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Plan a Watercolor

 

"I don't bother, I just copy what somebody else painted and people call me a good Artist". This is what I hear from my students all the time.

Whether you are going to paint in Abstract, Realistic or in another style, a plan creating a Blue Print is essential.

Good Artist's from all over the world, Chinese, Russian,and Japanese, Artist's, yes, everyone starts with a Blue Print (plan).

WHAT DO YOU DO?

CREATE A PLAN OF ACTION  -  NO.

Skip this idea altogether, most do. I hear this "well I copy other Artist's work, so I don't need one".

Would a Home Builder need a plan, you know the answer.

I know it's a pain, but you do need a plan. Put it this way, 95% of Professional Artists make a plan, 95% of "copy" Artist's don't. We just copy some Professionals work.

Don't get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong for students to copy works of the Masters when you begin to paint. But just keep two thoughts in mind, copyright laws, and don't do it most of your painting years.

So lets start (painlessly) in organizing a plan you don't need to spend a lot of time ten to thirty minutes might work. A small 3"x4" value sketch is a minimum.

First quickly decide, does a vertical, square or horizontal format suit the idea you might have in mind. Basic rules for a Home Builder are place kitchen close to dining area. Similar for painting, place "impact area" (center of interest) in a STRATEGIC position on the paper.  WHERE?  THIS IS IMPORTANT.

Divide the picture into thirds, vertically and horizontally, where they cross (you have four choices), choose only one. THAT'S THE CENTER OF INTEREST.

Center of Interest the spot that the eye (brain) goes to first when looking at a painting. But Jim how do I show the "Center of Interest" to the best advantage. EMPHAZIE.

This is where you need your brightest colors, the highest contrast, the sharpest edges, and the most detail. Total area should be about 1/16th of the total area of the painting (plus or minus).

TIME OUT, RE-CAP.

You make a thumbnail sketch, showing the shapes, where darks and lights go. Decide where the Impact Area goes. Decide on color scheme (more about this latter).

LAY THE FOUNDATION

"Values" (lights and darks), is the foundation of a painting PERIOD! NOT COLOR.

Like the rooms in your house the "shapes" must be linked together. The builder creates a flow pattern, linking an area with a hallway to the next area. YOU DO THE SAME. Linking the light and dark areas together for rhythm, balance and movement.

NOW DO THIS.

Simplify your painting idea into a few major shapes that will form the overall design. Big large joining shapes. No little "non-joining" shapes scattered all over the painting. Now we have the plan and foundation in place.

 

PUT UP THE FRAME WORK FOR THE HOUSE (PAINTING).

Once your values are "planned", you are ready to construct the frame work, the Color Plan.

Ask yourself what color or colors sets the stage for the mood of the subject. Those should dominate the painting.

This formula works for me, (1) mostly, (2) some and a (3) bit. Also, have seen it expressed as Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.

The color distribution should roughly follow these proportions.

  • (1) "Mostly" the colors should share the same characteristics.
  • (2) "Some" should differ from the "Mostly" main color.
  • (3)The "Bit" should be completely different from "Mostly" and "Some".

Perhaps the Mostly, Some and Bits, is most obvious in color; But remember there is M,S & B in values, temperature, and intensity.

 

EXAMPLES FOR "M,S&B"

 

  1. Mostly Dark Colors
  2. Some Middle Tones
  3. Bit-Light

 

  1. Mostly Blue
  2. Some Yellow
  3. Red

 

  1. Mostly Warm Colors
  2. Some Cool Colors
  3. Neutral

 

Please note you can inter-change the order or arrangement of the examples above i.e."Mostly" - middle tones, "Some" dark and "Bit" light.

WHY DOES THIS IDEA WORK?

There are two ideas at the heart of this strategy.

FIRSTLY    It makes sure that all color properties in your painting are not all the same.  All greens every where (I know you have seen this) will be boring.

Painting with all similar values will look bad, try it.  Paint a landscape some green in the trees same green in background and foreground.  WHAT A MESS.  Also full intensity colors would be overwhelming (bet you have seen those).

SECONDLY  Contrast which when carefully applied can be the key to a compelling visual image.  The "Bit" is especially important.  Bit is a perfect choice of the Impact Area (C of I).

 

RAISE THE WALLS

Use a large brush to keep it simple.  Start with a "Broom" and finish with a "Needle"

Don't get hung up in the details yet.  In other words don't put the wall paper on a half built wall.  Paint large shapes first, then and only then, paint the details.

 

WALLS UP

Only now can you decorate your structurally sound painting to your hearts content, even with a small brush.  Can be left impressionistic or developed to photo realism. You will find that a good painting does not require a genius. ALL IT TAKES IS A GOOD BLUE PRINT.

A HOUSE WITHOUT A PLAN?

A PAINTING WITHOUT A PLAN?-------GOES NO WHERE.

 

 

 

Watercolor Basics

One of the biggest reasons that students fail in painting Watercolor is................. JUDGING YOUR EARLY ARTISTIC EFFORTS.

YOU DON'T NEED TO FAIL IN WATERCOLORS!

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Watercolor for Beginners

Learn the basics of watercolor painting... from choosing the right paper and brushes to learning basic techniques of glazing and how to frame your work.

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Watercolor Techniques

Learn just a few of the various techniques used most often by professional watercolorists to bring interest, texture and "life" to their watercolor paintings.

Each technique is fully demonstrated.

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Painting Trees

Although trees are made up of many parts and endless textures don't let them become overwhelming, you cannot fall out of these painted trees. I know you can paint good looking trees with a little help. So lets see how you are going to do this without getting bent out of shape, irritated or what-ever you do when those Green Balls on sticks appear.......been there...done that.

Painting Landscapes

I am going to present to you a "non encyclopedia" approach and give you a no fuss, logical way to paint a watercolor landscape and have fun doing it. Before we start, get comfortable maybe a favorite beverage would be in order. Make your mistakes, goofs and failures work to help you in painting a watercolor landscape.

  • Four Seasons
  • Working With Fresh Transparent Glazes
  • Watercolor Painting in the Great Outdoors
  • Painting Clouds in Watercolor
  • Step by step Demonstration on Watercolor Winter Scenes
  • Demonstration of Painting Trees Trunks
  • Demonstration of Rocks and Sea
  • Demonstration of Watercolor Skies
  • Watercolor Landscape Painting Tips

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