Authors Acknowledgments

I want to thank Wiley Publishing for the opportunity to share my world of watercolor with others in the world. If everyone painted, the world would be a better place. How wonderful if we could all communicate through art using paint and paper. No more war would be allowed either. Countries would express ideas through art and not guns. I think everyone should make this his goal. I still believe in the tooth fairy, too. A 320-page book was a huge undertaking. I'm usually a quiet person and that...

Sidestepping Composition Blunders

When it comes to day-to-day living, avoid these things walking down dark alleys late at night, consuming too much alcohol, eating too much fried food, getting too much sun. In painting, you also want to avoid certain things, such as placing important elements at the center or corners, to make your compositions better. Just as the center of interest doesn't belong in the center of the page, don't place other elements there either. A horizon cuts the painting in two if placed in the center. You...

Trying Out Thumbnails and Transfers

Starting a drawing is easier if you have a plan. A good way to make a plan is by creating thumbnail sketches. These mini-sketches allow you to quickly plan what you may want to make big. Then you enlarge the drawing you like onto drawing paper or tracing paper, where you can erase and scribble and further refine it. And finally, you transfer the drawing you're happy with onto your good watercolor paper. Thumbnail sketches are miniature plans that help you decide where shapes and values go for...

Striving for Unity

A painting that has it all together is said to be a unified painting. Unity is defined as being as one or whole. A unified painting is well balanced in all elements and all parts of the painting. Every element is necessary, and if something were taken away, it would be missed. To determine whether a painting has unity, mentally divide it into quarters by drawing center lines vertically and horizontally. Now imagine separating the quadrants and see whether the four separate pieces look as if...

Grasping intensity

Intensity refers to the brightness of the color. A more intense color carries more weight visually than a less intense or dull color. A dab of chartreuse balances against a big area of drab olive green in Figure 6-4. Yellow and red balance each other if used in the right proportions. Yellow and red balance each other if used in the right proportions. Balance your painting by pairing different intensities of color. Balance your painting by pairing different intensities of color.

In This Chapter

Keeping your balance when juggling painting elements Introducing subtle changes Pursuing repetition Being more dominant, but in a nice way Creating unity in your paintings MSemember in school learning to spell principle and principal The name W for the pal who ran your school is spelled with -pal on the end. The other principle means rule, and both of these words end with -le. Although most artists may not like rules, they are important as guidelines to begin your art hobby or career and can...

Turning to the dark side

Getting a rich, dark value with watercolors can be tricky. The paint is diluted with water and it evaporates as the paint dries. The color can dry 30 percent lighter than you thought it was when you applied it wet. You may think that piling on more of the color is the way to make it darker. Instead, the color becomes opaque and chalky the opposite of the transparent look you're aiming for and it still isn't dark. The color only becomes as dark as the value range will allow. In other words,...

Influencing emotions with color

Color has implied meanings and can evoke certain feelings. You can say volumes without any words just by the colors you choose in your painting. To see what specific colors mean, take a look at Table 5-1. Table 5-1 Colors and Their Emotional Content Table 5-1 Colors and Their Emotional Content Purity, innocence, peace, Clouds, moving

Following Your Artistic Instincts

In the project steps throughout this book, I tell you what to paint, what size to make your painting, and what colors and techniques to use. You can completely ignore what I tell you (who listens to me anyway ) and pick your own size, colors, and techniques. I give you suggestions to help you create a successful finished piece like the one I painted. You can use your own creativity to pick and choose something you would rather see happen. This is art, and really there are no rules to art. That...

Prepping a new brush

New brushes are protected for shipping by being dipped in gum arabic, the binder in watercolor pigments, and or covered with a tight, clear tube. When you get a new brush, discard the plastic tube. Don't be tempted to replace it on the brush for protection. It's too small, and you'll end up bending back hairs and damaging the brush. If the brush is stiff with gum arabic, dip the hairs in water and gently roll the brush on a table surface (not your good cherry dining furniture, but something you...

Making your own color wheel

Follow Steps 1 to 3 to draw your own color wheel or copy Figure 5-1 on cardstock and continue with Step 4. Use the colors you own to fill in the color wheel. You need to buy the primary colors, but you can mix your own secondary and tertiary colors, which I call luxury colors. Luxuries make life easier. The purchased luxury colors are more intense, but the mixed versions of secondary and tertiary colors create a unity in your painting (more on unity in Chapter 6). 1....

Add a light layer of mountains using rough texture

Watercolor Painting Space

Mix some alizarin crimson with ultramarine blue and a touch of burnt sienna to neutralize the mixture to a gray-purple for the mountains. Apply the paint quickly and dry (not a lot of water in the paint) around the tops of the aspen trees, using the side of the brush to create rough texture. The mountains define the tree shapes. Figure 10-22 is an example Adding the mountains, tree trunks, rocks, and path. Adding the mountains, tree trunks, rocks, and path.

Directing the Stars of the Show

Deciding what items to put in your still life is where you show your personality. Choose items you like. Tell a story. The story doesn't need to be elaborate. If you're making lemonade, your still life would feature a pitcher filled with ice, amber liquid, and floating slices of lemon. On the countertop would be some whole fresh lemons, perhaps one cut open, a knife, and a little drip of tart lemon juice puddled in an interesting shape. Did your mouth water That's the effect you want to create....

Spattering some texture into your still lifes and landscapes

The following steps show you a great trick for creating the look of granite, snowflakes, speckled enamel, or stars in the sky. As an example, I painted an enamel coffeepot as part of a still life. You need an old toothbrush, soap, masking fluid (discussed earlier in this chapter), paper, and paint. 1. Dip the old toothbrush in the liquid soap or rub it on a bar of soap to coat the bristles. 2. Dip the toothbrush in liquid masking fluid without rinsing the soap off. Shake the excess masking...

Preparing Your Painting Area

You need certain things in your painting area a table and comfortable chair for starters. Most watercolorists paint flat on a table, though you can place a small box or a deck of cards under your paper to give it a slight incline so that the water flows down and doesn't create puddles. Even a card table you can leave up lets you have a place to paint without having to put everything away after each painting session. Lighting is a consideration. Daylight is best but not always available, so take...

Timing is everything

A half-day outing is a good amount of time to plan. If you're fast, you can do a couple of sketches or paintings in that time. Some artists collect data by doing sketches on location. Then they take the information back to the studio where they can do their painting under controlled lighting and in comfort. You can sketch with your camera, but there's no replacement for studying a subject and sketching it with watercolor and paper. Your hand, eye, and brain learn so much more this way. A camera...

Ten Plus One Tips for Marketing Your

Deciding you're ready to sell Finding great places to display your work Setting your prices 5o you made your first piece of art that you think maybe someone will pay you money for. It's burning a hole in your easel, and you're ready to sell it for a million bucks. All you hear in the media is how art brings millions at the East Coast auction houses. Well, hang on for a minute. Although it's possible to sell art and make a living as an artist, it usually doesn't come quickly. Before you go out...

Sailing the Ocean Blue

Boats are favorite seascape subjects. You can capture working boats like fishing trawlers, tugboats, and freighters. You can paint pleasure boats like yachts and sailboats. You can render small watercraft like canoes and dinghies. All are excuses to get the colors flowing. Look for the general shapes to begin drawing the boat. The main boat can be a shape like a rectangle with a triangular bow (front). (Chapter 8 explains more about breaking images down into simple shapes.) Keep the boat deck...

Sprinkling salt

A little table salt sprinkled on damp paint creates a delicate flower-like spot. Each crystal of salt chases away the pigment to make a lighter area beneath it. You can use this texture to create a field of flowers, snow, or leaves on a tree. It also creates interest in a background or foreground where not much else is going on. Figure 4-3 demonstrates the beauty that simple table salt can produce. surprisingly delicate effect of table salt. Using salt is an experimental technique. Salt doesn't...

Making a mountain out of a grocery bag

Here's a great way to recycle all those plastic grocery bags. Actually any plastic will work dry cleaning bags, kitchen food wrap, newspaper sleeves, and so on. The plastic is crumpled and pushed into wet paint. After the paint dries, the plastic is removed and leaves behind lighter areas and a textural pattern. This technique makes great texture for rocks and mountains. It can also be fun to just enjoy the interesting textures. To use plastic in your painting, follow these steps 1. Tear or cut...

Comparing contrast

I hope you're having a quiet afternoon to sit back, sip tea, and read this book. If, however, a fire engine screeches to a halt outside your door with a siren blasting, that would be an attention-getting contrast. Contrast is putting two strikingly different items close together. An abrupt change is always attention getting. Figure 6-7 provides an example of contrast in color. This picture is a large area of dark blue with a small, intense yellow butterfly at the bottom. The bright yellow is a...

Going bananas for fruit and Veggies

Why are fruits and vegetables so popular in a still life Besides being beautiful and a snack for later on, fruit with shiny skin like apples, oranges, and pears reflect color, as does that fruity vegetable, the tomato, and squashes and gourds and all sorts of things. When they're placed beside one another, a little color from one will bounce off and reflect onto the other. For example, when a yellow pepper and a red pepper sit beside one another in a still-life setup, a little red reflects on...

Pairing Watercolors with pastels

Watercolor also works quite well with pastel, which is a chalk-like, opaque drawing medium. You can use a watercolor wash as background and apply pastel over the top to draw on or to cover over the watercolor. When I first started to watercolor, the results were sometimes less than fabulous. Adding a layer of pastel over the watercolor frequently saved a painting. A white pastel can return white to an area where it was lost. Pastels come in different shapes. The stick allows you to draw a wide...

Seeing in shapes

You were taught to recognize geometric shapes as a child, so you have a head start on working with this element of design. But I have a few tricks up my sleeve that you can use 1 See everyday objects as simplified shapes. Developing this vision lets you draw more quickly and accurately. (Chapter 8 helps with your drawing skills.) For example, a house is a cube with a pyramid on top with a cylinder for a chimney. And even though a rose looks really complicated, you can simplify it into a circle...

Watercolor Is Wonderful

Separating the myths and truths about watercolor J ll paint begins with pigments. To do watercolor painting, you take those W pigments, add water, and use a brush to apply the paint to paper. It's as simple as that. And, painting is a good thing. Your blood pressure goes down, your brain is stimulated, your mind is active, and your body is challenged. It's up to you to express your artistic calling. When you do so, you benefit in big ways. Two of the most important things to keep in mind as you...

Judging size

Size is just what you expect big versus little. And yes, in art, size matters. Objects using the elements of line and shape can be different sizes, as can areas of texture. You can direct the viewer to see what you think is most important by making it larger or dominant. (More discussion on dominance in Chapter 6.) One flower bigger than all the others captures the viewer's attention and creates more interest in your painting than having all the flowers equal in size. An example is Figure 1-3....

Starting Small with Thumbnails

Put away the polish and nail file you aren't getting a manicure. A thumbnail is a mini-size sketch you draw to work out the kinks before you spend all that time, effort, and money on the full-size painting. These sketches serve as little road maps so you know where you're going to end up in your painting. After all, without a road map you may get lost. Few things improve your painting more than planning your painting by using a thumbnail. As Ben Franklin said, Failing to plan is planning to...

Flicking your wrist and your brush

You spatter with a wet paintbrush and the flick of your wrist. Some artists have made a career out of flinging paint around in this manner. Spatter is more irregular than spray, which may be why it's also known as fly specking. Spatter is good for foregrounds of weeds and foliage or abstract texture. You can also use a toothbrush to spatter dark dots in a foreground for interesting texture. You can spatter with a variety of brushes 1 Any watercolor brush can be loaded with dripping paint and...

Beginning with Brush Strokes

The way you apply paint is called a stroke. Because oil paint is thick, the strokes are visible, and an oil painter has to think about brush strokes that remain in the paint. As a watercolorist, you don't have that concern. Watercolor strokes don't show because the paint lies flat. You can get several types of strokes from the same brush, and the many types of brushes can help you produce a vast array of strokes. (See Chapter 2 for more on brushes.) Several ways to hold your paintbrush. Several...

General spattering technique

The fine points of spattering, if that's not a contradiction in terms, are as follows 1. Pick up a juicy amount of paint in your brush. Most brushes work for this technique. Try several to compare. 2. Hold the brush handle at the end opposite the hairs with the paint-loaded hairs pointing up. 3. Make a quick downward motion with your wrist so the paint flies off the hairs onto the paper. Hopefully your paper catches most of the spray, but you may want to wear an apron and cover the furniture...

Shopping for Art Supplies

Give a child a piece of watercolor paper, a set of paints, and a brush, and they're happy. I'm usually quite happy with that combination, too. And basically, that's all you need to start painting. But when you get to the store, choosing which items to buy gets a bit more complicated. The hundreds of choices of paper, paints, and brushes can make your head spin. The good news is that you can start out as basic or as complicated as you want. In this section, I give you a deeper understanding of...

Deciding What to Paint

You may think you have to wait for inspiration to find you. A true artist can find inspiration in an empty box. It sure doesn't fall from the sky. By painting every day, whether you feel like it or not, you develop inspiration as well as skill. You may have an aptitude for art, but you need to develop it, practice it, and nurture it. If you want to be an artist, you must work for it. The good news The work is pleasure. You'll experience frustration and produce paintings that embarrass instead...

Gathering up the extras

After you have the basics of brush, paint, and paper, you still need a few extras to make painting more than a possibility. The good news is that you can find most of these extra supplies around the house. 1 Water container You need water to rinse your brush, so you need a container to hold water. Your container doesn't have to be fancy. It can be as simple as a plastic cup, as long as it's stable enough not to tip over. You can go the fancy route and buy a container with ridges in the bottom...

Temperature So cool its hot

Temperature is the feeling of warmth and coolness in colors. Warm The colors of fire are warm colors reds, yellows, and oranges. Warm colors give the illusion of forward movement in a painting. A red sports car will get a speeding ticket before the blue one because it appears to be going faster because of its warm color. Warm colors advance. Cool The colors of water are cool colors blues, greens, and violets. Backgrounds like sky are the hue blue. Cool colors help create the illusion of...

Waxing on

Wax resists watercolor, so using a white crayon or a candle is a quick and easy way to save a bit of white when painting. Say you don't want to go to the effort of painting around an area for a tiny highlight in a flower. Just a touch of a crayon saves the dot, stays invisible, and keeps you from needing a steady hand to paint around that highlight. Any substance that prevents or resists paint is known as a resist, and wax is one type of resist. (Colored wax acts a resist as well, but it...

Shining through glass

Paint to do the sections of fruit behind the glass to make them a little lighter than the pieces not obscured. To achieve the bright white edges on the bottle, I used a razor blade to scrape off the paint. You can also save this white edge using masking fluid. You can use many methods to achieve the same look, and one technique you can use when painting glass is glazing. You paint everything behind the glass, like a stem or leaves or a tabletop. Use clean hard edges. Let it dry. Then glaze (a...

Making black and white

Now that you have the physics of creating colors down, what do you do when you want black and white in your painting You can buy tubes of black and white paint, but in transparent watercolor painting, you traditionally include white by using the white of the watercolor paper. The best way to achieve white is by carefully painting around the area you want to remain white. Because you must save the whites, you need to plan paintings by sketching where white will go. Another way to save white is...

Dipping into Seascapes

Wading through costal living motifs Embracing waves of watercolor information Going costal bird watching Painting yourself into the sunset magine being on the beach. Hear the crash of the ocean waves. They come up to your bare feet, and the water tries to take the sand out from under them as it recedes into the sea. Watch the waves ebb and flow rhythmically. The empty windows of the beach houses along the ridge above reflect the sky. Sand grasses sway in the temperate breeze. The salty air is...

Capturing clouds

Clouds come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are good excuses to break up big sky areas and introduce color. A quick meteorology reminder helps you create realistic-looking clouds. The three most common types of clouds and the types closest to the ground are i Cumulus clouds are the big fluffy white clouds below 6,000 feet. These are the rapidly changing clouds that you look at to find shapes that resemble animals, faces, and who knows what else. The big thunder bumper...

Prepping Your Paper

Paper is the foundation that your painting will live on. It's pretty important to understand. In this section, I give you some tips on treating paper properly and getting it ready to accept a painting. Respect your paper. You'll probably respect it automatically after you pay 5 to 10 a sheet for it. But you need to handle your paper with respect, which means trying not to crease it. If it must be rolled, make sure you roll it gently. Also try not to touch it with your hands because your hands...

About This Book

This book is all about painting watercolors. Although you may get an appreciation of the art of painting by reading this book, there's no substitute for doing. You must paint yourself. Yes, you can paint a self-portrait or paint on yourself, but what I mean is, you must paint. It's the only way to appreciate others' work. It can help you see for the first time and always with a new appreciation of what you're looking at. Nearly every chapter offers at least one step-by-step project that...

Preserving White in Your Paintings

Typically, you paint on white watercolor paper. And ideally you save the white of the paper as the white in the painting, painting around the white areas to leave the paper showing. Although you can buy white watercolor paint, it looks a little chalky, and unless you're going for the unnatural look, my advice is to avoid using it. Watercolor is very different from oil or acrylic painting where paint is applied for white areas. 62 Part I Getting Your Feet (And Brushes) Wet It's a good plan to...

Apply sunset colors see Figure a for guidance in the sky from the horizon up

Start at the horizon edge and apply cerulean blue diluted to a pale value using the 1-inch flat brush and making sure the color doesn't leave hard edges. By painting wet paint into wet paper, you should get soft edges. Paint long horizontal strokes across the entire width of the page. Paint right off the edge of the paper onto the table. I keep a towel in one hand and pick the paper up and wipe up the wetness that goes on the table. B. Apply lilac next to the blue, then pink, then yellow,...

Drifting into snow

Watercolor Masking Snow

Snow is another really easy thing to paint in watercolor. After all, the paper is white already Although Eskimos have a hundred different words to describe all kinds of snow, I break it down into two kinds falling snow and fallen snow. Figure 10-5 shows four methods you can use to create the illusion of the white stuff drifting through the air toward the ground. (The methods are described in detail in Chapter 4.) 1 While the paint is still damp, sprinkle a few grains of salt on the paint (see...

Pinning down elusive ellipses

Sewing Thread Watercolor Painting

A circle seen in perspective creates an oval or ellipse. The tops of teacups, openings in bowls, the waterline in a vase all are usually elliptical. The ellipse changes shape depending on the observer's point of view. Imagine looking straight down at a round bowl. The opening is a circle when you look at it from above. As you move the bowl up to eye level, the circle becomes flatter until it's no longer an ellipse, but a flat line at eye level. Elevate the bowl higher yet and the flat line bows...

How This Book Is Organized

I arranged this book into four parts that contain chapters with information Although the book reads and leads you logically in order from the beginning to the future of your art, you don't have to read it in order. You can skip around to work on parts that interest you. Your mood may be different each time you paint, so you need to choose a painting that fits that mood. Techniques explained in different chapters are cross-referenced, so if you need some technical how-to information, you can...

Decide between Solo or Group

Decide whether you have enough work to hang a show by yourself or whether you're better off working with other artists to share the event. Others can help share publicity, hanging, reception catering, expenses, and framing for enough artwork to cover the walls. My advice is to work your way up to a solo show. Start by entering group shows. If you want more opportunities for the public to see your work, organize a group show. When you're ready and have enough framed work, have a solo show. Stay...

Draw Drawing Drawn to Watercolor

Having fun with geometry Getting some perspective Penciling in your supplies Starting small and making copies Drawing and painting a barn rawing is the basic essential to all art. Drawing is important in water-color because you need to plan in order to save the precious white areas in your painting. With a good plan and a basic outline in place, your paintings will be more successful. The drawing methods in this chapter relate to drawing needed for watercolor paintings. You need to draw shapes...

Appreciating Watercolor

When you apply paint to watercolor paper, it moves. You then add more paint or more water, and again the watercolor responds with a swirl. Painting with watercolor is a dance it's a relationship between the paint and the artist. When you paint watercolor on paper, you can make anything in the world happen. Figure 1-1 is one of the latest paintings I've made. To be fair, I probably should show you one of the first paintings I ever made, but I'll spare you the...

Appreciating Value

Value, where the color is on the range of light to dark, can be balanced too. Darks and lights can carry weight in a picture darks more than lights. If all the dark area is on one side of the picture, it may feel heavy on that side. The value of the dark sky balances the value of the dark tree in the foreground in the painting in Figure 6-6. Notice that nothing is really going on in the sky area, but by adding the darker value, it directs the eye back into the light area of the painting. Value...

Including ink over or under your watercolors

Using an ink pen in your watercolor painting adds a dimension of hard, precise lines that you just can't replicate with watercolor paint and a brush. Think of it as making your own coloring book pages and then adding the watercolor. You can do it the other way around too. Paint with watercolor first and then emphasize shapes with lines using a pen. You can use any pen that you like. It can be a dipped calligraphy pen or a disposable felt-tip. You can go with waterproof ink or not. Your local...

Covering stencils

A stencil protects what is underneath from paint or provides an area to paint while protecting the surrounding paper. Stencils provide a quick way to achieve a look. And who couldn't use some extra time today Anything can function as a stencil hardware, coins, paper cut or torn into shapes, mesh, doilies. Figure 4-7 in the earlier Spraying your art out section was painted by resting lace on the paper and spraying paint over it. The lace served as a stencil. You can make your own stencils out of...

Table of Contents

About This Conventions Used in This What You're Not to Foolish How This Book Is Part I Getting Your Feet (And Brushes) Part II Developing a Solid Part III Painting Projects Part IV The Part of Icons Used in This Where to Go from Part 1 Getting Your Feet (And Brushes) Wet 7 Chapter 1 Watercolor Is Appreciating Digging into the Elements of Seeing in Judging Looking to Deciding Adding Deciding What to Following Your Artistic Project Creating a Garden of Chapter 2 Preparing to Shopping for Art...

Soaking up sponges

Watercolor Sponge Painting Techniques

Watercolorists become sponge connoisseurs. You already should have a cellulose sponge beside your water container to help you control the water (I talk about essential supplies in Chapter 2). You can also use a variety of natural sponges to apply paint or lift it off the paper. Figure 4-4 shows some of the sponges you can use to create fun effects. A. Cellulose sponges are good for soaking up liquid, cleaning palettes, squeezing water onto dry pigments, and stamping sponge texture. B. A natural...

Mtxing in acrylic paint

Water Color Paintings Human Bodies

Acrylic paint is a polymer-based paint that is water-soluble until dry. When dry it's permanent and can't be easily lifted. It can be painted opaquely, which means that you can't see through it. Some artists mix acrylic with watercolor. For example, say you want something to not be removable. Maybe you want a background that won't lift when you add the next layer. Acrylic is permanent after it's dry and would be a good choice. You can also use acrylic to paint over the top of dare I say a...

Painting Projects Aplenty

Watercolor Paintings Instruction

OK, those I thought painting wight help relieve the tension around here a little. I did these vthile you viere napping. I'm particularly iond o the Red Cross ship, What do you think 11 These chapters give you tips and instructions on painting inanimate objects, lifelike animals, more than one landscape, more than two seascapes, and just a whole lot of painting projects. Animal, vegetable, or mineral whatever you long to paint, these chapters show you how.

More Fun Projects

Watercolor Painting Polar Bear

Leaving a permanent impression of autumn Putting paint to paper for a polar bear portrait Illuminating your skills in a lighthouse Capturing rainbow-bright horses 7 he world abounds with subject matter for you to paint. This chapter gives you four more step-by-step projects to enjoy and paint. Try these and then use the techniques and processes on your own subjects. Just change the colors, observe value changes, and in no time you'll have watercolors galore Carry your camera everywhere to...

Project Finding a Natural Setting for Flowers

Loose Watercolor Painting Irises

I live near an iris farm, which sometimes makes up for the dairy farm that moved in next door. I took the picture for this painting where the flowers are breathtaking and meticulously labeled. I sometimes like to think of the title of a painting before making it. This flower is called Color Me Blue, which seems the perfect title. When painting flowers in a natural setting, you don't need to worry about copying them exactly. Each frill on a petal can wriggle in a different way. Each leaf can be...

Answering the Call of the Animal Kingdom

Watercolor Painting Shadows Buildings

Getting ready to record Fido Looking for pets at home Going for larger game Crowing about barnyard birds love animals. The big dewy eyes. The unconditional love. The hair on the couch. I've had almost every type of animal as a pet cats, dogs, horses, peacocks, skunks, chickens, mice, rabbits, cows, geese, pheasants, quail, fish, and Shetland ponies. I still live on a farm, only now the domestic animals have been replaced by plenty of wild critters foxes, raccoons, owls, deer, hawks, snakes,...

Setting Up Your Palette for the First Time

Setting Your Palette

Setting up your palette is something it pays to do right the first time so you can put the same color in the same well again and again without having to think about it. This section offers tips on making your palette artist-friendly. If you have a new plastic palette, take a minute to scrub it gently with a scouring pad and a little scouring compound. This removes the shiny surface and prevents the paint and water from beading up when you try to mix them. Most palettes have wells around the...

Setting the Scene Surfaces and Backgrounds

Cast Shadows Watercolor

You probably have an infinite number of choices when it comes to the surface on which you set your still life. You can set up on a piece of furniture or a countertop. You can elevate it by setting it up on a box and draping fabric over the box. Likewise, you can choose all sorts of backgrounds to frame your items. You can use draped fabric, a wall, a wall with another piece of art on it, or nothing at all just some colors swirled behind. Think about the contrast of values and colors with the...

Ten Quick Ways to Improve Your

Investing in your tools Refining your skills Bettering yourself J s you grow in your art, you may hit a plateau. You may need a kick-start for inspiration or wonder how to improve your art skills. Read the list in this chapter whenever you need a boost. The good news is there are lots of ideas to push you to the next level. Possibly the easiest ways to get better is to upgrade your art supplies. You do get what you pay for. A well-cared-for sable brush can last your whole career and produce the...

Picking out your paper

Let me be direct for a moment You do not want to skimp on paper quality. Cheap paper can't take the abuse required of watercolor. Good watercolor paper is made of 100 percent cotton rag, acid-free content. Acid-free is important because it ensures your paper won't turn yellow. It lasts a very long time it's been found in Egyptian tombs in good condition A ratty edge, called a deckle, is a sign of high-quality, handmade paper. Straight, even edges indicate machine-made paper. Handmade papers are...

Tints and shades

You can also add white or black paint to another color. When you add white, the new color becomes a tint of the original color. That's how red becomes pink, for example. When you add black, you make a shade of the original color. That's how you get maroon from red. Make a chart of tints and shades. You can use Figure 5-2 as a guide. 1. Using watercolor paper, grab your pencil and draw a 4-x-1-inch rectangle for each color exploration. 2. Choose a color and place it in the middle of the...

Folding out an easel

What kind of easel you take depends on how far you're hiking to paint. I personally have a 7-foot rule Paint no more than 7 feet from the car. If you stay close, you can haul heavy things more easily. A nice luxury is a portable easel. Most of the time they are wooden, although you can get metal models too. A portable easel folds compactly into a small suitcase size. Most have a drawer to hold supplies and a shelf with a support to hold your paper, which adjusts to any angle or lays flat. They...

Project Building a Barn

Cubes Pyramids Cylinder

Okay, after all this drawing, how about a little painting This is, after all, a book about painting. This project allows you to practice your drawing and shading skills as well as work with perspective. Then you get to give your paintbrush a workout as well. The farm scene in this project is a collection of cubes buildings , pyramids roofs , and cylinders silos . The scene uses two-point perspective. Should you need to draw your own two-point perspective, measure the roof line and the ground...

Tools to Help You Get a Better Drawing

Up to now, I've been discussing tips and techniques for drawing images freehand. The public seems to prize drawing freehand. Did you do that freehand Wow Somehow using tools and aids is regarded as cheating. I'm here to tell you that it's okay to cheat sometimes. In fact, in this section, I'm going to tell you how to cheat. And I'm not going to use the word cheat anymore after all, it's just using tools. As you start drawing, you develop more skill and a better eye. But because we have cool...

One two three lift

Want to remove or erase paint You can At least you can make an area lighter. You can lift remove paint to correct excess paint or create a highlight. How much paint you can lift depends on the paper and pigment. Some papers lift more easily than others. Some paper brands have a softer finish and lift very easily. Some brands absorb the pigment and are more difficult to lift however, these papers can be layered with paint without disturbing what lies underneath. Your paper dealer can advise you...

Stretching your paper

Water on paper makes the paper buckle. The more water you apply to paper, the more wrinkles and buckles you make. To get rid of wrinkles and buckles, you can stretch the paper flat either before or after you paint on it. The bigger the sheet of paper, the more important it is to stretch it. A bigger sheet of paper has more room to expand and contract therefore, it gets more wrinkles when it gets wet. The wrinkles get in the way of watercolor washes being able to flow, so stretching minimizes...

Going Back to the Playground to Keep Your Balance

Asymmetrical Balance Paintings

Remember the teeter-totter I remember playing on one with a kid who was much larger than I was. The big kid thought it was hilarious to sit on one end and hold the equipment down while I dangled helplessly above. Things were definitely out of balance. I got help from another friend, and teaming up, we two little kids could bring the teeter-totter to a level position. We were back in balance. Balance in your painting is similar, but it's a visual balance rather than a physical one. And, just...

Paint It Again Sam Repeating Yourself

Elements Design Repeated Lines

Repetition is another principle of design . . . another principle of design . . . another principle of design. Repeated oval shapes with slight variations create a harmonious picture. Repeated oval shapes with slight variations create a harmonious picture. You can repeat any element in paintings repeat colors in all areas of the painting repeat values repeat shapes repeat lines or textures. Repetition is visually pleasing, though you need to make use of some tricks to keep repetition from...

Spraying your art out

You mostly use spray bottles with water, but you can also spray paint for interesting and useful effects. The different types of spray bottles and their effects include Pump sprayer Pump sprayers give an irregular spray pattern, which is exactly what watercolorists want at times. These bottles have the pump at the top, and you use your index finger to pull down against a spring to pump the liquid out of the bottle to spray. Remember washing windows with a similar bottle When you use them, push...

Repairing an unwanted bloom

The easiest way to fix a bloom is to avoid making one. And the best way to avoid making one is to ignore those who speak ill of watching paint dry and baby-sit your painting as it dries. Until it's dry, your painting can change and do some weird things. If you can see a bloom forming where you don't want one, nip it in the bud by using your brush to pull the wetness and pigment around the perimeter of the area so it's evenly wet. Never leave a puddle unless you plan on a bloom. Blot puddles and...

Drawing Geometric Shapes and Adding Dimension with Shadows

Drawings With Geometric Shapes

One of the best methods to use when you're new to drawing is to see things as simple geometric shapes. Almost everything can be broken down, or abstracted, into circles, squares, and triangles. When these flat shapes get three-dimensional form, they become spheres and cylinders, cubes, and pyramids. When I start talking about drawing, everyone immediately says, I can't draw a straight line. Who cares Straight is boring. There aren't any straight lines in any of my paintings. Another stereotype...

Surveying city scenes

City scenes are exciting and brimming with life. The tall buildings are a vertical contrast to horizontal roads. Lights, signs, and people add to the flavor. Streets and sidewalks are a nice visual lead-in to the picture plane. The way you choreograph the lines and shapes determines how long a viewer's eye stays at your picture or how quickly that eye turns to the next picture. A line can lead you into a picture, but it can also lead you out. Vertical lines, such as the tall buildings in Figure...

Maintaining Perspective

One Point Perspective Drawing Sky

In the preceding section you make one view of each of four geometric shapes. One perspective. How do you make more The rules of perspective help you make shapes look correct in space and in relation to each other. Perspective uses horizon lines and vanishing points. These items are created by you, the artist. The horizon is where the sky meets the earth. The vanishing point is located on the horizon line and is the point where all horizontal lines converge. If you extend the horizontal lines of...

Dont forget the paint er coloring pigment

Paint is made up of a couple of elements. Pigment is either chemical or natural coloring that has been ground to a fine powder. The powder is added to a binder that makes it sticky and allows it to be used as paint. The binder for oil paint is oil. The binder for milk paint is milk. Now, what's the binder for watercolor That's right, it's gum arabic Okay, it was a trick question. Gum arabic is a water-soluble, sticky, clear goo that when added to pigment makes watercolor. Powdered pigment can't...

Studying Values

Relax, I'm not delving into your morals. When talk turns to values in the artistic crowd, the conversation is about light and dark in your painting. Chapter 5 has even more on values. One of the most important things to plan, especially in watercolor, is where to put lights and darks in your painting. Because transparent watercolor uses the white of the paper for the light areas, you need to plan to save the whites and light areas by planning where to put the darks. It's easy to use color and...

Paint the next lightest area the deciduous aspen trees

Plan where you want to have the yellow aspens and paint them next. See Figure 10-21 for guidance. With a round brush, dot lemon yellow paint at the top of the aspen foliage. As you continue the round shape of the foliage, paint cadmium yellow. Drop in a bit of cadmium red and yellow ochre toward the bottom.

Showing still Water with reflections

Watercolor Still Waters

Quiet, calm water is a mirror reflecting what is sitting on or near the water. It would be rare to find a still body of water that wasn't reflecting something around it. Not to mention boring. The more movement in the water, the more the reflections wiggle in the water. Each wave and ripple acts as an individual Paint calm water using mostly horizontal strokes. Diagonal and vertical directions just don't work unless the water is spilling or splashing. A calm harbor reflects wiggling lines as in...

Focusing on Waterfowl and Other Feathered Friends

Part of the charm of the beach is the birds. And these feathered friends can serve a variety of functions in a seascape, from being the center of interest to providing a visual element to help balance a painting, or bringing some life and movement to a stretch of sea or sky. Figure 11-13 shows some great choices for inclusion in your seascapes, but keep in mind that I can only squeeze so many examples into this brief space. You can include many other species of birds in your paintings. Get a...

Paint in the coniferous trees to outline the deciduous aspens and define the trunks

Trees Outline

Check Figure 10-23 to see my final placement. Mix a dark green by adding alizarin crimson to hookers green. With the tip of the round brush, paint the pine trees around the aspens. The pine trees define the aspen shapes. Dot in some dark green in the aspens to show the pine trees behind them. Paint around the aspen trunks with the dark green. The light aspen trunks show well against the dark. When painting the pine trees, try to vary the trees' heights and widths, and the spaces between the...

Tackling Three Basic Painting Techniques

Master these three watercolor painting techniques, and you'll know all you need to paint anything you want. These techniques really are all you have to work with. I have no idea why it took me 40 years to figure that out. Truly, the rest of this book is just refinement and details. Here are the basics 1 Flat wash and hard edges A wash is pigment in water. A flat wash is an even color with no variation in color value light or darkness . A hard edge is a crisp, abrupt change, like a line. 1...

Making ocean Waves

Crashing Waves Watercolor Painting

A wave is a complete circle of water. Only half of it appears above the horizon the other half is underwater. The top or crest is what you see as the highest point. The center is the eye and appears as the lightest area where the sun shines through. The white stuff you see when the wave crashes on the shore is foam. Foam can be a line or a pattern of white that allows the water's darker color to show through in a calm wave. A wave and its parts are shown in Figure 11-3. Waves are generally...

Painting on Rice Paper

Painting on crinkled rice paper helps you produce watercolors with an artsy look and sometimes an Asian feel. Rice paper is a thin, absorbent, see-through paper usually made in Japan. Some papers have designs embossed or imbedded in them. There are many beautiful types available at most art supply stores, and you can use other types of thin paper as well. Applying paint to rice paper forces the artist to let go of rigid edges and allow a little randomness to take over. Nature scenes work nicely...