Sometimes you need to step awaaaay from the tiny brushes, the details, the itty-bitty time consuming steps and just enjoy the flow in watercolors.
Picking up a large brush and painting an entire quick study in a few minutes clears the mind of the clutter of petals, reflections and shadows and helps you see the larger picture as a whole. I, for one, can get very caught up in the details and I know I need to improve in this area.
Sooo, of course in my style of if-you're-going-to-do-it-do-it-all-the-way....(just ask my husband) , I choose a vase of flowers with literally hundreds of little spaces and tiny fragmented petals and so on and so forth....
PEONIES! Yes! Let's try it!
So, what you want to do with a loose study is just wet certain parts of the flower. After a quick, LOOSE sketch (and I mean loose and quick! No cheating by getting into the details), with your largest brush (mine's a #12) quickly identify the center of the flower and wet just portions, touching in color as you go. You want your strokes to be random and for the colors to be deeper to indicate depth in the petals. I kind of work around in a circular pattern
This is two quick washes. A quick sketch watercolor should take about 15-20 minutes...that's it. I love not having to soften or go back in and get out my smaller brushes.
Try it and see what you come up with!
As always, email me or comment if you have any questions. I'd love to hear from you.
Happy Painting, my friends!
Batik is the art of decorating cloth using wax and dye and actually has been around for centuries. Batik has traditionally been a fascinating and visually stunning way to paint using a process of layering wax and ink on fabric.
I have seen artists use this batik style of painting on rice paper using wax and watercolors and the results are absolutely beautiful. The contemporary style of batik is no longer limited to fabric. Many artists use a resist style of painting on wood, ceramic, paper, leather, etc. using many different tools besides wax and ink.
Since I love the batik look, I have started attempting to use this resist and texture style using watercolors and masking fluid in my artwork. I have been pleased with my first few attempts and while I definitely need to do a lot more experimenting to succeed in this, I'm sharing my first few steps with my readers.
I started out with a general flower painting. I laid on the first few washes and got most of the details down. There are some white edges of the rose that I masked at the beginning.
Allow your page to completely dry before you put on the masking fluid.
After the first wash, I loaded up a script liner (a long thin brush) with a little bit of bar soap (wet, shaved, in a dish) and then with masking fluid. The bar soap helps preserve your brush from the masking fluid.
I flicked and slung the masking fluid on the painting quite a bit. It's a bit hard to see in this photo, but there are a lot of masked areas.
Allow the fluid to dry (I use a hair dryer) and add another layer of color on the painting. When the painting is still wet, but the sheen is gone, I pressed a tissue in different patterns on the paper to create interesting shapes.
When you add another wash of color, lightly wet the entire page again and simply lightly lay on the colors.
Don't overwork it b/c you might lift too much of the underpainting off. Yes, the underpainting might blur a bit, but you'll be able to re-establish your shapes in the end.
I repeated this process twice, adding a layer of masking fluid and then color, adjusting and softening spots here and there while the page is still damp with a clean brush, clean water and a tissue.
After it's dry, take all of the masking fluid off and see what you have! You might have to repaint some corners and edges, soften up some spots and generally add the finishing touches. Experiment with it and have fun!
This was a tea rose that I had painted a few weeks ago. It's ok...but I felt that it was lacking something. After I painted the rose (above), I thought that I might be able to spice this one up somehow.
It is a risk to go back into a finished painting and experiment with a new idea, but "nothing risked, nothing gained" was my thoughts here. :)
Was I nervous? Yes.
Whereas before this process, I was kind of ambivalent about this painting. Afterwards, I loved it!
Again, I kind of slung a good bit of masking fluid around (cover your paints and brushes when you do this b/c masking fluid will ruin a good brush) and then deepened the colors, although I didn't wet the entire page and paint the colors on like I did for the pink rose. I worked in sections, i.e. background first and then each flower petal separately.
I did warm up the blues and grey tones with more purples and pinks. Overall, I was glad I took the risk! I love it now and I can't wait to get it matted.
Here's a sunflower painting that I was teaching a student today.
This already has a first wash on it, the first layer of masking fluid and another wash on the petals.
For the very first wash, I wet the entire page and generally painted on my first lightest colors, steering clear of the petals with the blue background color.
This has a second layer of masking fluid and a second wash on the background and the flower's middle.
I ended up doing three washes total on the background, petals and middle. Softening at the end of a painting is something that I always encourage my students to do.
After the painting is fully dry, take a small clean brush, clean water and a tissue. Soften and clean up the edges of the petals, soften up some spots on the painting here and there, lighten some spots for greater contrast...it really gives the painting a "glow".
If you don't know what I mean by softening, here's an explanation. If you have a ragged petal edge or a spot that has bled, take the brush and lightly scrub that area and then press the tissue on it. The paint should lighten and lift. Different colors lift better than others and different paper will allow you to lift colors more easily than others. It is easier to lift color from Fabriano paper than from Arches, but if you use Fabriano, you might find that your underpainting comes off too much with each wash.
Anyhow, I'd love to hear and see your latest projects! If you have questions, feel free to ask and I'll try to get back to everyone.
I hope this has been helpful to you.
Happy painting, my friends!
Good day, fellow artists! I have been LOVING painting these small square flowers this week. I'm so accustomed to painting these large pieces that painting small has been a treat for me.
So, if you're newer to watercolors, you've mastered some simpler techniques and you want to take your florals to the next level. You want depth, light, something that will challenge you a bit more.
Look no more! (I sound like a car salesman!)
Find a flower pic or take a flower pic that has nice sun and shadow in it. Blow it up or crop it to the square size that you like and start! Or, you can work from real life...which is what we are all SUPPOSED to be doing, but we don't. (naughty!)
I masked some of the edges of the flowers where the sun was shining the brightest.
For the first wash, I like to wet the whole page and get my first soft wash of colors on.
Then, I painted petal by petal, wetting one whole petal and adding color. You kind of have to jump around at this point to let each petal dry before you start on the petal next to it. Use a hair dryer if you're as impatient as I am.
I've painted this lovely yellow dahlia a few times, so it was a quick one for me. You're going to use the same techniques. Wet your whole page first. Allow it to dry completely before you start on your next wash.
Did you know you can digitally frame your artwork on American Frame? Go to the American Frame website
, upload your art into a frame with a mat and then capture the screen image (if you have a mac) by holding down command, shift, 4
. It'll save the image to your desktop and you can show your customers what your art will look like framed. It's a great tool.
Ok, back to the flower. So, after the first wash, I dried it and then I masked all the little light thin shapes in the center so that I wouldn't have to paint around them.
I had a good bit more trouble with this one. The shadows were complicated and I kind of struggled with that large petal on the left that has a lot of shadow on it. Sometimes I can't decide which colors to use for shadows and I flip flop back and forth. Eh, it's all part of the learning experience.
I was really happy with the first few washes and then once I added that shadow on the left petal, I had problems....but I feel like I rescued it (kind of!) and it wasn't a total loss. I was sweating there for a bit, though. By the third photo, you'll see what I mean. BUT, it's a good lesson on keeping washes lighter so that those "uh-oh" moments are fewer and farther between...lol
I don't know why I kill myself with complicated yellow flowers. Maybe I like the challenge...
This is an odd painting, actually,....the shapes work from far away, but when you get close up, they are just shapes. I'm not quite sure how that happened. Oh well!
So, hopefully this has inspired you to get out there, get some good pics and start a small, but lovely flower painting! I'd love to see your projects and I totally don't mind if you post photos to my facebook page so that we can all enjoy your work.
Happy Painting, my friends!
Hi, all! Or y'all, as they say down here. Being a bona fide Yankee, it took me a good bit to start saying that, but now I say it allllll the time. When in Rome.....
So, per your requests, I repainted a portrait study and I'm going to take you through it. Portraits can be really challenging with watercolors. Some turn out orange, some portraits look muddy...if you use too much brown for shadowing, your study can look like they've been frolicking through the dirt and stopped for a minute to smile nicely for the viewer. I've seen a lot of those!
I originally painted this young lady about 6 months ago. A friend of mine, Katelyn Soderland, is a photographer and she snapped this picture. I loved it and Katelyn graciously gave me permission to use her photo.
My original style of portraiture was very much a smooth, lay down full wash after wash style. This way takes a LOT of babysitting of your work, watching for blooms and such. It's a nice style, but I always felt like it was lacking depth.
Here was my first try:
As you can see, it's nice, but it's lacking that artsy quality that I am moving towards....there's just no a whole lot of depth to it.
So, in starting over, I'm not wetting the whole face and laying down an entire wash layer by layer, I'm going to work in sections, allowing my brush strokes to show, layering my colors.
After sketching out my subject, I'm going to start painting on a few different mixtures. Here they are:
Lemon Yellow and Opera Rose for the warmer skin tones
Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue and a touch of Burnt Umber for the purples and shadows (keep it light! You don't want your subject to look like Night of The Living Dead)
Prussian Blue for the corners of the eyes (light!)
Starting out, I wet small sections around the eyes and the hairline, the nose and mouth...anywhere where there's shadow and it's cooler. I just start laying on the color, softening some edges and leaving other edges hard.
Then it's time to STEP AWAY FROM THE PAINTING.....hee hee...let it dry and come back to it.
For the lips, I kind of use a mixture of Scarlett Lake and Lemon Yellow....kind of a warmer blush than the skin tone.
For the eyes, dot yellow in the center around the pupil and then, painting around the reflections, use Prussian blue and Payne's grey for your first eye wash. The whites of the eyes really aren't white. They should be a really light shade of blue.
The eyes are the soul of your painting, so give them a lot of time and attention. I'm now just deepening colors, adding touches here and there. I've worked a good bit on the eyes. Come back to those later. Really study your subject and the subtle variations of color on the face. Don't ever use just brown for shadows. It makes the face look dirty. Use that warm mixture of Prussian Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber and the skin tone shade.....use different variations for different places.
Okay, your first wash on the hair...Blondes always have green in their hair, so I start the first wash with a cool green. I'd tell you what color it is, but the name has worn off of my palette. :) You can cool down any green by adding blue to it.
I used Raw Sienna for the first wash of yellow and a bit of the purple mixture from the face for the shadows in the hair. Be sure to paint around the light's reflection.
For the hood, I'm using Alizarin Crimson and a darker mixture of Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson and Prussian Blue for the folds and shadows. I did mask the few lighter hairs that I want to preserve at this stage.
For continuity, I'm keeping the a darker mixture of the purple for the background. If you use varying hues of the same colors throughout your painting, it'll make for a visually harmonious experience. Wet the whole background before laying on this wash. I'll do this two times to get the depth of color that I want.
As you can see, I've masked the few hairs on the left and a few on the right so that I don't have to paint around them. I think at this stage, I did add a very light wash of the skin tone on the forehead. It was looking too brightly white.
It helps if you stand back from your painting from time to time, setting aside the photograph, and just give the painting what it needs..what you FEEL it needs. Does that make sense?
Also, when I'm painting around the hair, I'm softening that line b/c the hair will reflect the color in the shawl.
Step AWAY from the painting again! (You'll hear this a lot, but I'm really speaking to myself b/c I'm BAD at this) :)
As you can see, I'm still deepening the colors on the face from time to time, as I feel it needs it. It's almost like you have to adjust and add to the skin tones as you paint the surrounding colors of the hair and clothes so that they all are similar in intensity.
I've added another wash to the shawl with the Alizarin Crimson mix. It's coming along! I'm always kind of all over the place at this point. Eyelashes always make the eyes beautiful and being an eyelash junkie myself, I usually add too many BUT.....if there's anything I've learning in life, it's that YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY EYELASHES!
Yes, that is my daily dose of wisdom....not really. There are other things that I should be dishing out in the wisdom arena, such as eat your veggies, don't smoke, love God, wash your hands and for pity's sake, put some more clothes on and act like a lady....were you raised by hyenas?! But we won't go there today. :)
So, I'm working on the hand, using the same colors and techniques as the face.....hands are my nemesis, (nemesises?) I tell ya. If I can avoid painting a hand, I will...yes, yes....I know, do hard things and all that jazz....but I HAVE done hard things in my life and sometimes, can't I just say that I don't want to? I mean, I had three kids without drugs for Pete's sake! Wasn't that hard enough without me having to learn how to paint hands?
I will master it eventually. I promise. (*sigh)
Okay, FOCUS people! I'm so ADD....The folds of the cloth can be tricky, but here's a trick for the tricky fold....ha.
You know how folds are triangular and lead into a darkest point? Wet the whole triangle and then at the darkest point, drop in some heavy pigment and tilt your gator board to get it to fan out....and repeat and repeat, until you have the depth of color you desire. I don't know if that's the right way, but that's what I do!
You're not going to get "professional" tips here people....this is a SAHM un trained artist writing (oh no!), but the tips will be tried and true.
Aaaaand, add a few more spots here and there, take your masking fluid off (or frisket...I like the word "frisket"...it makes me want to have "tea and frisket")
I worked some more on the eyes, too. I softened a bit, added some reflections, and darkened the eyelashes (shocker!)
Also, soften any hard lines around the hair, the background and the shawl and the hand. You don't want her to look pasted onto the background.
Here's a closeup of the eyes...I love the details, reflections and colors in eyes.
I hope that this has been informational, inspirational and a tad bit goofy for you.
As always, keep those paint brushes going! Have a lovely day, my friends!
Gooood morning! It's a rainy morning in balmy NC, but I'm so excited b/c all of the flowers are blooming and I got my veggie and flower gardens cleaned out yesterday! Yippeee!
I must not have used any muscles all winter long b/c this morning I am SORE!
So, I wanted to take you through a fun rooster project. I hope you'll try it!
Grab a rooster photo from your neighbor's henhouse, sketch it out or lightbox it and give it a whirl.
Using a larger round brush (I was using a #12) quickly work in sections, loosely laying on your base blues and purples. Tilt your board a bit or prop it up so that your colors blend without you having to mess with it. Let the paint do the work.
Colors: cerulean blue, paynes gray, viridian green (in the tail), violet
Dry this wash before you start the next one!
Your paper should be completely dry to the touch now before you start on the background bushes. I wet the whole bush area and worked quickly in sections from the bottom right, up and over the top. Finish the large section before you do the section under the tail.
Colors: Hooker's green mixed with bunt umber, new gamboge, lemon yellow, viridian green
Wash your brush well in between colors and change your water if it's getting too muddy. Dirty water will make your painting look dingy and you want to keep the vibrant colors.
On the stones, I used Burnt Sienna and Burn Umber
Here, you're going to be working in color chunks, not worrying about individual feathers. The rooster that I am looking at had large patches of gorgeous yellows, blues, and oranges.
Colors: Payne's Gray, Violet, Burn Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson
Here, I'm deepening the background so that the rooster pops forwards. Use the same colors and place paint negatively around some interesting branches and such. I had scratched in branches, but I didn't like how that looked, so after it was dry, I painted negatively around those branches. At this point, you should be looking at your painting for balance, adding touches of color here and there.
I also deepened some of the colors on the rooster here, still not getting too caught up in the details.
I'm adding my darkest darks, here...The Payne's gray, brightening up the yellows and reds, splattering a bit. The darkest greens towards the bottom of the bush, getting lighter as you go out. To get that effect, paint on the dark green right next to the rooster and then with clean water on your brush, touch the edge of the green and draw it out. Use a tissue to dab up too much water.
The finishing touches on all my painting is the softening of the edges. Notice in the rooster, above, how harsh some of the edges are. I like to soften up some lines and created a "glow" on my work. I find it more appealing.
Your painting MUST be completely dry before doing this. With clean water, a tissue and a smaller brush, start softening the lines, edges and some of the feather patterns. Work on one place at a time. Soften an edge with clean water, gently scrubbing at the line of paint until it comes up and then dab it with a tissue. This process can be a bit time consuming, but it really makes your artwork look finished.
I always like to soften up some circles in bushes or trees, soften up the spot on the rooster's back where the sun is shining, wherever you feel that the painting needs some TLC.
You're done! Pop it into a mat and you have a lovely gift for someone or for yourself!
I hope you've enjoyed my little tutorial. Feel free to share it with others.
Let me know if you have any questions.
I've been seriously blessed by having The Watercolor Painting Club highlight my blog yesterday. The feedback was so wonderful and positive. THANK YOU!
I especially wanted to write and let people know that, as an artist, I'll always respond to any questions or comments that you may have concerning art or anything else for that matter!
See, I'm a self-taught artist. When I was younger, I never had the money or time to go to college and study art. I was married at 22 to a wonderful man and we started a family right away. Three kids in three years! Woo hooo! We certainly started with a bang! I'd always been an artsy girl and I just longed with every fiber of my exhausted, sleep-deprived being to become an artist....I would fiddle around in the dark, unfinished basement of our CT house with craft paints, teaching myself Tole painting and painting little canvases. Looking back, they were really bad! Wow!
I remember rocking my babies in the wee hours of the morning, dreaming and longing to just have the time, or the money or even one day to just attend an art class! It wasn't happening. So I fumbled around, painting on the walls of my daughter's room, doodling flowers and birds and picket fences during nap time.
Amazingly, I started getting better at painting flowers with acrylics and people started paying me to come and paint flowers and butterflies in their children's rooms and nurseries! Oh joy! Soon, I had this grand idea that I was going to volunteer my budding murals to hospitals and sick kids. The Yale New Haven Hospital in CT had me paint murals on the entire third floor of their Psychiatric Ward...(please note, I have a history of failed grand ideas) (also note, the ideas are always grand to me until they flop, but that's ok!)
That was interesting! There's nothing quite like having a bunch of patients hanging over your shoulders asking you head scratching questions and wanting to "use that bush over there" for their bodily needs....the bush being the tree I just painted on the wall! I wasn't sure if that was a compliment b/c it was so realistic looking to this slightly disturbed person or an insult to my art. Oh well!
Moving down to North Carolina meant that I had to start over with my client base, but things soon picked up again. UNC's Pediatric Surgeon's office needed a volunteer muralist for their walls...I volunteered three months of my time filling their walls with elephants, ducks, birds, etc...finished it, and they moved! You just have to laugh at life sometimes. If you don't laugh, you'll just cry with frustration!
Some of my early murals:
I spent a few years painting murals, donating murals to chronically ill kids and families. It was quite an experience! I've walked into houses that have sweeping staircases and fountains in the circular driveway....I've quaked in my shoes staring at the blank wall that I was expected to create a huge painting on. Where to start? What if I fail? Why am I doing this? lol
In the end, you just have to dive in and start somewhere, make that pencil mark, pick up that brush...risk it! B/c if you don't you won't get anywhere or learn anything or have the opportunity to fail....and yes, failing is an opportunity b/c every time you fail, you learn something.
So, in between mothering, homeschooling, painting murals, my hubby bought me my first watercolor paints about 4 Christmases ago....and I fell in LOVE! There was no going back. A new challenge to teach myself! Oh joy!
I got books, I studied, I muddied, I tore paintings up, I framed some really bad art, I struggle and I WROTE other artists that I admired...not a lot, mind you, I just wrote an email once in awhile to an artist that I liked....and I never got a response. I just so badly wanted someone to say, "you can do it" or give me some advice on an watercolor problem...and no one ever did! I guess when you get too big for your britches, you forget that there are others coming up behind you that need encouragement and cheer.
Now, let me preface that by saying that my inquiries were in my early watercolor years....until I found Pam Shank and she has been a WONDERFUL encouragement to me. She paints gorgeous watercolor portraits and I love her to death.
So, my friends, ALL that to say that I will never ignore people who write me. I will do my best to be an encouragement to you and help you along your journey, because who are we if we cannot love and assist others in this life?
It is what God expects of us and it is a joy and a privilege. Please enjoy, learn from, paint from, experiment with any of my tutorials...and if you need reference pics, I have free ones on my facebook page
! They are copyright free, taken by me at the NC State Arboretum.
Let's see what you can do!
Thanks for reading and I wish everyone the best on their artistic journey!
It's super tricky painting these close up flowers. This week has been crazy and not crazy. I've had sick kids all week (yes, the flue is visiting us YET again) (Oh, joy) and in between making tea, taking temps, making soup, feeling brows, giving vitamins, bringing juice, cutting up oranges, covering up, uncovering, rubbing backs, coloring with, fetching things, washing, cooking, making toast....I've been painting! Ha! I don't have to be at ballet or piano or Taekwondo or play dates or church or anything. Double Ha!
....the beautiful silver lining to the dark cloud that is influenza! My kids have watched WAAAAY too much TV this week, but it's the only way to keep them down and resting, so I've assuaged my guilty conscience with the thought that I never let them watch much and it won't kill them for 4 days out of their life. Weaning them off of it will be tough, but leeeet's not worry about that now.
I'm painting in my art studio, listening to my kids watch episodes of the BBC's Robin Hood and Extreme Couponing. That is not one show, it is two, mind you. I have NO earthly idea why my offspring like to watch Extreme Couponing b/c I don't personally clip coupons, but for some reason they find this show fascinating...... that you can get $1,459.97 worth of junk food for $.37 if you just clip enough coupons...but I digress here!
You are obviously visiting this blog b/c you are interested in art, not my children's quirky TV habits.
So, this flower has taken me THREE WEEKS to paint. My paintings are taking longer and LONGER to finish....I'm not sure if this is progress or not.
It's hugely detailed and just explaining all the steps right now feels like work, so I will let my pics do the talking for me and if you have any specific questions, you can email me or call or use whatever communication you have....I'm sure I'll be found if you're looking b/c I can't seem to get away from anyone these days (not that I'm actively trying).....I remember the days when I went out to the store and I couldn't be reached for HOURS on end b/c I didn't have a cell phone or texting or ichat or skyping or anything that made me reachable in any way, shape or form.
Now, I find myself pushing a shopping cart with my hip bone, loading groceries with one hand, texting with the other while making violent shushing noises to my restless children. While I'm texting, I could get an emergency phone call from my husband who can't decide between the 300 lb. roll of aluminum foil or the 2500 square foot roll of cellophane, and could I please tell him which I need? (the question to ask is, do I really NEED a 300 lb. roll of aluminum? That's a lot of baked potatoes...)
This is all happening while I'm trying to communicate to the deli lady that I really need one pound of THINLY slliced meat not two pieces that each weigh 1/2 a pound. (which is what they'll do if you don't watch them like a hawk b/c they don't like slicing with that slicey thing that they slice with) I know this from experience! NOTHING is worse than bringing home one whole pound of meat and using it up on one very thick sandwich b/c it's sliced too thickly! It's perfectly dreadful, b/c it means that I have to make ANOTHER trip to the grocery store to get more meat to last the week. The HORROR!
Wait, where was I? Ah, yes....painting a pink flower *cue soft classical music*.
I think I've been in the house too long.
Gooood morning, sunshine! That's what I say to my kids and I am fully cognizant that it may someday irritate them. So, in my last post, I was demonstrating a step by step smaller sunflower project. Today, it's the full painting! Woo hoooo!
Transfer or sketch your image onto your paper and I would recommend that you sit for a few minutes and study your subject or photo. Study the lightest colors, the darkest colors, the shapes and shadows and really have a plan of colors in your mind. Decide what you want to do with the background, the colors and shapes that you'd like to have there. Mentally discard anything in your photo that detracts from your focal point or detracts from your painting.
After you've done all that, and I mean, sit and study that photo for at least 15-20 minutes, you're ready for your first wash.
So, I have masked the all of the areas that have really bright sunlight on them. Swirl your brush in some wet soap shavings before you use the masking fluid on your brush. It'll preserve it since masking fluid can ruin brushes.
Wet the whole page thoroughly and lay on your first loose wash. Work quickly or you're going to have backwash issues... (ew!) lol
My gator board is slightly tilted so that my wash runs downward....just slightly. This helps with the colors blending together. Allow it to fully dry before you start another wash. Feel your paper to determine whether or not it's fully dry.
On your next wash, I'm going to start getting specific with the petals on the flowers. I'm using a mixture of burnt sienna and lemon yellow. On this wash, paint around the "sunspots" on the petals to make them glow.
Add in your middles with burnt sienna, hooker's green and burnt umber. I kind of worked in a circle from the outside edge inward, changing the color as I went.
Now, this is the fun part....at least, I love it. I love getting lost in the shapes and shadows of the petals. With a small round, I start deepening the colors on the edges of the petals, giving them depth and shape. It's a little bit tricky, but you can do it with some practice.
Put the colors on the inside edge of a petal, just paint it on a little bit, then, quickly wash your brush and run it over the edge of the color with clean water. It'll soften that edge out nicely.
Here's a close up. Like my bee?
At this stage, I'm working all over the place, on the vase, the petals, the center...whatever catches my fancy....dreading the moment when I have to lay on the background. ha.
Backgrounds, for me, are hard, but necessary....You have to work FAST, and be accurate, making color decisions and changing between several colors throughout the whole wash. When I'm laying on a background, I literally cannot think about anything else or be distracted with anything else. It takes ALL of my concentration.
I lay it on, gritting my teeth and then I sit there and stare worriedly at it for a good bit, watching for back washes and blooms....It's probably amusing to watch me...
It's still going to need another wash...I almost always end up laying on three or more washes on any background that has greenery in it.
So, when laying on the background, I work in sections and I switch between two brushes. A number 3 round and a number 12 round. I lightly wet a section, like on the right of the painting from the bottom up to the first sunflower, laying on the colors loosely, then, I quickly switch to the number 3 round and paint around the edges of the petals. You have to do this quickly b/c you want to then wet another section without that edge drying on you. A drying edge will give you a bad bloom. Don't panic if that happens, though. Let the whole page dry and then start over with laying down a wet wash. It should smooth out an unwanted bloom.
Resist the temptation to work at a bloom while the page is wet. You'll only make it worse. Grit your teeth, lay down your brush and walk away from it. lol
Here's the second background wash. I'm using Hooker's Green, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, and a tiny bit of Alizarin Crimson and a cool green, which I can't remember the name of b/c I didn't write it on my palette.....you can mix a cool green, too, with Hooker's Green and a blue.
So, you've come to the stage of LOTS of softening edges. Softening edges means that you have a tissue in one hand and a small paintbrush in the other. Usually, a number 3 round. After the paper is fully dry, you can start softening the edges around the petals, softening circles in the background for a Boca effect, softening any sunshine spots, etc. This can take quite a while, but it's worth it for your final product.
A quick wash on the railing, painting around the sunlit spot.
Pay some attention to the reflections in the glass vase after you've removed the masking fluid.
At the very very end, after all of the softening and after everything has sat for at least 24 hours, I lay a seriously light, watered down wash of a yellow onto the background to warm it up. I love this wash b/c I brings so much sunlight to the painting.
I named this painting The Sunny Quartet and it's for sale! It's 16x18 in size.
If you want a print of this painting or even if you want to have it printed on a gallery wrapped canvas, you can go to American Frame and order one from there:
Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this step by step lesson. This painting took me about two weeks to paint, so don't rush yourself. Two weeks is actually a LONG time in my painting world. I like to rush through things, but it's good for me to slow down.
Happy Painting, my friends!
Okay...Hi! So, I love painting sunflowers, but I'm always intimidated before I start. I love the pictures that I take of sunflowers in the sun, with all of the shadows and sun shining through the petals. SO glorious.
I had some late summer sunflowers that were falling off of their stalks in my garden, so I clipped them and turned it into a painting opportunity out on my deck. I loved the vase with the bubbles...I had a bit of trouble painting that, but I am happy with the result.
It was so funny because I wanted to paint the whole vase of flowers one day, but I was all out of paper! So, I painted half the vase on a smaller piece that I had lying around. It came out great! (not to sound humble or anything)
I will eventually paint the whole vase once I get my Christmas work out of the way for orders.
Anyhow, yes, here's some pics of the process. I think I've gotten it down to a science, FINALLY....yellow on yellow can be a bit tricky, at least for me.
Start out with your lightest yellows and build from there.
I masked the part of the vase where the light was shining through the glass. I also wanted to capture the bubbles in the glass of the vase. After taking off the masking fluid, I realized that it was too blotchy, so I masked it again and tried to make the "bubble" marks more even. After putting on another wash and taking the masking fluid off again, I DID have to resort to splattering gouache on it to get the final look that I desired.
I slowly kept building up the yellow and shadows on the petals. I did mask the veins of the sunflower leaves. Watch your spots of sunshine and paint around them. You can always soften the edges at the end.
I had to use a script brush to paint very carefully around all of the petals. I wanted the background to have what's called the bokeh effect, so when I was sketching the painting, I made sure to sketch out the areas in the background that had the light, out-of-focus circles. I slowly wet and painted my way around the page from one corner to the next. This was a bit time consuming, but worth it in the end. I used both a warm and a cool green with a little bit of burnt umber.
The second background wash is fun to paint. It really makes the sunflowers pop forwards. Again, after the first wash is dry, very carefully paint around the petals.
I had painted a coreopsis picture a while back where I masked the entire flower and painted the background easily and quickly, but I kind of like getting lost in the slower process of negative painting.
The colors of the above pictures are a little punchy b/c I took them with my phone. This photo (below) is more accurate.
So, at the very end, I spent time softening the edges of the petals and softening the bokeh effect with clean water and a brush. This can be time consuming, but it really makes a painting look finished and kind of gives the flowers a glow.
Happy Painting! :)
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.......and all that jazz...
Who doesn't like to give and get art at Christmas? Well, here's my present to you. Step-by-step easy daisies to paint as gifts to give this Christmas! You fully have my permissions to paint these daisies as many times as you'd like.
Step one: Mask your daisies with masking fluid. Make sure to put some bar soap on your brush before you start masking. It preserves the brush.
So, I masked the daisies and when they were dry, I wet the entire page very well. Using a flat brush, I started at the top with the yellow ochre and deepened my colors as I painted downwards with browns, greens and some blues. I used Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Hooker's Green and a blue that I can't remember and I'm too lazy to get up and check what the name of it is.
Work quickly! While this is still wet, sprinkle just a little bit of salt towards the bottom. Love it! (as if I can see what you're doing...ha)
Then it's all dry, take the masking fluid off with an eraser or your finger....I use both depending on how sore my finger gets. I don't think I have fingerprints anymore. :)
Paint the centers with Yellow Ochre and Burn Umber. Paint the yellow on first, leaving a small white spot in the center and then touch in the Burnt Umber while it's still wet. I like to soften down the underside of the center again while it's still wet with water just so that it's not such a harsh circle.
I'm actually painting three at a time here for customer orders. These daisies are really popular. They will be framed as 8x10's. The two below will be a set, so I made one with fewer flowers than the other.
Start on your petals now. With that blue...oy.... I guess I'll have to get off my lazy bum and check the color...hang on...
Oh yes...Prussian blue....I watered it down a LOT and wherever the petals crossed or needed definition, I just lined the petal around an edge and then softened the line with clean water. It gives the white daisy flowers more shape. I used a small script brush for both the center and the petals.
For the stems and leaves, I wet each stem one at a time and painted in Hooker's green, Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna....just to make it interesting. I did the same for the leaves. Wet the whole leaf and paint the yellow and greens on there.
Sign it and you have a gorgeous Christmas gift for Grandma! Buy a mat, tape a mat on and give as a gift! It's a very cost effective gift this Christmas!
Happy Painting and Merry Christmas!!!