Category Archives: Teaching

14th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor – Finch on a Fence

“Oh my goodness! How cute is that Finch?”

“Finch on a Fence” – Fixed a bit

This little guy flitted to a white fence just as my husband and I were walking past with our extra zoomer lens on the Canon Rebel SLR camera at the ready.

“Good Catch!” Now the debate. Is it a House Wren or a House Finch? I just cannot tell. I’m going with a House Finch, because I want the title to be, “Finch on a Fence” <smile>

Continuing with my Facebook group’s 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge, I painted this wet-into-wet without any pre-drawing. It is a small 5.5″x7.5″ little guy. It is actually probably very close to the size of the bird itself.

“How did you DO that wet-into-wet without a drawing?” you ask.

Well, I like to saturate the paper, then dry it back with a towel, so I can hold an edge, but still have soft watery blends of color. See previous blog posts on that process.

For this painting, I used my #14 Lowe-Cornell round brush on Arches 140lb cold press watercolor paper.

I mixed up a green tone using Hansa Yellow Medium and Phthalo Blue (GS) both by Daniel Smith.

Finch on a Fence – 1st Sta

I painted around the shape of the bird and fence, leaving them both white. I caressed in a bit of the blue and yellow to the pre-mixed green, just to avoid letting the green get lonesome. I had also pre-mixed my “black” using Pyrrol Red and Phthalo blue, so I caressed in a bit of that to the green too, to knock back the intensity a bit.

After creating the white silhouette, I painted the shadow shapes on the bird’s body, letting the dark bleed into the wet green background. I left a few random white sparkles, plus a very deliberate white highlight in the eye.

Finch on a Fench – Stage Two

I really enjoy how the dark gray bled into the background green, giving the sense of the wind ruffling his feathers. I then carefully put in the bright Pyrrol Red on the top of the head and on the breast. I added a bit of Perinone Orange to keep the red really bright and intense.

I painted in the legs and talons, taking care to make the forward leg darker compared to the back leg. I carefully measured the length of the talons against the bird’s body, so I didn’t make them too small. Birds have BIG feet, man!

I weakened the gray mix and hinted at the white

Finch on a Fence – Stage 3

fence on top and on the front. I liked the cast shadow from the Bird’s tail, which I painted with a weakened phthalo blue and a bit of muddy gray the same strength. I was quite happy with the painting at this stage. And it would have been a completely bona fide wet-into-wet one- go-at-it painting. But alas! One of the house critics came by and offered that the background was pretty boring.

“Yeah, I know. It is.” So, when the painting had reached the damp, almost dry stage, I added hints of foliage behind the white fence. I signed it with my calligraphy brush, because dang it, if I can’t find my rigger brush!

Voila! My cuter than a dang bug’s ear (though, is a bug’s ear really cute? I mean, how do we know that? Intellectually, my brain thinks a bug’s ear would not be cute?) “Finch on a Fence” watercolor painting for the day.

If interested in purchasing this painting, click the “Add to Cart” button below. For a short time, this painting will be available for $150 (with black frame and white black core mat). Shipping $15.00 to Continental U.S. customers, paying with PayPal or a credit/debit card only. Check payments and faraway folks will pay additional shipping charges. Taxes additional, where applicable.

After July 8th, this little fellow is “goin’ to the show!” at Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery in Carson City. Artist’s reception July 18th from 4-7pm.

Finch on a Fench – Final painting

Finch on a Fench, $150 (with frame & mat)

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13th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor – George’s Gift

George’s Gift

The lucky 13th painting comes in a day late because I really did need a recovery day.

Now I have to paint two in one day to catch up.

But… The Miller-Reynolds Manor had a surprise visitor for the weekend, so the doubled up painting session may have to wait.

This painting is based on a flower arrangement given to me by my previous visitor week or so ago. My good friend George Schkudor from Ogden, Utah. I love daisies and mums because they are so long-lived.

For the challenge, I am still painting without a pre-drawing and wet-into-wet. I did use a clear wax crayon to save whites on the light side of the main spider mum. I intended to go a little “wild and crazy” with the paint application, so I had to save some of the white. I wet the paper thoroughly on both sides and let it “cook.” I prepared some cobalt and ultramarine blue as well as some quinacridone red and rose in my palette mixing area. I try not to draw paint directly from the paint wells because then I cannot control the pigment strength.

I dried back the paper a bit with a paper towel and started carving around the white mum with some red and blue.  I put some shapes of green (mixed with the ultramarine, new gamboge and a little of the quin red) in and around some purple “flowers.”

I splattered some of all the blues and reds all around. I lifted some color back with a palette knife. I added iridescent medium and texture medium. I scraped back some more, with the palette as well as my fingernails. I sprayed the bottom third of the painting with my water bottle (misting spray). I tilted the painting and let the wet paint run down. I added some dark green leaves, and let them swim around in the wet and texture medium. I mixed up a gray with all the colors, leaning toward purple and painted the mum petals a bit on the dark side of the flower. I scraped some more petals to create the purple mums’ petals. I added some loose and indistinct calligraphy strokes using Rose of Ultramarine and Quinacridone Red. The paper was still wet, so the strokes diffused nicely.

Painting and source bouquet

Loosey goosey fun, it was! Here is a photo of the painting with its source (under yellow light, so the colors look a bit different.

The challenge is keeping me in the paints. ‘Tis good. Now away to visit with the patriarch of the Reynolds Family, my most senior of brothers.

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If interested in purchasing this painting, “George’s Gift” for $100 (plus taxes and/or shipping, where applicable), just click the “Add to Cart” button below. Check payments and orders outside the continental U.S. will incur additional shipping charges.

“George’s Gift” $100

I appreciate all comments, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

 

Recovery Day – If a Tree Falls…

“If a Tree Falls…”

Hello There! It occurs to me that today is the 13th because it says so at the top (or is it the bottom?) of this post. I had to do a quick left head swivel to look at the very cool desktop calendar of Colleen Reynolds’ art, just to confirm it is not also Friday! Whew! The 13th AND Friday did not collide. I am safe for the day from bad luck, right?

Today is recovery day after a marathon two days of teaching and teaching preparation. I taught two classes yesterday – one college watercolor class in the morning, starting at 9:30, and one in the evening for a community education program. Fortunately for my back, both classes were given at the same college campus and taught in the same room.

I arrived at 8:30 to allow time for hauling all those supplies into the room for setting up. The morning class went well. We practiced basic brush strokes and talked about grading and supplies, etc. The students did not have access to class stuff before the first day of class, so one of the bags I had to haul to the temporary art room (regular classroom under renovation) was a bag full of palettes, paint, brushes, etc. to get everyone through the first week. Some of the supplies belong to the school, so I had to retrieve things from a completely different building (two flights of stairs away). No storage is allocated for “Art teaching” in the temporary geology room, so said supplies had to then be returned to the other building after class. Sigh.

The 3-hour class, though, gave me immeasurable joy. I love my ten students, eager to learn the secrets and intricacies of this watercolor medium for the next nine weeks of a relaxing summer term. Nine of the ten students have no other classes, except this one, so I expect lots of undivided attention.

After the morning class, I dashed home for a slight respite to feed myself and my furry beasties but returned with enough time to allow for a 2-hour setup period for the evening community education class. I am teaching my “kitchen sink” class where we add a lot of auxiliary materials to the watercolor pigment to create texture. It’s a fun class for expanding creativity, especially for students new to watercolor, but it does entail many extra hours of preparation on my part.

The class itself was a joy. I was having a blast throwing salt, painting mediums, spices, papers, chalk, crayon (and more!) into the paint on small 4″x6″ pieces of Arches 140lb paper. Lots of oohs and aahs were happening as we all just watched the interactions unfold on paper, without any pressure of creating “a subject” (See images below). I do have an hour-long video of creating the texture studies. If you’re interested in purchasing a link to the video for $5, shoot me a message in the comments section below or via my “Contact” page on this website.

“If a Tree Falls…” Deja vu?

The last 45 minutes of class, we created a small little “paint-along” watercolor sketch, based on a photograph I took on one of my morning walks. It is a little 5.5″x7.5″ sketch. We used sea salt, cling film, splattering, and a tiny bit of titanium white added to just three colors of watercolor; Ultramarine Blue (Holbein), Hansa Yellow Light (Daniel Smith), and Pyrrol Red (Daniel Smith).

We started with a very simple sketch to separate the composition into the diagonal tree shape, a background (top third), a middle ground (middle third) and a foreground (bottom third) We painted a wet-into-wet background first, dropping coffee-strength mixtures of our yellow, blue and pre-mixed neutralized green.

We let the background dry back a bit, then used the same strength of pigment to paint a wet-on-dry middle ground, using some dry-brushing and skipping some white areas for sparkle. We left the tree trunk area dry and white. We added sea salt and splattered into the middle-ground area with yellow, green, blue and a tiny bit of the red.

For the foreground we painted with the same type of application as the middle-ground, just with stronger pigment and bit more of the red, still leaving the tree trunk white and untouched. We added more sea salt and wet splatter on top of the salt.

For the fallen tree trunk, we mixed up a gray tone with the blue and red and a tiny touch of the yellow. We dry brushed the coffee-strength mixed gray pigment to the front of the tree trunk, then applied cling wrap. I then used the blow dryer so I could remove the salt before adding some final darks and calligraphy strokes to the foreground and tree. I called out the shape of the fallen tree by adding darks behind and below the tree.

Sea Salt, Bath Salt, Wild Rice

Note: using the blow dryer did dampen the effects of the salt application. It is much better to let the paint dry naturally to achieve an accentuated burst from the salt (see salt texture study image to compare).

After an exhausting and somewhat comical effort to return everything to my car, I returned home to have my sweet, sweet lifesaver of a husband greet me at the door. He unloaded everything and hauled it all back into my home studio. Whew!

And I LOVED IT! All the students in both classes are just wonderful, funny, and eager to learn. See all the fun we had, creating textures in watercolor? Below are four more of the seven texture studies we completed. I confess, these are the studies I completed during my preparation day. I already have the photos processed, so…

To purchase “If a Tree Falls…” (with a black/copper frame and a white black core mat), just click on the “add to cart” link. Shipping is $15 if paying with PayPal or Credit Card for a Continental US order. Check payments and international orders incur additional shipping charges. Taxes are additional, where applicable.

If a Tree Falls.., $150 (w/ frame and mat)

I appreciate all comments, suggestions, and questions. Thank you for stopping by!

Click on images for a larger view.

Lifting preparation, wax & unwaxed string, bubble wrap, water lifting with & without tape stencils.

Texture and granulation mediums

Chalk, crayon, conte crayon

Cling wrap, foil, wax paper

11th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor – White Roses

“White Roses” – Click on image for a larger view

Continuing with the #30x30DirectWatercolor challenge, here is my effort for day 11. I have spent much of the day preparing for a couple of watercolor classes that I teach tomorrow, so I had to make this one quick; which sometimes works in my favor. According to my video recording, this took me about 37 minutes from start to finish.

See my previous blog post to admire the source photo, which of course I adapted.

I used a lovely “separatey,” combination color, called Shadow Violet, plus my Cobalt Blue Violet, Hansa Yellow Medium, Cascade Green (all by Daniel Smith), and my trusty Ultramarine Light by Holbein.

I wet the paper thoroughly, both front and back. While the paper was “cooking” in the water, I prepared my pigments in the palette.

After the paper had soaked properly, I dried it back with paper towels and my terry towel “squeegee” so I could hold an edge, but still have soft transitions.

With my #14 Lowe-Cornell Round brush, I started by carving around the white shapes of the roses with the Shadow Violet and Ultramarine blue. Again, as in accordance with the Facebook challenge, I did not do any pre-drawing.

I painted in the foliage area with Cascade green and Hansa Yellow Medium, some Ultramarine Blue and Shadow Violet, letting all the colors swim around in the wetness. I then worked on the shadows on the flowers, starting with light (weak) pigment with grayed down violets and blue. After the paper had dried back slightly, I built up the petal and foliage shapes with stronger pigment. When the paper was dried back to damp almost dry, I added some final calligraphy strokes for the stems, petal shapes, and leaves. I signed the painting using a #0 liner (rigger) brush with long thin hairs.

The painting, “White Roses,” is 7.5″x5.5″ painted on 140lb Arches brand cold press.  I do have video clips of the painting process. I may edit it someday. Stay tuned! (A 45-minute video tutorial link ($6) is available. Contact Colleen for details).

This painting has been updated: See blog post Whites and Watercolor for June 7, 2019

And NOW! you can subscribe to this blog log, either as an RSS feed, or to receive notifications via email. Just click the appropriate icon or link in the top right-hand column of this blog page. A big shout out thank you to Melissa Elliot for showing me how to make that happen.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, you can buy it now via PayPal for $165 (w/ exquisite white gold frame and white mat). Just click on the “Add to Cart” button below. You do NOT need a PayPal account, just a valid credit or debit card. Shipping is $15 for Continental US orders. Check payments or international orders will incur additional shipping charges. The painting will be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service. Nevada customers subject to sales taxes (sorry).

I appreciate all comments, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

White Roses, $165 (w/ frame & mat)

 

 

 

 

 

A Walk of Roses

Wow! I took a walk in the early morning light. The neighborhood roses are peaking.

We have white ones, pink ones, red ones, yellow and coral. ‘Tis a feast for the eyes. I can’t wait to paint a few.

I want to try using some textural effects since that is my focus for my Community Education watercolor class this week.

Or I am also teaching a college watercolor class for June and July. The class started yesterday. Maybe I will try some sumi-e style calligraphy strokes? 

Or maybe some wet-into-wet for my #30x30directwatercolor challenge? Stay tuned to see what happens?

I hope to update you all this afternoon on my painting prowess. Stay tuned.

I appreciate all comments, questions, or suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

All photos are subject to copyright. Please no downloading or copying or using as a painting reference without permission.

9th & 10th Paintings for Challenge – Yellow Headed Blackbirds

Yellow-Headed Blackbird One

Today I couldn’t resist my yellow-headed blackbird friend. He and I had a conversation on my walk the other day. I don’t know if he was pleased to see me. I think he thought I might threaten his nest. Have you ever heard these birds? Man, do they like to screech! But they also have a cute chirp when you get close to have a “talk.”

I painted him twice. No pre-drawing for either rendition. I quite like both outcomes. I know tomorrow is going to be a busy day. I start teaching my watercolor class at Western Nevada College. I thought I’d better paint two paintings today, just in case I don’t have time tomorrow.

Yellow-Headed Blackbird Too

For the first study, I waxed off the white wing tips, then saturated the paper front and back. While the paper was “cooking in the water,” I prepared my paints in the palette: I used Hansa Yellow Medium and Deep for the light areas of the head, and Raw Sienna Light for the yellow shadow areas (all Daniel Smith). I mixed Ultramarine Light (Holbein) with Pyrrol Transparent Orange (Daniel Smith) for the darks on the body. For the background and trees, I added Cascade Green (Daniel Smith). I also used all the bird colors in the background to promote harmony.

For the second study, I used the same color combinations, but my process was different. I wetted the background area but kept paper where I wanted the bird dry. I did not use wax for the wing tips. I dropped in weak blue and green while the paper was wet and puddly and let the paint swim around and blend on the paper. I then dried the paper back to damp before working on the bird itself.

I like both paintings. I think the second is more accurate proportions, but I like the softness of the first study. What do you think?

I have video clips for both paintings. I may edit them someday. Stay tuned!

If you are interested in purchasing either of these paintings ($150 for top painting, which is framed, or $100 for bottom painting with mat only), I have included a convenient Buy Now button below <smile>. PayPal is my credit card processor. You do NOT need a PayPal account to purchase, just a valid credit or debit card.

Both paintings are 5×5″x7.5″ on 140lb Arches cold press paper. Under the “Choose Painting” options; “One” is the first image, “Too” is the second painting.

Both paintings will be delivered via the USPS postal service. Shipping cost is $15 only if purchased via PayPal checkout (Check payments will incur additional shipping charges). Taxes are additional, where applicable. If the unframed painting is purchased, the shipping charge is only $4.50 and the customer will be refunded extra charges via PayPal).


Choose Painting



I appreciate all comments, questions and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

 

8th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge – Geese Gaggle All in a Row

“Geese Gaggle” Watercolor 11″x7.5″

Continuing with the #30x30DirectWatercolor Facebook challenge. I have been taking long morning walks along the Carson River (as you may have read in other blog posts?). To make the “chore” of morning exercise more enjoyable, I sling our trusty Rebel Canon SLR camera around my neck in hopes of catching and recording the local wildlife. Usually, the Canadian geese are plentiful on my route… Hubby says they must have all gone back to Canada for the summer. But I did see a couple of families wander up the canal a couple of days ago.

I thought this would be a quick study, but alas I spent more than about an hour and a half on it. I decided it would be too hard to save the whites around the heads of the geese and the goslings, so I waxed a bit to save some white shapes.

I then saturated the paper by wetting both sides and letting the paper sit in the water for a bit. While the paper “cooked” I decided on my colors. I chose Sap Green knocked back a bit with Quinacridone Red (Both Daniel Smith) and Cobalt Blue and Ultramarine Light (Both Holbein) for the water. I mixed some of the Ultramarine with Perinone Orange (Daniel Smith) for geese and goslings. I later brought in a bit of Raw Sienna Light (Daniel Smith) on the geese and into the water reflections and added some Pyrrol Transparent Orange (Daniel Smith) to the Ultramarine Light because I just couldn’t get dark enough with the Perinone Orange.

I dried back the paper a bit with paper towels and a rolled up terrycloth towel, so the paper was more damp than super wet before paint application.

I applied light neutralized greens and blues for the water area, and “found” the waxed whites. I wanted the focal point to be the gosling grouping to the left and just below center, so I left the area quite light for the first pass.

I tried to keep the bird shapes loose and impressionistic, applying the first layer of browns and grays light into the wet paper. I had to dry the paper back a bit to find the final forms. I scraped back some white sparkles on the birds and water with a sharp snap knife. I did use a bit of Titanium white on the first momma goose and some of the goslings’ bodies. It just produced the perfect gray tone that was needed. I “ended” the painting with my signature using my liner (“rigger”) brush, after the paper was almost dry. But then… the signature line inspired me to add some more calligraphy line strokes.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting ($300 with 11×14 frame), the image is 11″x7.5″ watercolor on 140lb Arches watercolor paper. Thank you in advance. I use PayPal as my payment processor. You do NOT need a PayPal account to purchase. Shipping cost is $15 only if purchasing through PayPal and shipping through the U.S. Postal Service (check payments will incur additional shipping charges). Taxes are additional, where applicable.

Note: I changed the title to “All in a Row.” The U.S. Copyright office registration reflects the new title. If purchasing, the painting title will be “All in a Row”. The video instruction title remains, “Geese Gaggle.”

All in a Row – $150 (w/ frame & mat)


The accelerated video below shows the process.

All comment, questions, and suggestions are most welcome.  Thanks for stopping by.

6th & 7th Paintings 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge – Calligraphy

Bamboo

 Continuing with the Facebook #30x30DirectWatercolor challenge, I painted three small (5″x7″) watercolor painting in Sumi-e ink painting style.

The first painting of Bamboo I painted on dry paper. This was a monotone painting using Cobalt Blue Violet by Daniel Smith. I varied the strength of the pigment from a weak, medium, to strong mixture. The dry paper created a lot more texture in the strokes.

Orchid on damp paper

The second painting of a wild orchid I painted on damp paper. Also a monotone painting, I used Rose of Ultramarine by Daniel Smith. The damp paper created soft internal shapes, but also let me hold a strong edge to shapes.

The third painting, also of a wild orchid, I painted on wet paper with both of the previous two colors. The wet paper left a combination of lost, soft and hard edges, probably because I did not have an even moisture application on the surface.

Orchid on wet paper

It was interesting to see the difference? Usually, I prefer a combination of edges, but for sumi-e style painting, I prefer the damp surface. It feels more elegant, somehow? What do you think.

A video download of the instructional video is available for purchase at just $6. The purchased video shows the complete painting process for all three painting, along with narrated instruction.

 

See short preview below

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate all comments, questions and suggestions.

5th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor – Abstract Splatter

“Splatter Landscape”

“Splatter Landscape”. In preparation for my watercolor class with a focus on texture, I created this little 5″x7″ abstract landscape using splatter techniques; splattering wet paint to a very wet surface on the bottom and wet paint on to a dry surface on the top. I used a few “pull” calligraphy strokes to “find” some trees and branches. I also brought out my little diamond-shaped palette knife to scrape back some highlights, and some “sticks” in the foreground. It was just a 20-minute study to watch how the paint moves. A good exercise, me thinks?

Thank you for stopping by. Click on the image for a larger view. I welcome all comment, questions, and suggestions.

Just click the button to purchase the full, narrated video download is available for only $6

 

See video preview below

 

 

4th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor – Carson River

“River of My Mind”

Today I painted a “double duty” painting. I have a class on texture starting tomorrow and I wanted to continue with the #30x30DirectWatercolorchallenge. So.. How about a painting that satisfies both? On my morning walk, I meandered along the Carson River, looking for waterfowl. Mysteriously, the plethora of geese gaggles usually resident along the river and in the adjacent golf course are all but absent? I hope there has not been an effort to cull their numbers? Alas, on the far side of the course, I did see several families of geese with teenagers in tow. They seemed very leery of me and my camera.

Leery Geese

It was, however, a beautiful morning with much to see and admire. This scene I did without pre-drawing, wet-into-wet, and sans reference. ‘Tis all from my mind, which may explain why the water seems to be slanting sidewise? Ha!  But it does feel very “textury”, so I did get some good practice for my class tomorrow. This is an 8″x10″ study on 140lb Arches Rough.

In my mind’s eye, perhaps I was combining the two scenes below? Next time, maybe I will use the reference while painting?

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Click on images for a larger view. I appreciate comments, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.