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Watercolor-Just-Got-Easier
August 05, 2008
Hi

 

WATERCOLOR PAINTING JUST

GOT EASIER FOR YOU

 

NO MORE TIME WASTING WITH

TRIAL AND ERROR

 

SUPRISE YOUR CLOSE ONE'S WHEN THEY SEE YOUR

PAINTINGS

 

IF YOU THINK YOU CAN PAINT OR IF YOU THINK YOU CANNOT PAINT

YOU ARE RIGHT.

 

YOU CAN LEARN TO PAINT BEAUTIFUL WATERCOLORS.

THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK WRITTEN BY HERB OLSEN WAY BACK WHEN.

THE THEME

In the past 30 years watercolor has assumed the importance in the art world it rightly deserves.  Watercolor with its freshness and vitality has an appeal distinctly its own.

Today the old style of watercolor painting, which was largely thin washes over pencil, has been so developed that in its place we now find paintings of a depth and permanency that previously could have been achieved only in other mediums.

In Watercolor Made Easy it is my desire to try to dissolve the aura of difficulty that has surrounded watercolor painting for so long and to demonstrate aids in helping to make it a medium not to be feared but one to be loved and thoroughly enjoyed.

A solid plan is a requisite to any good painting.  This means proper division of space; after this these area must be broken up into the desired shapes.  Much drawing can be done while painting, but a completed drawing before putting brush to paper is advisable for the inexperienced.

 

No amount of painting can correct mistakes in composition when there has been no thought given to a plan.

In this book, simple set-by-step procedures demonstrate the development of a watercolor from the initial conception to the finished painting.

Also shown are graphic solutions of problems which many artists find particularly troublesome.  

It is commonly thought that it is impossible to correct an error in watercolor.  

This is a mistaken idea; with practice and good materials, it is perfectly possible to make certain corrections, additions, and even deletions.  

My aim in this book is to tell as clearly and concisely as possible how to make watercolor painting easier.  

It is not meant to be a literary treatise in which to express my views and theories of art.  If it helps you and inspires you to paint, it will have fulfilled is purpose.  Remember, no less a personage than Winslow Homer once told his art dealer, "You will see; in the future, I will live by my watercolor".

MATERIALS

My attitude toward materials may be summed up by paraphrasing the old adage that just as you can't be a good carpenter without good tools, so you can't be a good watercolorist without good materials.

Even the beginner, who must spoil and throw away a lot of paper, should not start off with too cheap a grade of paper. Adequate machine-made rag-content papers are available for practice.  

However , as soon as possible, the beginner should switch to a good paper.  Such paper not only takes paint better but shows up whiter at those times when the paper becomes an integral part of the design, such as when painting snow scenes.

It also pays to be consistent in the grade of paper you choose.  This makes it possible to evaluate your work as you progress.  

After you've learned to achieve certain effects on one grade of paper and find that it doesn't work on another grade, you'll understand the importance of this point.

By using the same grade you can under ideal conditions., achieve the same effect rather consistently.

A ream of watercolor paper also contains 500 sheets, but the weight may vary from 90 pounds to 400 pound, depending on the thickness of the paper.

In the beginning you may want to use a lightweight un-mounted paper, say 90 pounds.  

However, you will soon discover that it will tend to buckle when heavy washes are applied.  The resulting wrinkles can be most disconcerting when you are trying to paint reasonably straight object such as telephone poles, fence posts, and piles.  

I have found that 140 pound weight to be ideal.

 It will buckle if you pile on water in that case try 300 pounds.

In choosing paper you must also consider its texture.  Surfaces from very smooth to rough are available.  Cold Press CP is in between the previous two textures.

Selection is usually based on the technique employed by the artist.  

I prefer the 140 pound d'Arches  COLD PRESS CP

Although paper comes in various sizes, the one most commonly used is 22 inches by 30 inches and is known in the trade as "Imperial" and to artists as a full sheet.  Another common size is the half sheet, which is 22 inches by 15 inches.

WATERCOLOR PAINT

Although there are many colors of fine quality available, I find that for my work professional grade paint from "Major Manufacturers"  to be preferred over cheaper inferior student grade paint.

More about paint later.

Brushes that are used 90% of the time #12 Round, #6 Rigger or Liner.  1" Flat and 2" Hake.

Additional equipment needed by the watercolorist are a soft cosmetic sponge (fine textured and natural - not rubber);  a water container;  paint rags;  sandpaper;  sketch pad;  masking tape;  hand mirror;  a low sketching stool;  kneaded eraser; HB, 2B, pencils;  drawing board;  frisket;  palette with large mixing area.  A 5 inch by 7 inch sketch pad is another useful item to add to the sketching trip for thumbnail sketches preliminary to work on the main picture or for pictures to be finished back in the studio.  This also serves as a record of the amount of work you have done during the year.

A hand mirror is of great use in looking at you pictures reversed.  This aids you in seeing many things which are not immediately apparent when you look at the picture in its original position.  It shows you how well your picture is balanced and how well it is tied together.  It also doubles your distance, shows how the picture will look when hung on the wall, and helps you to find the best place to put your signature.

The low sketching stool is recommended because working is easier when sitting near the ground.  You can use a watercolor easel if you like.

The kneaded eraser is useful because with it you can correct your pencil sketch without affecting the texture of the paper.

The glare of sunlight on which paper is perhaps the greatest problem in painting outdoors.  Rarely will you find the point from which you want to paint conveniently shaded.

Umbrellas are cumbersome and,  with all other necessary equipment, a down right nuisance.

I use polaroid sunglasses as a solution to the above problem because this glass has no adverse effect  on color or values.

Paintings I've done outdoors wearing polaroid glasses have reduced eye strain and are exactly the same as I would have done had I been able to work in a shaded spot.  In a sense, polarized glasses are an aid to outdoor painting because they pull together light and dark values and simplify the masses.

They can be purchased from any good optical house, but those who wear corrective glasses should have them made from their own prescriptions.

 

PALETTE

The organized planning of the palette is a great aid to competent painting.  Too often the beginner fails to realize the necessity of instinctively knowing where a particular color lies on his palette.  Just as a typist automatically reaches for his keys, so a painter should automatically reach for his colors.

I would strongly urge you not to be too sparing with your pigments as you prepare your palette; use about half a tube of each color.  Nothing is more annoying when laying in a wash than to find you have no more color.  By the time you squeeze out more color the area being painted may have dried, causing serious trouble.  If a color has been lying on the palette for some time between painting sessions and shows signs of cracking, a drop of glycerine will soften it.

Do not make the mistake, even if you are a beginner, of buying cheap color.  It is no economy because you use more of it, there is no guarantee of permanency, and the colors are not true.  Get accustomed to good color and what it can do for you.

mixing color

You are going to look at the pigment code formulation, wording on the tube P.G. meaning pigment green, P.R. meaning pigment red,   P.B. meaning pigment blue 

You are going to start with seven tubes only, why so few, starting with a small number of colors and using and mixing these for a while to get completely familiar with what they can do and cannot do.  You can always add more pigments (colors) to your palette as you get more experienced.

Below are the seven pigments that I recommend as starters.  PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE TWO SETS OF RECOMMENDED STARTER COLORS  - THIS IS THE FIRST ONE.  SOME OF THE TEXT HAS BEEN REPEATED JUST TO MAKE SURE YOU GOT IT.

 

PB    29           French Ultr Marine              Warm  

PB    27        Antwerp Blue                     Cool

PR    206         Perm. Alizarin Crimson       Cool

PR    254         Winsor Red                         Warm

PY    153         Indian Yellow                      Warm

PY    154         Winsor Yellow                    Cool

PR    101         Burnt Sienna                       Warm

The above list of seven pigments are listed as warm or cool, remember warm colors tend to advance toward the viewer and cool colors tend to recede.
Keep that thought in mind for a moment.
Most books describe this or that color as being warm or cool as the case may be.

But that statement is totally misleading.

It may well be true as shown on a color wheel at that very moment you are looking at it.  But it's a whole different story on a painting for example PB 29 is listed as a warm blue, PR 206 is listed as a cool red.  Now place them together and they switch rolls the blue becomes cool and the red becomes warm.
Colors are only warm or cool depending on their neighbors

Color is one of the main elements in a painting.  There will be an E-Book coming out real soon on this site about this very subject.

You will be surprised to learn that when you see the word "Permanent" on a tube label.  It does not mean it will not fade.  Let me repeat that Permanent does not mean it will not fade.  Don't miss out on this  E-Book.

MIXING COLORS

When you are buying groceries you very often look at the label of nutritional facts.  

In mixing colors, guess what, you are going to do the same thing.  You are going to look at the ingredients in the tube before you buy, You should not go by a "common name" such as Sap Green, Bright Red or Sky Blue etc. etc

You are going to look at the pigment code formulation, wording on the tube P.G. meaning pigment green, P.R. meaning pigment red,   P.B. meaning pigment blue 

You are going to start with seven tubes only, why so few, starting with a small number of colors and using and mixing these for a while to get completely familiar with what they can do and cannot do.  You can always add more pigments (colors) to your palette as you get more experienced.

Below are the seven pigments that I recommend as starters.

PB    29           French Ultr Marine                  Warm  
PB    35           Cerulean Blue                        Cool
PR    206         Perm. Alizarin Crimson           Cool
PR    108         Cadmium Red                       Warm
PY    153         New Gamboge                      Warm
PY    53         Lemon Yellow                          Cool
PR    101         Burnt Sienna                        Warm

The above list of seven pigments are listed as warm or cool, remember warm colors tend to advance toward the viewer and cool colors tend to recede.
Keep that thought in mind for a moment.
Most books describe this or that color as being warm or cool as the case may be.
But that statement is totally misleading.

It may well be true as shown on a color wheel at that very moment you are looking at it.  But it's a whole different story on a painting for example PB 29 is listed as a warm blue, PR 206 is listed as a cool red.  Now place them together and they switch rolls the blue becomes cool and the red becomes warm.
Colors are only warm or cool depending on their neighbors.

Most of you are familiar with the color wheel it consists of primary colors RED, YELLOW, BLUE, and what is know as secondary colors, these are color produced by mixing any two primaries together, example Red plus Blue = Purple, the other two secondary's being Green and Orange.

Six of the seven colors suggested consist of a warm and cool Red, warm and cool Blue. warm and cool Yellow.  The colors chosen all have a color BIAS, or leaning towards another color.  The warm Blue leans towards Red hence it's a warm Blue, the cool Red leans towards Blue hence it is a cool Red.
This will apply to the other four colors.  They all lean one way or the other.
Remember this, it is very important .
If you mix anymore than three pigments you are headed maybe for mud.
In the beginning of mixing colors I told you to disregard Common Names.  You are now going to look for Pigment Codes  only-forget the name

Pigment code PB 15 which is Phthalo Blue has at least fifteen different names, each manufacturer has a different name for this pigment.  If you like this Blue all you have to remember is PB 15 on the label not fifteen different names.  Isn't that easier.

Mixing Color is not difficult or complicated if you stop and think what color do I want to end up with.
Let's suppose you want to make "pure clean vibrant purple" look at the color wheel below.

Mix color #1 with #2, please note that you did not cross over the high fences you stayed in your area. You mixed PB 29 which is Blue learning towards Red with PR 206 which is Red leaning towards Blue.
This is what happens, you mixed the Blue Red with a Red Blue therefore you mixed two tubes of pigment together but only two pigments Blue & Red together.

Now suppose you need a dullish purple,.... be a kid and climb over one of the high fences and mix color #1 with, climb over the fence with color #3 this is what happened, your mixed a Blue Red with a Red Yellow, you therefore mixed two tubes of pigment together but now three pigments Blue, Red and Yellow and you wind up with a dull purple.

Now jump over two fences, mix color #6 with color #3 you are still mixing Blue & Reds together but it's going to look like mud, because you mixed Blue/Green Red/Yellow four pigments out of two tubes.

Now you can do the same for a nice Green, mix color #5 & 6 together..... mix #6 & 4 and you are going to get a dullish Green, mix 1 & 4 your going to get mud Green.
Do the same for Orange #4 & 3 good Orange, #4 & 2 dull and #2 & 5 mud.

Mixing two pigments that are biased towards completely different colors will always result in a more "neutralized" (less intend or pure mixture).  Some of these colors can be wonderful and you need to know how to mix them to play them off against brighter and pure colors.

The above is the most important thing for you to understand.

Remember as you add pigments you have to find out the "leanings" or bias of that particular color. Very soon I will finish a computerized color wheel for you, there are hundreds of colors, at the click of a button.

Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel tend to make a greyish/black color.  White is opposite of Black, I know you got that right away.... Blue is opposite to.... that might make you pause a second or two Orange is Blue's opposite.

Try this tip.....Blue, Red and Yellow are the three primaries.
Take one primary - let's say Blue and it's opposite is the color produced from the other two primaries when they are mixed together in this case Red & Yellow make Orange.
Let's take Red, the two primaries left are Blue & Yellow, when mixed together Green is the result. Green therefore is the opposite to Red. Blue and Red make Purple, The primary left is Yellow, therefore, Yellow is the opposite to Purple.

All my Gray's are made from Permanent Alizarin Crimson plus Winsor Green.  Beware both of these colors are stainers.

When you buy a tube of paint try to obtain one pigment stated on the tube.  Single pigment tubes is the way to go if possible.  The least pigment in each tube the better.

I would never in a million years buy a tube of Davy's Gray it has PG 17 (Green), PBk6 (Black) PW4 (White), PBk19 (Black) all inside the tube.  Mix this with another tube I would not buy Burnt Umber PBk7 (Black) PR101  (Red) PY42 (yellow) if you happen to mix both of these you would have seven pigments mixed together WHAT A MESS.

Mixing is also a matter of proportion, how much of each pigment that goes into the mix determines the outcome.  Always start your mix with the lightest of pigments and add the others to it.  Some pigments have greater tinting strength and a little touch may change the other color quickly.

In Mixing Colors I try to let them mingle and mix together on the paper rather than mixing colors in the palette.
Don't over mix your pigments and for goodness sake don't push & pull them around the paper with your brush - over working.
Always feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.

PALETTE.

The organized planning of the palette is a great aid to competent painting. Too often the beginner fails to realize the necessity of instinctively knowing where a particular color lies on his palette. Just as a typist automatically reaches for his keys, so a painter should automatically reach for his colors.

Would strongly urge you not to be too sparing with your pigments as you prepare your palette; use about half a tube of each color. Nothing is more annoying when laying in a wash than to find you have no more color.

By the time you squeeze out more color the area being painted may have dried, causing serious trouble.
If a color has been lying on the palette for some time between painting sessions and shows signs of cracking, a drop of glycerine will soften it.

A palette with a lid and large mixing area is ideal..

 

SPECIAL REPORTS

This has been the first report of a series of eight.  Each of the reports will come to you once a week.

The second report will be ....

PAINTING THE FIGURE

COMPOSITION

PLANNING YOUR PICTUE

WORKING FROM PHOTOGRAPHS

There will be six more very informative reports yet to come.  Please encourage your watercolor pals to ask for these special reports and we will bring them up to date.

Cheerio for now, see you next week  -  jim

 

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