Friday, October 26, 2012

Intermediate Watercolor 10/25/12 Drawing on Instinct

The 5 minute studies (ok, 10 minute) we made in class revealed that we all have the means already in place for making sound editing decisions without a great deal of analysis. Through practice and by instinct we have become skilled at choosing what belongs in the picture and what we can release.
For homework, let's put this tool to work informing a more leisurely painting.
First, choose a subject that seems a little challenging, and make a very quick study. Keep your palette limited, and resist the temptation to make corrections. This is not meant to be a proper painting. The parts that fail will be just as informative as the terrific bits.
Next, spend some time assessing the study. Where does an extremely simple version tell the story well enough? Where is more subtlety or specificity needed? Taking notes may be helpful.
Now indulge in taking your time (how about a whopping 30 minutes?), and paint an informed rendition.
One of the ways a very quick sketch is useful is as a reminder that the range of what works is usually much wider than we think. If something goes awry, at least consider leaving it as is.
Have fun.

Bill Teitsworth      Bill's Rhubarb

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beginning Watercolor 10/25/12 Refining the Translation

Painting a new subject can be a steep uphill climb. It usually takes more than one piece of paper before I begin to know what is essential and what is optional. Understanding a subject in terms of washes and strokes requires knowing it intimately –memorizing it, in a way.
This exercise is designed to bring you to the place where you know your subject well enough not to need to even look at it.
Choose a simple subject. I recommend something shiny,  like a persimmon, or a tea kettle, and not too elaborate.
Take all the time you want on the first version. Go ahead and paint LOTS of information. Then paint it again. And again. And so on, until you know what needs to be in the painting and what you can let go of.
Now put the object out of sight, and paint one from your understanding of the essential elements.

Lars Lerin

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Intermediate Watercolor 10/17/12 Follow Through

Homework this week is simple: Make a painting. That’s it.
Oh, one more little thing: Make it a painting you really like a lot.
The time to apply your highest standards is right now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not getting any younger. Figure out what’s wrong, practice it, and make another version. If an inner voice says you might be getting bored with the image, remember the motto of the universal watercolor society, which is “Shut up and paint!”
Have fun.

Beginning Watercolor 10/17/12 Assessment

When you come upon a subject that wants to be painted, there is work to do before you begin putting brush to paper. It’s a good idea to be really clear about what you want to see in the finished painting. What is it about the scene that speaks to you?
Once the colors are being mixed and the washes and strokes are going down, it is all too easy to lose sight of what brought you to the scene in the first place. Say it out loud! Maybe even write it down.  With the message clear in your mind, you can make choices about palette, value range, edge quality and composition that support and enhance what you want to say.
I strongly recommend making a simple study before beginning a proper painting.  Which sort of study depends on what looks tricky.  If the relative values are hard to discern, try a monochrome value study. If you are uncertain about how many hard edges would support your purpose, make a study with only soft edges. Where the hard edges need to be will be clear.
For homework, find a scene or an image that you would like to paint, and be sure to identify what you want to see in the finished painting. Next, make a study that will help you resolve what looks tricky.  Ready? OK, paint.
Bring everything in to class.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

beginning and intermediate homework 10/12

uh oh, it's monday and the homework hasn't appeared yet. must be a free week, although those of you who were in class know what to do, right?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Beginning Homework 10/3/12 Seeing in Layers

In class we began the process of each making a step-by-step demonstration of the sequence of layers that led to a simple study of an image. To review the process, please read this description carefully:

Start by identifying the major shapes in the image. There should be no more that 10 or 12.
Make a simple drawing that locates the shapes.
Paint in the first layer - the lights - of each shape, keeping the treatment as simple as possible (no texture or detail).
Now make two more first layer pages, so that you have 3 more or less identical sheets.
Put the second layer - middle value - on top of the first on two of your 3 sheets.
Finally, apply the 3rd layer - the darks - on top of one of the second layers.

When the process is finished, you should have one sheet that just has the first layer, one that has first and second layers, and one that has three layers. Please bring all three, plus the photo in to class.

In case you missed class, here are a couple of simple images that will resolve nicely into three layers. If you think there should be a fourth layer of super darks, put them on top of the three layer treatment.

Intermediate Homework 10/3/12 The role of the Mid-value shapes

In some scenes the narrative content - the "what it is a picture of"- comes from the darks, which are usually applied late in the sequence of layers.

Los Tamales Mejores                   Tom Hoffmann
Imagine this painting without the darks. There would be
      very little to tell you what the lights and middle values are describing.


Sometimes, though, most of the story is told before the darks go down.

                                                                     Soledad                                   Tom Hoffmann
 Even without the few strong darks the illusion of substance and light would be clear. Although the lights comprise most of the image, it is the  middle value layer that carries most of that information.

For homework, look for an image that you suspect may owe its content to the mid-value shapes. Make a study in which the lights are left white, and everything else, including all the darks, is painted in a single mid-value color. Bring both the study and the photo to class, if possible.
Here are a couple that might work, if you don't find one of your own.