Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Victoria Workshop 2012

We had a little bit of everything, warm sunny weather, wind & rain
then the last day a light dusting of spring snow.

Even when you think your painting isn't working, when you stop
and look you can see how far you have come.

This was only a three day workshop, we worked on one painting every day to
learn tecniques...and yes many felt as if their paintings weren't working...
...until they can step away and see.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tips: Tearing Paper

I'm here in Victoria BC teaching a workshop meeting wonderful new friends / students, everyone always has such wonderful ideas to share so I will be posting a few new tips so you can feel as if you have joined us.

Tearing paper:

It seems like tearing paper should be really simple, but many people have problems with it, (especially the heavier weight papers). If the paper isn't tearing easily the student feels frustrated and ends up cutting it leaving one side with a sharp cut look while the others have a deckle or feathered edge.

The problem with that is if you want to float your painting (meaning exposing all of the edges of the paper) one side is not the same.

To tear, fold the paper in half, watermark side up (watermark is the side where the manufactures name is spelled correctly) this is called the front or felt side. You can use both sides but the advantage of this is that the snap of the paper will be on the back giving you a better looking edge on the front side.

Tearing paper by Audrey Bakewell

Now this one I hadn't seen before.

  1. Weaken the seam by folding back and fourth.
  2. At the top start a small tear or cut.
  3. Place on the table tent side up.
  4. With one hand on the seam apply pressure downwards so it can naturally tear.

Other ways to do it:

  • Create a small tear or cut on the seam then pull and tear evenly on both sides.
  • Dampen the seam, place a straight edge along the fold and tear (the only problem with this is that you MUST use clean water or you could leave an unwanted pigment line along the edge.
  • In dryer climates you can place the paper tent side up, start with small tear or cut on the seam then quickly hit the seam snapping it in half (works better in some climates then others)
  • Weaken the seam, at the top start a small tear or cut, tent side up take it to the edge of the table, apply even pressure while pulling upwards working your way down the seam.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

BIG Brushes

I found this very funny, some of my new friends in Victoria BC have purchased the brushes that I like, they were so surprised of the sized of the size. They had fun and pretended they were swords.

I know when many people get them they can be a little intimidated by their size - but that's the point, sometimes size matter. It is much easier to work an area in a few quick strokes then to overwork it with too many small ones or the other thing that happens is that color is drying faster then you can work.

the five sided handle is extremely comfortable and fit naturally in your hand, the other wonderful thing about the handle is the way it's cut helps to prevent the brush from rolling on the table and across the painting.

The brush set I have available on my web-site and in my workshops are what I consider the most important brushes to have.

# 30 Natural Blend for Watercolor & Gouache
This is a mix of Kolinsky Red Sable, Russian Blue Squirrel, and Russian Black Sable, along with small amounts of synthetic hair.
It has the benefits of the finest natural hairs for watercolor:
The water-holding capacity and wash strokes of squirrel.
The pointing and edging of red sable.
The stiffness and durability of black sable.
Seamless, nickel-plated brass ferrules are rust-resistant.

# 8, 14, 20 for Watercolor & Gouache
It is almost the same as the natural blend but has more synthetic hair along with the natural so it holds a little less water, gives you more control and is a great overall brush

Bamboo hake -great for applying large amounts of water, so color can flow easily but it can loose hair easily which can be easily fixed with a little crazy glue along the edge of the bamboo working it into the hair along the base. Instructions

# 3 synthetic will hold the least about of water but is great to to lift debris.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Painting Flowers Step by Step: Radiant Reds

Painting Flowers Step by Step: Radiant Reds

Flowers are gorgeous and joyful in a bouquet or a garden, but I love to paint blooms up close, so I can bring to light their intricate, often convoluted, forms. I paint in watercolor, what I consider the most fluid and expressive medium. Watercolor lets me do a lot with a little. I paint with lots of water and though I don’t use much pigment, I get intense, vivid results. My basic practice is to apply water to the paper and then paint, allowing the color to move on the paper.

Red is challenging because you have to keep it fresh and clean if it is to retain its vibrancy. For this painting I wanted to keep the lighter colors in the foreground so the viewer would come close and look inside the flower, and then peer more deeply into space, into the background and the shadows.

Step 1: After making a light pencil drawing on a sheet of Arches 300-pound, cold-pressed paper, I applied water to one petal. With a No. 30 brush, I let Winsor red, permanent alizarin crimson and quinacridone magenta mix on the palette. Combining warm (Winsor red) with cool (alizarin crimson and quinacridone magenta) helps push and pull the color. While that surface was still wet, I applied Indian yellow, allowing it to blend into the red.

Step 2: While the surface was still damp, I methodically worked on each petal with a No. 20 brush. I made sure there was a lot of paint on my brush, and then I applied swift, sweeping strokes of color. I lifted and moved the paper as I worked, so I could avoid feathering or other unwanted effects. I inspected the color as it started to dry. If it seemed that I needed deeper colors, I would apply another layer of paint.

Step 3: Then it was time to work on the shadows. I used the same colors I’d used for the petals, only I added carbazole violet or a very small amount of indigo. I started with the largest areas first, adding water and then color. Again I let the color move within the water. This technique creates a luminous, filtered-shadow effect. As I painted the shadow, I allowed it to cover the stamens and the petal. I’ll worry about details later.

Step 4: Mixing a rich dark, I applied paint to the negative spaces; a dark background suggests drama. Once I’d got the deepest darks in place, I evaluated the colors and the shadows to make sure there was a balance. Then I decided what areas still needed to be darkened.

Step 5: After studying the painting awhile, I decided there wasn’t enough contrast to make the lightest and most vivid areas pop. I deepened the background. With a small round brush, I then added the details to the stamen in Parrot Tulips (watercolor, 30×22).

For full article view "Watercolor in Motion" (North Light Books, 2008),

My Materials

Arches cold-pressed, 300-pound paper

2- to 3-inch bamboo hake brush

No. 30 natural hair brush

No. 14 and No. 20 natural and synthetic blend brushes

No. 20 synthetic brush

My Palette (I love Winsor & Newton watercolors)

Winsor red

permanent alizarin crimson

quinacridone magenta

carbazole violet

Indian yellow


Monday, February 20, 2012

Painting a Pansy: Step-by-step

When painting small flowers like pansies, it’s often hard to recognize a good composition from a poor one. The immediate response is usually to clump the small flowers together and make a bouquet. I recommend, instead, treating the pansy as you would any other flower: Focus on shape, shadow and color—the elements that can transform these small wonders into a bold composition.

1. Mixing Naples and Indian yellow, I started with the lightest petals and worked one petal at a time, filling each petal with water and adding the color to the outside edge with a No. 14 brush. Applying the color only to the outside edge left enough area white so I could later place a complementary color and not have it mix with the yellow and turn muddy.

2. As the surface started to dry and become more matte in its finish, I mixed carbazole purple, French ultramarine blue and quinacridone magenta to make a purple. Using a sweeping motion, I applied the purple with a No. 14 brush, starting at the center and moving toward the outside edge

3. As the surface started to dry and become more matte in its finish, I mixed carbazole purple, French ultramarine blue and quinacridone magenta to make a purple. Using a sweeping motion, I applied the purple with a No. 14 brush, starting at the center and moving toward the outside edge.

4. To eliminate unwanted brushstrokes, I used a No. 20 brush to blend the areas already in place and to lay down color over larger areas quickly.

5. Leaving a few white areas along the lip of the petal helped separate the petals. I continued working all over the flower, adding layers of color in the center to make the area rich and dark.

6. After I’d added all the color and the petals were dry, I started working on the shadow. To create a neutral gray, I combined my earlier mixtures of purple and yellow. To make the shadows, I followed the same procedure: applying water first and then the color. It’s important to allow the water to carry the color

7. Once the petals and shadows were done, I began work on the background. I used sap green with a (Daniel Smith) Hansa yellow and a French Ultramarine blue to make a vivid dark.
8. To create an interesting gray for the shadows, I mixed the complementary colors already on my palette, yellow and purple, together. Another tactic would be to place complementary colors next to each other. I called this painting Little Pansy (above; watercolor, 15×10).

Pansy Palette

Naples and Hansa yellows

Indian yellow

carbazole violet (or violet dioxazine)

French ultramarine blue

quinacridone magenta

permanent sap green

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