Sunday, July 27, 2014

Color Theory

Landscapes (the bane of my existence) made fun by using a split comp palette and some imagination.

Because I've never received any formal art education, I've never studied color theory although I have a basic understanding. I can't count the times it's been a struggle to choose a palette for a particular painting. Painting with complimentary colors is something I do enjoy and I've found color combinations I like just by trial and error.

I had forgotten I bought the book 'Color Choices: Making Sense Out Of Color Theory' by Stephan Quiller. While browsing through the book I was blown away by his dynamic landscapes. The paintings I kept coming back to were painted with a split complementary palette so I had to try my hand at it. Simply put, I chose a color(green gold) and found it's complement (red violet...I used DS Quin violet) on the color wheel. Then I looked at the analogous colors of red violet. Analogous colors are those hues that are next to each other on the color wheel. I chose to go toward the more blue hues like blue violet(which I mixed myself) and Indathrene blue. I did add one tertiary hue which was DS Undersea green. If you're not familiar with it, it's an olive-y green.

Arrows indicting my split complimentary colors

Quiller also combines gouache with transparent watercolor. I have one tube each of white and black gouache that have languished in a drawer for a few years. I keep the white on hand just in case a highlight is lost and the black had never been opened. I got them both out and used them to lighten and darken my watercolors. Who knew painting with gouache was so much fun! Tinting gouache with transparent watercolor opened up a whole new world for me. It compares to getting new art supplies without spending a dime.

I won't go into everything I found extremely helpful in Quiller's book but in summary, I highly recommend this book to any artist, especially if they struggle with color. Mr. Quiller breaks down color theory so it's understandable without becoming boring.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Miss Willmott's Ghost...again

I can't get enough of this plant, it seems. I took more photos, this time closer to sunset to capture different lighting. The Aglaya daisies are blooming now and they look wonderful alongside Miss Willmott. This afternoon I did another painting, this time more loose. I painted the entire piece with a #2 squirrel quill. All very wet into wet.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Found a Bug in My Painting

It's always fun to apply acrylic gesso to a surface, then work it around with a palette knife or whatever is handy. After it's dry, the textures that occur as a result can be very exciting. Last night I had a swatch of paper I had coated with gesso and I began to slosh paint on it. I love to watch the paint settle into all the little nooks and crannies and lo and behold, I spotted insect wings! The more I looked, the more came into focus. A thorax, some insect-y legs...definitely a bug. I added some eyes, some antennae and voila! Try painting on gesso. The results are never the same twice and it never gets boring. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Roots ~ negative painting

I'm still playing. Last night I poured some wet watercolor onto a swatch of paper, then placed a piece of plastic wrap on it and let it dry. It's a trick most watercolorists know. Afterward, the textures that were created looked like a tangle of roots so I took the cue and ran with it. I carved the tree trunk out and created more, finer roots by using a technique called negative painting. If you aren't aware of this technique, it means painting the areas around an object rather than the actual object (positive painting). Linda Kemp's work  (link) is a perfect example of negative painting. And here are my results.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Importance of Play

In the wee hours of the morning I was enjoying the cool and suddenly felt the creative urge stirring. I didn't have anything ready to roll so I decided to play. I got out granulation medium, a Micron pen, acrylic gesso and walnut ink. I use styrofoam disposable plates for palettes and, when the bits of leftover paint dry, I stack them and keep them handy. I sorted through the lot and chose my colors. Then I played. I found out what granulation medium does when poured onto wet watercolor and/or walnut ink. I also discovered what amazing textures are created when you mix gesso into wet watercolor and granulation medium. I painted a loon! I finished the session off by painting part of a field stone wall. Most importantly, I learned! Just by taking a half hour to simply play I now have a few more tricks in my arsenal as I move forward. Don't ever underestimate the power of play. There's no pressure. Let the creative juices flow and enjoy yourself. Isn't that what it's really all about?   

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Miss Willmott ~ WIP 2-3 & completed



Rather than keep posting updates I skipped ahead, taking photos as I progressed. I just finished the painting this afternoon and managed to get a pretty decent image for once. I think I've found the perfect spot for photographing my watercolors, weather permitting.

As I went along I wound up tweaking my palette a little although no new tube colors were added. I also wanted this to have a loose look but not go overboard. I did employ a spray bottle in several areas and let the paint run where it may. Then I went back in with a darker shade, carving out the shapes lost that were important. I didn't worry about color accuracy or capturing details. My intention was to give this a morning kinda 'vibe'...soft light and muted colors. I think I accomplished my mission. 

Note: Sorry for the blurry images if you choose to enlarge them. I don't know why that's happening. Man, it's always something.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Miss Willmott ~ WIP 1

Yesterday I managed to transfer my drawing to working paper, in this case Arches 140# CP paper. I laid in some background color and today I started work on the flowers. It's difficult to get certain colors to appear correctly because they are so neutral. In fact, when I tried to scan my color study the scanner read it as a black & white photo so I had to photograph it. When completed, this painting will be approx. 21" x 9". Sorry the painting is photographed in pieces. I was too lazy to set up my easel and do a proper job of it.  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Miss Willmott ~ color study

The final
First layer

This is the palette I have in mind. Very neutral colors with a decent range of values. I'm questioning my choice of a 'pop' color, which is Quin. violet, but it looks better IRL. I'm also using some negative painting on this sample. It's a much softer look. I am reminding myself along the way that white doesn't have to be truly white to appear that way. So far my main color choices are cerulean blue, permanent yellow and perylene green...all neutralized with either DS Moonglow or neutral tint.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Miss Willmott ~ sketch completed

A little confusion in the center but you get the general idea

Part deux

I completed the second half of my sketch and put the two together in a panorama using Irfanview. I used scanned images and, without the aid of Photoshop, I did the best I could to merge the two drawings. Not an exact match but I did my best. I have a palette in mind but I want to do a few color studies before committing to a larger painting.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Miss Willmott ~ pencil sketch

Inspired by Miss Willmott, I drew up this sketch while watching another rerun of Jaws on the telly this afternoon. I'd like to paint this in a long(wide), narrow format so I need to sketch more blooms. I just ran out of space on my paper. To be continued on another sheet.......

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Miss Willmott's Ghost Blooms Again

This has become an annual event in my moon garden. Miss Willmott's Ghost(eryngium giganteum) aka Giant White Sea Holly is a biannual plant that, once she matures enough to bloom, dies afterward but she's a prolific self seeder. This has been a stellar year with not one but six plants reaching maturity. The tallest are almost 3' high with many flower bracts. I hope to get more photos of her before she kicks the proverbial bucket. One plant has popped up in the middle of my Golden Tiara hosta, another in my August Moon hosta, and there's no digging her out without causing major harm to the hostas. Miss Willmott has a very deep and tough taproot. I may have to take some cuttings. I just harvested about 20 garlic scapes and together, they might make an interesting a floral arrangement.   

Friday, July 04, 2014

Fancy Goldfish ~paper sculpt complete

I just put the finishing touches on this. I chose the warm palette because the coffee filters took on a yellowish appearance when the gloss medium was completely dry. I added two wooden beads I found for the eyes. The beads were red so I gave them a coat of Adirondack Pitch Black alcohol ink and glued them in place with Mod Podge. The entire piece is mostly Adirondack alcohol ink. I did add some DS Duochrome Hibiscus watercolor to the scales and DS Pearlescent Shimmer watercolor to the smaller fins. Painting on gel gloss medium is a unique experience. The watercolor pigments became permanent as soon as applied, which surprised me. I did have more control over the alcohol ink, though.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Fancy Goldfish ~ color study

Sorry for the delay with an update but I've been having fun trying out a few mediums on some trial samples. So far, I've tried Jacquard Lumiere acrylic, alcohol ink and watercolor and I'm still going. It's been an interesting (to say the least) education. I really should be more bold with my experiments! I've also tried out a couple of different palettes...some pinks and golds, some greens, blues and purples. Not all scanned well so I can't show them all and because I've used duochrome watercolor and some metallics, I doubt they would photograph much better. I've used blending solution, alcohol and water(applied w/spray bottles), rubbed and manipulated the inks and paints with a brush and my fingers...what's next? To my visitors...which palette appeals most? I'm open to opinions.