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

•August 5, 2014 • 1 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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Silent Winter3

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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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