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“Home Means Nevada” 24th & 25th Paintings for June’s Challenge

“Home Means Nevada” – Cool Primary Colors

I am teaching a college watercolor class for the summer term with Western Nevada College. We are now in our third week of the 9-week semester, so 1/3 of the way through!

So far, we have covered basic brush strokes, flat, graded and variegated washes, and “The Value of Color.”

This week, we moved on to studying color temperature, which is my favorite lesson. It seems this property of color, no matter the painting medium, is the least understood by artists. Yet, the temperature of paints is extremely important for mixing colors.

I make my students do “color genetics” exercises, and we drill over and over on the color wheel. What are the primary colors? What are the secondary colors? What is a cool red/blue/yellow? What is a warm red/blue/yellow? What are the complementary pairs? And so on. They paint charts, and surprisingly, even seem to enjoy the process. Mostly because I allocate class time for the building of charts, which means LESS homework. Ha!

The coup de gras of the temperature assignment is to paint two paintings of the same scene. One using cool primary colors (first image), the other using warm primary colors (second image).

“Home Means Nevada Too” – Warm Primary Colors

Since the scene has to be painted twice, I suggest they plan out the scene on tracing paper and create a template for the composition. That way, the scene can easily be traced up to two pieces of watercolor paper, without the stress of drawing it twice. See video of the planning process (video link here or below).

For my example paintings, I chose to paint this scene of Mountain Bluebirds, using a photo reference taken on a winter snow day. My husband and I caught these adorable little birds lined up on a fence in nearly the shape of Nevada. Since the Mountain Bluebird is the state bird of Nevada, I titled the painting after the state song, “Home Means Nevada”. Awh! How adorable, right?

Which version do you prefer? Cool or Warm?

At least one of these paintings will be part of my featured artist show at the Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery in Carson City. The show will be up around July 10th. The opening reception is on July 18th from 4-7pm. Why don’t you come on out and say hello? Jeffery Pace, the Gallery Owner/Operator, consistently throws a nice reception with delectable nibblies and drinks.

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



Fire Lilies (maybe?) Paintings 22 & 23 for Direct Watercolor Challenge

Day 2 of “patio plein air.” Paintings 22 and 23 of the 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge. This time I had to paint the blooming orange lilies. I have had several discussions on social about the name of these beautiful lilies. Our best conclusion is that they are the “Asiatic Lily, Orange Matrix” version of lilies. Nice!

Stage 1

I had no video camera to record the painting process, but I did remember to take a few process photos.

Stage 2

I began on wet paper with no pre-drawing. Though, because of the dry Nevada open air, the paper dried quite quickly. I painted the centers of the flowers first with the two warmest yellows on my palette, Hansa Yellow Medium / Deep, plus Permanent Orange (Daniel Smith). I painted the ends of the lily petals with Quinacridone Coral and let the coral swim into the yellow. I then added Quinacridone Rose (cool red) to turn the petals around the bend.

Stage 3

I added some foliage indications with Sap Green (Daniel Smith) and Ultramarine Light (Holbein). I added the Lily buds first with sap green and then the added Permenent Orange in the middles. While the paint was still quite wet, I put in the lily bud centers with one calligraphy line stroke and let the line diffuse.

Trying to paint so many lilies on such a small surface (7.5″x5.5″) left me confused as to where one flower ended and another began. Whew!

I added some light wet yellows and oranges to the top left to hint at more lilies beyond and added hints of new lily underbellies with the Red Rose and Red Coral in the bottom right.

“Fire Lilies” – Final Painting

After the painting dried back a bit, I added the stamen ends with the cool red and a new color Rose of Ultramarine (warm violet), stems with the coral. I couldn’t see the pistils, so I did not paint them. I added some of the Rose of Ultramarine to the foliage and ends of the petals.

I did not care for the painting while painting it, so I set it aside and painted another, focusing on larger flowers, painting one complete flower before moving on to the next.

Fire Lilies Too – Stage 1

Fire Lilies Too – Final Painting

I used the same colors and sequence as the previous painting.

For this one, I left the foreground indistinct instead of the background, painting the colors wet into wet in the foreground.

I let this one be more of a vignette and left the background white and untouched.

After a few days of “staring time,” I quite liked both paintings.

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