In the afternoon of the 2nd day, Bev demonstrated how she paints faces: what colors she mixes to create skin tones varying from dark to light, placement of values, drawing of eyes, etc.
Here a short overview in pictures:
This is the sketch she started with. See how she drew a value-shape map on the face.
She started by painting the darker side of the face. Contrasts of light and dark areas make the painting much more interesting. Also, building up values creates form.
Notice how she made her black (for the hair) “colorful”. In the morning (during the b&w dog demo) she said’ “make your blacks colorful” – fantastic advice. I’ve never thought of it that way.
Here the finished painting. See, how she kept some areas pure white (the white of the paper). Watching her paint I sometimes thought the dark would be too dark or the contrasts too strong but once the whole composition came together and the painting was dry everything turned out to be just right. Lesson: be bold with your colors (especially with watercolor because they fade a bit when dry). For the darkest areas, she uses the paint very thick (almost the consistency of toothpaste), fresh out of the tube (colors are stronger when they come fresh from the tube) and minimal water and then moves on to the lighter areas. It’s quite unusual in watercolor painting to move from dark to light but she does it and it works fine.
Here is what I produced yesterday during the first day of Bev’s workshop. I tried to loosen up and paint a little more fearless. (I usually am very hesitant and think about every single brush stroke.) Bev’s bold, fast and fearless approach to watercolor painting encouraged me to try the same. Of course she has 20 years of experience and I only about three months but you have to dare otherwise one doesn’t learn anything. So, dare to mess up. There is no wrong or right, really.
My painting did not turn out as I had imaging it when I started but I am happy with the result. Another lesson learned – go with the flow (with watercolor that sometimes means literally) and accept the outcome.
“Jakob’s World” | Watercolor | 09/2011
Another great day. During the morning session she demonstrated how to paint blacks and whites.
Here is a great lesson to remember, she said, “you want your blacks to be colorful.” love it. Never thought about it like that before.
For the “how-to-paint-your-blacks-and-whites” lesson she chose a dog. Here are a few photos of Bev’s demo in progress:
… notice the difference in the left eye from photo #1 to photo #2
…and here the finished painting:
Oh my – I made it through the first day. I am a bit exhausted. It was somewhat intimidating. All the other participants have been watercolor painting for years and I am right in the middle of all this having not even done a handful of decent paintings.
Bev was wonderful. She did two demonstrations and patiently answered all my questions and after a few hours I decided to loosen up and just do it. After all it’s just paint and water on paper, right? 🙂 Today’s fruit of hard work is still at my table at Cole Gallery, it needs to dry. I’ll post it later.
When I got home I checked my email and found the following quote in my inbox:
The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself. -Washington Allston
Isn’t that good advice!?!!
Have a great weekend!
After a few days of drawing class I was hooked. I wanted to learn more and experiment with other media. So I signed up for another of Joe MacKechnie’s classes, “Painting for the Fun of It” and tried watercolor painting. Watercolor (they say) is one of the most challenging media. I did not know that when I started 🙂 It sometimes frustrates me but then again I like the challenge. For the next three days I’ll attend a work shop with Bev Jozwiak. I really admire her paintings and I am very excited about the opportunity to study with her. Wish me luck.
Here are my first few humble attempts at watercolor painting:
Pears – Watercolor – May 2011
For the record: the painting of the little boy walking in the rain is from a book I own. I painted it but it is NOT an original creation of mine. I copied it from the book solely for the purpose of studying the technique of watercoloring.
In one of the drawing lessons we were asked to draw something with a minimum of lines as fast as we could. While I was able to achieve acceptable results when I had plenty of time, sketching under time pressure turned out to be very difficult for me. The lines seemed very forced and the proportions turned out to be awful. When I voiced my frustration to Joe he recommended drawing with my left hand (I’m right handed). He said, I was too analytical about the whole process. Switching hands might help me to draw more intuitively. I did not really understand what this meant and of course I protested saying I could not draw with my left hand. I couldn’t even write a single word, how could I draw anything even remotely good. To my complete surprise it did work. Initially I felt a little helpless. I was not sure how to start the drawing. I had to rethink the direction my hand needed to go. After a couple of helpless attempts I decided to draw without thinking about the outcome, somewhat like being on autopilot (if that makes sense) – and that actually worked. The lines became more spirited, somewhat swinging. It’s hard to describe but it was a great experiment. I recommend you try it, it’s fascinating.
Here are some of the sketches I did with my left hand:
I had so much fun with the sketches of the dancer that I tried my hand at sketching in ink. The line drawing I did again with my left hand and then (with my right hand) went over the lines with a brush and water – here it is.
And here one more drawing – same technic and medium – ink washed with water.