When you find an artist whose work you like, and who is also a good teacher, an online class can teach you a lot! The nice thing with videos is that you can watch them over and over, catching little things with each viewing.
Shari Blaukopf is a painter that I admire. Her watercolors are clean and fresh. She also has a really nice online personality, whether it is on her blog or in her recorded classes. I’ve made comments on her blog and she replies; I have uploaded a painting or two, and she is always gracious. One day it would be nice to take a class with her in person.
Anyway, I have / am taking two of her courses on flowers. One is painting wet-in-wet flowers, and the other is painting fresh cut flowers.
The above one is from the wet-in-wet flowers class. The paper is wet on both sides after the initial pencil sketch is done. The paper is then blotted. And from there, you go to town! It was really fun to see how the paper and paints all worked together. Not a great rendition, but the experience is the most important part as that is how you learn. My contrast issues are not too bad.
The hydrangeas are from Blaukopf’s course on fresh flowers. She does three different flowers – a blue salvia, then echinacea and black-eyed Susans, and finally the hydrangeas. I’ve done the salvia, but have yet to do the second one. I wanted to do the hydrangeas especially because of the delicacy of colors involved, as well as work on the contrast and negative painting, the latter which is just as much as a challenge for me as good contrast! Having been very frustrated with my colors always being too intense, this was also a good challenge for me with pigment and water control.
The past few days have been spent practicing free-motion quilting for a class this morning, so it was really a treat to wade back into painting. I love flowers, so painting them is the challenge, especially as I prefer a looser rather than more precise rendering of them. I think precision can be a lot easier than abstraction.
Another rendering of another artist’s work! This is from a (what else?) YouTube video by Roland Lee, an American watercolorist who paints the national parks of Bryce and Zion with a beautiful and delicate touch.
The subject here, of course, is landscape, but here are more subtle renderings of nature – here, more trees – using negative painting. I added a few of my own touches, of course, but the point of the lesson was observed and learned to a degree. Not easy to do, not easy to follow, but I rather like the results. More practice to come, too.
Learning from a paint-along is rather fun, at times daunting. I used to think of my paintings all as “failures” because I never replicated the teacher’s work. Of course, that is silly, but until I could let it go, as well as become more adept at watercolors and skilled in their handling, my own paintings would be disappointments. Now I am getting comfortable with my own style, if there is one, as well as how I handle everything. Skills are building.
Done on Arches CP 140#, 9×12.
And here is the video to enjoy – Roland Lee is a good presenter – clear instructions and a deft hand. I know I will be looking at more of his over time.
More of the splish-splash effect this morning, and I will say it is fun. This time around I added some zinc and titanium white gouache to some of the colors – something I have never done with watercolors at all. It feels rather sacrireligious.
Fraggy, this painting title is dedicated to you! I loved your comment yesterday, and it really says it all about some days in autumn. 😉
Another painting on the reverse of another, again employing dampening the paper before commencing. More hake brush wet-in-wet. I wanted to catch the brilliance of the land beneath the storm as spots of sunshine break through a fast moving storm. In the Southwest, this is common and exciting to see – sometimes the landscape shifts in seconds.
Another painting done primarily with a hake brush.
This painting was done on the reverse of a previously painted piece of Arches 16×20 CP 140#. I wet the paper initially, taping it only in the corners, and was rather pleased to see how the paper relaxed once wet. I moved the tape as needed to keep the paper flat.
Anyway, the work here was themed on wet-in-wet, use of an excessively large brush (for me!), and standing up, rather than seated. The results were interesting – standing up allowed for more freedom of brush stroke. Getting the paper wet and letting it set a bit before starting the washes also helped.
Compositionally, I think it is a bit bland – really very little to lead the eye. However, this was not my focus here; rather, I wanted to use the hake brush to create sky and foliage as well as broader swaths of color. The nature of the soft brush allows for thin lines, rough splotches of color with white or underlying colors to show through, as well as washes of subtle beauty. From there I used a rigger to create branches, trunks, and some more calligraphic and suggestive lines.
This is reminiscent of the foothills in California as they give way to the Sierras. Here, I used a hake brush about 2 inches wide to render everything – land, sky, trees. Most was wet-in-wet, but the blobs of bushes and some of the trees were done on a dryer surface.
If you think that the SoCal coast can be foggy, Oregon is by far more foggy at times! It’s an incredibly beautiful coastline with wide, nearly empty beaches. Out to sea are the sea stacks, some large, some small. In clear weather they are stunning, in the fog, spooky and eerie.
Today, a limited palette and paying particular attention to laying down water and thin colors. Washes are the dominant technique used here. My little picky brush strokes had to give way to broad ones for the beach and damp sand. It actually worked fairly well. Water, water, everywhere!
More work this morning with thin washes and working wet-in-wet. Not as pleasing as yesterday’s work, but a good experience nonetheless. A limited palette, some work with glazes, and use of dry brush. Painted on Fluid paper, which was a new experience – rather different in handling than Arches, but similar to the Fabriano I used yesterday. DOF isn’t there – I think the water further in the distance should be lighter . . . something to think about.
More Malibu Creek State Park, but this time with a different twist. The water is there – in the form of misty air. In spring and summer the coastal fog rolls in, and the landscape softens as it recedes. It doesn’t bring rain, but the environment is adapted to live on the moisture. As well, the land is often green from the rains earlier in the year.
I tried to capture this with washes and glazes, working wet-in-wet as well as rewetting the paper and adding color. This type of painting takes a patient approach (at least for me) as you have to load the paper with a bit of water and/or color, and then test it for dampness if you want things to soften and blur. It is also a fun way to express very faint geological shapes in the mountains.
Finally, oak trees. I just love these trees! Here in California they are really twisty and spooky, unlike the more upright specimens in the midwest. This one in the middle of the plain is unusual, but it is there, alone and grand.
This photo is moody and mysterious, and you can certainly imagine how spooky it could be to come upon suddenly, lost in a whirl of fog on a lonely moorland. I tried to capture it in my own watercolor.
This painting is significantly different than some of my other paintings. I used the wet-in-wet technique throughout the painting, creating several layers of glazes before adding the details of grasses. These I did using negative painting over the washes. Then, more solid brushwork for the tree, branches, and scrub in the lower corners.