A Patchwork Fall

A Patchwork Fall
"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." ~Paul Cezanne~

February 25, 2012

Watercolor Workshop - Day 2

Thanks to wonderful hubby who babysat our little ones all day today, I was able to attend the second day of Luminous Watercolor workshop with Marian Dunn. We spent today talking about how to lay down washes on the paper to create beautiful skies and other background effects. I also worked on another onion painting (didn't like this one), tried a painting on Yupo support (which I haven't finished yet...takes a long time to dry), completed one little landscape painting, and started another painting which I have not finished yet either.

I don't often use a wet in wet technique, and may not incorporate it into every painting of mine, but it has been good information to learn and practice. Also, Marian is just a wonderful person with lovely positive feedback to give each of her students to encourage and help. How lucky I am to be a member of Utah Watercolor Society and surrounded by so many wonderful artists who are also wonderful instructors and who actually live right here in the area!

Here is my one completed painting from today.

"Stormy Sunrise" - watercolor  ©2012  Jennifer Love

February 24, 2012

Watercolor Workshop with Marian Dunn

I signed up for the Feb mini workshop with Utah Watercolor Society. This one is being taught by Marian Dunn and the topic is Luminous Watercolor, which is something Marian is so skilled in.

Today was day 1 of the workshop. I spent most of the day setting up a new palette and creating color charts to determine the properties of the different colors on my plaette...figuring out which are transparent and which are not, what colors can be used for glazing, and how those colors will relate to the other colors in a glaze. We also practiced "dropping in" color on the paper rather than mixing it in your palette to come up with more interesting grays. All good exercises and I may do more tomorrow.

However, as a preparation for our workshop, Marian had each participant bring one white onion, one yellow onion, and one red onion in order to have good subject matter to paint. Onions have great reflections and luminosity and are a favorite subject in her paintings.

Towards the end of the afternoon, I did step away from my color exercises and managed one small painting of my red onion. Will likely have more onion paintings tomorrow. :)

Here is the one I did today. (I cropped the scan in to show how it will most likely appear once I get it matted for framing.)

February 22, 2012

One more Nibblefest offering

I liked the idea of a series of Chinese symbols like those I did for last month's Nibblefest (themed: Letters, Numbers, and Symbols). So, I think each month of Nibblefest going forward, I will include at least one offering that is a Chinese symbol of the monthly theme (as long as I am able to find a symbol that fits). This will build a series with variety and yet consistency. :)

So, here is my Nibblefest auction #2:  "Moonlight"

Moonlight  - watercolor  ©2012

February 20, 2012

Commission - Delicate Arch: "A Delicate Spring"

I finished my commission this weekend and my client is very happy with the final results (at least with the digital photos of the final painting that I emailed). Will be shipping the painting out later this week.  :)

"A Delicate Spring" - Watercolor -  ©2012 Jennifer Love

So...here is the rest of the process (picking up from the last post):

First of all, I decided to go ahead and tape around my edges like usual. It just gives a cleaner line when  you are finished with the painting.

Next, I laid down another wash on the sky because it wasn't as blue as I wanted the first time. Color always dries lighter than it appears when wet. Also started laying in some grays and more greens in the background. I have been reading this book by Jeanne Dobie called "Making Color Sing" in preparation for another watercolor workshop I am attending next weekend. It girves some great instruction on mixing your own grays (warm and cool), and on laying down "mouse" colors near your focal points to help them stand out more. Great advice. I am trying to incorporate these new things learned as I continue on.

Tape around edges and more blue for the sky

After the sky wash dried enough not to run, I laid down more washes of my lightest colors for the background and red rock.
Light wash for red rock areas

After the light washes were laid in, I started doing darker colors and details, trying to use as large a brush as possible and and few brushstrokes as possible. At this point, I didn't take many pics along the way because I was more intent on the painting.

In the end, I rubbed off the masking fluid that was splatterd for texture effect and for saving the whites of snow on mountains in the distance and the clouds. Then I laid down a little blue gray on some of the whites to tone them down a bit and creat shadow in the snow. Finally, I splattered some more paint here and there with my brush and also spray from a toothbrush to create a few more texture effects.

The final result is pictured above (the first pic in this post). But, here are some detail shots of texture and splatter.


sky and edge of arch

sky and edge of arch

foreground splatter

foreground edge of arch

foreground - other side of arch (color test strip on left)

February 13, 2012

Commission: Delicate Arch - The process of a painting

So, I am in process of a commissioned painting of Delicate Arch.
Here is another "process" post for those who are interested.

I started out by scanning through my several reference photos of Delicate Arch. I have been lucky enough to hike up to the arch twice so far in my lifetime, and I took several photos both times, so I have a lot of angles to choose from. Perhaps me and hubby will have a chance to hike up again in the next year or two before he reaches a point when that particular hike won't be possible for him (due to balance and fatigue issues with PD). But, I am glad to say we have done the hike together once and have pics to show for it!

I chose the reference photo I used on my last painting of Delicate since that is the one that was desired for the commission, but it's good to look through them all just to get "in the mood." :)

Next comes the sketch.

Techniques I like to use when sketching: 

1-I print out an extra copy of my reference photo. Decide on the best composition and crop the photo the way I want it. Then I fold the photo into equal parts in order to create a grid.

2-I measure out the drawing space on my watercolor paper and make little marks along the sides to indicate the grid as well. I don't draw lines all the way across the paper because the more eraser marks you make, the more it wears down the natural feel of the paper and then you get undesired pooling of the paint in areas you didn't intend. So, I try to make as few erase marks as possible.

3-I use a 3H pencil to sketch and as light of lines as possible. It's acceptable for pencil lines to show through on your watercolor paper - at least in my world it is. :) Some artists do not like their lines to show and will erase them afterwards. I prefer to let them stay on the paper and show if they happen to show at the end. I was trained by artists who feel that the sketch is a part of the painting. I share that opinion.

4-Another trick to sketching when using a reference photo (besides the grid lines) is to sketch it upside down. This helps your mind see only shapes rather than trying to draw a picture of some "thing."

After the sketch...time to stretch the paper. (Some artists will stretch the paper first, then sketch. I usually sketch first).

I take the paper and spray it down in my tub, both sides, using the shower head on a soft setting. If it is a smaller painting, I may just hold it under the tap. Either way, make sure both sides of the paper have been soaked with water...and be careful not to rip it while wet.

Then, lay the paper on the board or hard surface you are using as a stabilizer, and staple down the edges. (Sometimes I will also tape the edges after the paper has dried. Gives a nice edge effect after you are done with the painting to pull the tape off and see a nice white border. But, I didn't do that this time.

Once the paper is on the board, you will need to wait for it to dry. I usually wait overnight for mine.

The wet paper will have buckles and wrinkles in it - will make you nervous. But, not to worry. When it dries it will be flat. :)

The purpose of "stretching" is to allow the paper to soak up some water before laying on paint. Then the paper doesn't soak up as much of the pigment when you put your first washes down and you will have more vibrant colors.

I use masking fluid to mask out any white paper areas I might need to save (like snow or clouds), though sometimes you can paint around the whites rather than masking. Depends on your needs for the painting. Then, I start the process of washes, laying down the lightest colors first.

First wash - sky, background mountains

First wash