Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Summer Classes

My summer classes have been in a bit of flux. Finally everything is settled. I'll be teaching same times, same location through the City of Los Altos. Details are on my website.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lesson 39 Wet-in-Wet Flowers

The purpose of this lesson is to explore the properties of paper when it is saturated wet and as it slowly dries. When the paper is puddle-y wet colors will run together and by tilting the paper it is possible to get wonderful graded washes. As the paper dries, paint will run less. There is a magical point where a line will hold it's definition but with a fuzzy edge. The trick is to use a drier brush as the paper drys - a too wet brush will lead to back-runs. It also helps to keep the paper at an angle and wipe off beads of water that accumulate at the bottom.
We set up small still life bouquets and tried two studies, one painting directly with no preliminary drawing and a second with basic shapes drawn out. The challenge was to first produce a background of graded colors on super-wet paper, put in some 'out of focus' fuzzy shapes as the paper dried and finally add sharp edged shapes on dry paper.

Jan created a beautiful background wash of primary colors. The tulip edges were put in with undiluted paint on damp paper.

Marilyn painted a subtle background wash and tulips with have a gradation of soft to hard edges.

Leslie created an interplay of positive and negative flower shapes each with some sharp and some blurred edges.

Marge worked with a bouquet of roses. The blossoms were put in loosely on damp paper and the lower ones were given sharper edges as the paper dried.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Small Works

I just completed two small 8" square pieces on canvas. I wanted the American Goldfinch to be overlooking a progression of hills and I placed the cardinal low down in the landscape.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lesson 38 Gesso-ed surface

For my own paintings I routinely seal watercolor paper with gesso before beginning to paint. The paint then makes wonderful textures and can be easily lifted back to almost pure white. For this lesson the challenge was to paint a crashing wave and seagull on gesso-ed paper. A wave provides lots of opportunities to lift out spray and foam patterns. I also wanted to demonstrate with the seagull how a more detailed, controlled shaped can be lifted out. We first coated paper with two coats of thinned gesso. Next we put on mid value to dark blues and greens around a white wave shape. The trick to refining this basic design is to use a light touch and lots of water. Glazing can be done by going over an area once; brushing over a damp area will lift off paint. Paint can be lifted by spraying or drawing with water and applying paper towels and pressure. This surface takes a bit of getting used to but can be great fun. Here are some of our results.

Betty laid in a rich blue for the background and created soft edges on her spray pattern. She also lifted out the lighter areas on the rocks.

Elaine was able to glaze over the water multiple times which resulted in a wonderful gradation of colors. She found these same hues in the shadowed areas of the gull.

Nancy lifted out fine details on the gull and she found beautiful reflections under the rock.

Bev applied the gesso thickly with a palette knife and the resulting ridges create another layer of texture which suggest wave crests. Her bird has just been lifted out and will be refined to serve as an accent.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Splash 11

I received the official notice today that my painting 'Cooper's Hawk' on canvas will be included in Northlight' Book's Publication Splash 11 - "New Directions". The publication will come out July 2010. I'm very excited and have to take the painting over to be photographed tomorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lesson 37 Experimenting with Liquid Mask

For this exercise we started with a wet-in-wet underpainting and dribbled in liquid mask while the paper was still damp.

After the paper dried and we removed the mask we had white, highlight areas with soft edges. Next we painted around flower shapes keeping the white areas to create a feeling of sparkling sunlit petals.

Rita created daffodil shapes over the abstract underpainting. I like the way the blossoms dissolve into the background.

Teresa worked with calla lilies and the white areas create interesting abstract patterns on the flower shapes.

Nancy's painting has a feeling of depth. She used a series of glazes to create background blossoms.

Carrie's dribbles became the centers of her blossoms leading her to create a garden of stylized flower shapes.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Finished Blackbirds

I've posted stages of my 'Blackbirds' paintings - here is the final image. It will be part of my show at Viewpoints Gallery this month.