Tag Archives: #artteaching

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.

Curious Finch

“Curious Finch”

I may be back online with this bloggin’ thing?

Where were we? Oh yes, painting birds for the Big Bird March challenge, that went in to April because of the covid-19 worldwide catastrophe.

This is painting #11 (15 was the goal), “Curious Finch” is 11″x7.5″ on Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper, painted wet-in-wet. I magically collaged (in my mind) several photos of one little finch who varied his pose for me on a fence for a whole 30 seconds (maybe more)? The early morning light just made his little yellow belly glow. At least I think he is a male? The little birds move so fast. When they are out of the sun, they are somewhat green-ish in tone. Click on images for a larger view in new browser tabs.

I really cannot remember what pigments I used for sure. I think three different yellows, Hansa Yellow Light & Medium (cool & warmer), plus New Gamboge (warm). I probably used Ultramarine Light by Holbein mixed with Pyrrol Scarlet and Transparent Pyrrol Orange (Daniel Smith) to make the brown tones? But I may have used Phthalo Blue instead of Ultramarine. I will check the video clip. Maybe I will post a Youtube preview of the video soon too?

In other news, after much time, money, and fussing…it appears my MacBook laptop and blog are operational again. I am still working on getting the upgrade to the failed video capture device working (No audio! Why? Why? Why?). I also still need to sort out which streaming application and virtual meeting platform I will use to deliver my online watercolor classes for June and beyond.

AND so I can GO LIVE on my Facebook business page for the next Virtual Wine Walk, scheduled for Saturday, June 6th, 1-4pm. Save the date/time!

Zentangle Mandalas

With all this computer fiddling, I have had no time to paint. I do have lots of projects waiting in the wings of my mind; more birds (I have become quite the birdwatcher) and farm animals. It is a good thing my friend Dee has been inspiring me to Zentangle. So soothing… and a little bit of painting too. You can see some mandala tiles I have tangled and painted.

“Curious Finch” is for sale, with mat $150 or without $99. Specify which “variant” you prefer during checkout on my Sellfy product site. Click the green Buy now button for a longer description. 

 

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.

Flamingos

Flamingos

Continuing with my Big Bird March Challenge…This is the 6th painting (but 9th & 10th in terms of bird numbers). The painting is 7.5″x11″ on Arches 140lb cold press. Click on images for larger views in new browser tabs.

I took a break from painting the bird challenge to teach a last workshop before the great economic shutdown; then took another three weeks or so, to create seven video tutorials.

Some time in the video editing immersion period, I did this quick direct painting of these flamingos. I used Pyroll Scarlet, Manganese blue, Phthalo blue, and Raw Sienna Light; all by Daniel Smith.

The painting was quite a challenge. I was distracted (and probably frustrated) with video editing. I couldn’t seem to achieve the effect I wanted, when I wanted it. In the end, I pulled out the palette knife (a tip from a Bev Jozwiak workshop) and started moving the paint around in the bird feathers, background, and water. I put the painting away in my take-home bag and went back to video editing.

I pulled it out again to show the home critics, and I thought, “Hmmm, tha’s not so bad!” hahaha. Especially for going in without any drawing to start. One home critic said, “Ooh, cool. Flamingos.”

This experience did make me realize that I much prefer to begin with a drawing. I really like the drawing process. It helps me to understand my subject and allows me to paint with more abandon.

In an effort to promote my new Sellfy Product Platform, I’m offering this painting for whatever price you want to pay. Well, sort of… I’m starting the pricing at $10, just to cover the shipping and handling.

My Sellfy Shop is called CRME Exploring Watercolor. Click the link or the image to go to the site. Thank you in advance.

“Flamingos” – Pay what you want (over shipping charges).

All video downloads in my Sellfy Shop are 20% off through April 30th. Use the code PREMIER during checkout.

Stay tuned for the next Big Bird March blog post, featuring a redheaded tweeter.

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Sun Conures Talkin’ Smack

“Sun Conures”

Painting #4 of my 15×30 Big Bird March challenge. “Sun Conures” is a 5.5″x7.5″ watercolor on 140lb Saunders Waterford cold press paper. Click on the image to see a larger view in a new browser tab.

I have had this photograph for about 10 years and have always wanted to paint it. I took the photo at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. The birds were behind a cage, and the photo had lots of cast shadows from the fence. Challenge! I wanted them to appear to be in the wild.

I painted wet-into-wet directly (no pre-drawing) using Hansa Yellow Medium, New Gamboge, Perinone Orange, by Daniel Smith as well as Sap Green by Schminke and Ultramarine light by Holbein.

See the Youtube still-shot video below for visuals of painting stages as described.

I saturated the paper front and back, then used Viva paper towels to dab up most of the loose water. I began with the Hansa Yellow Medium and New Gamboge, painting the breasts and heads of the birds, leaving the eye and beak area on the left bird untouched. I added Perinone Orange to the heads and tails. Then added the Sap Green for the wings and tails. I lifted off the light side of the branch, then painted the dark under-shadows with blue and orange, letting all the colors mix on the paper. I used the same dark tone (with Ultramarine and orange) to paint the eyes and beaks.

After the paper had dried back enough to hold an edge, I used tea- to coffee-strength pigment to hint at background foliage and branches. I tried to just hint at the talons. I had to make up an additional branch for the right bird to hold (in the photo he was holding on to a metal bar with both its talon and beak).

I love the resulting colors and gestures of the birds. I feel like they are talking smack about me?

Only $95 for this original watercolor painting! The painting is 5.5″x7.5″ in a custom white mat with a black core to fit a standard 8″x10″ frame opening. Shipping $7 (if the painting does not need to be shipped, the shipping charge will be refunded).

 

 

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Window Bathing (Sold!)

“Window Bathing”

This little one flew off the brush in about 30 minutes (painting) and 8 minutes drawing. Painting #13 of my 14×28 Furry Friends of February challenge. I painted it with “Cactus Cat” from yesterday’s post, but I thought she deserved her own post. Click on the image for a larger view in a new browser tab.

This is a common pose for this kitty and I imagine kitties everywhere. She was lapping up the sun in front of the window, keeping us from making the bed.

I used the wet-to-dry method for the painting. After masking off a few white whiskers and hairs and letting the masking dry, I saturated the paper front and back. While the paper soaked, I mixed up three piles of paint; red, yellow, and blue; Indanthrone Blue, Pyrrol Red, and New Gamboge.

I dried the back of the paper off with Viva paper towels and dabbed up the light edges on the front. I painted the background first with all three colors, starting with blue, then caressing in red and yellow while the paper was really wet. I then painted the darks in the head with the same three colors, putting more red and yellow around the eyes.

After moving to the white fur, I decided to bring in a fourth color; Manganese blue, to capture the shadows in the white fur. I first put in some tea strength Pyrrol Red around the nose and chin, then added my grayed down Manganese blue and caressed out the shadow areas, painting around the whites in the face edge, chin, chest, and paws. For the forward paw, I started with a dirty orange of mostly Gamboge, a little red and a little Indanthrone Blue for the colored fur, then used the same dirty blue mix as the paw transitioned to white fur in shadow. I added a tiny bit of the dirty orange in the crease between the far paw and chest. I built up the core shadows with thick paint, using some dry brushing.

For the forward quilt, I used Manganese and Gamboge at tea-strength to paint the overall shape, then added the Indanthrone Blue for the shadow areas. While the quilt was really wet, I used the Indanthrone Blue to hint at some of the stitching patterns.

I removed the masking and cleaned up some of the white shapes. A quick little cutie pie painting. And she sold almost immediately. Kitties make me smile.

Next up will be my final furry friend of the February Challenge. It’s a good thing we have an extra day in February this year, or I would be one short!

I hope you will consider subscribing to this blog. It’s easy. No pressure. Lots of good tips on watercolor painting. And you don’t even have to buy the book!

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Jonesy Boy Too

“Jonesy Boy Too” – Final

Painting #11 for my Furry Friends of February Challenge. “Jonesy Too” is a 5.5″x7.5″ transparent watercolor on 140lb Arches cold press. Click on the images for larger views in new browser tabs.

“Jonesy Boy Too” – Stage 1

“Jonesy Too” is a demonstration painting for my community education Silver Watercolor Class with Truckee Meadows Community College. This was the final painting demo of our 4-week class, which met on four Saturdays this month.

I used my wet-to-dry method, which meant saturating the paper, mixing up my three pigments, then drying back the paper to damp where I wanted to hold an edge. See stage 1 for a view of where the demo ended in class.

I used Pyrrol Red, Phthalo Blue (GS) and New Gamboge (all by Daniel Smith) throughout the painting. We first called out the outline of the kitty by painting the background around him, letting the colors blend and mix on the paper.

We then used the same three colors to paint the biggest shadow side of the interior kitty. After the first value layer had dried back some, we worked some mid-level darks, concentrating on the cat’s features. After the class was completely frustrated, I went around and helped students individually with their paintings. I did not remember to take photos of some of their efforts, but they did really well, I thought.

“Jonesy Boy Too” Stage 2

After returning to my studio, I added the final dark tones, working slowly and deliberately which my big pointy brush. I really just concentrated on shadow and light. After Stage 2 (see image), I thought I was done. After seeing the image on my computer, though, I realized the shadows around the mouth were wrong, making the kitty look almost cartoonish. So I fiddled with it some more; lifting off some pigment, and adding more.

I used a sharp snap knife to scratch back the whiskers and highlights on the fur and in the eyes.

I have painted another version from this same source photo. See earlier blog post for “Light Catcher” (Click link)

Which version do you prefer? This painting is half the size of the previous one.

The painting is for sale. $95 plus $7 shipping to destinations in the continental U.S. It will be delivered unframed in a white mat with a black core, outside dimensions to fit a standard size 8″x10″ frame.

 

 

 

Ferocious

Ferocious

Portrait #9 of my 14×28 Furry Friends of February Challenge. “Ferocious” is an 11″x7.5″ watercolor on 140lb Arches cold press. Click on the image to view larger in a new browser tab.

I loved the perspective of this fellow. I believe the photo was provided by my great friend, LD. It has been a few years, though, and the image file did not have any identifying information. I could have taken it when visiting?

I started with a 12-minute drawing. The perspective made for a challenge, so I wanted to spend some time on the drawing to make the painting go my freely.

I saturated the paper back and front, then mixed up my paint. I used just three primary pigments, Cobalt Blue by QoR, as well as New Gamboge and Pyrrol Red by Daniel Smith.

I soaked up the extra water from the back of the paper, but left the front really wet, except around the eye, where I lifted off the area to damp. I started with the nose and eyes and worked outward, using the red and blue for the dark tones at first. I started with pigment that was “milky-strength” because of all the water on the paper surface.

For the chest area, I used yellow, red and a tiny bit of blue to create the golden color. I used the same mix a little stronger for the gold around the eyes. After the chest area dried a little, I strengthened the pigment and added more blue and red for a brownish shadow color.

I used a tea-strength mix of blue, red and a little yellow to make a gray tone for the “beard” and scruff. I painted around some of the white tufts of hair.

After the paper had dried back to a damp state, I painted the background to call out the hair edges.

As the paper dried, I mixed all three colors together for a rich dark, now creamy strength, and painted in the darker values in the nose, eyes, and hair. I lifted off the “white” of the dog’s eye with a damp brush. I painted around the highlight in the eye but lifted off the larger secondary highlight that gives the dog that somewhat crazed and ferocious look <smile>.

When the paper was still damp but almost dry,  I painted in some thin calligraphy strokes for the hairs around the muzzle and eyes.

I have no idea how long the painting took to paint, I suspect about 90 minutes (including the drawing). I did record the process, so I’ll have to go back and look at the video clips to know for sure. I think I’m calling this one done. Even after overnight “staring time” I can’t see much to change. I love it.

The painting is for sale. $185 plus tax/shipping where applicable. Deliverable in a custom white mat with a black core, outside dimensions of the mat fit into a standard 11″x14″ frame opening.

$185

Atta Girl

“Atta Girl” – Portrait #8 of my 14×28 Furry Friends of February Challenge. Watercolor 7.5″x11″ on 140 lb Arches cold press.

This cute “little” gal was painted wet into wet, using some of my “sexy” colors. Sometimes I like to let myself diverge from the basic red, yellow and blue. Ha!

I used Indanthrone Blue, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Raw Sienna Light, and Pyrrol Red for most of the painting. on the “dark side”

I added some Phthalo blue for the Light side of the face. When I added the cute little pink heart tag with Quinacridone Rose, I had to dot in some pinks around the face and background as well. All tubes of paint by Daniel Smith.

I’ll have to check the video clips, but I think she took about 45 minutes from start to finish. I started with a vertical format when drawing, but couldn’t fit the floppy ears, which was one of the cutest things about this gal. Then I was frustrated with the drawing part, so I almost had no drawing, just a basic outer contour. Scar-ee!

She looks a little younger than she does in the source photo, but that just makes her cuter. After looking at her from across the room overnight, I think I may pull out some white highlights in the eyes. Stay tuned!

Once fixed, the painting is for sale; $185 plus shipping and/or taxes, where applicable. Watercolor painting 7.5″x11″ with a custom white mat with a black core to fit in standard 11″x14″ frame opening.

Snackie?

“Snackie” – First Draft

“Snackie?” – Final

Painting 7 of 14 for my Furry Friends of February Challenge. “Snackie?” is a 7.5″x11″ watercolor on 140lb Arches Cold Press. Click on the image for a larger view in a new browser tab.

This is a little dog who belongs to the granddaughter of one of my watercolor students (I think). Thank you for the source photo, Vikki!

I videotaped the process, so this may be one of my demonstration paintings for my upcoming March workshop. Attendees of the workshop will receive four video tutorials complementarily with the workshop fee. What a deal?!

I am also selling the four video tutorials separately. If you think you might be interested, click here for the details.

I have a few adjustments to make to this painting; to the nose and the top of the head. Right now, the whole video clocks in at 64 minutes. I’m trying to keep each tutorial to 90 minutes or less. 

I painted “Snackie?” using my wet-to-dry method and just four watercolor pigments; Pyrrol Red, Manganese Blue Hue, New Gamboge, and Phthalo Blue (GS), all by Daniel Smith.

Stay tuned for the updates.

Update 2/17/20: I made a few changes. Can you tell? Is it better?

Painting is for sale $185 plus shipping and/or taxes, where applicable. Watercolor painting 7.5″x11″ with a custom white mat with a black core to fit in standard 11″x14″ frame opening.