Our last June class was Monday night! Everyone has come so far in 4 weeks!
I wanted to finish off our project from Monday night so that you would have some ideas on how to finish off your painting.
1. I washed a light wash of yellow ochre, green and blues onto the background.
2. After that was dry, I sketched out a few twigs and leaves and painting another wash AROUND the twigs and leaves (painting negatively! You can do it!)
3. After that dried, I sketched MORE twigs and leaves and repeated step 2.
4. I painted the main leaves with a light wash of hooker's green, burnt umber and yellow ochre. After that was dry, I painted in some of the veins on the leaves negatively.
5. At the very end, I painted a very dark wash of Payne's Gray into my power points....the darkest darks of the painting. All of the small shapes around the edges of the leaves. Place your pigment in the corner and then soften it out with water on your brush.
6. Last of all, after the painting dried, I lifted out small circles of color to create a "light-dappled" look on the leaves. With a clean brush and clean water, place a drop on the paper, work it in a small circle and then dab it with a tissue. The paint should lift off in a small soft, circle.
Don't forget to add some shadows on the leaves when you think an upper leaf might cast a shadow on a lower leaf.
You can lightly lift some veins in a lower leaf by using clean water on the leaf. Draw your leaf vein pattern with clean water and then dab it. The paint should lift lightly wherever you put the water.
Thanks for everything, ladies! You have all done a great job and I really enjoyed teaching you! I'll let you know if I'll hold any more classes this summer.
I have wanted to adopt a child for as long as I can remember. When I was a teenager, I used to dream of being the mother of a dark-eyed Asian baby girl. Nothing tugs at my heart strings more than the thought that there's a child out there...somewhere....needing to be held and loved...needing a family. I know that there are millions of them and I wish that I could take them all.
Lucille Marie Magillicuddy (our naughty cat) decided to use our hallway as a racetrack at 5:45 this morning...and I got up to put her out. I couldn't get back to sleep again, so I started working on my study in James. James is all about how faith without works is dead. It cross referenced a parable in Matthew 25...
"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
....'Assuredly, I say unto you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"
I've read this passage a million times, but every time I peruse it again I feel that inward tug. When we were in Vietnam, we were walking down the street (it is so common there to be bugged to death by people who are trying to sell you gum, drinks, trinkets....it happens all the time and you have to kind of learn to politely say no) (I admit that that was hard for me to learn) well, we were walking down the street and we came across this beggar sitting, leaning against a wall. His face still haunts me. He was filthy and nothing but skin and bones. His leg was propped up and he had these huge open sores on them. As we walked by, I grabbed Chris' hand and he intuitively knew what I was pleading. We needed to give in this instance. There truly was a need here. We gave. His eyes still haunt me. He kind of rolled them up to look at us as if even the effort of looking up was too exhausting.
We went into a restaurant to get some lunch, but I couldn't stop thinking about that man. He needed something more. My appetite was gone and I bagged up our lunch, bought some water and we went back out to look for the man again. I just wanted to feed him or do something else...but, he was gone. Why didn't we put him in a taxi and get him some medical help? Isn't that what the Good Samaritan did? We could have done that. Why didn't I think of that until later? I had a whole first aid kit in my purse and it didn't even occur to me to get it out and do something to that man's wounds.
I don't know. I'm not a huge risk taker, but I feel that God calls us to be risk takers in this world. He may or may not protect us, but it's not how safe we are in this life that matters...no, it's how we run this race, how we live out the Great Commission...that's what matters....it's how we truly love others.
I know that this doesn't all make perfect sense, but my mind has been ruminating on this issue lately.....and it's hard to write without my morning caffeine jolt..... :)
Some Sunday morning thoughts, eh? I need to pray about this more, be less afraid to act when God puts the opportunities in my path....be more willing to give...be less afraid of what people think of me.
I know I started writing about adoption and ended with beggars, but they're all connected! It's that compassion that God lays on our hearts to reach out to those that are hurting. Help me, God, to reach out!
At a recent art competition, I was speaking with some very talented artists and we were each expressing our frustration with the whole concept, approach and execution of modern art. The general consensus was that it is very sad that a large number of artists in this day and age no longer consider art to be a craft to be carefully studied and executed in a manner that is worthy of admiration. Nowadays, anyone and everyone can be an artist and nobody has the backbone to simply state when art is badly executed. We must accept everything without regard to a particular artist's talent or the time that they have or haven't spent studying and practicing their medium.
Take, for example, a visit to the North Carolina Museum of Art. The art is all laid out by centuries and countries and when you walk through those echoing halls, you cannot help but be astounded at the training and attention to detail that the ancient masters attained. The ancients spent their lifetimes studying their subjects and this is why they are called the masters.
I've visited this museum many times and sometimes I enjoy observing what other people are attracted to in regards to art. There are some portions of the museum where you will find people simply standing, staring at certain pieces of art.....people are mesmerized by the colors, the intricate details and the complexity of some of these pieces (as am I).
Yet, it saddens me that when you get to OUR century in art, there are rarely people standing, staring or sitting on the benches because OUR century of art (at least in the museum) is mostly paint thrown at a canvas or slopped on without regard to balance, thought, planning or study. Those halls are basically always devoid of admirers even though we are "theoretically" SUPPOSED to be enthralled by modern art and able to understand its ethos as well as comprehend the mental anguish of the painter. It simply just doesn't draw us in or entice us to stay. Why is that?
It is also rather interesting that the more chaotic the painting is, the longer the art's description has to be and some of these descriptions are ridiculously insane. Why, pray tell, is that worthy of admiration?
Betty Edwards, the author of Drawing on The Right Side of The Brain (pg. 45), eloquently states, "Awkwardness, I regret to say, is viewed by some art teachers as being more creative or more interesting. I think this attitude does a disservice to the student and is demeaning to art itself. We do not view awkward language, for instance, or awkward science as being more creative and somehow better." (emphasis mine)
If I might add on to that and state that we do not do attend the symphony to listen to a cacophony of sound from an orchestra. I have attended many ballets and I certainly don't pay money nor attend an event for the purpose of seeing someone stumbling clumsily about on stage, unsure of what they are doing. NO! Art is worthy of being studied, practiced and executed in a manner that is a testament to the time the artist has dedicated to probing all of its wonderfully beautiful, elaborate and intricate depths.
Yet all across this country there are people standing in galleries, wine glasses in hand, "admiring" paint that has been thrown at a canvas and attempting to glean some sort of existential meaning from it. It is meaningless...pointless. As an artist, I know that I am supposed to be equally enthralled with this type of artistic "expression", but I am not.
One of my favorite art quotes is by J. Cheane...."Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum - like skepticism, it's a means, not an end. It cries out for a theme. To treat creativity as an end in itself is to assume godlike character for humans as though they could create ex nihilo."
This is so true! We do not have the ability to create something from nothing. When we attempt that, it is still nothing, even though we try to make it something by writing a wordy and ridiculous statement to it.
Sometimes truth issues most accurately and innocently from the mouth of babes....while all of us adults are walking around admiring the emperor's clothing (because we are fearful of being labeled as artistic idiots if we don't admire)....all it takes is my youngest child looking at a piece of modern "art" in the museum.....her eyes are not wide with admiration, her little brow is furrowed and her tiny, pointed nose is wrinkled...she looks up at me with her huge brown eyes and says, "Mom, that's ugly! It doesn't look like anything!"
Art class went great last night! I thought that I'd post the step by step instructions for our exercise that we did last night and I would strongly encourage you to practice repainting it at least once this week. Go over your watercolor terms at least once as well. If you want to improve, you need to practice! (and don't leave your brushes in the water!) ;)
Poppy painting instructions
Wash 1 – wet entire page and quickly lay down soft light colors in yellows, greens, blues and purples.
Colors I used…alizarin crimson and French ultramarine blue (combined make purple) hooker's green, yellow ochre and burnt umber brown. Lightly touch the watered down red (alizarin crimson and a touch of burnt umber mixed on the palette) onto the poppies. Touch a tiny bit of new gamboge yellow or any yellow onto the outer edges of some of the petals. Don't overwork this stage and allow the colors to softly run into each other.
Dry your painting thoroughly
Step 2 – flower petals. Wet one entirepetal at a time and touch in alizarin crimson mixed with a tiny bit of brown to tone down the red…touch the color into the inside edges of the petals and allow the color to flow out. Alternate petals and don't paint next to petals that are wet.
Step 3 – wet the entire area of one of the taller purple flowers and drop in layers of purples and blues in different shades. Allow the paint to mix on the page and don't overwork this stage! Do this to both of the tall flowers one at a time. Add a touch of salt while the flower is still wet to get some texture. (just a touch!)
Step 4 – strengthen your grass blades with hooker's green mixed with a tiny touch of brown to get that moss color, and paint some yellow grass blades. Paint the buds with yellow and green with a tiny touch of blue on the underside.
Step 5 – if you want to strengthen your poppy's colors you can wait until the petals are dry and add another layer of red to the petals. Wet one petal at a time and touch in the red at the inner points.
Step 6 – There will be little triangles in you grass at the bottom that you can paint with a darker green. This is called negative painting and it gives depth to your grass at the bottom and makes your lighter grass pieces stand out. With a small brush, just paint those little spaces wherever they show up.
We had our second watercolor class last night and I am thrilled that I've seen so much progress in such a short amount of time. While we missed Karen, I was pleased to have Betsy join us!
I'm posting this blog to encourage my students in moving forward in watercolors. I remember when I first started out with watercolors that there were some situations where I was feeling constantly discouraged b/c it seemed like no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get it right and some people were certainly going to let me know! lol Don't get me wrong, I am ALL for constructive criticism to help students improve, BUT I believe that criticism must be tempered with encouragement so that the aspiring artist doesn't lose heart in the process of learning this beautiful medium.
So specifically, for my watercolor ladies.....starting with Trish...Trish, great tree last night! I loved how you started working outside the box and got creative with putting purple on the trunk of the tree! You have such a positive spirit in class and you seem to really be enjoying the process of learning watercolors. I also thought that your background trees in your color value painting were very nicely washed on. The shapes were very pleasing.
Susan, you have such a peaceful way about you and you were doing a great job of softly laying in your colors. The colors that you chose to mix really worked well for your tree top and you're getting the hang of allowing the paint to blend on the page without overworking the pigment. Beautiful job!
Betsy, I was so thrilled that you could join us this week and I look forward to having you in the group again! I was so happy that you brought some of your other work to show me AND I was impressed by how quickly you've gotten the hang of watercolors! You've only been painting since April and already you have art that is worthy of framing! You already have your techniques down pat and now you're learning the terms of those techniques. You're off to a great start!
Sarah, you have such a talented and creative side to you! I've seen your wonderful photography and I know that you're going to excel in art with just as much panache. You have a really great eye for balance and I thought that your tree came out very nicely. The tree top was such a soft and pleasing blend of color. Keep practicing whenever there's a "nap" break. :) I really do think that you're going to do well with this medium.
Noella, I was blessed to have met you during the festival and I hope to continue getting to know you! During class, I was admiring how you were laying in the darker colors on the edges of your tree trunk. You also were starting to get creative with adding shapes and depth to your tree top. Very nice! I can tell that you are enjoying the process of learning.
And, last, but certainly not least, my dear Karen! What a blessing you have been to me and how I missed you last night! You have come so far since I first met you over a year ago! Your cows have such personality and creative colors! You did a great job last week and I can't wait to see you again soon. Hugs! :)
SO, ladies, if you have a chance this week, read over the handouts that I gave you and maybe choose one or two things to practice from those handouts. Bring your work in next week and don't be afraid of failure or ruining a painting! I still ruin paintings on a pretty consistent basis! :) Every ruined painting is a lesson learned and failure can be one of the best teachers. I think that I wrote a post about that not too long ago.
Next week we'll be learning some simple flowers. I think that I'm going to have our lesson pre-sketched out for everyone so that we can get down to the nitty gritty of painting. I think that you are ready to start laying on more washes and practicing some of the techniques that we've been learning.
This week, try practicing some scraping, bushes and I would strongly encourage you to finish your color values painting and then paint it again. Bring it in for some positive constructive criticism next week!
Keep that tissue in hand and watch your water to pigment ratio. Experiment with blooms and salt (in moderation). Enjoy the process!
All in all, everyone has done a great job! Have a blessed week!
When you are learning to paint with watercolors, it's important to practice with color values. You always have to keep in mind that watercolors are transparent and you are building up your color values with every wash. This exercise, below, was one that I learned in a Sterling Edwards class that I took one weekend. I encourage you to try it!
Start with wetting the whole page. I watered down prussian blue and with a 1" flat brush, lightly touched in the trees in the background and the larger back trees of the foreground. Touch a thirsty brush into your background trees to create negative shapes. As your paper starts to absorb the water, start strengthening your color by allowing more pigment on the brush to touch in darker and darker values.
After you've laid on your lightest (most watered down) colors and your mid tones, dry your painting and go back in with your darkest darks, softening some edges and leaving some edges hard. While your trees are still wet, scratch in some branches with a toothpick or whatever it is you use to scrape paint with.
Practicing with a color value painting is important for a watercolor artist. It helps you understand the entire depth of one color and how to use that color with differing amounts of water.
Try it and have fun!
The first June watercolor class went really well last night. Thanks to everyone who came! I'm uploading these photos to give you a visual of washes and how each wash builds upon the next to give your painting depth and vibrancy.
Great job last night!
I have this philosophy...one that I probably got from my mom....one that tends to bring me grief more often than not, but NOT because the philosophy is flawed but b/c it puts people off. It's simple, really...and kind of Biblical, since it resembles a Bible verse. It's this:
Whatever you do in life, do your very best. This resembles...."whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly as unto the Lord and not unto men." Same principle, really.
I admit that I don't adhere to this ALL of the time, BUT there are certain areas of my life that I feel are important enough to make more of an effort in doing my best. I love to decorate and generally my house is "picked up" and looks pretty good, but don't open my closets or sock drawers! I love to garden and harvest veggies and flowers, BUT I burn out towards the end of the summer (literally!) I love my husband dearly and I so strive to honor and respect him and care for our home, but I blow it sometimes (especially about once a month) :) The artwork that I show is usually only the pieces that came out well....I fail miserably with some pieces and I toss them out and try again.
I say that I'm a runner, but it comes in spurts (or sprints...ha ha) We eat healthy, but we love ice cream....I could go on and on....the truth is....what you perceive from what you see of me day in and day out isn't always the full story.
You see that I'm an artist, that my kids are pretty good, that I homeschool and I have a lovely home and a great hubby...and based on that some people feel threatened and I understand that....but there is more to me than those superficial things. Nobody's life is perfect, certainly not mine! I have many flaws, fears and uncertainties. I struggle, but I'm not one to let it all hang out, flapping in the wind for all to see.
So, it comes down to this....whatever I do, I want to do it well. It's as simple as that. If I mother, I want to mother well. If I cook, I strive to cook well....if I love, I want to love with all of my heart. It doesn't mean that I'm a perfectionist and I have it all together all of the time. I don't and I know I never will....but I don't want to settle for mediocrity either.
So, dear reader....find something and do it well today...love your hubby, make a new friend, thank the Lord for little things, kiss your kid's nose....even if your task is small...complete your task with joy and make it the best job you've ever done.