Archive for the ‘Classes and Workshops’ Category

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From the Classroom – Trees and Field

April 10, 2019

I have a student who likes to utilize pen & ink with watercolor. This student does all of his pen & ink work first and then carefully applies his controlled washes of watercolor so as not to disturb or bleed the ink.

Trees and Field in Two Steps – Holbein Watercolor on Canson 140# – 3″ x 5″

I prepared two sketches for this weeks demonstration. On the first, I did the scene using watercolor in two steps. First applying a general wash, then adding a few brief notes of shadows. On the second sketch, I applied a very loose, wild application of watercolor. I allowed and even encouraged the washes to flow into each other. The foreground and background trees bleed into the sky. The background trees to the right side are a mess. But that’s okay. After this wash was dried, thanks to the aid of a student with a hair dryer, I applied a few broken lines in pen & ink to define the objects in the scene. This process keeps the design looking like a watercolor and relieves some of the stress (you can go outside the lines).

Field and Trees Pen and Ink Overlay – Holbein Watercolor with Sakura Micron Pen on Canson 140# – 3″ x 5″

Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law occurred.The student for whom this demonstration applied was ill and not in class. I shall have to do this exercise again.

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From the Classroom – Farm House and Field

April 9, 2019

Farm House Reference Photo

Working with the advanced watercolor students on atmospheric perspective and being selective / creative with photo references. Rather than be faithful to the actual photograph, I decided that the farm house was my main inspiration and decided to place a barn structure behind the house. I decided to improvise on the fields edge sweeping across the front.

Drawings and Value Sketch

With the value study completed, I had a fair idea of where I was going to go with this design. The students are starting to appreciate these value sketches as a way to anticipate what I am going to do in painting the design.

Farm House and Field Demo – Holbein Watercolor on Canson 140# – 3″ x 5″

The fun thing about doing these very fast (less than five minutes) paintings, is that I often end up with watercolor results for which I had not planned, yet am able to appreciate and utilize. Sometimes we plan for our watercolors to be too tight and we fail to allow our watercolors to be watercolor. That is, allow and even encourage some of the wild mingling’s and results which we can only obtain with watercolor.

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From the Classroom – Bucket with Apples

April 1, 2019

Quick demonstrations for my Open Oil Studio students. Too many students spend too much time trying to get each and every stroke “perfect”. Unlike watercolors or acrylics, oil paints allow manipulation long after being applied to the canvas.

Bucket with Apples – Direct Painting – Oil on Gessoed Paper – 8″ x 6″

After using my palette knife to create some piles of colors, I applied paint with the intention of getting as much area covered as quickly as possible. I also aimed to minimize “fiddling” with the strokes until I had color applied to the entire design. This particular design required less than seven minutes to apply this initial block in.

I did add some  Bucket with Apples – Tone and Remove – Oil on Gessoed Paper – 8″ x 6″

In this second demonstration, I applied a very fast, loose, thin application of burnt sienna to tone the canvas. While this initial application was wet, I utilized a paper towel and mineral spirits to draw the design onto the canvas by removing some of the burnt sienna. Again, a very easy way to quickly establish the design and enable students to spend time refining their paintings rather than laboring over with their works. In this example, after I had the initial design mapped out, I did add some dark tones to help the shadowed areas and a little bit of white to help establish the light on the table top.

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From the Classroom – Apple and Bottle

March 15, 2019

 

Apple and Blue Bottle – Watercolor on Canson 140# CP

This was a demonstration for my students. Starting from the left side of the apple, moving directly into the bottle. As I shifted colors, I have a small window of time to make adjustments to the intensity of the pigments in anticipation of the value shift as the brushwork dries. I finished by adding the dark background being careful to  touch the apple and bottle only where it could serve a purpose to my design.

For my advanced students it was a demonstration of creating an initial wash which could stand on its own or, at the very least, require a minimal amount of detail. For my beginning students, it was created to make a connection to the color combination exercises from their color charts. To aid their understanding of the simple beauty that can occur by adding adding different colors, directly on the paper, while wet, to achieve an effect distinct to watercolor.

I refer to this type of paint application as “wet-in-wet-on-dry”. If you saw it created, it would also illustrate how the paint application continues to evolve until the paper and paint are completely dry. Though often the uncontrolled finish can be extremely dynamic, energetic and pleasingly exciting, as this wash is.

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From the Classroom – Advanced Watercolor – Corn Crib

March 14, 2019

This weeks challenge was based upon the following rather drab photo reference.

Corn Crib

I then forwarded a few thumbnail options for their review.

Corn Crib Thumbnail Sketches

I intentionally left these sketches undefined. That is, with one exception, there is no indication of shadows. I am challenging my students to use their imaginations to locate photo references which will enable them to paint the scene as they would like to see it. Decisions such as what direction is the sun (left, right, background)? Season (spring, summer, early autumn, winter)? Color of structure? Additional buildings or components to augment their design?

Corn Crib Value Sketch

I created a very fast watercolor sketch to help them understand an option and witness the paint application. This watercolor was completed within five minutes while explaining my thoughts and paint applications to my students.

Corn Crib – Watercolor on Canson 140# CP 4″ x 6″

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Summer 2019 Workshops

March 2, 2019

My Rock Valley students have inquired about painting workshops for this summer. Unfortunately, the classroom and facility we would prefer to utilize is not available until August. So, we are looking to provide the following;

Basket of Blossoms 2 – Watercolor on Arches 140# CP Paper – 12″ x 9″

August 5, 6 and 7

Dynamics of Shadows and Light: A Bolder Approach to Watercolor

Gain insight to energize your watercolors by creative, strategic and decisive utilization of exaggerated light and shadows. Demonstrations and discussions will focus on planning your design and composition as well as sparking your imagination. Discover methods for pushing negative space to yield positive results in your artwork. Exercises will concentrate on developing your creativity and daring to create more dynamic paintings.  Students should already be familiar with basic watercolor techniques. In addition to your supplies, please bring a couple sheets of Arches 140# CP paper and a few reference photos with subjects of interest to the student. Students will have the opportunity to work independently on their own paintings.

Patti’s Hen House – Plein Air – Oil on Linen Panel – 12″ x 16″

August 12, 13 and 14

Ideas for Creative Studio Painting in Oil and Acrylic Painting

Expand your ability to translate and capture imagery on canvas as you strengthen your observational skills, build a reliable process for planning and develop your unique voice. This workshop will help you to identify a focus for creating your art and developing a pattern for success. Demonstrations and discussions will focus on planning your design and composition as well as sparking your imagination. This workshop requires basic experience and training in oil or acrylic. Students should be competent with the techniques and tools of the medium, developed drawing and design skills and the ability to work independently.

Assuming that the weather cooperates, I plan to do a couple outdoor demonstrations at the facility.

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From the Classroom Watercolor Color Charts

February 28, 2019

Most of the students enrolled in my Beginners – Level 1 class have little or no experience with watercolor. Others have had some experience, though not necessarily positive. To get the students started, our first assignment is to create a color chart. I find it interesting that the students that need the color chart experience the least, enjoy the assignment the most. Upon completion of the chart, the students will have familiarized themselves with the Arches 140# Cold Press paper, the twelve basic colors of our palette and the feel of their watercolor brushes.

Color Chart

Seems that the most stressful part of the assignment is drafting the chart onto a full sheet of watercolor paper. After that task is completed, we spend a two hour class session playing on the left half of our charts. The left side will help the student understand how to take the paint from intense application to a wisp of pigment. Some students are heavier with the paint. Others are a bit more timid. They also learn how to apply a glaze of pigment to alter a prior application of color. This also involves learning some of the strategy and patience required with watercolor.

Values

Color Glaze

The second week of the color chart is spent on the right side of the chart where we play with color combinations. This exercise challenges them to apply strong pigment from dry paper onto a moistened section of the Arches paper and then introducing a second pigment into the mix. There are two parts to this challenge. Where the colors meet, part is to be left butting up against each other without mixing and then delicately mixing the colors on the other end of the meeting. This exercise allows students to experience how the colors work with and against each other. They will generate understanding as how to apply more interesting applications of colors when we start creating paintings. It also teaches them to be swift and brief with some color combinations to avoid “mud”.

Color Combinations

Once in awhile, a student will squawk that they already have a color chart which they purchased at the art supply store and they don’t feel that they should have to do this exercise. Or they may offer that I should just print copies of these charts and not bother them with this exercise. My immediate reply is to challenge them. By the time the students have finished these charts they learn more than they think they did. They gain familiarity with the feel of the paper, the paints and the brushes. They learn about the sedimentary characteristics of some pigments and the high fluidity of others. They learn the colors. They learn how the pigments can work with each other to yield more exciting opportunities than just buying more tubes of paint.

As each student has their own “isms”, observing and guiding the students through these charts enables me to help them with their paintings as they move on to our other painting classes.