Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nancy's painting finished

Because we only have a couple hours to paint in class most paintings are unfinished when I photograph them. Nancy completed hers after class and sent me this image. The lines and darker values really complete the work.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lesson 57 Children's Book Illustration

Each session I schedule in one lesson dealing with figures. I usually try and talk people out of working with someone they know but for this lesson we dealt with the problem head on by thinking of the studies as whimsical book illustrations. We began by working of 2 minute sketches in pen or pencil from photos of children playing and a second series of 2 minute sketches in wash. Then we developed one of these into a possible line and wash book illustration.

The idea for this project came from Nancy who is working on a book for her granddaughter. This is the title page she worked out in the class.

Lynn took her studies, lined them up and added Peter Rabbit.

Adelheid began with a family photo and turned it into a charming illustration.

Nancy began with photos she had taken of kids playing in the fountain. The fairy was developed from another of the children.

Cheryl began with a photo of a similar set up but simplified it into a charming composition.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lesson 56 Semi abstract fall fruit

This lesson was inspired by projects in Karlyn Holman's book Spirit of Spontaneity. We began with a pencil drawing of pomegranates or persimmons. We chose four colors from around the color wheel and and used these wet in wet to create a underpainting around the fruit shapes. Next we worked out a rectangle or geometric shapes overlapping our subjects. Finally we worked around the composition, sometimes painting within a shape, sometimes outside a shape to create an exciting interplay of foreground and background.

Lavonne's painting is part way done. You can clearly see the underpainting and how she has painted inside and outside edges of the background rectangle.

Marilyn painted her fruit more realistically with her rectangle lost and found in the background.

Sue let the geometric shapes run through her fruit so that they are only subtly showing in the background.

Emily's persimmons are very lifelike even though the values have been altered so that they interact with the background shapes.

We do a short critique at the end of each three hour class. The paintings from this exercise looked particularly striking together on the blackboard.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lesson 55 Furry Animals

How does one paint fur? In this lesson we experimented with different ways of dragging and stamping to create fur texture, working wet in wet to make a blurry, fuzzy edge and creating a jagged edge to a shape to read as fur. Next we worked on a portrait of a furry animal using these various approaches.

Barbara used dry brush stokes to create a fur texture and negative painted an irregular edge on the right, sunlit side of the dog to say 'fur'.

Dan began working very wet letting the paint form blurry edges. Later he sharpened up the left edge and added line work on the right in the tail.

Nancy worked with flat patches of color letting the jagged edges say 'fur'.

Rochelle used the red to paint a sharp furry edge around her cat and used gray to create some jagged edges in the neck fur.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lesson 54 Color and Value

For this lesson we were using watercolor paints full strength from the tubes - applying them much as an oil painter would. We wanted to determine the value of the various undiluted pigments. We began with a value scale marked off in white plus 10 increments of greys ending in black. Next we assigned tube colors a value by comparing a color swatch with our scale. Finally we took a black and white photo, imagined in as a 'paint by number' arrangement of value shapes and painted each shape in with the color that best approximated its value.

Here is Liz's color chart and a small landscape.

Norma's mountains and yellow sky worked particularly well.

Elaine also ended up with a yellow sky and various greens and oranges in her landscape.

Carrie was able to make sense out of a complicated beach scene .

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lesson 53 Pressed Textures

One way to create interesting textures in watercolor is to press objects into a wet wash, let it dry, and remove the objects. The pigments will collect at the edges or under folds and form shapes. Crumpled plastic wrap is an old standby. Shapes cut out of mylar, bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, stretched out gauze are all fun to play with. For this exercise we laid a wet wash of two colors in a horizontal band across the paper and set in a variety of stuff. Once this dried and the objects removed we added smooth washes to the top and bottom portions of the design. The textures now suggest rocks or hills which we refined.

Wendy turned her textured band into coastal rocks.

Mary Ann saw mountains and trees.

Leslie found bold stylized hill forms.

Bev is beginning to paint in portions of the texture shapes which may become rocks.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lesson 52 Fall Leaves

Each session I incorporate one lesson were we look at a subject closely and strive for photo realism. For this lesson we studied fall leaves. We were lucky to find richly colored leaves to work with and ones with interesting twists and folds. We set the leaves on white paper and incorporated shadows to give additional dimension to the work.

Emily had to work around the light veins in this leaf plus depict the dark mottled pattern.

Carla worked on an arrangement of three differently colored leaves.

Susan found wonderful variation on dark browns in what at first glance looked like a rather drab leaf.

Elaine also worked with dried brown leaves, but in her case she focused on giving the leaves form and making them look three dimensional.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cannon Beach, Oregon

I got a bit behind in class blog postings because I took a trip up to visit my paintings in Northwest by Northwest Gallery in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Dave and I had a wonderful time exploring the coast and I feel inspired to paint some rocks and waves!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lesson 51 Creating Mood Using Color and Line

For this exercise we played with creating different moods by varying color schemes and by emphasizing different types of lines.
Here Linda has created a bright, cheery study -

And here she has created a more somber mood -

In Lois's first study she used angular lines and brighter colors-

And in her second piece she emphasized curvy shapes and used a monochromatic palette.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lesson 50 Aspen Trees

We are beginning classes again after a long break. For this first exercise we began with a wet-in-wet under-painting. The goal was to let several colors grade into each other by tipping the paper, and to create a light pathway through the work. Next we considered interesting placement of aspen trunks. After these were drawn in we painted around each trunk with a glaze dark enough so that the trunks stood out but light enough so that the under-painting showed through. We repeated this again and added dark accents and background foliage. We didn't have time to finish but here are a few part way along.

Even without linking dark shapes and background foliage, Leslie's painting has a real sense of depth.

Lynn's under-painting suggests shapes and gives this piece a mysterious quality.

Nancy used a wide range of colors in her under-painting and was able to maintain the bright hues as she added glazes.

Rita worked with yellows and greens in the initial stages and later added the oranges and browns for contrast.

Alexander's Fine Art Gallery

Here is a picture of me painting in the window during a reception at Alexander's Fine Art Gallery, Pleasanton, CA.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Northwest by Northwest Gallery

My paintings are now shown at Northwest by Northwest Gallery in Cannon Beach Oregon. I'll be at the gallery October 3rd from 1-3pm. If anyone from the Bay Area is heading up that way, please let me know - also check out the link below!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lesson 49 Whimsical Animals

The challenge for this lesson was to create a series of four paintings of farm animals which might be appropriate for greeting cards or a children's book. Sometimes it is as difficult to create a drawing that looks simple and whimsical as it is to paint something more realistically. We began by doing a series of quick two minute studies from photographs of farm animals. For the first group we did contour, outline drawings with pen; for the second group we used brush and puddles of paint to do quick silhouettes. For the final drawings we sketched in pencil, outlined in ink and added a flat, wet wash which we tried to keep 'out of register' with the pen lines.

Claire left lots of white but we are still able to make sense of the pose.

Nancy added bits of red in the wet wash on the sheep.

Jeff left unpainted areas on the face and back and worked with two colors in his wash.

Carrie used different weight pen lines and bold green color for her goat.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lesson 48 agricultural fields

Rows of crops make interesting design elements to work with. The rows can lead the eye into deep space or around the contours of hills or can serve as patterns in a design of shapes.
When rows converge on a vanishing point it is important to have other strong elements balance the overall design. In Lynn's painting, the rows converge on the left and she as added yellow trees and a foreground post to the right to create balance.

Mary Ann had a similar problem and she found dark tree shapes on the left to create balance.

In Jessalyn's painting and field rows lead the eye left, then right to the upper trees which take the viewer across to the large foreground tree.

Jean's foreground rows act as a stripped pattern which is repeated in the cypress trees

More paintings of collages

Bev was not happy with the image of her unfinished painting which I posted last week and asked me to post the more polished version. Here it is -

Clair and Jean also brought in paintings of their collages which they had worked on during the week. Here is Claire's -

And Jean's -