Thursday, October 19, 2017

Student Show Off Time

Today in class we had a free-paint. Everyone could bring anything they wanted to work on.
Here are a few results. Wish I took a few more pictures. So pleased with their work!

Sunday, October 15, 2017



Before proceeding with the background, I strengthened my rock  shapes until they were the way I waned them.

The last thing I did from the previous post was to put in a warm wash for a background, indicating vertical trees. The next step is to find the shapes I wanted for the background. Laying a sheet of CANSON tracing paper over the painting, I shaded in the places where I wanted my tree shapes to be. This way I was not damaging my paper with excess pencil marks while I played around with shapes. You can use charcoal or crayon or marker on the tracing paper to more quickly make the shapes.

Another way to do this is to tear strips of colored paper into general shapes and arrange them over your paper. You can move these around until you know how you want your background to look.

I used a sponging technique on the trees. When doing trees, TRY TO LEAVE PLACES THAT BIRDS CAN FLY THROUGH.  I dampened a small natural sponge, blotting out a lot of the moisture with a paper towel. Since my background had a lot of yellow, I didn't need to sponge yellow in. So I sponged a pale yellow green over anything that would have any shade of green in it. Dry that layer. Add some blue or darker green to the light green mix until you have a medium green, and sponge it over all greens that are a medium shade or darker. Dry that.

Now you THINK I'm going to tell you to go to the darkest green...but NOT YET. I am setting this up by values, and my oranges and reds are a lighter value than the dark greens. So I sponge in anything that will be orange or red. Dry. Sponge in a few reds...don't overdo those. NOW go back with a dark green and sponge in those darkest greens. 

You can see I saved a little space for my fisherman in the distance. 
I covered up my water and spattered a little over the trees. (some blues and reds). 

Now it's time to put your negative painting to work. Negative paint around the tree branches and trunks. Put some high in the distant trees and lower in the close trees. Keep it lighter in the distance. Paint in some grasses, some fir branches, or some shadows in places that need attention. Paint the waders and hat on the fisherman.

I am generally happy with the results. I have the blurred area on the right to resolve, and I want to put a few more waves in the river, but overall, I like the way it is turning out. It's quite bright, but that's how I think about fall.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


More about masking fluid.

On most masking fluids, you want to pour a small amount into the lid (for Pebeo) or a small container. You don't want to dip your brush directly into the bottle, because you need to put the lid back on right away to prevent it from drying out.

There are several good ways to apply masking fluid to retain the white of the paper.

1. Use an old brush. Put soap on the hairs of the brush to keep the miskit from clumping up on it. From time to time, rewet the brush with soapy water.

THROW AWAY RINSE WATER WHEN YOU ARE DONE. You don't want to paint with rinse water that has soap residue and latex from the miskit.

You will never use these brushes for anything else but masking. Use several size brushes depending on the job.

2. Use "color shapers" that are used by pastelists and sometimes for clay. These have silicon ends, and you don't need to soap them. Just pull the dried masking fluid right off the silicon. These are good for large areas.

3. Use a drafting pen, especially for fine lines.

4. Use a metal pallette knife. Artist Joy Moon recommends using these for masking.

5. SPATTER miskit on using a toothbrush. This creates a pretty fine spatter.

You can always remove some of the miskit with your rubber cement eraser before you paint to create holes and texture in the masking fluid for extra texture.

Don't try to blow dry masking fluid, except on very low setting, if at all. And try not to keep the miskit on the painting for very long or in a hot or very cold room/vehicle.  It can become impossible to remove.

Painting Rushing Water

A Stream with Rapids

A photographer friend, Dana Smith challenged me to paint his beautiful photo of a stream in Oklahoma. There are several challenges this presents, so I may end up doing this several times before I get it right.

First I sketched a general drawing of the rocks and stream. I was tempted to mask out a lot, but decided on a different approach. I spattered some miskit into the background, and only put miskit on the hard whitesof the white water.

I painted the rocks first, using warm colors and scratching out some highlights with a credit card edge (you can also use a palette knife.) I also painted in some of the rocks all along the edge of the stream, which helped me find my way through the painting.

I put in a wash using French ultramarine blue and adding permanent rose to the water. In some of the darkest areas I added indanthrone. While waiting for it to dry, I put in a wash for the background, using new gamboge, quin gold, quin burnt orange, and some cerulean. I had my board tilted upside
down so that the paint could run vertically. I lightly salted to get some texture for the trees.

This looks pretty pale so far. I then removed the miskit from the water. I worked on darkening the shadows of the rocks. 

For the water I tried to observe the direction of some of the waves, and began to layer in some of them using French ultramarine in some, pthalo in others. For some of the darkest water at the edges, I added some burnt umber to the ultramarine and some indanthrone.  It's nearly impossible to paint in every wave, but do enough to show the direction the water is flowing. The waves farther up the river will be smaller, closer together, until they disappear. 

The final step for the waveswas to lift and soften some of them if the miskit created too many hard edges. 

I started a little on the background, laying in some vague distant bushes and trees, and finding where I want my middle ground to be. I painted in a little more of the shore on the right side.  More about the background later. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017


So here is how I finished the roses on the gessoed 300 pound Arches. 
I used pthalo blue and deep sea green on the leaves with a touch of quin gold. I deepened the shadows of the white flower with purple and added a few pale washes of pink. I had the center of the white rose yellow, but I decided it needed to be a dark center, so it is purple with some lunar black to make it look textured. 


To finish the reflections on the canoe, first I taped off the water line and imitated the reflections to make the trees. The purpose of the tape was to keep me from losing the shore of the lake.

One by one, I began defining my background trees and accompanying reflections. I started with the tree trunks to the right of the boat, using negative painting. Then I painted their reflections, keeping the reflection a little softer, a little darker than the object.  I painted in the little evergreen to the right of that, then painted in the reflection. Little by little I worked my way across the shore of the lake, defining some trees, bushes, and weeds. After each one, I painted its reflection so I didn't lose track of what should be reflected in the water.

Friday, September 22, 2017



I just got some Daniel Smith masking fluid with 5 tips for applying it in narrow lines. I really liked it for making tiny lines, letters, etc. You have to clean the tip out right away, though, or it will clog or make bubbles instead of a nice line. You can remove the lid and paint it on the paper too.

I liked this a lot. I wish it were a color though, because I like to see where I've put the masking fluid without hunting for it. I also wish it came with suggestions as to how to clean the tips!  I think it's a good value for the money, though. I can think of lots of uses: lettering in a painting; fur; waves on water; hair hilights; small details in portraits.

I also checked out the Susan Scheewe crayons. These are colorless wax for keeping a permanent white on the paper. I can see lots of uses, (sparkle of water, blocking out paint after a wash) but you have to carefully PLAN your whites. Once you apply this wax, you can't put color on it or soften the edges. I want to see if using parafin will do the same thing. A package of 4 cost about $5.