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Monday, June 28, 2010

Blue Pansies Watercolor Demo

 I have really enjoyed photographing and painting my pansies this year. This painting is one of the recent projects I've been teaching in my watercolor class. It measures 7 in. x 7 in.



I painted the background by moistening where I wanted the paint and using fresh pigment on my brush. Winsor Green (Yellow) and Cadmium Yellow. Make sure your paint brush is just damp so that when you apply the paint it will diffuse softly and give you soft edges. You don't have to always rinse your brush out before dipping into green or yellow.



The flowers were painted with ultramarine blue and the grayish areas in my photo are actually new gamboge added at the end of the ultramarine wash to just neutralize the blue a bit and give a glow near the edges. Paint each flower petal separately so you have some control You've got to pull the washes quickly and use enough pigment and water.  Start near the center where the color is darker blue and draw it out to a lighter value towards the edge, adding pale new gamboge. (Try not to keep going over areas and stroking your paint on like you might with oils or acrylic, this will just stir it up and make a mess.) Remember, the wash will dry a couple of shades lighter and if your puddle of color isn't juicy enough and your brush isn't full of paint before you start the wash, especially with ultramarine blue, it will start to dry and you will get a "bloom". If you do, leave it alone. It's better to make it look like you did it on purpose. You might be able to lessen it with a second wash after the first one is dry. The flower centers are cadmium yellow.


The flower pot is painted with cobalt blue and touches of new gamboge. It looks kind of gray on my monitor but it's actually a dull greenish neutral.






I finished by wetting the petals and charging in some darker blue near the flower centers then while it's still wet (or you can wait for it to dry and rewet), I used a damp rigger brush and fresh ultramarine blue to paint in the streaks in the middle as well as a few dark nooks and crannies.

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Here is an unsolicited watercolor brush recommendation. I am so excited to have discovered these Robert Simmons brushes at Michaels over the weekend! They are springy, hold just as much water as my sable and keep a nice sharp point and they are under $5! I don't know what they are called but they have short white handles and black ferrules. I think they are a natural and synthetic blend. Very nice to paint with!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Snapshot - Watercolor Portrait


My daughter was trying to take her own picture before going out to a party. She was all dressed up and she looked so cute. I painted this on Aqua Board which I really like. The paint doesn't absorb into it because it's not paper. It's similar to painting on gesso which I also like. This is a way to get some really interesting texture without trying and if you're a realistic painter wanting a looser look, this might work for you, but if you're a watercolor painter who has to use multiple layers of paint, then you might not like this. You can go over with new paint but you have to be really careful because your previous layer will lift if you're not careful. So on the plus side, it's really easy to fix mistakes. This surface doesn't need to be framed under glass. It only requires a spray fixative so that is a plus in that you don't have the hassle of matting. That was my unsolicited opinion!

This is 11 x 14 but was slightly cropped by my scanner.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sidewalk Artist

I painted most of this last weekend with my friends in the All Media Events forum on Wetcanvas.com but I didn't get it finished until the next painting event started so I'm just posting it here for now. It measures 8 x 10. I don't usually stretch my small paintings (meaning tape them down well with that sticky brown tape watercolorists use) but after finishing some larger paintings that I had stretched, I decided it really is worth it to be able to have a completely flat, smooth painting when you're done so I decided to stretch this small one and I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Yellow Pansies I

This spring I got an early start on my flowers and planted two pots filled with yellow and purple pansies. This is the first of several watercolor paintings featuring these lovelies. Actually, I like this one so much I'm going to enlarge it and paint it bigger. This one measures 10" x 10".