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!
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!
I'm a wife and mother of four kids. I homeschool, paint, run, and garden! I am always interested in digging truths out of Scripture. Here, you'll find my thoughts on art, adoption, gardening, mothering, homeschooling, books and whatever else is on my mind. Enjoy!
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. -J. Cheane