Thursday, December 23, 2010

Communist Hat at Prima

A sketch of Aaron wearing a communist military hat at Prima Bistro. Aaron is the conductor of Whidbey Island Orchestra. We sketchers hope to capture them during rehearsal sometime soon. Also a few sketches from Uselss Bay Coffee. Tasty fish Tacos! Looking forward to trying the BBQ.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Painting with Compliments

Another great project to familiarize yourself with color mixing and the properties of certain colors is to create a painting with two compliments using a black and white photo as reference. In this case I painted from a B&W photo of a tea pot using Ultramarine Blue and Azo Orange. Ultramarine being on the warm side and Azo orange having some yellow in it, they created some nice warm tones. I tried to mix mostly grays and highlight with some pure color for contrast. Try it with three sets of compliments, blue/orange, purple/yellow, red/green, or any you'd like. It's fun and great watercolor practice.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Timbuktu and China City

You'd think by the title I'm a world traveler. Whidbey Island is it's own world, but maybe someday I'll venture off the rock. The Whidbey Island Sketchers did venture to Freeland for some sketching at Timbuktu Java Bar, then we headed to China City Restaurant. Here's my sketches...

Timkuktu counter with goodies. Everything is yummy!

Cruiser and a friend.

A guy at the bar.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Playing with Edges

Here's an assignment to practice edges in watercolor. Surely there are many more edge possibilities!

Using a simple object as a subject (fruit, pear, cup, vase, etc.) as reference,
paint 5 small (approximately 5"-7") paintings of each edge below.
Apply large wash areas.

Edge to edge
1) Edge to edge - Your background area/wash will barely meet your foreground/object wash. Bump up one wash to another so they barely meet and do not overlap.

Overlapping edges
2) Overlapping edges - The background wash area slightly overlaps the foreground/object wash, creating a line. This is what one refers to as a glaze. Only this is a narrow area that can be defined as a line.

Wet in wet blurry edges
3) Wet in wet, blurry, undefined edges -
Wet the entire 7" square evenly with clean water, allowing it to sit until the area has a slightly mat finish. You want the water to soak into the paper for a minute or two. Apply a color to your object/foreground with a brush loaded with color. Use lots of pigment, not much water! Using another brush, quickly apply the background while the paper is still wet. Again lots of pigment! (Watercolor dries lighter in value and intensity) Your edges between the object and background should be soft and undefined.

With line
4) Lines defining edges -
Draw your object using a pencil, brush or marker. Then apply paint.
For line in this image, I used a black Stabilo pencil. It's Water soluble. You can use anything, graphite, black or colored marker, colored pencil etc.

5) Incorporate all 4 edges above. I'm leaving that to your imaginations.

The purpose of this assignment is to explore various ways watercolor can be applied to define edges of objects. Or not define them! Consider lost edges, particularly in shadow areas in future paintings.

This project is also posted under the tab "Watercolor Projects."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Love of the Puddle

As Serafina, one of my students, said, "Painting with watercolor is learning to puddle." The quote is not exact, but her point was it's about controlling the puddle. A good observation. The wash, the bead, the qualities of each pigment and how they behave separately, layered and together, and understanding color are all aspects to be learned and applied to the puddle. And with any luck, a lot of happy accidents!

What is learning watercolor to you and why do you work with it? I would like to know your insights. 
I have much so much to learn. A puddle of a painting I did for my watercolor class...

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I wish I had as many pomegranates as satsumas. They're both good, but poms are my favorite. A little sketch before the devour...

Whidbey Island Sketchers Anniversary

The Whidbey Island Sketchers got together today to celebrate our one year anniversary. A whole year of weekly meetings sketching together. A great year of making friends and sketching camaraderie. I look forward to many more! Here's my sketch of Catherine while she painted tangerines...