Saturday, October 24, 2009

Basic Watercolor Palette for Tuesday Afternoon Class

This is the watercolor palette I am currently using.  I recommend students use paints they already have and add to them when they find a gap.  You need a warm and cool of the three primaries, but there are many pigments that meet that requirement.   You will develop a palette that suits you.  I have listed the pigment numbers for the colors on my palette.  All of the pigments are available in the Daniel Smith line.  I have also listed in blue the closest pigment in the Grumbacher Academy line. If you have no paints, start with these ... and move up to the professional line as you replace each color.  The Academy line has permanence issues, but this will not affect the painting exercises ahead of you as a beginning watercolorist.

Double Primary Palette 
  • Bismuth Yellow PY184 or Benzamida Yellow PY175 - cool yellow (Lemon Yellow)
  • Hansa Yellow Medium PY97 - warm yellow (Golden Yellow)
  • Perinone Orange PO43 - warm red (Cadmium Red Light)
  • Anthraquinoid Red PR177 - cool red (Alizarin Crimson)
  • French Ultramarine PB29 - cool blue (Ultramarine Blue)
  • Phthalo Turquoise PB16 - warm blue (Turquoise)
  • Viridian PG18 - cool green (Viridian)

Optional or Occasional Colors
  • Raw Sienna PBr7 (Raw Sienna)
  • Burnt Sienna PBr7 (Burnt Sienna)
  • Burnt Umber PBr7 (Burnt Umber)
  • Cobalt Blue PB28 - true blue with low tinting strength, good for glazing (Cobalt Blue Hue)
  • Quinacridone Rose PV19 - high tinting strength cool red, good for florals (Thalo Crimson)
  • Phthalo Blue PB15 - high tinting strength cool blue, good for mixing darks (Thalo Blue)
  • Phthalo Green PG7 - high tinting strength cool green, good for mixing darks (Thalo Green)
  • Quinacridone Red PR209 - true red (Grumbacher Red)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Twitter Links and Marketing Art

I don't know if any of you are watching my Twitter updates at the bottom of the column to the right on this blog.  I am not tweeting too much except dates for the gallery, etc.  However, I am finding many links on Twitter about marketing art and using social networks to market art.  For those of you who are now hanging in the TVAL Gallery, you might follow up on the links in my RT's (re-tweets).  There is a lot of good information about websites and marketing.  I just RT'd three tweets from Art Marketing Secrets about open studios.  There is a lot of good advice in them for the gallery but also for the class shows and open houses we have been talking about holding.  AMS has an archive of all of their articles on their website.

October Syllabus for the Drawing Class

The plan for October for continuing students is to take all of the tools* you have learned about drawing ... and apply them to a subject of your choice using the dry media of your choice.  Whatever your project, start with comps and design within a design space.  Your subject is not a random object floating in space.  It relates to the four edges of the design space, whether that is a mat or frame.  While designing think in terms of the abstract design created by the dark, medium and light shapes that make up your subject. Remember Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear.  One value should be dominant.

Continuing students should also be looking for reference material for the November project.  We will be doing "scribble" drawings.  More on that later. You need black and white family photos.  Choose candid shots with a single light source.  Also look for shots where the person (or persons) are joined to an interesting shape behind them ... a porch railing, a period auto.  We will create vignettes of the person and object within the design space!

If you are unsure about whether the photo has a single light source, use a photo that was taken outdoors.  No flash photos!

For new students, we will continue with line but move from contour drawing to construction and gesture drawing.  I will provide the objects or scrap you will be working from  But, if you would like, bring in a family photo or two and apply these methods to those, too.  

Remember, everything we do is practice!

*What tools, you ask?  Contour, caging, construction, gesture, measuring (plotting), sight lines and plumb lines, perspective and light theory (planes, light , halftone, shadow).  Wow, you've done a lot since February.

The Drawing Class Takes the Contour Challenge!

The Tuesday drawing class and I have taken on the challenge to do 20 minutes of contour drawing a day for one week. At least one drawing should be blind contour.  No peeking!  Bring them to class next week.

Why do we do contour drawing?  Three reasons. One, it develops eye/hand coordination. It focuses you on what you see and not what you think you see. Three, it develops expressive line quality.

To refresh your memory:

Contour Drawing

Drawing is seeing.  If you understand what you see, with practice you will be able to draw it.  Contour drawing will develop eye to hand coordination.  Just like learning a tennis serve, it will take practice, practice, and more practice. 

A contour line explores the perimeter of a shape.  It is not exactly the same as the outline or silhouette, but it may include those.  Move your finger along the outside edge of the fingers on your other hand. Trace around a knuckle.  You are moving your finger along the contours of the opposite hand.  Contour drawing does the same thing, but instead of using your finger to feel the contour, you follow the contour with your eye and imagine your pencil on the paper is doing the same thing.  With practice, what your eye sees, your hand will draw.

In blind contour drawing, look constantly at the object and never at the paper.  Think … my eye moved this distance, my pencil moves the same distance.  If you find it impossible to not look at your paper, throw a towel over the paper and your drawing hand, or put your drawing board on your lap under the table, where you cannot see it.  Do not look at the paper until you have completely finished the drawing.  Don’t worry if you lose your place.  Keep focusing on what you see and letting your pencil follow.  Go very slowly. Imagine your pencil and not your eye is moving along the object.  The finished drawing will be out of proportion with every detail exaggerated.  Good!  The object of the exercise is to practice seeing.  It doesn’t matter what the result it.

Contour drawing is the same as blind contour, except that you look at the paper to check the position of the pencil, the size of something or the direction of a line.  But, NEVER draw while looking at the paper.  When your pencil is moving, your eyes should be on the object.  When you stop to check something and make a correction, your mind will remember.  Your eye, hand and mind are learning to work together.  Concentrate, but don’t feel any pressure about the result.  

Joseph Zbukvic and His Brush

The artist I took a workshop from is Joseph Zbukvic.  He thinks like I think as an oil painter ... shapes, shapes, shapes.  So, his watercolors appeal to me. He uses a full value range, so his paintings are very strong.  It was a wonderful workshop ... one that changed my approach.

He uses a squirrel quill instead of a sable round.  It comes to a very sharp point for detail work, but is very full in the belly ... so it holds a lot more water than a traditional watercolor round. When he does get to the details at the end of the painting, he switches to a synthetic round with a stiffer point.

Here is an Isabey squirrel quill.

Someday, when all of you are ready to hear it, I will tell you about Mr. Bead. Joseph introduced us!

Drawing and Watercolor Books

My favorite book for beginning drawing  is "Drawing with Your Artist's Brain: Learn to Draw What You See, Not What You Think You See" by Carl Purcell.  It covers many approaches to drawing and also touches on seeing in shapes and the abstract design behind a drawing.  Carl Purcell also wrote "Painting with Your Artist's Brain".  It covers the same ground but the examples are in watercolor rather than graphite.  There's no need to own both. Go with the one that suits the media you want to work in.

"Making Color Sing" by Jeanne Dobie is one of my favorite watercolor books. It approaches watercolor through color and design. It is for a serious beginner, though.  It does not get into technique.  This is the book I will be working from on Tuesday afternoons to set up my exercises.

Online Sources for Art Supplies

The two online art suppliers that I use most often are Jerry's Art Supply and Art Supply Warehouse.  Jerry's has a bit more of a selection, but ASW has a flat $6.95 shipping rate, which can be useful if you are ordering only a few items.  Dick Blick is also a good source. 

Go shop!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Painting is now Two Classes, Fundamental and Advanced

I have divided the Painting Fundamentals class into two classes on Wednesday ... an advanced class from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and a fundamentals class from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

For students who were previously enrolled, you can stay with the morning class if you wish. However, if you are a more recent student and need instruction in the fundamentals ... I will not be spending class time in the morning to cover these issues.  If you need work in color theory, light theory or mateirals ... the afternoon class is the place for you.  I know that it is difficult to leave your friends, but my advice is to make the choice that will advance you as an artist.  There are events, shows, field trips and parties that we will do as a group. So, your paths will cross again.  

The fundamentals class is not a beginning class.  It is the place for beginners to start, but I will work with beginning and intermediate students at their level.  I am asking that all new students enroll in the afternoon class, so that I can access your level.  If you are ready for the advanced class I will promptly move you there.  If you are not comfortable with drawing, the class you should be in is my drawing class on Tuesday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

If you would like to talk to me in private about which class you should be in, call or email me.  I'm here to help you.

Mary  :)

October Syllabus, Advanced Painting, Wednesday Mornings

October will be a free month in which you can choose your own subject matter.  A number of you wish to continue with your equine paintings.  The overall  goal is to work on a "show" painting.  Develop an idea from your own reference.  Start with small comps to create a good abstract composition.  Then, move into color and a larger format.  There are quite a few good shows in the near future for you to enter.

In November and December we will shift to still life.  Since I have now split the painting class into two classes, fundamental and advanced ... in the advanced class I will not be bringing the still life set-up in.  I want you to design the set-up and composition yourself.  Perhaps, two of you can work together to make a set-up that will work for two vantage points.  Not an easy task!  Plan on two three-week still lifes.  For November, a fall theme and for December, a winter theme.

The advanced class is ready to move to the level where you choose your subject matter and create your goal, rather than the teacher bring it in.  I will be there, however, to assist you and jump in with an appropriate lecture or demo when the need arises.

Go forth!

Painting Class/Equine Project

June Kakowski, after Lucy Kemp-Welch

In my advanced painting class we have been working on painting horses.  We have gone in depth on the anatomy ... and still have some more work in that area!  Quite a few horse paintings are close to completion and I will be posting them here.  I did recommend, for those who had never painted a horse before, to do a copy of a good painting.  This is June Kakowski's painting after a painting by Lucy Kemp-Welch ... my favorite equine artist. June did a great job exploring the planes and anatomy of the head.  Copying with a purpose, to study an aspect of the artist's work, can be a constructive project. Thanks, June.

New Water Media/Mixed Media Class

This is the supply list for my new class, Water Media and Mixed Media.  It will meet on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  I'm quite excited about it! While we focus on improving skills and introducing new media, my intention is for the class to be exploratory ... a chance to experiment and find your artistic voice.  

This is a new class for me, so I will be developing the syllabus as we go along.  The goal is to continue developing drawing skills and to bridge the gap between drawing and painting.  The projects will combine drawing with other drawing media, wet media and collage.  The class will have a heavy emphasis on design and color theory.  

The first project will combine contour line with simple washes.  It will be a good place to start for students thinking about moving into watercolor at some point.  Watercolor is a difficult medium … and adding color washes to your drawings will be a challenge to perfect.

Supplies for this class will vary from student to student … depending on the direction they want to go.  To get started you will need the following.

Basic drawing materials

  • A range of graphite pencils from HB to 6B
  • Kneaded eraser
  • White plastic eraser

Prismacolor colored pencils

 Watercolor brushes

  • 1” flat watercolor brush
  • #6 and #10 or #12 watercolor brush
  • #1 0r #2 liner brush
  • Brushes are a personal choice, so if you have brushes, bring what you have and see if you want these ... or something else.

 Arches watercolor paper

  • This is an expensive animal, but there is no way around it.  How the watercolor reacts with the paper is part of the process.  You cannot learn about the process without good paper.  Don’t worry about the goofs, as we move into collage you will be able to reuse the paper from the practice paintings. I recommend buying a 9 x 12” pad of Arches 140# Cold Press or several 22 x 28” sheets of the same.  I will have sheets to purchase in class for $4.50 a sheet.

Watercolor paint in tubes

  • To start, you need a tube of Ultramarine Blue (it may be labeled French Ultramarine) and Burnt Umber.  You can get student grade at this point (WN Cotman or Grumbacher Academy).

Nice, but optional at this point

  • Ask Santa for water-soluble watercolor pencils, crayons or pastels.  We’ll take a look at some in class.