Tag Archives: reynolds

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.

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…

With a Blue Streak

“With a Blue Streak”

Portrait #17 of my 30 x 30 Portrait Challenge. “With a Blue Streak” 7.5″x11″ graphite.

This is a preparatory drawing for a watercolor painting. I thought I’d post some progress photos.

Stage 1

Stage 2

First I did contour drawing of the shadow shapes. See “Stage 1′. I shaded in the shadow shapes, either on or off, white or light shadow only.

Stage 3

I then brought in smaller, darker shadow shapes. And voila… out pops the image. It never ceases to amaze me how a face shows up on a blank piece of paper.

Between Stage 3 and the final stage, I made some adjustments to the eyes and mouth.

Click on images for a larger view in a new tab. Next up painting. Stay tuned to find out about that blue streak?

All Smiles Now – Painting (SOLD)

All Smiles Now

Portrait #15 of my 30 x 30 Portrait Challenge. “All Smiles Now” watercolor 11″x7.5″ on Arches 140lb cold press watercolor paper.

Swatches

If you saw my last post, you saw my value study. During the painting process, I tried to only refer to the drawing, rather than the source photo. I played around with some different pigment options before beginning the painting. I wanted the colors to be softer than some previous portraits I have done for this challenge. I settled on the combination on the bottom (see Swatches image); Quinacridone Red and Coral, Raw Sienna Light, and Manganese Blue Hue.

I saturated the paper front and back. While the paper soaked, I mixed up my pigment piles, plus a violet mix with the rose and manganese. I dried the paper back to damp, but wet the shadow areas again, so I could drop the colors in and let them swim around together, without worrying about the colors floating in the drier paper. Damp paper will hold a soft edge. On dry paper, the edges dry too hard for my liking, especially for a little girl subject.

I put down a thin layer of blue in the eye sockets, under the nose and mouth to start, then applied rose, coral, and raw sienna next to the blue to let them mix on the paper. I then gently caressed the colors together.

I left the highlights in the eye dry, so they would stay white. Not the “whites of the eye,” though. just the highlight that crosses the iris and pupil. The “whites” are actually quite dark, sort of gray tones. I like to have a blue base for the eye socket and the teeth. When I’m painting a big smile, I avoid yellow anywhere near the teeth because it makes them look decayed.

I slowly built up the value layers, being careful to soften all the transitions while the paint was wet. I only wanted hard edges around the eyes and mouth. For the hair, I used mostly raw sienna, with purple shadows. I did have to bring in some Cobalt Blue Violet in order to create the darks in the mouth and eyes. The manganese blue is too high value to achieve the darks.

I’m not sure the painting is complete yet. As I look at it, I may make a few adjustments. But then sometimes we have to be brave enough to quit when it’s 80% done, to avoid that overworked look? I’ll sleep on it. Stay tuned. Compare to value study drawing. Does it look like the same little girl? I did use my drawing to trace up the contours for the painting. Click on images for a larger view.

This painting has SOLD.

All Smiles Now – Drawing

All Smiles Now – Watercolor, 11″x7.5″

 

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).


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