More Fun Projects

In This Chapter

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

HBE*

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 capture images you can transfer to paper later. Stop and draw whenever you can. Celebrate the beauty of nature and commemorate the world you live in.

Project: Drifting through a Fall of Leaves

Every fall the turning leaves become a focal point. A great way to bring the beauty of the season home is to walk through an area with a variety of interesting leaves on the ground and pick up the ones whose shapes and colors appeal to you. Children love this exercise. When you get home, put the leaves in the telephone book to flatten and dry. They retain their color for quite a while. When you're ready to be inspired by the leaves, get them out and make a painting.

This project involves positive and negative painting (refer to Chapter 4). Some of the leaves are formed by painting dark colors around the leaf and letting that dark paint define the leaf shape, which is what negative painting is all about. Other leaves you actually paint, which is the positive painting you normally do. The combination makes a lively, interesting painting.

Try modeling a painting on my example first. Then create your own leaf study with different shapes and placement. I painted this project with a minimum of planning. I wanted to experiment with negative and positive shapes within the same composition. I also wanted to create a vignette effect where the background fades at one side.

In your leaf composition, you need to choose a center of interest. Choose one or more of the following methods to make one leaf or several leaves the focal point:

1 Put the darkest dark against the lightest light 1 Increase the size 1 Add more detail 1 Brighten the color 1 Sharpen the edges

1. Get an 8-x-10-inch piece of watercolor paper. Transfer the drawing in Figure 13-1 to your paper.

Although I didn't plan this drawing, I give you a drawing to copy so you understand the technique. In your own leaf painting, you can choose to make a drawing or just wing it. If you choose to use the drawing here, enlarge it on a copy machine to the size you want and use watercolor paper in a corresponding size.

Figure 13-1:

A drawing to trace, enlarge, and transfer to watercolor paper.

Figure 13-1:

A drawing to trace, enlarge, and transfer to watercolor paper.

Transferring Photos Watercolor

2. Activate your paints.

I used permanent yellow, antique brown, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, hookers green, rose madder, and cadmium orange.

3. Wet the entire paper with clear water.

Use a 1-inch flat brush to quickly cover the paper with water so it stays damp.

4. Paint the background by dropping in all the activated colors in a random pattern onto the wet paper to make an abstract multicolored background, leaving white paper on the left and softening edges.

Load a big round brush (I used a #12 brush) with juicy paint that can make large drops. Pick up the paper and let the colors move and mingle until you're satisfied.

To soften the edges, add water to the edge to fade the color so it gets lighter and lighter. Turn to Chapter 3 for more on soft edges.

5. Flick water droplets into the damp paint for texture.

You can dip your fingers in water and flick them, or use a spray bottle for this effect. You'll get blooms as described in Chapter 3.

You should have something resembling Figure 13-2.

Figure 13-2:

A loose soft background.

6. Let the paint dry.

7. Negative paint the leaves and stems.

Mix a dark green from hookers green and alizarin crimson, and use it to paint behind the leaves and around the stems and leaf shapes as shown in Figure 13-3.

Add water to the green areas between the leaves, and let the background green get lighter by adding water to the green as it reaches the edges of the paper.

Drop in other colors as desired. I used antique brown and burnt sienna to break up the green. This negative painting defines the stems and leaves by painting where they aren't.

Figure 13-3:

Leaves begin to appear as the background gets painted.

Figure 13-3:

Leaves begin to appear as the background gets painted.

Negative Painting With Light Background

8. Positive paint some dark leaves against the light background.

Figure 13-4 shows the leaves I made darker using antique brown, burnt sienna, cadmium orange, and yellow ochre.

Figure 13-4:

More leaves appear in their darker fall colors.

Figure 13-4:

More leaves appear in their darker fall colors.

9. Paint some distant green leaves.

I added water to green and painted some leaves on the left edge a pale green to make them appear farther away.

10. Use a liner brush to add details, such as veins in the leaves, and do any touch-ups.

I used burnt sienna for the veins. My final painting is shown in Figure 13-5.

Figure 13-5:

The final painting includes details in the leaves.

Figure 13-5:

The final painting includes details in the leaves.

Polar Ice Watercolor Paintings

Project: Grinning and Bearing It

Although I would like to say I met this bear in the Arctic, he was actually in the zoo. His oh-so-cute pose is what inspired the painting in this project.

This polar bear is white, but I painted him in a rainbow of colors. After all, white is the reflection of all colors. The cool blue tints bounce off the ice into the lower shadows. The warm light from the sun gives the fur a yellow cast from above. The bright light washes out the detail like an overexposed photograph. To make the critter really stand out, a dark background and foreground create contrast. There is a subtle reflection of the bear in the ice and water in the foreground.

Notice how the dark color runs diagonally from the upper left to the lower right just to keep the composition interesting.

1. Get a piece of 6-x-6-inch watercolor paper and transfer the drawing in Figure 13-6 to your paper.

Chapter 8 tells you how to enlarge and transfer drawings to your water-color paper.

2. Activate your paints.

You'll need Antwerp blue (or Winsor blue, phthalocyanine blue, or antique bronze), lemon yellow, cerulean blue, burnt sienna, violet, burnt umber, cadmium red, yellow ochre, and ultramarine blue.

Figure 13-6:

A polar bear drawing for your copying pleasure.

Figure 13-6:

A polar bear drawing for your copying pleasure.

Behr Pale Yellow Paint Colors

Figure 13-7:

The bear's body reflects many colors, but still appears white.

3. Paint the shadows on the bear, as shown in Figure 13-7.

Using a #10 round brush, wet the body area in some diluted colors. I used cerulean blue, burnt sienna, violet, and lemon yellow. Use these very delicate pale colors under the chin, across the face including the eye socket, across the tummy, on the back foot, down the right front leg, and at the base of the left front leg.

Figure 13-7:

The bear's body reflects many colors, but still appears white.

4. Paint the background while the shadows dry with strokes of wet-into-wet color.

Wet the background with clear water so it's damp but not puddley, and paint in soft-edged strokes of Antwerp blue, burnt umber, cerulean blue, and a tiny touch of cadmium red. I used a lot of water to dilute these bright colors, and you may not even see them in the printed background, but the colors add a little pizzazz. Mix lemon yellow with Antwerp blue for a green to add to the background. Refer to Figure 13-7 for guidance.

5. Spatter water in the background and let it make blooms.

Chapter 3 talks about blooms; Chapter 4 covers spattering.

6. Paint the foreground.

I wanted the foreground to look wet like ice and reflect the bear for interest and sparkle.

A. Keep the middle area light because the white of the bear's body is reflected there.

B. Paint Antwerp blue around the bear's reflection. Add water to make lighter blue. The foreground contains brownish-green ripples among the blue. To make this color, mix Antwerp blue and burnt umber. This color reflects the background. Paint the area wet-into-wet to get some blurred edges. I dropped in some diluted cadmium red in the foreground water in a couple of spots.

You can let the area dry and make little long oval shapes that retain their hard edges. Follow Figure 13-8, but remember, it was painted quite spontaneously. Use the picture as a reference and just paint similarly for the same look. You can go crazy trying to copy exactly what took a few seconds to paint spontaneously.

C. Make a glaze (layer of diluted paint) of yellow ochre and paint over the white reflection area. This makes the bear's white body be the brightest and most prominent object in the painting.

Figure 13-8 shows the painted foreground.

Work on one side or area of your painting at a time to make it manageable. Let one layer dry and paint another layer if needed. I painted the blue first, then the dark brown. After the foreground was all in and dry, I softened some lines by nudging them with a damp stiff bristle brush.

7. Paint the darks — the eye, nose, ear, mouth, claws, and the dark under the paws, tummy, and back foot.

Make the black by mixing burnt sienna and ultramarine blue. Use your liner brush to add the finishing details and the smile on the face of your polar bear. See Figure 13-9 for guidance.

Watercolor Painting Polar Bear

Project: Lighting the Way to the Lighthouse

This painting shows a different style of lighthouse architecture. It isn't the typical tall cylinder.

I placed the lighthouse in the upper third of the page and wanted a very simple lead-in to the center of interest. I loosely painted flowers with more detail in the near foreground, and I used salt to form flowers in the grassy foreground. I got lucky in that the salt cooperated and produced larger blooms the closer they get to the viewer. Yes, lucky. You can manipulate watercolor to your will, but sometimes you benefit from a little luck as well.

To capture this lighthouse, follow these steps:

1. Get a piece of 8-x-10-inch vertical watercolor paper and enlarge and transfer the drawing in Figure 13-10.

Chapter 8 tells you how to trace, enlarge, and transfer the drawing onto watercolor paper.

2. Activate your paints.

I used burnt sienna, yellow ochre, hookers green, cerulean blue, light red, alizarin crimson, and ultramarine blue.

Figure 13-10:

The foundational drawing for a lighthouse scene.

Figure 13-10:

The foundational drawing for a lighthouse scene.

Trace Drawing Lighthouse

3. Underpaint the first layer of the meadow by wetting the area of the grass below the lighthouse with brush loads of clear water. With a large round brush, paint some burnt sienna and yellow ochre and let the colors flow into the wet areas (see Figure 13-11).

Make the edges soft by adding water toward the edge of the painted area to make the grass fade out as it approaches the bottom right, which remains white in the final painting.

The unpainted area allows viewers to imagine something of their own. It's a little different. The technique has won prizes at art shows for me (judges like something different), but if it's not your cup of tea, just make the white space into a road or more flowers and grass.

4. Let the paint dry.

5. Wet the same area and paint it with green.

Soften the edges and allow some darks and light. When the shine is about to disappear, sprinkle some salt on the paint to create texture. (See Chapter 4 for more about the salt technique.)

Figure 13-11:

Yellow ochre and burnt sienna mingle for an under-painting.

6. Let everything dry.

Your painting should look something like Figure 13-12 after you brush off the salt.

If the salt doesn't work, you can always try again or spatter paint for some texture instead. (Spattering is covered in Chapter 4.)

Figure 13-12:

Green paint and salt make a textured foreground.

Figure 13-12:

Green paint and salt make a textured foreground.

7. Dampen the area of the sky with clear water and then stroke in some cerulean blue.

Leave some white for clouds, but paint blue sky over the lighthouse dome.

8. While the sky is still damp, paint the distant mountains at the horizon with a purpley-gray mix of alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, and a bit of burnt sienna (see Figure 13-13).

Keep the top of the mountain soft, which is easy to do because the paper is damp.

Figure 13-13:

Sky and land make a background.

Figure 13-13:

Sky and land make a background.

Lighthouse Painting Dark Blue

9. Paint the gray areas on the lighthouse.

Mix a blue-gray from ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. Paint the dark of the dome at the top; then add water for a lighter gray, and paint the shadows on the side of the building, as shown in Figure 13-14.

Figure 13-14:

Shadows define the building's planes.

10. Paint the red roof and the blue ocean (see Figure 13-15).

Mix a dirty red from burnt sienna, alizarin crimson, and the gray mixture you used in Step 9. Light red is a similar color if you have it. Paint the roof, including the left edge and the box on the top.

Paint cerulean blue in the two ocean areas on either side of the lighthouse. Paint a strip of blue at the horizon and add water to your paint as you come down for a graded wash of dark to light blue ocean.

Figure 13-15:

A red roof adds color next to the near-complementary blue

Figure 13-15:

A red roof adds color next to the near-complementary blue

Mix Gray Roof Shingles

11. Finalize the details.

Paint the windows, the rods, doors, shingles, and siding with the dark gray. Paint grass both positively and negatively at the same time by making a grass mound. First, paint lines that look like grass using a liner brush and dark green paint (mix some alizarin crimson into hookers green); on the bottom edge of the grass, zigzag your brush to make the area around the grass. You just painted two lines of grass at the same time. The positive grass is darker green and the negative grass is lighter because of the dark background.

The stylized flowers are dots of cerulean blue, purple (mix cerulean blue and alizarin crimson, or use a purple if you have one), and yellow. See Figure 13-16 for guidance on these details.

Figure 13-16:

A lighthouse has long been a symbol for guidance.

Figure 13-16:

A lighthouse has long been a symbol for guidance.

Project: Rainbow Horse Stampede

Get out all your colors for this one! The wading horses are essentially a trip around the color wheel. The painting may look very complicated, but it's pretty easy to execute. You use masking fluid and repeat the horse shape, choosing one horse on the right as the focal point or center of interest. I took a bit more time to detail the red horse so that it commands the viewer's attention. The other title for this piece is Led by Red.

1. Get a piece of paper 11 inches x 4 inches and transfer the drawing in Figure 13-17 to your watercolor paper.

Chapter 8 tells you how to trace, enlarge, and transfer the drawing onto watercolor paper.

2. Paint masking fluid over the dark areas of the horses and their reflections — the black areas in the drawing.

I used a masking pen with a super-fine nib. Figure 13-18 shows the masked area as blue, which is the color of this mask. The blue mask is protecting the white paper. (Refer to Chapter 4 for tips on masking.)

Figure 13-17:

Get a running start on your painting by transferring this drawing to watercolor paper.

Figure 13-17:

Get a running start on your painting by transferring this drawing to watercolor paper.

Transferring Photos Watercolor
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3. Let the mask dry completely.

I let mine dry overnight. Depending on how thick your mask is, it may dry quicker, within 15 to 20 minutes even.

Don't try to speed the drying process by using a blow-dryer. You'll just cook the mask into the paper so that it will never come off.

4. Spray water on your entire palette to activate all your paints.

Figure 13-18:

Blue masking fluid covers the white areas of the horses.

Figure 13-18:

Blue masking fluid covers the white areas of the horses.

5. Dampen the entire paper with clear water, then use a flat brush to paint vertical stripes in this order from left to right: hookers green, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, cadmium red, cadmium orange, permanent yellow, cadmium orange, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, and hookers green.

Let the colors flow together and overlap. If the paper dries, spray it with water and tip the paper so the paints blend. Your painting should look something like Figure 13-18 at this point.

6. Let the paint get dry — bone dry. Again, keep the blow-dryer far away.

7. Remove the masking fluid by using a rubber cement pickup to rub it off.

You can get pickups at the same art supply store where you get the masking fluid.

Your painting now looks close to Figure 13-19.

Figure 13-19:

When mask is removed, the horses appear white against the rainbow background.

Figure 13-19:

When mask is removed, the horses appear white against the rainbow background.

8. Paint some clear water over the stark white horses and their reflections in the water.

If the white is too bright, you can paint a diluted version of the same color over the top (find more on glazing in Chapter 3). Because water reflections are grayer and less detailed than what they reflect, I worked with the reflections more than the horses. This involved tinkering a bit in the water by lifting some areas and glazing over other areas that I thought were too bright.

9. Add detail and soften some hard edges.

Use a brush with a good tip for your detail work. Darken the horse shapes using a darker version of the same color (use less water for darker paint). Notice that all the dark areas are on the right side of the horses. This makes it look like light is entering from the left side of the picture, and the consistency in lighting helps create the dramatic illusion.

I picked the horse in the right third of the paper to be the center of interest. I made it the brightest red, gave it the hardest edges, and added the most details.

I used a toothbrush to scrub some of the water reflections to make a variety of edges. Adjust the painting until you like the result; I'm very fond of the result in Figure 13-20.

Part IV

The Part of Tens

Condi Hist Ricas Filosofia

rhe chapters in this traditional For Dummies part give you tips on quick ways to improve your painting and ways to promote and market your art.

Water Color Space
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