Thursday, November 21, 2013
Sunday, November 03, 2013
On the top painting, I looked for the main directions on a complex piece of drift wood and thought of how I would place it on the entire rectangular space. Then the drawing was quick roughing in a generality of the gestural directions of the wood. Then with a big puddle of color made on a palette, I filled the negative space around the drift wood. Next I put in some more pencil lines trying to define the borders of the high light areas, the mid tones and the darks. After mixing several grayed down colors on the palette, I painted the values leaving the lightest light the white of the paper with the little speckles of neutral colors from the conditioning of the paper before the painting was started. Last I put a shadow under the drift wood and when some of the paint was used up, I warmed up the gray with a small amount of brown and added a few brushed lines to indicate the grain.
Less finished is the second painting started with defining the values of the wood itself. Then when that dried I put in the surrounding negative area. I did not finish the picture because the value changes in the wood are not strong enough considering the darkness of the background.
So obviously I am a better judge of how the painting is evolving if I paint the negative areas first. But of course experienced watercolorists can have their own process of painting suited to their expressive style.
The confession of a Oregon Hatchery Research Center, Fall Creek Festival watercolor workshop teacher
Yesterday I stole this painting from a morning workshop student. It was an accident that I stuffed it in my bag with my demos. And I feel very bad about taking it because I promised to leave it out for him after my class. He cared about it so much that he wanted to take it right after lunch, but was OK with me using it as a demonstration. I am sorry I am not good at remembering names so if anyone knowing him sees this post please have him call me so I can return it with big apologies.
The stolen painting is a good example of what I was teaching - beginning a painting by marring the surface slightly by splattering a dilute neutral color and letting it dry.
The purpose of splattering the paper are four. First, slightly damaging the perfect machine made paper could help free a person from having to feel their work must be perfect. Second, leaving the objects almost pure white, while painting all around the object outline, the painter has an immediate feel for the whole picture plane without obsessing with the details of the object. Of course painting the negative area is not the only way to start a painting: I intend this beginning only for people who have not painted with watercolor. Third, the splattered white has a finished feel inside the object as soon as there is a good deal of color shapes in the picture. A slightly sullied white is a better reference than the unfinished look of unpainted paper. The splattered empty of detail is helpful for deciding where the lightest lights will be. Fourth, splattered or marred paper is helpful in adjusting the medium darks and darkest darks in relation to the lightest highlights in a watercolor painting.
If all else fails maybe next year, the stolen painting will be at the workshop and hopefully the wronged student will be back and will be able to claim it.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Late in a September day my husband took me and my canvas for a boat ride and we anchored off of Duck Point on the Siletz River. Fishermen know where it is because of the good hole there for catching Chinook. I sketched with pencil onto the canvas. Then the next day at the RV camp I painted it from memory of years past. Finally a month later I finished it at home.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
For the past three months most of my painting time has been devoted to painting this 22" x 28" memory of our families' trip to Central America. At the table are representatives of three generations of a Mayan family, three generations of our family, and two generations of another family from Oregon.
At the heart of our table are the tortillas. As an invitation to the viewer the empty chair at the bottom of the painting reveals the variety of foods provided by OAT, our tour company. We enjoyed many local foods accompanying the chicken soup. The line of the tablecloth, I hope points the eye eventually to the open side of the house and to the steaming volcano.
While painting I wondered what Mildred's values were in a land of earth quakes and volcanic eruptions. I had learned that the Mayan people believe they were created from maize. Corn is still a major part of their life along with Western China kept safe in a China cabinet anchored by ropes to a cement block wall. I have not figured how to depict the ropes meaningfully to the viewer but presentation of traditional and new foods must be high on a list of importance.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Mildred still doesn't look Mayan. With a pencil I drew in a new hair line. Brushing the brush strokes smooth with a soft clean brush does make skin look moist and glowing. The lower lip is even more full than Mildred's. The eyes are good because she is looking at the girl who is passing her a coup while speaking.
The five year old face also looked like me so with an exacto blade I scraped and added some whites.
Mildred is a weaver of Mayan women's blouses. So details in the weaving are important enough to try and depict more clearly.She also made a thin decorative braid for her daughter ending in a tassel. I hope people are familiar with shuttles for the loom. With a few corrections like eliminating the weaver's shuttle because it looks like some knitting not weaving. Also eliminating the clutter because the painting is about what we all felt about lunch. Also, the post between the dwellings opening needs clarity because people still see the openings as windows. Pertinent to the meal is the food storage in plastic covered buckets. I'll label them as being beans, rice, dried fish for protein, and dried corn. Since Mildred says she fixes chicken soup often, every market day means a meal with fresh foods. Food storage is important to the meal and should be a part of the painting.
Monday, October 07, 2013
In the 80's I taught airbrush at Linn Benton Community College until my eyes swelled up from the detergent used to clean the brushes. furthermore I needed glasses to see up close and paint spray would obscure and then harden on my glasses or goggles.
Directions for airbrush-like soft blending on a large scale canvas.
One trick is to keep the surface damp without puddles. With a spray bottle or natures' sprinkles dampen the entire surface. Place canvas flat on the ground. Then with a cloth rag dip into jar of Liquitex Ultra Matte Gel. Spread gel thinly and evenly over the canvas. Keep the surface damp by spritzing with water. Next add a little color on rag saturated with gel. Spread colored gel over the still wet canvas. Then help along the spreading with more spritzing.
If luck is with you the sun will break through the mist and dry the canvas as it to my great pleasure today.
The upper half of painting "Sunshine....", required four layers of the gel treatment.