Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Another Demo

Lately I've been emphasizing the importance of the value sketch as a prelude to painting.  There are enough decisions to make while painting;  pre-planning an important one like value placement is paramount.  Because watercolor is such a fast drying medium, knowing where the big shapes and their associated values will be located is a big factor in the outcome.  Mixing up a puddle large enough and dark enough to cover that area requires a plan.

This is the demo that I did for the Art World Association at their monthly meeting last week.  I had the value sketch in front of me so they could see what I was thinking as I was in the process of painting.  Without that roadmap, neither they nor I could guess what I was thinking as I painted.

 I also find value sketches and drawings extremely satisfying in their own right.  I have dozens of sketchbooks that I've kept throughout the years.  Many times instead of going through hundreds of photos looking for subject matter, I pull out a sketchbook and thumb through it for inspiration.  And then, half the work is already done.  Whatever makes our work easier!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bold Color

I've posted several recent paintings that feature the saved white shapes of barns.  Here's one where I tried to emphasize the bold color in the sky area by placing a dark silhouette against it.  Also, to avoid monotony in the fishing gear on the dock, I used a few well-placed reds. 

Bold color doesn't have to appear everywhere in a painting.  It can be emphasized by using contrasting darks with little vibrant color.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pre-planning and Values

Knowing where your darkest darks and lightest lights will go is an essential step in getting a painting that "reads."  The shapes will be easier to paint if they are clearly stated in your value sketch.  In this case the dark trees do not need to be individually created, but are suggested at the edge of the shape so I could make a good shape which interlocks with its background.  The dark also sets off the focal area around the barn.  Painting them first allowed me to key the value of the barn and its shadows and to keep them light enough . 

Study the dark tree shape also for color changes.  The trees are dark, but I was still able to change colors to provide interest.  A mixture of warm and cool darks mixed on the page provides an entertaining shape. 

Doing the work of making a value sketch makes painting quicker and therefore, I hope, fresher. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Being Bold With the Darks

This was a demo for my workshop to illustrate the importance of darks.  The contrasts between darks and lights will automatically draw your eye.  But, there is a tendency to be timid when painting the darks.  I suppose it is the fear of going too dark and not being able to retract your decision.

That is why the value sketch is so important.  If you know that you are going to place a dark value shape in a certain area, you can apply the dark with more confidence. 

Also knowing where the darks will be placed allows you to paint through that area with a midtone before placing the dark on top of the first wash.

Darks are powerful as shapes or accents.   Use them smartly to accentuate the areas you want your viewers to be drawn to.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Workshop Demo

This is the demo that I did from the sketch in the previous post.  I was trying to illustrate how to get bolder colors in your watercolor paintings.  One way is to mix the colors on the page, especially with two warm colors or two cool colors.  Another way to get glowing colors is to place complementary colors next to each other.  A third way is to place a dark valued color next to its complement.  In this painting, I've employed all three techniques.  See if you can identify where each of the three approaches occur.