Thursday, April 1, 2010

What's the temperature?

For those of you with an iPhone, don't you love happy yellow sun weather app? For some reason, I love to look at the weather all over the world and compare it to chez moi. Today, I'm happy to report my iPhone says i's a beautiful spring day in Denver and so I'm going to try to paint without a quin pigment on my palette...LOL. No, that's not going to happen. Sorry some weak art humor for April Fool's...

But it is Thursday, often my watercolor day, so I decided to do a quick pair of paintings. A warm and cool watercolor roughly the same subject matter for fun. I recalled I'd seen an exercise like this in artist Mark Mehaffey's book Creative Watercolor Workshop and so that's where this particular painting comes from.

For the first higher key warmer version here I used a primary triad of Cobalt-Quin Rose-and maybe Gamboge? (Normally, of course, I'd know what I'm using but I say maybe because I'm using a very nice, but "inherited" Pike palette from another artist.) Just as Mark suggests in his book, I started the painting by with a warm "wet in wet" wash, let that dry and then directly painted over that using a variety of flats and rounds. Speaking of flats, I love the short handled red synthetic Cosmotop Spin DaVinci flats--these are some of my all time favorite watercolor brushes. It always amazes me how much variation you can get in watercolor with just three pigments like this. Also this was painted on a CP Quiller block.  

In the darker and cooler painting, I had as you can quite likely see a bit of an "uh oh" moment when I applied too much yellow and even worse an more staining cool Hansa Lemon instead of the Gamboge...Oh well, this happens in watercolor especially when you've got some nice jazz on and are painting away. The brush has a mind of it's own. To get to the darker values you see, I added Thalo Blue and very small amount of Permanent Green (I think) to the same Cobalt, Rose, and Mystery Yellow palette. This was painted on a CP Arches block.

I tried every trick in the book to soften this yellow streak (it looks worse in the photo, but I still don't like it).  At some point, I may just take this painting even darker and see where that leads but for now I'll let it dry completely and sleep on it. That's sometimes best when you want to "fix" or should I say "creatively adjust" a painting.

Before I go, quick shout out to my new student Ruth from Wyoming--have fun exploring liquid acrylics! I can't wait to see where they take you.  Enjoy the journey!  For more information about my ongoing watercolor, acrylic, or oil painting classes please visit me on TeachStreet or send me an email

P.S. I've just added an Etsy store for my smaller available paintings for sale--mostly oil paintings under $100 with Free Shipping.

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