TUESDAY FEBRUARY 28th
SPECIAL TOPIC: DRAWING SNOW
Linda had a question about winter landscapes, which led to a more specific focus: portraying snowy branches.
I had already scheduled my winter classes this year but I decided to add on a single-session class focusing on this specific topic—drawing snow.
I may take on the larger topic of an entire winter landscape next year, but for now I’ll just look at drawing snow. I will not plan on doing a full painting in this class. In demonstrations I will draw a fir tree with snowy branches using graphite pencils. I will then draw a close-up section of a snowy tree using colored pencils, to show how to contour the individual branches with snow and adding color.
This will basically be a class about learning techniques. The focus will be on mastering this skill, not on a full finished piece. I don’t know if anyone else is interested in this topic, but if you are, hopefully these demonstrations will be helpful.
Graphite Pencils: a hard pencil (2H-4H), a middle (H, or HB), and 2B. A kneaded eraser is important here. You may also choose to use a blender such as a stomp if you want a smoother look.
--Interior areas where no light hits are very dark
(NEGATIVE DRAWING under, between branches)
--as you move into more sunlit areas both branches and
snow get lighter
5. POSITIVE DRAWING
NOTE: this is most important on close-ups
You can’t see as much on far-off trees
6. STEP BACK
7. REPEAT STEPS 4-6 UNTIL HAPPY WITH IT.
(No Class MARCH 30th) 9:30-noon
On-Line Class Registration through DPAL
Ask me if you have any questions
While all flower bouquets are beautiful, there’s something especially lovely about a small, delicate bouquet with a single stem in a tiny vase.
Using a stem of alstroemeria in a little blue vase and a single branch of flowering quince in a bud vase, I’m hoping to capture some of that light, lovely feeling in a few small paintings.
I will demonstrate using a variety of media—watercolor paints, watercolor pencil, and ink pens.
Watercolor Paints I used (substitute with your own as desired): Aureolin, New Gamboge, Azo Orange (or substitute New Gamboge+Quinacridone Red), Quinacridone Red, Sap Green, Winsor Blue Green Shade and Winsor Blue Red Shade (or substitute Phthalo Blue), Quinacridone Pink, and Phthalo Green.
Watercolor Pencils: Dark Chocolate, Inktense Sea Blue, Red-violet, Middle Purple Pink, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Dark Orange, Light Green, Helioblue Red Shade, Cadmium Yellow
I additionally used masking fluid (but you don’t need to) in the alstroemeria and a Micron Pen in the Quince. I used a 005 width, but you could easily substitute with a fatter one such as 01 or 05. These would just give you a more pronounced line.
Paper: I used hot pressed watercolor paper, but you could use cold press instead.
Alstroemeria in a Blue Mini Pitcher
I think the most difficult part of this painting is understanding the flowers. They are tightly clumped together in this little vase and it could be confusing. In my painting I didn’t consider it all that important to portray every petal of every flower accurately.
To me the important thing is to give the general sense of the flowers-- to get their overall shape and to contour with the paint and brush (or colored pencils) so that the flowers look three-dimensional and make sense to the viewer. DON’T worry if your drawing isn’t perfectly “right”. Just give the general idea.
The reason I chose this photo to paint is the lovely color contrast--the beautiful warm yellow, orange, and red against the little blue vase. I also loved the cast shadow, which I thought was fun. That’s what I wanted to convey in the painting.
If that’s your goal, too, then don’t drive yourself crazy drawing the flowers. You can absolutely simplify the drawing and still convey that color contrast. You can just choose one flower, or a few. It’s your choice. In case you are having problems identifying the different flowers, since they are so close together on the stem, I marked up my photo below. I outlined each flower in a different color so you can see each one—red, violet, pale blue, blue-purple, and mint green.
THIS PAINTING JUST INVOLVES A SERIES OF STEPS:
--do the drawing. Either mask vase & flowers or avoid.
--do backgrnd washes using glazes of Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Sap Green
--paint the blue vase&cast shadow
In Winsor Blue Red & Green shades, and a touch of Quinacridone Pink
--Alstroemeria and leaves
--understand the flowers
Paint in contour with Aureolin glaze,
Azo Orange, New Gamboge, and Sap Green
--leaves with Aureolin glaze, Sap Green,
and possibly touch of Winsor Blue
Each of the five little flowers outlined
A quick value study of the focal flower
After my sketch I masked the pitcher and flowers. I used watercolor paint in thin washes to paint the background. After the background dried I painted the pitcher, cast shadow, and flowers in watercolor paint. I added some watercolor pencil for some details and for sparkle. This project could easily be done in either media alone or a combination of the two.
I MASKED THE FOREGROUND AND USED DILUTED WASHES FOR THE BACKGROUND THEN REMOVED THE MASK
MY PAINTING USING WATERCOLOR PAINT WITH WATERCOLOR PENCIL ACCENTS
Quince Branch in a Bud Vase
As with the alstroemeria I started with my sketch. Instead of masking, I simply painted around the foreground with my watercolor paint washes. I painted the quince and the vase using watercolor paints and added a micron pen for an informal, crisp look. This project could easily be done using watercolor paints, watercolor pencils, or both—with or without the micron pen.
MY PAINTING USING WATERCOLOR PAINT AND A MICRON PEN
PAINTING GLASS VASES
1. Paint what you observe, not what you expect. The shapes won’t necessarily “make sense” because of the distortion from the reflective glass and water.
2. Observe the shapes and the contrast of light vs. dark.
3. Observe actual color, not what you assume. There could be a mixture of vegetation color, color from the surface it sits on, surrounding objects, a pale blue from cool light, etc.
4. “Charge” paint in each shape individually.
5. The glass vase, which is clear, is only visible in that it reflects some of the light that shines on it in some areas and refract some of the light that shines through it, distorting the shapes of objects within and outside the glass object.
6. Paint the stems.
7. Once shapes and stems are dry, you may want to wet the entire interior of the vase with clear water or a very pale wash of color such as blue (or something else depending on the interior color of the vase). If using a color, make the color stronger on the shadow side.
8. Diluted cobalt blue tends to be very transparent and dilutes really well. It’s a choice I like. Cerulean blue is a beautiful shade some people like, but can be a bit opaque, which is a problem when depicting water. Daniel Smith Cerulean Blue is more transparent and would be a good water glaze if you prefer cerulean.
9. Once dry you can lift some highlights with a stiff brush, making sure to follow the contour shape.
10. If you are a watercolor pencil artist you can use most of these tips. In terms of application techniques, I tend to “glaze” on the watercolor pencil by wetting a brush and painting the color on the paper.
PL McGahan Art
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