Palm Tree in Hawaii, with Peter Sheeler

Peter Sheeler does it again – another video to learn from.  This is from Hawaii, and as Peter notes in his video, he has never in his life drawn a palm tree.  I actually think this might be a banana tree – we use them as decorations in my neighborhood.  This doesn’t matter, though; Peter’s mastery is what I wanted to learn from.  My take below.

My contrast is nowhere as attractive as Peter’s.  I am a bit more muddied.  Part of it is because I am not using either Sap or Hooker’s Green, both which I prefer to Viridian, which is part of the palette I pulled out to use.  My own preference is Hooker’s, as it is a wonderful green to add yellow or blue, for brightening or darkening.

Another comment, this is some of the Bee 6×9 paper I bought.  A bit of a sizing issue seemed to be “felt” in a couple of spots on the paper.  Still, for quick studies, I am not faulting the paper at all – I have been enjoying using it.

Wet-in-Wet Pond in Mist

Another lesson in wet-in-wet technique with Peter Sheeler.  This one really worked well for me!  I like the results below.  My weeds in the foreground on the left were not as dry-brush as they should have been to get the crispy qualities – the right side was more successful.  I’ll be doing another of Peter’s exercises later today!

Holiday Cards: Winter Stream

I used six of Peter Sheeler’s videos to create cards for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present, along with using them for practice.  Doing all of these has proven to be more thought-provoking than I realized.  Copying by watching a video is really informative.

In many ways, this was perhaps the most deceptively simple in appearance, but in reality the most complex.  The reason for this is the stream.  Water is never easy to express (at least for me).  There are ripples, reflections, shifting colors to reflect the sky and scenery above.  Besides all this, there is the snow.  It also reflects along the banks of the stream, which you can see in Peter’s video, but which never made it into mine – this is on the center left of the stream.

Mine below has some good areas – certainly there is white! – but bits of it are a tad overworked.  The scan is not as subtle as the painting, either, but I am not really sure how to deal with that.  I decrease some areas of saturation in the image using Lightroom . . . and I am not sure if I am going to include this card in the set because of the smudges and such.

 

Holiday Cards: Fence & Flowers

One thing I have always loved is the countryside.  Open spaces.  Wild flowers.  Weeds.  Where I live, you can find them, but they are the dry places of the West.  I have a longing for the plains and grasses, green trees and rain.  Peter Sheeler’s video catches a glimpse of this.

Here is my version below.  Part of me wants to paint the flowers, but thought it best to stop here.  I like the feeling that you have just climbed a hill, and there this scene is at the top, and you look way beyond . . .

 

 

Holiday Cards: Laundry

Another practice study from Peter Sheeler.  Here he uses masking tape – painters tape – to create a frisket.  He tore pieces of tape and pressed them into the paper, as a resist to the dry brush technique he used to create the sense of a very windy laundry day.  As a kid, I remember those days, pegging the clothes and sheets.  It was a lot of fun, a lot of work, but always worth the smell of fresh air on your sheets when you went to bed.

First, here is the picture with the “laundry” masked with randomly torn bits of painter’s tape.

And here is the final picture.  To frame the picture, I used more tape around the edges of the picture.  If you watch the video, you’ll see why!

Holiday Cards: Fallen Leaf

Once again, a demonstration from Peter Sheeler which I used for a card for my sister-in-law.

Peter’s is far more masterful than mine!  Who’d have thought a simple leaf could be so difficult?  I went in afterwards and inked in some extra lines and put a frame around the picture – the leaf looks like it is floating in space.

 

Holiday Cards: Daisies

The second card in a series for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present.  I used Peter Sheeler’s demonstration (below).  I love his lines and color!  Copying his style is teaching me a lot about simple color use, powerful lines, and particularly compositional elements I haven’t considered at all.

What I learned in this video was how to portray dappled lighting.  This gives character and depth to white petals.  What do you think?

 

Holiday Cards: Birch Trees & Snow

As a present, my sister-in-law asked for some hand-painted cards.  Given I have enjoyed Peter Sheeler’s videos, I thought I would use his exercises as a way to practice painting, and fulfill a family member’s request for a Christmas present!  Here is Mr. Sheeler’s video:

Birch trees are some of the easiest and most lovely trees to draw or paint.  The white trunks and white snow made for a good chance to work at keeping white space.  The other thing is that the palette was limited, which I am beginning to find refreshing – a lot of colors can be made from two or three.

Trees, Shadow, Snow

This morning, in a room only lit by the light of my monitors, and a half-drunk cup of coffee at hand, I decided to go ahead and watch Peter Sheeler’s video above, and try to do a painting.  I dragged out a bowl for water, a few brushes, and my travel palette.  I sort of know where my colors are, so what the heck – paint and draw away.

I pretty much followed what Peter did, but obviously his work is better than mine.  Despite that, I did learn a few more things.  One thing I have always liked – and will continue to like – is ink with color.  Using a limited palette is also fun as it really helps you keep yourself under control.  I think – remember, it was dark, and I was only half of cup of coffee into my morning! – I used yellow ochre, quin gold, a bit of viridian, a bit of alizarin, indathrene and ultramarine blues, and burnt sienna.  Some of these were just little dabs because I couldn’t see very well, but the main colors were the sienna and blues.

That said, below is a scan of my painting before putting in the final lines.

Objectively, it’s okay.  There are some nice areas, and there certainly is some white space (yay!  white space!), which is why I am focusing on snow painting practices.  Some good light – dark areas.  A nice bleed or two.  Other areas are dreadful, such as that greenish area on the mid-right side.

Below, the inked in version.

Frankly, I like the final one better as there is more definition.  Now – finish that coffee and jet off to work.

Have a fun day!

White = Snow

If you have been reading along, you know:  I make mud, I need lines, and I cannot get white space at all.  Well, in a moment of mad inspiration, I realized snow is white.  Let’s paint snow!  In my part of the world (California), we are in the midst of a hideous wildfire, which fortunately bypassed our neighborhood, but which could be visited by a fire any time.  Crazy winds and no rain make for dry and dangerous conditions, and certainly the last place where  you will expect to find snow.

Thus, snow.  I went to my favorite place (YouTube) and searched for “watercolor snow” and there we were!  Lot of them.  In particular, I found Peter Sheeler, whose videos are simple to follow, and quite lovely.  He uses a minimal palette, and just paints.  Subtitles let you know the colors and the technique.  Pleasant music moves you along.  Here is my version of his painting.

Peter Sheeler has another video that I used as well.  It was a bit more complex, but not only was it great for shadows on snow, he has very strong light – dark colors, another problem I struggle with.

And here is my version of it.  I was really intimidated by the dark trees and the rocks.  Besides using only Ultramarine, Yellow Ochre, and Burnt Sienna (even though Sap Green is in his video’s palette), Peter uses a 1/2 inch flat brush.  I have some flat brushes, and they scare the hell out of me.  I think people who love flat brushes are nuts.  No more:  I bit the bullet and pulled out my flats and did the entire painting in a flat brush, varying sizes as necessary.  And I used micron pens, too, as did Peter.

I am feeling a lot more confident now about colors, white space, limited palettes, and flat paint brushes.  I think I will continue to follow along with Peter Sheeler’s videos – he is a really good painter, I like his style, and am confident I will get a lot out of his videos.  And Peter, if you should come across this, let me tell you, “Thanks!”