Sunday, October 31, 2021

"Storm Moving In" (watercolor on paper; 9" x 12")

"Storm Moving In" (watercolor, 9" x 12)

I decided to blog about my online Zoom classes with the Art League School in Alexandria, VA. This is what we did in the sixth week of the fall term, 2021 for my "Watercolor from Start to Finish" class.

The first business this week was finish "Holmes Run Rocks". First, we painted the first layer of the rocks and pebbles with the mixture of quinacridone gold and a little bit of purple (cobalt blue and crimson). Make sure you paint around the sun-struck highlights (if you lose the white of the paper, you lose the game!). If necessary, draw the pebble shapes first, then paint around them.

We started the second stage with the big tree shape using the dotty pointillist method of applying paints. I used three tones: the light tone green (Winsor lemon and cobalt blue), the mid-tone green (cadmium yellow pale and ultramarine blue), and the dark tone (ultramarine blue and permanent alizarine crimson). The tree trunks and branches were painted with the mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna (this is called Jane's Gray).

Then, we moved on to the rocks and pebbles with the dark shadow tone of cobalt blue/ultramarine blue and crimson. We have already established the mid-tone in the first stage. You will see the rocks and pebbles suddenly emerging before your eyes!

The final touch that brought the painting together was the glazing of the big water shape. We wetted the shape first, then dropped the mid-tone mixture of gold and burnt sienna. Quickly we painted in the reflected shadows of the trees and the submerged pebbles with the purple mixture of ultramarine blue and crimson. If your paper is too wet, whatever you put down will fuzz into the water!

"Holmes Run Rocks Demo" (watercolor, 12" x 9")

As you can see my demo painting above looks a little different from my sample painting below. Which one do you like better?

"Holmes Run Rocks" (watercolor, 12" x 9")

The main business of this week was painting a triptych, "Storm Moving In". The first image below is the reference photo I took on Assateague Island. Instead of painting from it as is, I cut it up into three unequal pieces, moved them around until I found a pleasing design, which is the second image. Basically, I placed the tall left panel in the right side and put the two divided right panel pieces in the left for the heck of it!

Anything that moves (in this case, a seagull in flight) becomes the center of interest, which happens to fall in the sweet spot of the picture (one quarter way down from the top and one quarter way in from the left edge; there are four potential sweet spots in a picture, by the way). The tall right panel is now the anchor; the two smaller panels on the left are not of the equal size.

"Storm Moving In Original Reference"

"Storm Moving In Reference Reimagined"

Making sure the horizons are straight and at the same level, and at right angle to the side edges of the paper, we drew them with the help of a ruler/straight edge. Then, we divided the picture with a 1/2"-wide washi tape (not so tacky tape) into three small paintings that cohere.

We started the painting with the right long panel. First we wetted the paper and painted the glowing sky shape and the glowing wet sand shape with the pale mixture of Winsor lemon and cadmium red pale. When the paper was dry, we wetted the paper again and dropped the blues in the clouds and the ocean waves with the blue mixture of cobalt blue and burnt sienna. The dark sand shape was painted in the mid-dark tone of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

When the first layer (which took two separate steps to avoid contaminating the alternating shapes) was dry, we glazed each shape with a little darker mixtures to create edges and drama. We will pick up from here next week!

"Storm Moving In Demo in Progress" (watercolor, 9" x 12")

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