Thursday, February 25, 2021

Intermediate Watercolor Homework, 2/25/21 Trees!

 Hare are some trees to climb.

 Practice simplifying the shapes. What you see when you squint is pretty much what belongs in a paining.

How many layers do you see?

Could it be that you needn't paint any leaves? How will you keep the foreground trees separated from the background?

Beginning Watercolor, 2/25/21 Seeing Silhouettes

 Seeing positive and negative shapes involves a fundamental skill set.  Painting silhouettes is great practice. You probably see more than one way to approach the task. For example, should you paint the road? Should the cement truck be swallowed up in the dark, or should it be reserved as a negative shape? What about the sky? I'll leave those decisions to you. Make it easy or challenge yourself

Monochrome or full palette? Your choice.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Intermediate Homework 2/18 21 Light toward dark and simple toward complex

 Every now and then a subject comes along that can be understood as a sequence of layers that progress from ,pale  general statements to more specific, middle value interpretations. and on to fine dark detail. Here's an example of a subject that invites a broad treatment, placing light shapes on top of white paper, then making the middle value washes and strokes right on top of the lights, and finally, putting the darks on top of the middles. This clarity of seeing what follows what leads to confident painting.

Try a simple version of one of these images. Before you begin painting ask what comes first. Then what?


Beginning Watercolor Homework 2/18/21 Negative Painting

 Unfortunate name. It's the shorthand way to describe the process of surrounding shapes with noticeably different paint, such as darker  or different in hue. You know, negative painting.

The roof of the barn, above, comes into existence by means of being surrounded by much darker shapes; the mountain, the firs, the barn, 

If you can anticipate the moment when a shape will gain its identity you may be able to apply the paint in a carefree manner, knowing that the darks will trim the lighter shape into a meaningful identity. The roof need never be painted, just surrounded.

In the photo below the stones are rich in color and texture. They are also surrounded by dark lines and shapes. Maybe you could create all that detail without having to stay inside the lines. The stones are present by virtue of those dark lines. What if you loosely painted the stains and speckles all over the area where the stones will be and then painted the dark lines and shapes? you would be painting with the faith that the final layer will establish the identity and location of the stones.


Try one or both of these images. Have faith

Friday, February 12, 2021

Everybody's Homework 2/12/21, Shadow Color



When I am painting light and shadow I find it useful to ask "what is the dominant color?" It is almost always a cooler, darker, and more neutral version of the surface it falls upon. 

Here's a detail of an image full of shadows. Notice that the shadowed part of the yellow blocks are still mostly yellow, even though the color is darker and more neutral than the color in sunlight. Yellow is the dominant color.

 Take a look at the red cap on the white tank. How are the shadow colors different from where they are in sunlight? Like the yellow shadows, the red shadow is darker than the sunlit area of the cap. What is the dominant color of the red cap in shadow? Still red, right? 

Now what about the shadow on the white tank? It's pretty easy to see that it is darker. Is it cooler, as well? Is it more neutral?

The photos below offer opportunities to practice observing and mixing shadow colors. If you'd like to create a context for the shadows feel free to make a proper painting from one of the scenes. If you just want to experiment with the colors you can try adjusting how light and dark they can be, or make the dominant color more or less intense, or more saturated. See if you can find the point beyond which the shadows still look natural.

If you'd like to crop on of these, have at it

Friday, February 5, 2021

Beginning Watercolor 2/5/21 Finding the Essence of a Simple Object

 So far, in class we've done more work from photos than from life. This week's homework exercise puts your understanding of seeing in layers to work on a simple 3-D object, like an apple,

Image result for gerhard richter watercolor
Gerhard Richter

or a chalice.

Image result for lars lerin

Lars Lerin
(This is a watercolor, by the way)

Look around the house for an object that invites a watercolor interpretation. I find the refrigerator to be a great source of candidates. A bottle of hot sauce, a jar of mayonnaise, maybe a rutabaga. A stovetop tea kettle? Try setting up a single strong light source so the light and shadow shapes are easy to identify. 

Does your object resolve nicely into just a few layers? If so, get started with a monochrome value study. Keep it very simple, one color, only. No need to make the first attempts into handsome paintings. The idea is to begin seeing a series of layers; light, middle, dark.

Once you've seen your way through the single color study, make a color version with a limited palette, just one each of the primaries. In fact, make 3 or 4 versions, all increasingly simple. 

Eventually, you will begin to recognize what needs to be there for the subject to have some presence. Adding the cast shadow will be very helpful. Make that simple, too, of course. Fussing with the shadow will do more harm than good.

After you've painted 5 or 6 of your rutabagas, the translation into "watercolor" will be realized. When you feel confident that you understand the subject in terms of layers of washes and strokes, put the model away, where you can't see it. Now paint a version or two by heart.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Intermediate Watercolor 2/4 /21What is the Role of the Middle Values?


Try to isolate the middle value shapes from  the darks and lights.

It may be easier to make value comparisons without the colors to distract you. Squinting also helps see value more than hue.
The roof shingles are lighter than the weeds in shadow, but darker than the sunlit weeds. 

Try making a monochrome study of this painting or one of the photos that follow. There's a twist to this exercise, however;   Start by identifying the lights . If a shape is closer to white than it is to middle value, leave it white. Paint everything else middle value.
Then, paint the darks. If a shape is closer to middle than it is to black, leave it middle value.

Read this again, and take your time.