Posted tagged ‘watercolour’

Art Lessons in Richmond & Surrey are Applelicious

February 16, 2015
This apple is painted quite fast with a wet on wet technique that will allow the different shades and tints and colours to blend into each other.

This apple is painted quite fast with a wet on wet technique that will allow the different shades and tints and colours to blend into each other.

More adult watercolour classes have been added to my schedule at the Thompson Community Centre in Richmond. If you are looking for some beginner instruction in the tricky medium of watercolour come join our class this spring. Each session we will try different projects such as learning to do washes using simple subjects such as fruit and misty mountain ranges, playing with negative space between fence posts, and scratching out highlights on sparkling seas and snow.

There are 3 new sessions at the Thompson Community Centre. Phone 604-238-8422 for info and to register. We meet on Mondays from 1:00 to 2:30. The next session is March 2 – 23. Then the other two are April 13 – May 11 and May 25 – June 22. Hope to see you there!

This green apple is in oil pastel, which is a little tricky to blend. Start with light strokes in a variety of colours and build up the layers.

This green apple is in oil pastel, which is a little tricky to blend. Start with light strokes in a variety of colours and build up the layers.

Here are some examples of the various apple studies I have taught in my watercolur, pastel, and pencil crayon classes for adults and children. I find that the apple lends itself well as a subject for beginners; it’s more interesting than just a circle and yet not so complex as to scare people away. The variety of colours found on apples are another plus as I always stress that a collection of colours is more interesting to the eye than a flat 1 colour subject (although that has its place too, such as in many poster designs and logos).

Soft, or chalk pastel was used on this apple and is much easier to blend than oil pastel.

Soft, or chalk pastel was used on this apple and is much easier to blend than oil pastel.

Whether it is watercolour, pastel, or pencil crayon, build up a layer of different colours, focusing on your main one, like red, but highlighting with ones such as yellows, and darkening with colours such as blues and purples. Start light, and work up the layers until you just do the dark areas at the end. Have fun, and experiment. Paint and draw apples over and over again, as using the same subject will let you see your progress over time.

This apple had each layer of watercolour dry before the next layer or colour was painted on top and thus you can see some of the brush strokes and it doesn't blend like the wet on wet apple shown above.

This apple had each layer of watercolour dry before the next layer or colour was painted on top and thus you can see some of the brush strokes and it doesn’t blend like the wet on wet apple shown above.

A study in value where you only use one pencil crayon. Can also be done with regular pencil. Try a 3 or 4B.

A study in value where you only use one pencil crayon. Can also be done with regular pencil. Try a 3 or 4B.

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12 Days of Christmas Art Challenge and Sale

November 16, 2014

My 12 Days of Christmas Art Challenge and Sale is on NOW! Inspired by the recent Black and White Photo Challenge on Facebook, I have set a goal to produce small affordable art pieces over the last half of November, hopefully one new painting or drawing every 2 days.

Orpheum Neon sign watercolour and ink miniature by Tiana

Orpheum Neon watercolour and ink miniature by Tiana Kaczor

Orpheum Neon is the first art piece. It is a watercolour and ink drawing of Vancouver’s Orpheum theatre sign. It is based on a photo I took a couple years ago while walking along Granville St.

Get your hands on some new original artworks for the price of a dinner out, and treat your friends, family, or yourself to a one of a kind gift!  All art will be available for sale in my Etsy store. Head over and take a look. Check back every couple of days for new additions.

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/211430398/original-watercolour-and-ink-drawing?ref=shop_home_active_1

Beginners Watercolour Lesson – Value Sketch and Negative Space

September 27, 2013

Over the last couple of years I have been fine tuning my beginners watercolour classes for adults and children. I usually start off with the same lessons for all ages, just moving a little faster, and into more detail with the adults. After teaching the colour wheel and basic brush techniques there are several lessons I run through. I have found that my own watercolour skills are always improved every time I demonstrate these lessons, and therefore recommend beginners and seasoned watercolourists to run through these simple “warm ups” every once in awhile.

Maple seed value study in gray watercolour.

Maple seed value study in gray watercolour.

The Value Sketch teaches us to look at the values in real objects and paint from life instead of a photo. I bring to class some simple found objects like leaves or maple seeds. Sometimes I have the students use only one colour, like gray, and then all they worry about is the intensity of the colour and watering it down for the light areas. Other times I have students try to mix the actual colours on the found object. We mix puddles of the colours in our tray, and leave room to add water for lighter values. Once the colours are ready then we can start the painting.

Value color sketch of maple seeds and feather

Value color sketch of maple seeds and feather

We start with a light pencil sketch. For young children I may allow them to trace the object so they don’t get frustrated with the drawing. Then we apply 3 or 4 layers of paint, working from the lightest areas of the object to the darkest. These are small paintings, so very little paint should be on the brush. We don’t want the colours to run. Then wait a couple minutes for the wash to dry before painting the next layer of detail. The last layer is the darkest areas and then the shadow under the object is added to make it look like the leaf or seed is sitting on a table.

The Value Sketch is a quick lesson so I usually do a second lesson in the last half of the class. Since you rarely use white paint in watercolours, but instead leave the white paper free of paint, it’s good to have an exercise that helps students be more aware of the paper and leaving areas blank. Negative space drawings can be taught if time permits, or you can go directly into an exercise of painting a white fence.

Fence Negative Space Watercolour

Fence Negative Space Watercolour

We start by lightly drawing the posts and rails using only one line each in the middle. It’s nice to give a little perspective as the fence goes away from you and perhaps add a gate. Next we mix our paint colour puddles, which are the colours of the background of grass or bushes. When we’re ready we can start by prepping the paper with plain water in each negative space area, or we can just jump in and start painting. Try to load enough paint on the brush so that you can finish a whole rectangular space between the posts and rails. Be careful not to get too close to your pencil lines as then you’ll have a very skinny fence! When one negative space is done then load up your brush again and paint the next one. Dip in different colours to add more interest to your background. Be careful not to have each negative space a different colour as that wouldn’t look natural, but instead dip into a second colour halfway through painting one area and work fast so the colours blend on the paper. When dry you could add some detail of grass blades in front of your fence. Then make your white fence 3 dimensional by choosing a direction for the sunlight and painting shadows on one side of each rail and post. When the painting is totally dry lightly erase your pencil lines.

If you have any questions about these exercises please write to me in the comment section.  Some books I consulted while planning my lessons this past summer were: “Watercolour For Starters” by Paul Talbot-Greaves, and “Watercolour Challenge, Techniques in Practice” Channel 4 Books.

Beginners Watercolour Lesson – Form and Value

August 11, 2012

I don’t think I’ve ever posted and art lesson on my blog, but I realized the other day that there are a lot of people on the internet looking for instruction on the web, including myself. I often turn to the internet to search for lesson ideas, whether I use them directly, or indirectly when they spark an idea of my own. I’ve also learned a few things from my students this week and thought I would share that with people outside the classroom.

Cherries watercolour value notes

Cherries watercolour value notes

I’ve been teaching an adult watercolour class one evening a week, and this week also did 4 days in a row of a teen class and a pre-teen (9 to 12-year-old) class. I know there are many teachers (including myself) who believe in letting the creativity flow freely out of their students. Give them the materials, a subject, and let them go to it. However, I realized this week that direct, step by step instruction is often a better way for students to learn. This was highly evident when I worked on a First Nations reserve and we implemented a teacher directed reading program. Teacher does something and then the students copy it. My adult watercolour students this week said they learned more when I painted the steps and they followed along than when I just told them some tips and let them work through the process themselves.

For the 4 day week-long class for the children I broke the lessons down into 3 areas: colour, form and value, and texture and pattern. Here is the warm up for the form and value day:

Watercolour cherries– Perfect for this time in summer when the fruit is ripe, however I did not bring in real cherries but asked the students to paint from memory. Cherries are a basic circle that they can easily practice layering paint on to make the objects appear three dimensionally round.

Watercolour value notes from class painted examples.

Watercolour value notes from class painted examples.

1. Pencil draw 3 circles. Overlap one. Draw stems, straight lines that go a little into the top of the circles. Draw a “happy face smile” curve under the stem line for the top dimple on the cherry.

2. Mix some blue purple. Add lots of water to make it a light value. Paint loosely, and quickly inside the pencil drawn cherry using U shaped strokes, not straight strokes which would flatten the object. Leave a tiny dot or two of white paper showning – this is the shine on the cherry.

3. Repeat the painting step 3 to 4 more times, each time making the purple less watered down and thus darker. Paint further towards the edges of the cherry with each darker colour. Also remember where your light source is – one side of the cherry will be darker than the other. Letting the paint dry between each layer will keep the shades seperate. Painting the layers quickly while each is still wet will cause the shades to flow into each other. This can make smoother tansitions between the values, but can also be hard to control and if too wet the colours will run all over the place. Practice both ways.

After the cherries I let the students try other objects of their own choosing. They painted apples, oranges, grapes, cut watermelon… I was hungry for lunch and painted hamburgers and hot dogs! All levels from adult to child enjoyed this exercise. I had a teen who even practiced it the next day when she had some time near the end of the class. I also had a parent come to me and tell me how impressed they were with their child’s painted cherries.

If you try this exercise please let me know how it went and whether this quick lesson description gave enough detail. I also must give a credit of thanks to Alwyn Crawshaw, as a couple of his books gave me some help in planning this lesson.

Watercolour Process #2

November 26, 2010
Second scan of Light Nov26

Second scan of Light by Tiana

Did I say last time that the process was rewarding? Well, it can also be frustrating. This is one of the toughest paintings I’ve done. Not sure why the paint is wanting to do it’s own thing in some areas; I’ve never had it give the tie dyed effect before when all I want is smoothness. I’m wondering if it’s the paper. Perhaps I need to let go a little of my photorealism and work with the creative abstraction. I don’t think the last scan was the halfway point. It was the 1/3 point. Hopefully the next photo will be the final image. Sometimes surprises bring new directions.