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.