Saturday, July 16, 2011

Controlling The Flood: potential first assignment

I think that phrase aptly describes what watercolor painting is all about. My on-going watercolor class titled "Controlling The Flood" at The School of Light and Color in Fair Oaks, Calif starts next Tuesday. I will have 15 students and a growing waiting list. This may be the first assignment. It is a "simple" painting that I believe will give my students a good idea of what I mean by controlling the flood. I painted this scene of trees and water today on a sheet of 140 lb. Arches cold press paper. Image size: 8 inches by 10 3/4 inches. I worked on an art clip board with my reference photo clipped to it and my paper taped down. I wet the paper and quickly (and in one go) added my sunset and reflection colors. Before these color dry, I tilt the board slightly to get them to run down a bit. When I am satisfied with the run down, I lay the board flat and let this first passage of colors dry. Next I paint in the shoreline colors (wet-on-dry) and tilt the board slightly in a vertical orientation so that my colors run parallel with the shore line. I also scumble the top of the foliage to feather it out a bit (the photo shows this up side down). I then start to pull down the reflected trees. You can see how wet the shoreline paint still is. I make sure to have a little color variation in the trees and some ripple effects. While most of the reflected trees were still wet, I run my brush across them to created larger ripples. There are no ripples like this in the reference photo, but I'm going for more drama in my painting rather than trying to copy the photo. One's fingernails are great for scratching out some lighter branches in the shoreline. This is accomplished just before the paint dries but not while it is too wet. If you do it while it is too wet,the paint you scratch off gets filled in again as the neighboring wet paint flows into the scratched indentations. I then paint the trees (non-reflected) in. When the entire painting is bone dry, I cut out a paper mask that covers the sky and water but leaves the shoreline revealed. I take a toothbrush, dip it into some paint, and splatter it onto the foliage to add more texture. And just like that, shazam!... my little master piece is done. Time to leave the studio and go home to cook dinner. ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND THAT IF YOU EVER WANT TO HAVE ME COME TO YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS TO CONDUCT A "CONTROLLING THE FLOOD" WORKSHOP, CONTACT ME, AND WE CAN DISCUSS HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

19 comments:

Barbara M. said...

Dear David,

I am so impressed with your nonchalant skill, great writing and super painting. I would love you to come to Toronto. I will think on it while I'm on vacation.

Your fan in Toronto,

Barbara

Crazy Ass Videos said...

Very interesting stuff here.

Check out my blog if you get the time: crazyassvideos.blogspot.com

Cynthia Schelzig said...

mmmmm I love seeing the process and mmmm the end result..just yummy.
Would you come all the way to Germany too? We serve great Schnitzel and Wieners....you could go home atleast five lbs. heavier....all the more reason to say yes!!! We are a group of around 400 students...that is A LOT of Schnitzel!!!

AutumnLeaves said...

Beautiful beautiful beautiful!

Carol Blackburn said...

Nicely done, David. Very interesting process; thanks for sharing.

RH Carpenter said...

Beautiful job, as usual; your attitude about this has to come from year's of experience as I would be stressing over every little thing in this one! ha ha Hope your students love it and enjoy creating a nice copy for themselves, too.

Fay Akers said...

to bad I live all the way on the other side of the country, or I would be on that list

David Lobenberg said...

Barbara, Yep, it could happen! Have a wonderful vacation and hopefully the heat won't get you. We have had several weeks of very, very cool weather here in Calif. This is totally extraordinary. The average temp. for this time if year ranges between 90 and 105 degrees!

David Lobenberg said...

C.A.Videos, Very interesting stuff on your blog as well.

David Lobenberg said...

Cynthia, Ich habe hunger! Deutschland? Bier, scnhitze, und wieners? Ach du liebe, zehr gut! Ein hundert lbs.!!

David Lobenberg said...

Autumn, I am so glad you like this one.

David Lobenberg said...

Carol, if you look closely, you maqy see a gnome hiding in the foliage :-)

David Lobenberg said...

Rhonda, good luck raising those tadpoles. We need to protect our frog population. I have a bat house on the side of my house. The bats roost there during the winter and leave at springtime.

David Lobenberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Lobenberg said...

Fay, Yes, Michigan is indeed a wee bit away from Calif.

Dan Kent said...

Thanks, great lesson. I rarely paint in nature, but found an ibis standing on a tree the other day. Sketched it, went back a week later and he (or a relative) was still there. Unfortunately I got too detail oriented, and copied colors too closely. Your freer, more colorful approach is the way I needed to go.

Shirupa Gupta said...

Awesome process ! I keep telling myself while doing watercolors....less is more...less is more....and you do it the best :)....Are you thinking of making any DVDs of these processes and also a detailed book with lots of paintings and processes ???....am really looking forward to something like that...as I cannot think of relocating to CA :P

David Lobenberg said...

Kent,
Yes, freer and less concern for minute details and more concern for the general impression.

David Lobenberg said...

Shirupa, I did my first little booklet this year and hope to get some DVDs out this year. Glad you enjoyed seeing the process in these photos at least.