Posts Tagged ‘paint’


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.


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.


Illinois Watercolor Society Demo

October 3, 2011

Starting my painting demonstration .

Completing the initial outline of my painting.

The completed watercolor painting.

I had the opportunity to demonstrate my watercolor techniques for the Illinois Watercolor Society on Saturday October 1. The demonstration was scheduled to run from 12:00 – 2:00 pm at the Dick Blicks Art Supply in Wheaton.

Unfortunately, it was a beautiful early fall day. I say unfortunate because I would have preferred it be rainy and/or a few weeks later. But this was a beautiful early autumn day. The sun was bright. It was warm. No rain in sight. The colors of the landscape were awesome. Painting opportunities were everywhere I looked. The hour and a half drive to Wheaton was distracting. Rather than the expressway, I took two lane roads for as long as I could. Scene after scene was screaming to be painted. I would have loved to be working my oils to capture the October sunlight hitting the early color changes on the landscape. But duty and obligation called.

I arrived early at Dick Blicks early and set up my gear. I took a few minutes to tour the store. What a great cache of art supplies. If you are looking to find art supplies in the western suburbs of Chicago, this is the place to be.

As my students know, for me to complete a 14″ x 21″ watercolor painting in less than two hours is a stretch. I worked out a fairly easy composition and created a small, thumbnail painting to give me the best chance of completing, or nearly completing, a watercolor scene within the two hour time frame.

After the IWS president made a few announcements to the two dozen or so attendees, I dove into the painting. I attempted to discuss my techniques and art philosophies while I painted but found that, at times, I was so into my painting that I was not speaking about the process, or anything else (again, something which my students know is a stretch for me). Thank goodness, the attendees and the IWS president would occasionally ask a question to bring me back to the presentation.

I had paint splashing all over the place, brushes flying around the table. It was a great aerobic routine. About all that I was missing was some music to help my tempo.

About an hour into the demonstration, we gave the attendees an opportunity to stretch their legs, come up to the table,¬† check out my equipment and supplies, ask additional questions. I could not help myself, I kept painting. With about ten minutes to go, I decided to charge into a few details to help pull the painting together and at least give it a “nearly” complete¬† feeling.

All things considered, not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon. A nice group of people, a great facility (sorry about all the paint on the floor), a chance to spend a day painting, even if not, en plein air.