Hello all! I’m still keeping in the spirit of encouraging quarantine creativity since here in the US we are kind of locked down until this virus situation is under control. There is no better time to try something new because time is something a lot of us have an abundance of right now. I wanted to share one of my favorite watercolor lessons today.
This watercolor tree can be done in so many different shapes and color schemes, and is the perfect way to practice blending with watercolors.
Some tips for along the way:
- You will want your paints to have a wash consistency for this project … which means you are adding a decent amount of water to your paint so that it is quite runny.
- If you find yourself getting too much liquid on the paper at once to where it is creating a pool, after dipping your brush in paint tap it on a nearby rag or paper towel first. Also remember, you can always use a rag or paper towel to blot extra water off your paper and try again.
- If you are still seeing a line in between your two colors as you blend, you can wash over the transition with a damp brush dipped in plain water to encourage the colors to bleed together more seamlessly.
- Remember, if two colors are wet they will bleed into each other when they touch. This is great for blending, but not so great for different color sections located next to teach other in our tree. Don’t fill in shapes in your tree branches that are right next to each other one after the other. By jumping around, you will allow time for drying.
- Any permanent pen or marker works for the outline – like a basic Sharpie.
- HAVE FUN! Practice really does help. You will probably see that you like your blends that you do later in the game better than your first couple. That’s ok, you are learning! Don’t worry about perfection just enjoy the process.
If you try this, feel free to share a picture in the comments! Enjoy a creative Sunday!
This first piece in a new series was a long time coming … I am obsessed with working small, and tend to work in 11×14 or maybe 16×20 max, and wanted to start doing pieces that were at least 18×24 or larger to allow me to include more detail and further develop the background in my pieces. My new series, Dwell, really taps into my background of interior design study. These pieces will contemplate how our environment affects us, but also how we interact with and affect it. The word dwell also has a double meaning, not just the physical space where we live but the places we create inside us that we allow our mind to dwell in. How are these psychological spaces affecting us, and how much control do we have over them or they over us?
“Dwell In Possibility” was a challenge for me because it involved a lot of brown, a color I literally never use in art. I tend to create pieces that are mostly grayscale tones with pops of bright color, and gray just would not have been right for the earthy feeling I wished to evoke. The other challenge to this piece was that I was creating an interior that was not very attractive or intricate … the remains of a decaying building, dirt floor, rough wood paneled walls, weathered plaster ceiling once grand but now stripped of any color or design … The only furnishing an abandoned, sun bleached chair frame.
I did a lot of layering of different media overtop one another, and used my clear prismacolor pencil blender for the first time in my entire life. I usually use a white pencil to blend, but this time I couldn’t use an opaque blender because I wanted to be able to still see the underlayer of watercolor through the blended pencil. I left the flowers and hair purely impressionistic watercolor as opposed to the detail in the background and the model’s face. I didn’t use as much dimensional mixed media as usual, not wanting to add too much clutter, and stuck to a lace fabric overlay on her dress and clusters of beads for the centers of the poppy flowers.
The closer you look, you will see there is a lot more going on than just a smiling woman holding a bouquet. She is already stationed in an odd setting, an old deteriorated building. She is surrounded by decay, including uprooted, dying plants. Even some of the flowers in her hands are dead or dying, but they are slowly coming back to life as she grasps onto them, holds them and nurtures them. Behind her through the door there is a cavern of light, where a grand tree has taken hold. There are no leaves yet, hardly any soil for his roots to grasp onto, yet he is still alive somehow. Robins circle around, a bird that symbolically means rebirth. Change and growth are always possible.
As you can also see, I can’t seem to put down the metallic gold acrylic lately! At work, my students always want to cover everything they make in metallics and glitter, which often makes me shake my head, but I can understand the temptation ;). Speaking of which, I am starting a new class called Creative Minds where each week students will be learning about an accomplished artist of the past or present, and completing a small project based on that artist’s iconic style with a focus on artists with disabilities and mental health. I will be sharing my projects as well as some of the students’ interpretations, so be on the look out for a new project post each week! I am hoping some of you reading this will want to try it at home yourself. It’s always fun to play :D!
This past weekend I once again participated in Do-All‘s Art Clash with my PIC of 3 years Heather Deogracia. Art Clashes/Art Battles are getting increasingly popular. They are live art competitions where artists are given a limited time (usually 3 hours) to complete a work of art from start to finish. As you can imagine, it’s super nerve-wracking. We didn’t even take any photos together until after the relief of the competition’s end, because we were so nervous that we were white as ghosts! (Or, ok, we’re both pretty pale. Whiter than usual I guess 😉 ).
(In the second picture above, we were supposed to be making snooty faces but I still innately smiled the minute the photo timer got to 1 second … Damn you, social conditioning!)
In addition to being my forever Art Clash companion, Heather is also in my Studio Art class at Artshop! This awesome lady came into class on the first day of spring semester and said, “I know what I want my project to be. I want to make a mermaid tale”. This is why she is one of my favorite people. I have not had my body traced on giant paper since elementary school. It was hilarious.
Back to the Art Clash, I really thought I was simplifying this year by doing a happy watercolor tree instead of trying to do something with people or portraits, my usual subject matter of choice. BUT THOSE BIRDS! The detailing was so much more time consuming than I expected, even using prismacolor markers rather than colored pencil. I truly thought I wasn’t going to finish, was cursing myself for drawing so many of them to begin with, and found myself chanting louder and louder inside my own head “The birds, the BIRDS, THE BIRDS!”
I should have learned by now, it all works out in the end.
I present to you, “Color The World”, 18×24 Watercolor and Ink.
I’ve posted this design to my Redbubble Shop, which offers the print on a variety of fun products. Traditional photographic prints are also for sale in my Ebay Store. Wondering what I’ll do next year … one thing is for certain – no more birds.