Category Archives: Watercolor Floral

One Daffy Spring

Daffy 2020

Diverging a bit from the Big Bird March theme, I decided to seize the day and paint a bouquet of daffodils. We have three different versions growing in our yard, so I clipped a sample of each and put ’em in a vase.

Direct painting attempt

I was home without my regular studio painting options, so I used my QoR watercolor set. I first did a “direct” option, without any pre-drawing. I found myself confused over where one flower ended and another began. Still, I rather like the softness of it?

I adjusted the flower arrangement a bit, and decided to draw first. I used QoR warm and cool yellows, as well has the warm blue (Ultramarine) and a touch of the warm red (Scarlet, I think). I mixed them altogether to create a soft gray for the white petal shadows and the background. See painting stages below.

Drawing with Subject

It was a nice diversion to paint happy yellow flowers. I also liked painting from life. Can you smell the flowers?

How are your painting endeavors going? Have you had more time to paint during your time at home? Have you had time at home? I am splitting my time between home and studio. Both are solitary ventures. I surely do miss all of my regulars at the studio. Sigh.

At this point I am planning on delivering my May classes as 2-hour live broadcasts; May 7, 14, 21, 28, starting at 1:00pm (PST). I am still waiting for some needed equipment and to sort out my delivery platform. It should be interactive on some level. It looks like I will need to pay for a platform to broadcast live the whole two hours, so I will most likely need to charge a modest fee. I may go live the first day for free, just to test the system.

Anyway, I am still working out the details. Stay tuned. Thank you for perusing this blog post.

This original painting has sold. Prints can be made upon request with the size and surface of your choice. Prices vary.

Changes with Spring

Daffy Bees (front of card)

Happy Spring!

Just when you think you’re going to have a good year… Sigh. The Ides of March definitely came calling this year. I know we are all trying to reinvent the way we go about our business and our daily lives. I am really not suffering too much. I still teach an online watercolor class at Western Nevada College, my husband is still employed, all the kitties are healthy, and so is the brother. No one I know has become inflicted with this modern scourge. Things could be a whole lot worse… But…  I have definitely had to make some adjustments.

The three big challenges for me and my little art business have been:

  1. The local studio/classroom/gallery is closed for business. My in-person watercolor classes are cancelled for now. My scheduled workshop in California was cancelled. My TMCC community education class in Reno was canceled. I had thought to begin my studio classes again in May, but that is not looking too promising either right now. The closure also means my “Exploring Watercolor” business will not be participating in the May Wine Walk as I had planned. The monthly Carson City Wine Walk was cancelled for April, and I am anticipating the May walk will be also.
  2. The shut down gave me the opportunity to complete my video workshop editing about three weeks early. That was the good news!
  3. A change to the copyright office fee schedule has me reconsidering how and when to post work on social media sites, my website, online market places, and this blog.

My plan for the near term to address these changes:

  1. In May, I will schedule weekly live streaming watercolor demonstrations. I still need some equipment to arrive, some practicing to do, and some decisions to make (YouTube or Facebook? Fee or free? Public or private?), but… “Lord willing and the river don’t rise,” I will do the streaming at 1pm (Pacific time) on May 7, 14, 21, and 28. Stay tuned for details.
  2. I hope you will consider purchasing one or more of my new video tutorials. See my Sellfy CRME Exoploring Watercolor Shop (click link) or this Website https://colleenreynolds.com/art-classes for options. I’m offering 20% off any individual course through April 30th. Use code PREMIER to apply the discount at checkout.
  3. I will continue creating artwork and video tutorials at home and in the studio. However, I will only post work publicly that has been previously registered with the U.S. copyright office.

    Daffy Bees (back of card)

    It is now economically imperative to register my works as groups of 10 unpublished works, rather than individually after publication. It is not clear to me whether posting an image of artwork or a video tutorial on social media constitutes publication, so to be safe, in future I’m not going to post any work until after I’ve got it “in the books” at the U.S. Copyright Office.

    Daffy Bees (Open card)

I have three more unpublished paintings and dozens of unedited video tutorials finished or in progress, but for this post, please enjoy my “Daffy Bees.” This was painted on note card stock with watercolor and permanent ink. It started as a class demonstration for seniors. Those seniors are now in “lock down” in their rooms at their Independent living facility in Carson City. No visitors allowed.

This is how the card looks when opened. I like to let the image on the front of the card leak on to the back. If you have any interest in ordering prints of this card, do let me know…

Golden Winter Berries

My two-step demonstration painting for the Thursday watercolor class, “Golden Winter Berries.”  I gave the class a choice of three images, chosen because of the variety of edges we needed to depict, whether lost, soft or hard. Most chose the photo with the berries. 

We began with a 7.5″x5.5″ piece of Arches140 lb cold press paper taped to a piece of gatorboard.

I wet the surface completely. While the water soaked in a bit, I prepared my colors. We used New Gamboge, Pyrrol Red (both by Daniel Smith), and Ultramarine Light (Holbein).

I created a pile of medium-strength golden yellow by using mostly Gamboge, a little red and a little blue.

I mixed another pile of medium-strength brownish-red by using mostly red, a little yellow and a little blue.

Finally, I mixed up a pile of just Ultramarine blue.

I re-wet the paper, then dropped in all three colors, leaving some areas white, but letting the paint swim together to leave a lost edge.

After drying off that layer, I moved all three colors to the mixing area, this time in thick strengths. I wiped the brush through the three pigments and painted the branches using calligraphy strokes. I painted the berries, with two short “C-strokes” reflecting each other, to create a berry with a highlight. I then added some dark shadows, especially between the berries.

I used my rigger brush to sign my painting. I decided I liked the branches growing up, rather than hanging down. I then used the rigger to add more “twiggy” branches, and few outline strokes around some of the berries, using all three colors.

The painting took about 25 minutes (It has taken me longer to prepare this blog post  <smile>).

Today, I have two more days left in February, but I have three more paintings to complete my goal. Which means, I must paint at least TWO furry critters today! Stay tuned…

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Brusho® is Back!

Thanks!!!

Exciting news! I have been asked to exhibit my art in the Western Nevada College art gallery from April 1st – May 15th, 2020, where I teach art as an adjunct faculty member.

In thinking about what I would want to exhibit, I have looked around my studio and home for large pieces that would “hang together” well for a show, whether old or new.

Rhapsody in Spring

My husband’s favorite piece of my artwork is “Rhapsody in Spring” (orange poppies) which I painted in 2013, along with three other full-sheet-sized (22″x30″) paintings using the same medium, Brusho®. The other three paintings in the series sold. I recently just reframed “Rhapsody in Spring” with a blue metallic frame, and she looks fabulous! I must say. I would really like to show her off in this exhibit. But… right now she is one-of-a-kind in my collection of Colleen Reynolds original works.

Then a Facebook memory showed up featuring some little calligraphy cards I painted in 2016 using Brusho. See “Tiger Lilies” and “Dancing Irises”. Cute or what? And a Facebook friend suggested he’d sure like a “lick mail” letter with one of those designs.

Long story short, the “forces” are telling me to play with Brusho® again, right?

I have fiddled with them a bit over the last few years, but I have not embarked on any serious artwork with them for over five years.

That was a big lead-in to explain why I have diverted from my Furry Friends challenge for the last two days. I have been re-discovering my Brusho® Pots.

Brusho® is a watercolour pigment made in England. All the colors are extremely intense (bright). Each color comes in a pot of pigment that has been crystallized into a fine powder. When the crystals are sprinkled on to paper and water is added, the pigment explodes into wonderful random bursts of color, looking much like fireworks. It is a very exciting medium to work with.

It does have its challenges though. 1) The pigment stains the paper almost immediately, so I have to work fast to achieve a variety of edges. 2) It also goes really dark (low value) really fast if I use too much pigment. And, 3) as I mentioned, all the pigments are extremely intense (bright), which means they all compete for attention on the page.

To combat the intensity and value issues, I like to dissolve and dilute the crystals with water and paint with them as I would regular watercolor.

 

But practice is needed. I painted the little original card  “Thanks!!!” (see first image above) as a warm-up. I did send it off to that hinting friend. I have also begun another Full Sheet painting so “Rhapsody in Spring” may have at least one partner at the College Gallery show in April. It needs to be painted and framed in less than a month. Yikes! Will I make it?

Or maybe I will just not hang any Big Brusho paintings in the upcoming exhibit?

 

 

These are the other three (sold) large Brusho® paintings in the “Big Brusho” Series from 2013-15. Click on the images to see larger views in new browser tabs.

Rhapsody in Summer

Rhapsody in Fall

Rhapsody in Blue

Peaches!

Peaches!

Another day away from my furry friends of February challenge. I taught two classes in my studio today, back-to-back. “Peaches!” watercolor 7.5″x5.5″ on 140 lb Arches cold press. Click on the image to bring up a larger view in a new browser tab.

This is an impromptu demo painting of some peaches. Photo by Jackie Estes of her very own juicy peach tree from last summer. “How would I approach this painting?” She asked. So I showed her. 

We used New Gamboge, Quinacridone Rose (by Daniel Smith), and Ultramarine Blue (by Holbein). I started wet and swimmy by dropping in areas of color on the really wet surface, letting the colors mix on the paper. After it was dry, I then called out the hard edges on the peaches and around the leaves. Fun. I like the variation of in-focus out-of-focus and the contrast at the focal point.

Sometimes it is good not to have enough time to “finish” a painting <smile>.

The painting is for sale, $95 (plus shipping $7 and taxes where applicable). Price includes a white mat with a black core, backing board, and a cellophane bag covering. The outside edge of the mat is 10″x8″ to fit in a standard-sized frame.

$95

 

 

Cosmos

Cosmos Too

For my class at the Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) in Reno, we painted a simple flower painting, using my “Dot & Pull” method. I adapted my little painting style from creationsceecee on Youtube. I’ve adapted it a bit to include a soft background and based my creations on flowers in my garden, rather than imaginary ones. In this case, I used the cosmos flower as my inspiration.

Sunflowers Three

Last year, I also adapted the same method to paint sunflowers.

All the paintings are on 140 lb Arches cold press watercolor paper, sized down to 5.5″x7.5″. In a 5″x7″ black core mat that fits into an 8″x10″ frame opening quite nicely. I am hoping to have a number of them to offer for sale during future Carson City Wine Walks. My Carson City studio, Exploring Watercolor, will be on the walk map, beginning in April.

Anyway, it was a day away from February Furry Friends challenge. I will need to get back to them soon.

I did have to take another day away to prepare for another college class. You will be able to read all about that in my next post (I still need to take photos).

Spiked – Drawing

Spiked – Final, Graphite 7.5″x11″

Portrait #18 of my 30 x 30 Portrait Challenge, “Spiked” 7.5″ x 11″

This is another preparatory drawing for a watercolor painting (I hope). Events conspired against me today, keeping me away from studio time. Sigh.

First, I did a contour drawing of the shadow shapes. See stage 1.

Stage1

I shaded in the first level of value to separate the dark from the light. See Stage 2. This is often my favorite stage of the drawing, but I always have a hard time not taking it further.

Stage 2

Stage 3

I began to shadow in the dark darks of the hair and shoulders…

Stage 4

I found myself lost in the drawing, adding all the subtleties of the next layers of value. I try to draw in the same order as I would paint, from light to dark. I want to capture 5 layers of value; highlight, halftone, core shadow, reflected light and cast shadow; just like my teach, John Erickson, told me in college.

After putting the drawing away for a moment, I noticed the shoulders were too small. After that final adjustment, I decided to stop. 56 mins. A good prep for a watercolor painting. Stay tuned!

Bittersweet Endings

Temperature Bias Color Wheel (Primary/Secondary Colors)

My summer watercolor class with Western Nevada College finishes tomorrow. The ending will be greeted with both relief and sadness. I have had a wonderful group of students to help me through my first semester of teaching college watercolor. I have wanted an opportunity to teach watercolor at the college level since I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art in 2009.

While applying grades to art is stressful, both for the instructor and the student, I am sad because my “relationship” with this group now ends. I will miss them. Sigh.

Lesson on calligraphy strokes

I have taught a lot of watercolor classes in the private sector and found it to be quite rewarding. However, I have truly enjoyed being able to teach a more progressive approach to learn watercolor – where I can start with basics and build toward more complex concepts.  I had the opportunity to impart a solid foundation of techniques and concepts that students will hopefully build upon going forward. However hated the grade, it does encourage students to actually practice and comprehend the material.

Lesson on monochromatic harmony and value

“The White Lesson”

I won’t lie, creating any new curriculum means hard work; building lesson plans, designing assignments, a schedule, and a grading scheme takes much time and attention to detail.

The college has a fantastic learning platform for instructors and students, called Canvas. Inside the learning system, I create modules that include the assignment and resources for a given lesson. I can post my syllabus for easy reference. I can schedule due dates and submission criteria and time frames. I can track attendance, use a speed grader, communicate privately with each student about a specific assignment. I can make announcements to the class as a whole or communicate within a closed messaging system with an individual student. I keep learning more little tricks and new features in the system. I often miss selecting a required feature or forget to “publish” the module, or have the date set wrong. My first class group has had to help me work out the little kinks. If any of you are out there reading this, thank you!

I have tweaked and improved my “plan” as the semester progressed. I am scheduled to teach the same class for the Fall semester. Fingers crossed, the enrollment numbers will give me the opportunity to apply my lessons learned.

Lesson on analogous color harmony

The best feature of the learning platform? I can copy all the work, with all the lesson plans, files, settings, and announcements to the next semester – 90% of the preparation work is done! So cool! The hard work transfers! Yay!

Bittersweet. It is ending, but I had this experience, now, with these students. I hopefully imparted my passion for watercolor on to another dozen folks, who will perhaps become passionate watercolor advocates in Northern Nevada? I teach at a small college and live in a small town. Maybe I’ll see them again? And now I have a month off before the Fall semester begins. Carpe diem. Today is good.

New and exciting happenings are on the horizon, Stay tuned!

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

 

Artist’s Reception

Wall of Art

I had a wonderful time celebrating with friends and family during my featured artists show at the Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery in Carson City.

Five paintings went to new homes! More are ready to be adopted. The show will be up through August 3rd. I will be painting live at the gallery during the Carson City Wine Walk from 1-5pm on the final day. Come witness my denouement?

If you live far, far away and are not able to physically visit the gallery, Jeffery Pace, the gallery owner, takes call-in orders too! (775) 885-ARTS (2787). I would be happy to send you digital images and a price list of all the remaining paintings in the show.

Thank you to Dee, Joanie, Laura, Anette, and Betty for loving my paintings enough to take one home. I am most honored. All sold paintings are available for print-on-demand giclee print orders. Pricing depends on the requested print size. Taxes and shipping additional. To discuss send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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

“Solar Summer” 11″x11″ Watercolor – SOLD!

“Mrs. Cluck” Watercolor 5″x7″ – SOLD!

“High Desert Spring” 5×7 Watercolor – SOLD!

“White Roses” 7×5 Watercolor – SOLD!

“All in a Row” 11×7 Watercolor – SOLD!

 

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.