Posts Tagged ‘splash’


Sunflower Card

August 30, 2018

Sunflowers – Watercolor on 140# Cold Press Paper – 4″ x 6″

So I had been working on some watercolors getting prepared for an upcoming workshop, it was raining outside and we have friends (husband and wife) for whom we had birthday presents to deliver. Combine those factors and I made this birthday card (my wife wrote the greeting in the card as her contribution). Small but it worked. Took the wife a few moments before she realized it was an original painting.


Sunflowers – Lesson

April 23, 2013

SunflowersWorking with my Still Life students, I decided to give insight to my method  and incite their creativity.

I forwarded the reference photo posted above. Not a great photo, but a fair reference. Most students tend to reproduce the photograph…exactly as the photo. That means they do the design exactly as seen in the photo. That means they do the colors exactly as seen in the photo. That means that they do everything exactly as the photo. Yawn!

Rather than allow them to follow their normal routine, I allowed them to see how a reference photo can be cropped to create a more stimulating design. In addition to the photo, I forwarded a design sketch. They were free to work their own design, but this should help them move towards a more dynamic presentation.

Sunflowers - Line Sketch 5" x 7-1/2"

Sunflowers – Line Sketch 7-1/2″ x 5″

Allowing them to choose their own direction with paint application, I presented two possible options. The first choice keeps the color selection closer to the real flowers, though the application is created to keep the colors loose, free and fun. The first or outline stage still allows watercolor to be watercolor.  The second option plays upon the splash lessons where we work to apply bright colors near our focal point regardless of their presence in the actual objects. We try to apply colors of appropriate values to the subject not necessarily the same colors as the reference. In other words, we play and entertain the viewer with a fresh and sometimes unexpected presentation.

As with most of my demonstrations for the students, I apply the first, or outline stage to my paper and only indicate where the refining and defining applications may lead me. I do not wish to complete the painting. I aim to let them express themselves in their work. I do not desire to have them create clone paintings.

A couple students selected one method for their painting. One student was ambitious and created one watercolor of each method and then, before class ended, did the unexpected. The student took a piece of watercolor paper and without the aid of a drawing, applied colors in a splash method. Her goal is to apply a drawing after the paper dries. In part she will impose the design but in part, will allow the first, lively application to guide her watercolor. I can not wait to see how this student completes the challenge.

Sunflowers - Traditional Approach; Watercolor 12" x 8"

Sunflowers – Traditional Technique; Watercolor 12″ x 8″

Sunflowers - Splash Technique; Watercolor 12" x 8"

Sunflowers – Splash Technique; Watercolor 12″ x 8″


Flower Bouquet Close Up

April 15, 2013

Flowers2013Building upon the lesson taught a couple nights earlier, I decided that it might be fun to play with my third sketch, a close up of the bouquet of flowers. To keep my design from getting stiff, I decided to play with my splash technique.

My students are first introduced to the splash technique in my level 1 class as a way to play with watercolor. It involves several disciplines – altering the value or intensity of  the hues, gentle mixing of colors, running of colors, splatters and blossoms. In level two, we use this idea as a way to reinvigorate and allow watercolor to be watercolor (that is keep students from trying to fully control watercolor). These exercises start non-objectively and mandate that the student have an imaginative eye to “see the possibilities”.

By level three courses, we work with having a design already in place and have the students remove the white from their works. This is the case for the bouquet. I began with a loose design drawn onto my paper. I started painting by applying color near, at and around my center of interest and worked out from there. Lighter and brighter where needed. Hint at darker spots to start the negative areas. Let colors run together. Throw in water drops and splatters to break up any boring swatches of color. Let it dry and work the design to my vision from there. Let the parent colors, or the colors applied at the beginning, guide your color selections from there. Vary the dark colors in the negative spaces to keep it interesting. Do not insist on any colors for any of your objects (i.e. white items do not need to be white to read right). Stop painting before you make it too tight. Allow it to stay fun for your viewer too.

Flower Bouquet Design Sketches; 8-1/2" x 11"

Flower Bouquet Design Sketches; 8-1/2″ x 11″

Flowers - Splash Technique Step 1; Watercolor 8" x 12"

Flowers – Splash Technique Step 1; Watercolor 8″ x 12″

Flowers Splash Technique Step 2; 8" x 12"

Flowers – Splash Technique Step 2; Watercolor 8″ x 12″