Author Archives: reynolds

Lifting Branches to Achieve a Soft-focus Effect

Watercolor Painting Mountain Bluebird

“I See You” watercolor 11″x15″

It’s been awhile since I have done a WHAT series post. Time has sort of “got away from me” over the last weeks. Exciting things are happening; end of the school semester, beginning of summer, plein air painting, two of my own workshops, lots of plein air painting, coordinating an exciting plein air event and watercolor competition, a BIG birthday, and a houseguest for the 1st time in a looooong while. All these things are fun and exciting, but they have sapped up all my available spare time. I started editing this video clip over a month ago, and have now at last come back to it. I hope to be more diligent in the future about sending out these 3-minute tips. Though, I hesitate to make promises, I will endeavor to put one out every other week or so.

Mountain Bluebirds are Nevada’s state bird. They are somewhat hard to spot throughout the year, but I have discovered they visit my ‘hood in big flocks in the winter months. I captured the source photo for this painting while walking alongside the Empire Ranch golf course on the eastern side of Carson City, Nevada. This little bluebird watched me warily while I captured him with my camera lens. What do you suppose he thought of me?

For this watercolor how-to art tip, I’ve excerpted a 3-minute section of the full-length video of the painting. I will be demonstrating how to create a soft-focus effect by lifting from and painting on a wet or damp surface. I painted this painting, I See You,  earlier in the year. I entered it into a show with my local co-op gallery and it sold the first day of the show! I did not remember to take a good photograph of the painting before framing, so I was thrilled to find my video clips of the painting progress.

Supplies shown in this tutorial:

Paper: 140 lb Arches cold press watercolor paper, sized to 11″x15″ (a quarter sheet)
Paint: Daniel Smith pigments: Phthalo Blue GS, Pyrrol Red, Raw Sienna Light, Cascade Green, Quinacridone Rose; and Ultramarine Light by Holbein
Brush: #18 Round KingArt 9020 Series
Terry Towel
Paper Towel

Click to watch the clip.

Copyright Protection

There will be no video for this watercolor how-to art tip. I have had a rather lovely week, but it has been chock full. On Sunday last (Mother’s Day), we hosted my mother-in-law for a Mother’s Day party, in our home! It was the first time she was able to visit in over 15 months, due to the pandemic, since all in attendance are now (finally) fully vaccinated.

Monday, I painted a half sheet watercolor of my favorite ducks from the canal – a white pekin duck and his two hybrid male offspring.  I can’t show the painting yet, because… well, that will be the focus of this blog post – standby. I painted the ducks using a spontaneous pouring method. You can see the source photo below. I painted them in preparation for my pouring workshop coming up in a week or so.

Tuesday, I taught a class on Photoshop Elements at my studio, which was totally fun. All participants learned some exciting new skills – including me <smile>.

Wednesday, I went plein air painting with the Latimer Art Club. A group of about seven painters met at the River Fork Ranch Conservatory in Genoa. I was actually very pleased with my painting effort, but I can’t share it yet, because… well, that will be the focus of this blog post, right?

Thursday, my brother and I hopped in the new art mobile and traveled to Sacramento to see the American Watercolor Society Traveling show on display at the Sacramento Art Center. If you have an opportunity to go, I would make the effort. They have 40 paintings from this year’s AWS selected artists. Some wonderful watercolors, indeed.

Friday, I painted again in preparation for my watercolor pouring workshop, this time using a layered pour method. I interpreted my image of three goldfinches decked out in their bright yellow plumage for spring. See the source photo.

Saturday, I painted again using the layered watercolor pouring method, this time I pulled out my Brusho® pots. Brusho® is a watercolour crystals medium that has a range of bright and transparent colors, perfect for pouring in my opinion. This time I painted a scene from Montreal of a woman walking her dog. It is not finished yet, but I have good start. I can’t wait to get back at it today.

I had to stop painting to rush to a birthday party for my Little (Big Brothers and Big Sisters), followed by a graduation party for a fantastic young man, who had finished his degree in Education at UNR.

Whew! What a wonderful week, chock full of exciting stuff, art and otherwise. So you can see, no time for video editing. Instead I’ll talk about registering copyrights.

Most American artists feel their artwork is protected by U.S. copyright law once it is created. And that is true. However, if there is ever a dispute about a copyright, or if someone else uses your work or claims it as their own,  artists have little protection in the courts if it is not registered with the copyright office. I am by no means an expert on the process, but I have been registering my artwork with the copyright office for about 6 years now.

There have been lots of changes since I have been regularly registering my work. Now there is apparently a small claims court for copyrights (since the end of 2020)! Exciting news. Unfortunately, my dispute for 2015 is beyond the statute of limitations (3 years), so I won’t be able to take advantage of the new small claims option.

But to register your work, you will want to become familiar with “the rules”. Essentially we can register a creative work as published or unpublished. Once a work has been published, it can no longer be registered as unpublished. If there has been a print made and distributed of a piece of artwork, that is then a published work. There is some question about whether posting on social media, distributing in an email/text, or posting on a website constitutes publishing. Since it is unclear to me, I have decided not to print, post, or distribute an image of any work I create until after I have it registered with the copyright office. Why? Mostly, due to the difference in cost. I can register up to 10 unpublished works for $85 (all have to be unpublished, of the same type of creative work, and completed in the same year). We cannot register a group of published works, unless they are part of a set and can’t be sold individually – such as a set of calendar images. Published works have to be registered individually at $55 each. So, the choice is to spend $8.50 an image, or $55 an image. You can do the math.

So, once I have ten paintings, I register the titles and images with the copyright office, using the eco.copyright.gov tool. Now that I have been doing it a lot, it is pretty routine, and I just include the cost of copyright registration in my painting prices. So far, I have registered 50 paintings in 2021. I don’t register everything – but definitely most of my work.

Next week, I may have the next group of 10 ready to register. Check my social media pages for the paintings associated with these source photos. Photographers can register a lot more than 10 unpublished images as a group. I sometimes register a group of photographs with the copyright office as well. Since most watercolor competitions require us to work from our own photographs, it is a good practice to protect your source photos as well.

Anyway, that is why I delay posting new works on social media or email, until I have them all “protected” with the copyright office.

Mother Dear for Mother’s Day

Mother Dear, watercolor, 12″x9″

My father began an obsession with black and white photography in the mid-to-late 1970s. He had a lot of “hobbies,” and he never did anything halfway. If he was going to do a thing, he was going to do it right. His obsessions may have been short-lived, but when he was in the enthrall of one, he was “all in.” He had a bunch of 35-millimeter cameras and all sorts of lenses and filters. This was well before digital photography was possible. He loved the darkroom.

All in the family acted as his models from time-to-time, under the heat of his tin-can spotlights and make-shift photo studio. The black and white photograph of my mother that served as the starting point for this portrait really captured the personality of our mother (but I can’t seem to find my digital copy of it right now, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Ha!)

I started the painting as a demo during a portrait workshop, therefore, I do not have the first stage of the painting on video. After the workshop concluded, I saw my mother looking out at me and felt quite happy with the portrait, and posted it on social media. One of my brothers said something wasn’t quite right. Everyone’s a critic, right? After staring at it for a few days, though, I agreed. Back to the studio. I only recorded video on the second stage of the painting.

After a few weeks of looking at it some more, I decided it still needed something. The last stage I did not record, but I added the darks on the right of her face (See first image).

I’ve excerpted a 3-minute section of the second stage of the painting process.

Supplies questions answered before you ask for this tutorial:

Paper: 140 lb hot press watercolor paper, sized to 12″x9″
Paint: Sap Green, Manganese Blue Hue (in this segment)
Brush: #18 Round by KingArt 9020 Series.

Click the image below to watch the clip.

Pigment Strength and Paper State in Watercolor

I have been teaching watercolor lessons now for about 11 years. I started with a small class of four students in my Salt Lake City studio, just after I had graduated with my BFA in painting and drawing from the U

Video Preview

niversity of Utah. After moving to Nevada in 2017, I started teaching with two colleges. I now teach watercolor classes to matriculating students (those receiving credit toward a degree)  for the Western Nevada College as well as for the Truckee Meadows Community College community education program, called EPIC.

THEN in 2019 I opened a studio with a business address in Carson City, where I teach private classes and workshops. Through through the years, l I have learned a lot about introducing folks to watercolor painting (and I still have much to learn).

Hands down, though, the most challenging aspects of watercolor painting are understanding how to vary the pigment strength and learning about when to paint on wet, dry, or damp paper. In this video I talk about brush control methods and timing. Why do we paint light to dark? How do we achieve a fresh wash of paint? How do we achieve soft, lost, or hard edges?

In this quick 3-minute summary of a longer video I touch on the broad points.  I have excerpted parts of a longer 25-minute tutorial.  I have the  complete video available on my Patreon channel, www.patreon.com/exploringwatercolorcolleenreynolds where paying subscribers will have access to both this 3-minute WHAT video, as well as the full-length video. My expected official launch of the Patreon Channel will be June 15th. I still need to populate  the channel with lots and lots of videos before I can call it “official.” I may change my mind about a subscriber platform as well. I have to ponder and research some pros and cons. For now, enjoy some free content on the Patreon channel.

Supplies questions answered before you ask for this tutorial:

Paper: 140 lb hot press watercolor paper, sized to 12″x16″
Paint: Transparent Pyrrol Orange by Daniel Smith
Brush: #18 Round by Kingart 9020 Series 9020.

Let’s watch the short clip, shall we?

 

Flying Geese to Finish Off a Painting

Each morning I walk along the Carson River just a few blocks from my front door. There is quite a lively wetlands full of bird life along the river and the adjoining golf course. The water attracts geese by the hundreds. I enjoy their honking morning arrival as part of my morning ritual. As the source for this painting, “Fly Away Home” (study), I captured a whole flock in flight with my iPad camera.  I did not know it at the time of the picture, but it was one of the last days I would see the flocks before they migrated to wherever they go after their spring babies are big enough to tag along, maybe Canada? They are Canadian Geese, afterall.

Fly Away Home study

Fly Away Home (Study) 5.5″x7.5″

The larger version of this painting sold from my local gallery, but this small study (image size is 5″x7″) is still available for purchase.

I have excerpted the part of the painting where I painted a small landscape in preparation for a landscape workshop.  The small painting took just over 50 minutes (at least of recorded video). I have the  complete video available on my Patreon channel, www.patreon.com/exploringwatercolorcolleenreynolds where paying subscribers will have access to both this 3-minute WHAT video, as well as the full-length video. My expected official launch of the Patreon Channel will be June 15th. I still need to populate  the channel with lots and lots of videos, both public and private, before I can call it “official.”

Supplies questions answered before you ask for this video.
Paper: 140 lb hot press watercolor paper, sized to 5.5″ x 7.5″
Paint: Quinacridone Rose, Ultramarine Light, New Gamboge – all mixed up into a nondescript gray tone.
Brush: #14 Round by Lowe-Cornell (The Lowe-Cornell brand with a red stripe was replaced by Kingart 9020 Series #14 in 2020. The Kingart series brush has a gold stripe)

Let’s watch the short clip, shall we?

Painting a Textured Flower Center

"Three Brothers" Watercolor painting by Colleen Reynolds

“Three Brothers” watercolor 5″x7″

I completed this little sunflower painting some time ago, as I was preparing for a workshop on painting flowers and landscapes. I confess I like the small study better than the larger version. There is just something about sunflowers that give a lift to my spirits. And when the painting comes out as cute as this little darling, my spirits do soar.

I have excerpted the part of the painting where I paint the centers of the sunflowers. The whole painting took just over 45 minutes. I have the  complete video available on my Patreon channel, www.patreon.com/exploringwatercolorcolleenreynolds where paying subscribers will have access to both this 3-minute WHAT video, as well as the full-length video. My expected official launch of the Patreon Channel will be June 15th. I still need to populate  the channel with lots and lots of videos, both public and private, before I can call it “official.”

Supplies questions answered before you ask for this video.
Paper: 140 lb hot press watercolor paper, sized to 5.5″ x 7.5″
Paint: Pyrrol Red, Ultramarine Light, New Gamboge
Brush: #14 Round by Lowe-Cornell (replaced by Kingart 9020 Series #14)

Let’s watch the short clip, shall we?

Dot & Pull Method – Color an Ink Drawing

“Geraniums” Sketch and wash, micron pen and watercolor

How fun is it to draw? I sometimes truly just enjoy a drawing session. If I really want to challenge myself, I do it in ink. This makes me think carefully about angles, proportion, and the relationships between shapes and elements.

I had convinced my gardener husband to buy some geranium starts to populate our potted flowers. Since it took a little convincing, I thought I’d better preserve the flowers for prosperity. I first sketched with a black ink micron pen en plein air, adding a zentangle pattern called Florz to the background. A few days later I decided to add paint. This back in the studio under lights and camera. Luck for you, right?  I do not have video of the plein air drawing, just the painting part.

The original painting sold to an artist friend in Utah. Thank you, my friend. You know who you are.

For this 3-minute video demonstration, I am showing the “dot & pull” method for adding color to an ink drawing.

I have excerpted parts of painting the red blossoms and the foliage below. The whole painting took about 20 minutes. I hope to have the complete video available at the launch of my Patreon channel, where paying subscribers will have access to all these 3-minute WHAT series videos, as well as a bunch of other full-length videos. The channel is built, but the populating of the channel still needs to happen. Stay tuned for the expected “launch date” of June 15th.

Supplies questions answered before you ask for this video.

Paper: Sketch paper, 140 lb watercolor paper in a spiral sketchbook by Canson. I can’t remember the size at the moment. I have two sketchbooks from the same maker, and I don’t actually remember which one I used at the time.

Paint: Quinacridone Rose, Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Blue Violet, Cascade Green, and New Gamboge all by Daniel Smith; plus some opaque Lavender by Holbein.

Brushes: #14 Lowe-Cornell 9020 Series Round.

Let’s watch how it all happened. The video will premier on Youtube on April 11th @ 7am PDT.

Painting a Stormy Sky – Watercolor How-to Art Tip (WHAT?)

If you want to improve your watercolor painting, I’m told, paint a sky a day. I believe I heard this from watercolor painter, Iain Stewart. Maybe it was Thomas Schaller? Maybe both?

High Country, Watercolor 11″x7″

I just finished a workshop on creating distance in landscapes. I painted a lot of different skies in preparation. My painting, High Country, acted as one of those practice paintings.

In this video I have excerpted and edited the sky section from the raw video of the completed painting. I finished the sky in about 8 minutes. The whole painting took just under an hour. The secret to a good sky is to LEAVE IT ALONE! Easier said than done, right? The less you touch a sky, the better. This is almost always the case. I may have touched this one a little too much, but I did manage to leave it alone for the last 52 minutes of painting.

Supplies questions answered before you ask.

High Country in frame

Paper: I painted on 1/8th sheet of 140 lb watercolor cold press. It may have been Arches brand, or it may have been Saunders Waterford. I’m not sure. The painting is on show at the Nevada Artists Association gallery in Carson City right now, so I will have to wait to check for sure.

Paint: Ultramarine Light by Holbein, and Daniel Smith pigments: Cascade Green, Cobalt Blue Teal (just a wee bit), Raw Sienna Light, Indanthrone Blue, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, and Pyrrol Scarlet.

Brushes:1 1/2″ flat brush, a #18 KingArt 9020 Series Round, a Quiller 1″ flat, and a #0 Liner (for my signature)

Tabletop easel: Easelite by Gary Collins

Let’s watch how it all happened. The video will premier on Youtube on April 5th @ 9am PDT (new time). Happy Easter for those of you who celebrate.

Resist, Wet or Dry? – Watercolor How-to Art Tip (WHAT?)

I am going to create a series of short posts on painting in watercolor. My goal is to post something at least once a week. I hope you will join me as I learn and experiment in watercolor.

The tips will be sometimes basic, sometimes investigative, sometimes just for fun. I hope to keep the tips short and informative. They may have accompanying video, as in this post, but may also be just text and images.

Without further ado then, let’s dive in to today’s topic; working with watercolor resist. “Resist” refers to a method of preserving the white of the paper before paint application.

In this test, I have used two methods, wax resist crayon and masking fluid. My wax resist is a clear wax resist crayon, Susan Scheewe or Dick Blick brand. My crayons came in a 4-pack, but there are many options out there (especially around Easter-Egg-painting-season). My masking fluid brand of choice is Pebeo Drawing Gum. I like this fluid because of its mid-tone gray and “inky” consistency.

For this “test,” I am applying the wax resist and masking fluid both on dry and wet paper. Check out the video below to see the results of the test.

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