Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Watercolor Farmer's Market - A Quick Walk-Through and a Project

I love the look of watercolor paintings.  There are a wide variety of styles and techniques, and they are a fun medium to work with.

One Saturday this past summer, a group of friends and I got together for an Intro to Watercolors class.  We met at a local park to enjoy being outdoors, while the weather still allowed!  We went over some of the basic things like the different forms watercolor paints come in and the different types of papers that are available.  After that we talked about colors and the color wheel.
Then we started a simple project - painting farmer's market finds. . .

A few basics when working with watercolors...
  • They are not opaque, so they will not completely cover a dark pencil mark or darker colored paint.  
  • If you want the brightest highlight, use the paper color - meaning don't add any paint to the place you want to be the lightest.
  • You can use water to "erase" much of the paint - before it dries. It really stains the paper, absorbing into the top layer of fibers.  You may be able to make it a bit lighter, but not completely remove it, unless you use gouache , or scrape the top layer of paper fibers off.
  • Have fun!  Experiment with how the color moves with water.  How you can push it, swirl it, mix it right on the paper, depending on how much water you add to it.
Walking through a Farmer's Market can really lead to a harvest of colors and inspiration for some quick study paintings (and maybe lunch)!  Are you up for a field trip?

Okay, here we go!

I picked up a few items that caught my eye.  I tried to pick a variety of colors and shapes.

For our class, we arranged some vegetables in front of each group, and they worked from that arrangement.

I did not have any veggies in front of me for this project, so I was working from my memory. . .and lightly sketched it on my paper.  Also for this, to add some interest, I measured out grid lines which I then "masked" or covered with something called watercolor masking fluid.  It simply covers the area that you want to leave white so you don't have to worry about coloring inside the lines.  This fluid shows in the photo below as the darker grid.  When I am finished with the painting, I simply need to rub off the mask to reveal the white places.

I decided to try the watercolor pencils.  I haven't used them before and figured there is no time like the present!  They look like colored pencils, so I began coloring in areas of the sketch leaving some areas white until I saw how they covered once the water was added.
For shadows, instead of simply adding more color or shading with black, I sometimes use the complementary colors.  Very simply, these are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel.  There are three primary colors - colors that cannot be created by mixing other colors together.  These are Red, Blue and Yellow.  Secondary colors are Violet (Red + Blue), Green (Blue + Yellow) and Orange (Yellow + Red)

The complementary of Red is Green, of Blue is Orange, of Yellow is Violet.  Mixing them creates darker tones for shadows.

Here is my progress so far, though I will need to finish adding some contrast and work out the background color.

All-in-all I am having fun with this, and hope to work on some more watercolors soon.  I do have other projects that are on-going and will share those as they move along. 

What is something new that you have tried recently?

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