Jan 31 2009
I had the privilege of teaching a water color class at CHA last week in Anaheim. To assist the women taking the class, I prepared a three page tutorial that they could follow along with as I spoke. Since I was speaking, the narrative on the class tutorial was rather simple. I sized down the photographs to fit within the three pages without placing my watermark on them for better viewing purposes. For this tutorial I have included more narrative to give you the benefit of what was said in class, together with all of the photographs, so that you can follow along step-by-step. There are 23 pictures that were sized down for the class tutorial and then were sized back up for this tutorial. It took me a little longer than I anticipated to make the changes in Photoshop. In the spirit of sharing, please feel free to print this tutorial for your personal use only.
To those of you who took my class, I would like to say thank you very much. I was thrilled that you came and hope that you enjoyed the experience.
In the class we used Canson 140 lbs. coldpressed watercolor paper. The image was embossed with Ranger Gold/Gold Tinsel embossing powder. The powders were mixed using a 50/50 ratio. A 2 Royal Soft-Grip SG250 paintbrush was used to paint the image. The brush can be purchased at Michael’s for $2.99.
Ladies, this tutorial is long, pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and enjoy the reading.
This first photograph is the completed painting:
To the lower right side of the image is a glistening sheen. The photo was taken to show the students the proper amount of water needed on the water color paper for the background wash.
Using Tombow markers 555 and 665 dab a small amount of color into the upper corner of the petal, I usually place two/three dots of blue and then place two/three dots of purple on top of the blue. Using a wet paintbrush, not too loaded with water, start in the lower white portion of the petal and work your way up to the color, gently pulling the color down and blending into the white area.
Using this technique continue on around the flower, painting one petal at a time.
Once your flower is complete, continue on with the rest of the flowers.
It is ideal to vary the color in the petals so that they are not identical.
I’ve continued with the flowers and have added more purple to some.
When the flowers are complete, move on to the leaves.
Using Tombow marker 249, color a small amount of color onto the outer curve of a leaf.
Using Tombow marker 62, leaving a small portion of white in the lower portion of the leaf, apply color in the lower portion of the leaf blending up and into the darker green. It’s okay to mix the lighter markers with the darker colors. You can wipe them on a paper towel until you’ve wiped the darker color off.
Now take your brush, loaded with water, but not too much, and start at the bottom of the leaf and work your way up blending the color. You can see in this picture the proper amount of water you should have on your paper.
Continue on around the flowers painting the leaves one at a time.
As you can see, I’ve painted the leaves around the upper portion of the flowers.
Continue on around the flowers and work down to the bottom of the image. I like to color the flowers before the leaves because the color in the leaves is very intense. It’s very easy to pick up some of that dark green and contaminate the blue flowers.
The leaves are complete, we are now going to come back in with Tombow markers 177 and 133 and glaze over the first green colors. By now the leaves you started with should be dry. You don’t want to start the glazing until the leaves are completely dry, this is very important, or you’ll move the color you’ve carefully blended.
With Tombow marker 177 color over the dark green and with Tombow marker 133 leaving the white and a small portion of the lighter yellow visible, start about mid-leaf and work your way into the dark green, blending the colors. Using a wet paint brush start at the bottom of the leaf, as you did the first time and work your way up blending the colors.
Coloring each leaf continue around the flowers. Do you see how much more colorful the two leaves are that I have completed in this photo with 177 and 133? You may wonder why I didn’t paint all four colors on the leaves to begin with. The reason is they would not have the same effect. One of the reasons I choose to use Tombow markers is because they are artist quality transparent colors. I laid the first set of greens down that I usually use when I’m painting Christmas holly. I want brighter, more intense color with these flowers. By going back in and glazing over the first set of greens I can build up the color. The effect would not be the same if I used all four colors at once. Look at the large leaf at the top of the flowers, you can see the pale yellow glowing through the darkers greens. If I had painted all the colors at once, I wouldn’t see that. If I had only used 177 and 133, I wouldn’t have these colors, they would be pretty, but I would be missing the beautiful pale yellow glowing through. The first wash of 249 really makes the 177 intensely dark.
Now that the upper leaves are completed, scroll up and look at the pictures above and then come back and look at the leaves. Can you see their vibrancy and why I like to layer the washes of green?
I’ve completely finished the leaves and will move on to the centers of the flowers. If you go back up four pictures, you’ll see this same picture before we added 177 and 133. I believe you’ll see the difference in color and will note just how vibrant the leaves have become. Isn’t water color amazing!
Using Tombow marker 62 color the centers of the flowers. Go back to the first center you colored and add just a touch of 985 in the corner. Using an almost dry paintbrush, pull the darker color down just a bit for a smooth gradation of color. When the centers are finished, using Tombow marker 933, color a small area around the leaves and flowers. Using a wet paintbrush, pull the color out for your background wash, being careful not to pull the color from your flowers and leaves.
In this picture, you can see the proper amount of water you should have on your water color paper for pulling and blending your background wash.
Look carefully at this picture, you’ll see that I’ve added the wash in the middle of the image where there are openings between the leaves and flowers. Again, you’ll see the wet paper, this should give you an idea of how much water you need on your paper.
Continue up and around your image, laying down color and pulling it out, making sure not to let your paper dry to avoid hard water lines.
I have now completed my painting. As you can see the wash is still wet. It will be dry to the touch in 15 minutes or so.
Once a painting is dry, I spray a water mist very lightly on the back and place the image between two pieces of unused water color paper. I then place that on a flat surface with a stack of heavy books and leave it overnight (or several hours) to dry. When I take it out, I’ve got a completely flat image and am ready to use it in a design. In the CHA class, the image was stamped on a card. You can do the same with the card, spray the inside with the water mist, follow the same procedures, let it dry, and then finish with the design.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the tutorial. As you can imagine, it takes quite a while to paint the image, stopping to take photographs, running the photos through photoshop to size them within the allowable parameters for blogging, place watermarks on them, and then prepare the post itself. As much as I enjoy that, it does take a lot of time. I will do my best to prepare future tutorials, as time allows.
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