Sunday, March 20, 2016

Good Instruction Gone Bad

I've been watching various YouTube videos hoping to learn more about watercolor and I have learned - at least intellectually.  Putting the instruction into practice is a whole 'nother ballgame!

 The video which has impacted me the most was one by Stan Miller where he showed a portrait painted in colors that weren't typical.  He chose colors from his palette seemingly at random and without thought as to whether they were suitable to the subject.  He says that you can use any color you want in a painting as long as the drawing is accurate and the values match the values in the subject.  The resulting portrait was stunning to say the least. (see the video HERE)

Well, I tried but somehow, my puppy just doesn't have the same WOW factor as Mr, Miller's portrait - (unless you say "WOW, how in the world did she mess that up so badly!")

But I know that practice makes perfect - this is my first attempt and to tell the truth, it was almost impossible for me to judge value in watercolor.  Watercolor dries much lighter than it looks when it's wet.  Also, much of Mr. Miller's painting was color that blended into the next one.  I think I should have chosen a subject that didn't have so much white for my first time (but I could have used a very light color instead of the white).  Or, perhaps I should have just used 'black' and white for this maiden voyage. 

As I said, this video knocked my socks off so I'll continue to practice in hopes of being able to achieve that look in the future.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Carolina Wrens and Other Things

A pair of my favorite birds, the Carolina Wren, have decided to nest in one of the houses we built for them last year.  After the nesting season ended my DH hung the house near the kitchen door as a reminder for me to paint it - as you can see, that didn't get done!  The pair of wrens don't seem to mind though and seem very content with the house as it is.  I've read that a pair will build several different nests before finally deciding to lay eggs and raise a family in one.  I'm just glad this pair chose this house.  Photo was taken through the glass storm door so may not be as sharp as it could be.

I was so tickled to have the birds nesting nearby that I decided to paint them.  The following is the result with many errors that I can see.  Also, if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't paint such a close-up view.  Carolina Wrens are small birds and such a composition makes this one look huge.

watercolor on Arches 140 CP paper

One of my favorite paintings done recently is this rooster.  It was painted in watercolor on Yupo which is a sort of plastic paper.  Painting on Yupo is what I imagine herding cats is like.  The paint beads up and must be painted in more of a dabbing technique than what is usually used with watercolor.  Also, the paint will rewet very easily or even scratch when it does dry so this painting was sprayed with a UV resistant acrylic coating.

Watercolor on Yupo
 Have also been doing quite a few watercolor sketches/practice pieces as well as an exercise from an online forum.  The following is the result of an exercise to use contrast to help define the center of interest.  The reference was some of our daffodils (which are nearly gone now).

Watercolor on Paper

Both of these are relatively unfinished and I doubt I ever finish them.  However, I may do an entirely new painting based on this reference photo - someday!  It was a challenge for me to paint the same thing twice in a row so I'm not in any hurry to do it for a third time.

I think there are other things I've done recently but they either went into the trash can or are so immemorial that I've forgotten them!  I did work up a small sketch for a larger painting that I want to paint eventually.  My DH likes this one and calls the subject 'Barry' and you'll see why if you scroll down a bit!  (Yes, 'Barry' and not 'Beary' - don't ask!  lol)

Watercolor on Paper

I don't know when I'll actually paint it as I haven't worked out the composition I want quite yet. 

So, I have been painting but it's like walking and chewing gum - if I paint, I don't seem to be able to do anything else at the same time so you all don't get any blog posts! 

I do try to keep up - honest!