of the paper he can control the values & shapes within the painting.

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 Lian Quan Zhen 8-6-2014 c

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The first wash of colors is complete. The mask has not been removed.

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Lian Quan Zhen 8-6-2014 d           (Lian’s Painting)

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 Details have been adding to create the seeds of the flower. Sections of the mask have been removed & the petals are painted. Using negative painting the stems & leaves are defined.

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Lian Quan Zhen 8-6-2014 e(Lian’s Painting)

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This is my painting with the first wash applied. I am hoping to have it completed soon. It needs quite a bit of work but since there is not enough time during the class I will have to wait until I am back in my studio to continue.

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Lian Quan Zhen 8-6-2014 h

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I started a second painting because I didn’t have much of the face of the flower showing in my first painting. This is the sketch with the mask.

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Lian Quan Zhen 8-6-2014 f____________________________________________

This is the completed first wash of color. I kept the wash lighter than the other painting and made sure to have at least one flower with a nice big face so I can paint in the details of the seeds.

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Lian Quan Zhen 8-6-2014 g

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By immediately starting a second painting I can adjust the sketch & application of paint to achieve better results because I have learned so much from the first painting. Many times artists ask me why I love doing series of the same subject. My answer is always this….Each time I work through a subject by doing a series I learn how to push myself, how to try something new and daring and take risks I might not take if I only have one chance of doing the painting. 

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Pick a subject that sparks your interest and do a series of 3/5 painting changing each one. Take risks with your colors or shapes. Have fun and enjoy seeing what you paint.

Today I watched a great artist pour, splatter, drip & blow paint getting the most fascinating results. That’s the way I like to play with paint!

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Paint with Me

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Lian Quan Zhen Watercolor Workshop 8-5-2014 NY Day 1

•August 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It has been many years since I had the pleasure of painting in Lian Quan Zhen’s workshop so today was very exciting as I started day 1 of a 4 day program. He is as gracious and talented as I remember him to be and with a packed classroom he started his first of many demos. He has a great video system that not only allows everyone to clearly see him paint but he reruns the taped demo while we paint. How wonderful to have this learning tool during the class. Many times when the teacher is done and you sit down to get started on your own piece you no longer have the image of exactly how the painting was started. Now I can look up at the monitor and watch him recreate his art.

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Lian Quann Zhren NY 8-5-14 a________________________________________

He briefly went over what makes a good composition, the supplies that we would be using and how to mix watercolor pigments for pouring. Pouring is a fun technique to add excitement and drama to your paintings. There are 4 ways to move the paint once it has been poured onto the paper.

Spray with water – fingers – paint brush – blowing

Here you can see Lian using his fingers to move the paint.

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Lian Quann Zhren NY 8-5-14 b___________________________________________________

This is the start of my practice painting or what I like to call my warm up painting. Dropping & pouring yellow & red paint I use my fingers to pull out lines or petal shapes making sure to leave plenty of white paper.

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Lian Quann Zhren NY 8-5-14 d_________________________________________________

Next I add more yellow & blue to create some green areas. By dropping blue & red paint I bring some darks to the painting. Mixing red & blue on my palette and NOT adding water I make an extreme dark color (almost black)which allows me to add a rich dark value to the painting. This entire warm up piece took about 15/20 minutes and gave us the chance to use our creativity and play with our paints.

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Lian Quann Zhren NY 8-5-14 e______________________________________________

Using Lian’s reference photo we sketched the sunflowers which will be tomorrow’s painting.  We applied mask to save our whites and first thing in the morning we will start pouring paint.

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Lian Quann Zhren NY 8-5-14 c_______________________________________________

When people ask me what I’m doing on vacation this summer I’m excited to say I’ll be in a workshop playing with my watercolor paints.

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Paint with Me

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A Watercolor Painting Torn in Two

•July 28, 2014 • 4 Comments

Sometimes I will spend many glorious hours working or better yet playing on one particular watercolor painting. As I approach the end of this painting I realize that I am not pleased with the final results. Continuing to work doesn’t afford me much help because I keep coming back to the same results. I am just not happy with the painting.

I have no problem spending the time on a painting and not liking the finished piece. After hours of painting whether, the results are good or bad, it still helps me become a better artist so I am happy to have done the work. I sometimes turn over the paper and use the blank side to practice or prepare for future paintings.This time I took out several different size mats and began looking at the painting in various smaller sizes.

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This is the finished painting 30″ x 22″ Although it has beautiful shapes, edges & colors I felt that it became too busy and had no focal point or a quiet place that the viewer could rest their eyes on.

Blast of Colors 1

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I laid the mats on top of the painting and soon discovered that the image worked as two independent paintings. Each half looked good to me when they stood alone. Together they overwhelmed the viewer. Separated they felt full of energy and vitality.

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Blast of Colors #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blast of Colors #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 I carefully folded the paper in half, creased it & gently tore the it into two individual paintings. Now I have a diptych or one painting continued on two separate pieces of paper.

Sometimes you just have to take that giant leap of faith. Whether its choosing a new color to add to a painting, laying a wash over an entire painting, washing out an area of your painting or tearing a completed painting in half it is the bold steps you take as an artist that allow you to become a MUCH greater artist in the end.

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Paint with Me

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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 leftcattle left torn edges__________________________________________________________

Cattle midddleCattle midddle toen edges_______________________________________________________________

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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LongHorn Cattle4

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

LongHorn Cattle4 tornedges

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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

LongHorn Cattle2 tornedges

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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Paint with Me

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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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