Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Painting on Watercolor Canvas - Purple Waterlily finished

Purple Waterlily © L Watry
    I finished the Purple Waterlily painting on canvas yesterday. This painting is on Fredrix watercolor canvas and is 12"x12". If you want to see my 1st post of the painting in process click here: Painting on Watercolor Canvas - Purple Waterlily
    I didn't achieve the color of gray in the water that I originally wanted, but over all I think it turned out OK. I found out that when I tried to wash off the gray water and start again there was either tiny particles of dust on the canvas or the fabric itself was disturbed and left a grainy texture to the next washes in the water. 
    I added some more shadowing to the gray water and under the edges of the lily pads and washed another layer of green over the lily pads. I had to be careful not to scrub with my brush because it would remove the earlier layers. On some of the lily pads I had to go back once the green was dry and add some more Quinacridone Magenta to the burgundy stripes on the lily pads.
    I also removed the masking and softened or cleaned up some of the masked areas. One of my students asked me why I used masking on canvas when it is so easy to remove paint. My response was that even though you can remove paint from canvas very easily, you can't always get the canvas back to pure white. Also, the masking reminds me where I want the highlights to be. Some of the bubbles and highlights are very small and it is easier to mask them than to try and lift them out.
    My last step will be to seal the painting with 4 coats of an archival acrylic sealer. I use a matte finish because I don't want it looking shiny.

Monday, March 28, 2011

National Watercolor Society All Members Show 2011

I heard over the weekend that my painting, "Desert Charms", was accepted into this years National Watercolor Society All Members Show. I had about given up on entering this painting into shows. It received a lot of interest from the public when I had it at my featured show at Arati Artists Gallery last summer. Since then, I have entered it into several shows, but it wasn't accepted. Just goes to show, you never can tell when entering shows. If you believe in your painting, you have to keep trying.

Watercolor Canvas - Techniques and Tips

Have you heard of or tried watercolor canvas? Watercolor canvas can be both forgiving and frustrating.

Read my techniques and tips page for more information on painting watercolor on canvas.

Techniques and Tips (click here) or on the tab above. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Painting on Watercolor Canvas - Purple Waterlily

Purple Waterlily ©L Watry
The best laid plans of artist and teachers go oft astray...The plan was to begin painting my new full sheet waterlily painting as I posted on March 7th. If you would like to see the post, here is the link: New Waterlily Painting
However, I don't like to have a lot of projects laying around. So, I decided to put it off a little longer and work on getting the demo paintings from my classes finished.  What you may ask does this have to do with the title of this blog - Watercolor Canvas? The painting at the left is a demonstration of watercolor on canvas. I used Fredrix Watercolor Canvas from a large roll that I stretched on stretcher bars, size 12"x12". The painting is still in progress. I have more to do on the waterlily pads and the reflection of the lily stem in the water. The water itself was from an overcast, cloudy day and was gray. I really liked the gray in my original water, but it didn't have enough value change. So, I decided to throw caution to the wind and add some darker, shadowed areas in the water. Canvas is fun to work on, but it can also be frustrating. It is very easy to lift color off of canvas which makes it very forgiving. On the other hand because color is so easily lifted it can be hard to work with. My challenge in the water was to add some color without changing or taking out too much of the previous grays. I am not sure I like the water right now. Instead of looking like a gray, cloudy day reflection, it sort of has a dirty water look. The warm color of burnt sienna keeps wanting to separate from the ultramarine blue that I mixed it with to make gray. I may have to remove the current water and reapply it.
  I do really like the lily flower, though. I have a little more shading to add to some of the petals, but it is mostly finished. I will post the finished painting when it is completed. In the mean time if you have questions about working on canvas please feel free to ask.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Watercolor Miniatures - Black Capped Chickadees

Chickadee in Morning Light ©L Watry
Chickadee in Spring ©L Watry
Well, I have my next waterlily painting drawn on the paper but I took a break to complete two miniature watercolors of black capped chickadees. The miniatures are part of a group of paintings that I began for Arati Artists Gallery. My miniature paintings along with other handmade Christmas ornaments, by the gallery artists, were sold last December. I have really enjoyed the miniature paintings at 2 1/2"x3" as a break from my more complicated 1/2 sheet and full sheet watercolors. I soon hope to have a listing of miniatures available for sale listed on a blog page, but until then here are the two newest.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Watercolor Techniques - Seeing Values

Have you ever had a painting that just didn’t seem to be working? One of the culprits could be the values (lights, mediums, and darks) in your painting.

See my Techniques and Tips page for a new post on Seeing Values.
Techniques and Tips (click here) or on the tab above.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Photo for New Waterlily Painting

Photograph of Waterlilies from Denver Botanic Gardens ©L Watry
What could be more exciting than starting a new painting for an artist?! Well, other than the completion of a painting, I suppose. Now that my band painting is finished I am returning to the world of waterlilies for a while. However, all of the silver and reflections have inspired me to tackle a waterlily painting that will be very complicated indeed with all of the reflections in the water, as you can see from the photo on the left. This photo was taken at the Denver Botanic Gardens and in my Corel Photo Paint program I have added 3 other waterlilies and moved everything to the right for a better composition. So, I have made this complicated scene even more complicated! I am also planning on trying to video this painting and possibly posting video excerpts. Well, I am off...waterlilies here I come!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Painting Silver in Watercolor - the finale

Shows Over © L Watry
My band painting "Shows Over" is now complete.  At the last post I still had the upper section of the main tuba to finish. With classes to teach and normal family schedules it took several days before I could finish up. I continued by carefully looking at small sections at a time looking for the random shapes and colors that made up each section. An important aspect to painting metal is to make sure you have strong values. The difference between the lightest lights and darkest darks are what make the metal shine. 
After the painting was finished I took some time to look at it; I turned it upside down, looked at it in a mirror and moved it around the house with me. During this last step I was looking for anything that would jump out at me as wrong or incomplete. One of the first changes I made was to add another wash of gray to the benches in the upper right. This change helped to make the upper section of the horn stand out. I also checked for any left over masking by lightly running my hand around the painting. It is a good thing I did because I found a few hidden areas of masking that I had missed. I removed the masking and cleaned up the area around the masking by painting the edges the surrounding colors or by softening to make the masked area feel like a natural part of the painting.
I really enjoyed working on this painting, it was a slow process, but a very nice change from my normal subject matter. I plan on painting more in this series and will continue to follow my sons marching band around to take exciting source material and of course cheer for his band.

Please check back, as I already have a new, very detailed, waterlily painting to get started on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Abstractions in Silver

Shows Over - close up ©L Watry
Well, I've always thought of myself as a realistic painter with very little aptitude for painting abstracts. However, I realized today, as I was working on my band painting, that working on silver can make abstract artists out of the most die hard realistic painters.  As you can see from the small section to the right, there are definitely abstractions happening in my silver painting. I am enjoying painting the random patterns and colors.  See if you can find this small section in the larger painting, seen here to the left.  
Shows Over - section © L Watry

(Hint: the small section as been rotated to be vertical.)

I am about 85% done with this painting.  I still have the upper section of the marching tuba (or as my son says it is called - the contra) to finish up. I am continuously amazed at the things that are being reflected into the silver. Where I thought there were random reflections, I found reflections of the horn itself repeated. So, I continue to take my time to do the reflections justice.

By the way two of my new favorite colors, Pyrrol orange by Daniel Smith and Green Gold by Daniel Smith are used in the reflections where the horn is greenish/yellow and peachy orange.  These colors are bold and beautiful used full strength and also thin to wonderful light colors, as well.