This is a photograph of one of our blossoming beauties named, “Minerva Amaryllis”, that I will be painting in watercolor. It’s petals range in color from salmon to pink with white tiger stripes extending out from the center. My husband grows this one, and many others in our kitchen window. When they quickly spring-up with their bright blossoms it can literally take-your-breath-away. Amaryllis always cheer-up the house in the winter.
First, I sketch the shapes using a 2H pencil, drawing very lightly so lines are erasable later on.
Next, I wet the first petal area being very careful to reserve (keep dry) the area in the middle. This dry area is where the white stripes will be. Proceeding on, I combine colors “wet-on-wet” in this pre-wetted area. Start with a mixture of orange and gambouge yellow, then apply drops of quinacridone magenta and alizaron crimson for the darkest edges. It is fascinating how the watercolors do almost all the work themselves. They combine in expressive gradations till they make edges that are sharp right where the wetness stops. This picture shows very bright the colors look when wet, but, remember that they will fade as they dry.
The approach for the second, third (behind), and fourth petals are pretty much the same except for the lighting changes as they stack.
Now, is when I look at the beginning of where the light and shadow occur on the flower surfaces. The stem below the blossom is heavily darkened.
Following this, I apply a light wash in the background petals that is more muted in value to exaggerate distance.
With a light wash showing the light sky background and greenery texture from below to eye-level, I am ready to begin painting the details.
I have been working on different approaches to rendering this Great White Heron from a photograph by Elise Beattie who teaches, “Fearless Painting” classes. The first post about this is a pen & ink study.
While studying the picture, I kept feeling as though the best part of the picture was missing. What would that be? Well, the reflection of the bird on the water. Being an artist allows me to go ahead with adding the missing piece in as I render this subject. I believe it is called the artist license.
Render Sun Reflection
Watercolor requires that you start with where you want to reserve white, then begin laying down lightest colors first. In this that will be where the sun is laying on the water.
I start to lay in the reeds behind and am careful to avoid where my Great White Heron is. Must preserve a pristine white area to work on later for the center-of-attention character.
As I add in the reeds on the right side additional lily pond type leaves are added to help the composition move in a circular motion.
Using royal and cerulean blues I begin to put the ripples of the water in.
A reflection is simply the original image turned upside down on the water. After turning it we need to take into account that the surface reflecting the image is not flat. As in this water scene with it’s many ripples that cut-up and distort the image. The more I apply the reed reflections and water colors I begin to lose the heron reflection so I apply a soft gray there that helps me to see it better.
This next step is scary as I apply a wash over all the water using ultramarine blue.
At this point I am darkening reflections and making details and adjustments. I should be able to finish this image this week. When I complete it I will be sure to post it so you can see it. Happy painting.
This is a 7″ x 10″ watercolor on 140lb paper. It is my first watercolor from a class started yesterday. I am happy with the lighting because it does appear like it was, on the model.
So, the news is that I attended a session on life drawing on Monday night. Wow, what a refreshing exercise that is for me. Drawing from a live human being really brings the drawing skills out to play. The model can’t hold still forever, so you have to get those pencils to move fast enough to get the image down before the timer goes off. It feels a little stressed but so creative at the same time. I left feeling almost as if I had just had group art therapy and was ready to tackle the world. Well, at least the art world anyhow. I had forgotten how much fun this is and how great it is to work on our skills with other artists. Birds of a feather…
Hopefully, this kind of study will improve my figurative renderings in the future.
Our Fearless Painting class guru, Elise Beattie, has challenged us over the weekend. And, If we choose to accept this assignment, we will have to find impressive different approaches to painting this beautiful Great White Heron…. this challenge will self-destruct in 5 seconds. This is some beautiful photography Elise Beattie!
Initially I do a quick black and white study in my sketchbook with a gel pen (nothing special).
I scrounge around in the studio to find a leftover piece of watercolor paper from a previous assignment to work on. This simply means there is a surprise ink drawing on the back of the sheet for anyone purchasing the image. Kind of a two for one prize. I decided on a much closer view for this Heron rendering in watercolor. The dimensions are taken off of my B&W sketch.
When I want accuracy, I have to grease those crazy artist mind gears. Breaking out a tool from the old drafting days will insure correct results twice as big on the watercolor paper. The tool I use is called a “Precision Deluxe Proportional Divider” (made in Germany).
Would you like a tutorial about how to use this tool in another post on this blog? Leave me a comment if you do.
On the instruction sheet there are some real useful instructions in German on the flip side, just in case you were wondering.
I do anticipate making a third layout today using a different approach with acrylics on a canvas board, but I haven’t got there yet. But first, I need to finish my piano practice. 🙂
I have not been known to be very fearful as far as my art is concerned, but I recently signed up for a class called Fearless Painting. What are my worst fears? Being an artist is what I am and always will be, but….
How do I sell the art that I am always creating?
After facing some “real” health issues, a lot of activities have had to be re-learned. It was noticeable that my creativity felt stymied. I really needed a little boost. This &#(@^$% quarantine is still in effect, so getting a weekly in-person class becomes impossible. I noticed that a friend of mine named Elise Beattie, from Spokane Watercolor Society was offering a two hour online class on Tuesday nights through the Spokane Community College which I signed up for.
Fearless Painting with Elise Beattie
I am not quite finished with the acrylic “abstract” & a landscape of a “mountain view” that were started in last Tuesday night’s online Fearless Painting Class. We are using a primary color pallet allowing tinted MONOCHROMATIC values. Fun, fun, fun! I love value studies.
The American flag has always held a warm space in my heart. I was taught to respect our nation’s flag and it is just a beautiful symbol of freedom to me. It reminds me of the Olympics. So, it is important that I get this painting right to show how lovely our flag looks in the wind.
Looking at the tank last evening and while walking down to the tank this morning I have decided that the fold near the blue and stars just is not right. I am not seeing the flowing movement that I want in the flag fabric. The stars are bugging me because they are not very consistent in size.
No worries though, because we can change anything we want as long as there is a paintbrush-in-hand. I will change the stars area into a slight wave in the fabric instead of the fold but, keep the actual fold on the right side red and white stripes. That should do it. To change this I need to move the blue part a little more to the left and widen the first white stripe into an easier bend. Adjustments, Adjustments, Adjustments.
The plan is to paint the white stars last. So, I mask off the new locations in more consistent in sizes. Masking allows a freedom to a freely paint the shadows and highlights of the flag fabric without worrying about messing up the stars. Applying masking tape strips to cover where the stars should be, then marking a star outline using a sharpie, followed by using an Exacto knife. Wa La!
The real painting begins, making adjustments to the layout and mixing paints to get highlight where the flag reaches out. Paying close attention to where light and shadow should happen. Adding shadow where the flag tucks into a wave base or continues after a fold. The right side of the tank will have a red strip leading off into the back. I decide to add shadow around all the stars while the masking tape is still there, hoping to get a shadow effect to make them stand out.
Lastly I remove the masking tape covering where the stars are to be. Then carefully paint white in the stars and we are finished.
I am happy with this rendering of our American flag.
This is the propane tank that I see when I look out my kitchen window. It seems out of place in our natural forest landscaping. It is just one of those things that bugs me…
As an artist I can change it, so the project begins. First I get a hose out there and spray the tank down. Then I take a bucket of warm water and TSP (tri sodium phosphate) with a green kitchen scrubber and get to work. Over the years layers of pitch from the pine trees along with lots of mildew have put quite a layer of icky stuff on the tank. But, good old TSP is a powerful cleaner that almost always removes all the coodies on any surface needing paint. Read the label cause it is not a nice chemical to handle incorrectly.
Looks quite different clean doesn’t it? I go back into the studio to come up with a drawing to get things right.
I am wanting to put the American flag flowing in the wind on the tank. Starting with the blue background for the stars on the far left with the stripes going over the rest of the tank at an angle.
I know it isn’t that easy to see but, I use blue chalk to layout areas on the tank for the different colors. Then I quickly paint a rough underpainting of the design on the tank.
I walk back up to the house and let it dry overnight.
I have an artist friend/teacher named Stan Miller who is phenomenally talented. I look forward to any classes I can arrange to take from him. We both live in Spokane Washington but I was surprised to find out how famous this artist friend of mine is, during our travels. Check out these recent pictures taken while in Breckenridge Colorado.
I didn’t know Stan had businesses,
machinery in Colorado.
Now this antique grader does look like something Stan would have us draw in class…. I have a better shot of this if anyone would like to draw it. Just PM me and I’ll send it to you.
Have you been holding out on us Stan?
What have you been up to in the Colorado mountains?
I dropped off three watercolor paintings of one of my favorite subjects at the Spokane Art School. I did three winter ski views that I admired during my ski patrol days. Snow scenes up in the mountains hold a real dear place in my heart. I carried a camera with me when it wasn’t common for everyone to have a camera on their phone.
If you have not participated in an art show before, you may not know what it looks like before the gallery goes to all the hard work of hanging all the work. You walk in with your pieces of art, sign papers and stack them where they tell you to put them.
This is going to be a unique show displaying Spokane Watercolor Society members work is marvelous. All of the paintings are small, being the same size at 8″ x 8″. We tried an alternative method of framing for this show where the watercolors are mounted on board, then waxed to seal them. I love this method of preserving a watercolor painting without having to cover it in glass, matting and frame which often times seems to make the painting harder to see under the glare. The colors are so vibrant and warm in this waxed method and I can’t wait to see the display of this wide variety of talent up on the walls of the gallery. There are You Tube videos showing how to do this alternative method of framing for watercolors, see Angela Fahr here.
Spokane Art School Gallery
811 W Garland Avenue., 99205
This gallery is on the south side of Garland near the milk jug in downtown Spoklane. The art show runs from 7/10 – 7/31st, being open only on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 – 2:00pm.
Unfortunately, we are not able to have an art show opening due to covid 19 restrictions. But you can go see the show two days a week if you wear a mask. Hope you can get a chance to go see some really stellar work by our local artists in the Spokane Watercolor society.
The Challenge is “Just an Impression” No clear reality here. Paint an impression and see if viewers get the ‘point’.
I did enjoy this challenge, as it did let me reach out and try something new. When I was in high school I painted, using neon colors, lots of abstract posters to populate my bedroom. But at this stage in my artist life, I actually felt a little guilty, as though I may have wasted some supplies doing this. I am happy with the fun had anyhow. You can probably tell that abstract is not my favorite style of painting at this point in time though.
First, I thought of a painting I’d like to make an impression of. Then, I started with real loose pen work, then added strokes of color and dabs of different paint until it felt done.
Can you guess which painting I was looking at while doing this exercise?
It is a well known piece by a Dutch post impressionist painter.