Commission Painting

Progress01CCM I am pretty excited to be painting again. I have a commission piece that I started this week. This is a poured watercolor and this is the second application of paint. It doesn’t look like much now, but it will look more like recognizable objects soon.

With poured paintings the key is to get the correct values into the correct shapes. I use masking fluid to save the light areas. I apply wet washes, like here, then allow it to dry thoroughly. Then I use masking fluid to save more values and continue on with darker washes. I may apply up to ten layers of color to create all of the values I desire.



Progress02CCMHere is a close-up view. The drawing is a little more visible in this photo. You can also see some of the masked areas that are resisting the wet pigment. Using a full size sheet of Arhces 300 pound cold press paper, I used Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Magenta, and Ultramarine Blue for this stage.

I have a few lessons on how to create “poured” paintings on my lessons tab above. Enjoy!


Workshop Adventure

Demonstration of Pouring TechniqueWhat a fun day we spent painting together!!!

On December 10th I taught a workshop on my pouring watercolor on canvas technique. It was a small workshop and lots of fun. The day was just not long enough!

I had several canvases started so that my students could see the different stages of the process. They brought canvases, chose a project from many that I brought with me.

The first part of the workshop was showing the participants how to prepare the canvas for watercolor. A white absorbent ground is applied in several thin coats. This creates a paper-like surface on top of the canvas so that the watercolor will absorb slightly, but not lose any of its color potency.

Once the canvas is dried it is time to apply the drawing. Some students drew directly onto their canvas with a light graphite drawing. Others transferred drawings that I provided. Once the drawing is on a few areas can be shadowed with graphite, as this will help to hold the darker areas during the pouring process. The graphite has a tendency to lift and float away when the very wet pigments are applied.

With the drawing applied, we then added masking fluid to preserve any white areas on the canvas. This step will happen over and over during pouring process to save each “value step”. Again the canvas must be allowed to dry completely.

Here, Dawn is applying a first pour to one of her projects. The colors are dropped onto a very wet (with water) canvas. The colors are set next to one another so that delicate blends begin to take place, and we use primary color sets. My favorite combination is New Gamboge, Quinicridone Magenta, and French Ultramarine Blue. It’s important to only use transparent colors. Cadmiums, for instance, are chalky, and will have a tendency to lift quickly, look muddy and “powdery” after the pours.

Once the colors are applied on the very wet canvas, it is tipped and sprayed with a misting sprayer to control the flow and color intensity.

Each layer of wet colors creates a value range on the painting. When working in this technique, it is best not to worry about “literal” colors in the painting. Rather, the goal is to work toward developing correct value ranges to hold the shape and space in the piece.

Each time the piece is poured it must dry thoroughly. Then another layer of masking fluid is applied to the areas that need to be “saved” for the next pour. Simply put, the mask resists pigment. Once the pour is completely dry it is a bit easier to see the value that is created on the canvas. If an area should not get any darker, it is masked so that it will not accept any more color during the next pour.

You can see the photo reference and value drawing that Dawn is using to guide her through the painting. You can also see how the paint drips over the edges of the gallery-wrapped canvas, creating a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors around the edges so that framing is really not necessary.

Jean worked on several projects throughout the day.

Robin and Chelsey are using mask at this stage.

It was a fun day and I am looking forward to seeing the finished pieces! I will post some pictures of my work from the workshop soon also.

Annual Watercolor on Canvas Final Stages

Now for the big “reveal”!
I use a masking fluid pickup tool to lift the dried masking. It is a great little tool, inexpensive and very clean and efficient.

I took the mask off this piece after only two layers because I didn’t want to go too dark too fast. I wanted to see what had transpired and then go from there.

As you can see, the values are still a bit light. I love to have strong value contrasts from very light to very dark as this adds lots of drama to the painting.

I can still see a small bit of the graphite I applied, so I know where I want to add some darker glazes.

I used a variety of colors from my palette and glazed on white a few layers in small areas using a number six round natural hair brush.

Be sure not too scrub your layers on, just gently float them on. If you scrub, the canvas has a tendency to let go of the color previously applied. This is good if you don’t like an area. With canvas you can lift all the way back to the white quite easily, but I didn’t want to lift on this painting. I was happy with what was there – it just needed some punch.
Stay tuned, the big reveal will be in my next post!

Annuals – Watercolor on Canvas Technique

The first application of paint!
This is such a blast! I use a large, soft bristled brush to gently float water over the entire canvas. Have lots of paper toweling on hand as this gets very drippy and messy.

I use three colors that relate to the primary colors: New Gamboge, Quinacridone Magenta, and French Ultramarine Blue. These are just my go-to colors. They seem to work so well and blend nicely.

I dribble the wet pigment into the water on the canvas, and allow it to flow and blend. Don’t tip the canvas too much or you will create a solid color or just mud. Notice that I apply the colors somewhat carefully, adding the blues to where I will develop darker values and lighter, wetter, warmer dribbles into areas that need to remain lighter.

Allow this to dry thoroughly. Then apply masking to the next darker value (value number two). Just remember that the masking saves the lighter areas. Your whites are already saved, now save the next darker color. Do the same for each application until you get to the darkest darks.
Apply the next layer of paint in the same manner as the first, but use stronger pigment with each application. You can also switch to a different color trio if you like.

I use a small spritzer to control the wetness and flow of the colors. I can also use it to “wash” off color that is too dark or the wrong color. To blend the pigment use a very light spritz, to wash color use a more forceful direct spray. Be sure to allow the color to drip over the sides of the canvas. I love to work on gallery wrapped canvas because the pigment flows onto the sides and creates lovely patterns. I don’t have to frame it when I’m done, either!

Annuals – Next Step

Okay, back to the Annuals painting…
values with a graphite pencil. With each layer of paint much of this graphite will lift off, so I pencilBecause I will be using lots of water and very wet pigments on this piece I gently scrub in my darkest in quite a bit to see where I am going.

You can see I use quite a bit of pencil so that I will have graphite left after each application of paint to help me navigate my way through to the end.

Just be sure you don’t push too hard with your pencil. Use a soft lead so that you can deposit a good amount of graphite without damaging the canvas or scratching through your absorbent ground.
You can mask either before or after this step to save the whites (value number one).

New Painting – Bird Man

I’ve been away for a few weeks helping with some family issues in Michigan, but now I’m back! This is a piece I worked on over the summer and just framed today. I call it “Bird Man”. This was a man I saw last summer feeding the birds on the beach at Indialantic, Florida. When he walked onto the boardwalk the birds immediately started to gather, so I am assuming he was a regular there. I could see his delight and patience with the birds and each bird had a personality of its own, some cranky and rushed, some slow and patient.

The colors in this piece were fun and I did a little direct painting into the darkest areas and on the birds at the end of this work.

I will be showing this piece along with many of my newer paintings at the ArtWorks of Eau Gallie art show coming up the weekend before Thanksgiving. Please stop by and say hello if you are in the area!

A Better View

This is another poured watercolor on Arches 140 lb. paper. It is 21 inches high and 14 inches wide. I just framed it and will bring it to the gallery today as we are part of the First Friday Gallery Walk and Fall for the Arts Festival in the Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD).

This was a fun piece. I’m learning so much by experimenting with this technique. After many paintings, I am beginning to learn which colors, subjects and methods work to achieve the results I am looking for. I’m excited to say that I will be showing some even more brave pieces soon. I am taking this technique a step further and will have some work to show for it very soon!

If you are in the Melbourne, Florida area, please stop by the gallery tonight (or anytime) and see what we have to offer. There will be a lot going on tonight as a large part of the arts community will be in the art district celebrating Fall for the Arts. There will be demonstrations, live music, dance performances, and more! Stop by and say “hello!”.