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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Landscape Painting

Every person have something about an awesome landscape that makes one go wow. We all have that feeling especially if it's our first time to see a place with so much to offer like beaches, resorts, mountains, falls - anything and everything about nature.  For a person with a creative mind and an eye for the arts would just have an itchy finger to capture its essence on canvas. For beginners, here are some tips that will help you on how to go about it.

It may seem that you'd want to paint every inch of what you see around you. That's pretty huge to bring it all in your canvas, paper or board or whatever material or medium you intend to use. It would be best not to put everything in. Though it's all there right in front of you, you are not obliged to include everything you see. I would normally scan the area, get a spot that I find interesting the most and capture it with a camera then I print the picture on paper using my favorite medium.

Let your creative mind use your imagination. This should be a part of your painting planning. You don't just grab your materials and start doing it. Careful planning consideration is essential to be spontaneous with your painting. Do not hesitate to rearrange the elements in the landcape. You may want to take things from different landscapes and put them together in one painting. Or you may want to add something to make your landcape more interesting. 

Give special preference to the foreground. You don't paint the whole landscape with same degree of details. That can't be possible because even your own eye sight can only see so much depending on the distance of each object from your view. Give authority to what's more visible and that would be your foreground. Thus, its background should be less in detail. The difference in detail also helps draw the viewer's eye main focus of the landscape painting.

It is always a good practice to mix and experiment colors rather than painting straight from ready mixed paints in tube. Most artists would create their own mixture to give their painting a unique approach to their subjects. Do not be hesitant to do this. Greens usually dominate a landscape. Therefore, learn how to mix your greens well. There are a variety  of intensities of greens that occur in nature. You may or may not see it but there are, in fact, either a blue or yellow in these greens. It is important to take note that the color also changes depending on the time of day. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Trees and Foliage in Watercolor

Painting trees and foliage are treated differently as you don't actually paint it in detail. Well, it depends though on how near you are on the subject. The nearer the subject is, the more detailed your subject should be. Not much details are needed for landscape painting. We show the depths through different mixture of paints from the lightest to the darkest hue. Painting these type of subjects are quite a challenge but with basic knowledge you'd overcome your struggles.

Though watercolor set comes in variety of colors, I advise you not to use the paint straight from its tube. Best results will be obtained if you experiment mixing the paints and creating your own mixture. It is therefore crucial that you study and scrutinize your subject well in terms of the color you see. At a distance, you cannot possibly see the leaves and branches. They are just different shades of green. You only see the details if you are standing close to them. Either you paint from a picture or what you see around you, same basic rules apply for painting trees and foliage. Please take note that the same goes for bushes whether trimmed or not.

To start off, let's work on the highlight first. Use lemon yellow or a vivid green. Mix a sufficient amount of this mixture as you will be using the same all through out; adding other related colors to it as you progress with your subject. Depending on the kind of tree you are working on, try to leave a speck of white areas for sky holes. Wet on wet technique is recommended on the initial stages of your work. Next, add a vivid green into your previous mixture and apply it on the wet area to create the foliage effect of the tree. Different brush strokes are needed for depicting appropriate textures on the paper or board. Before it completely dries, add more sap green into your mixture and apply the paint on the bottom part of your tree to create shadows.

Now, moving towards the darkest area, mix a cobalt blue (if you have it in your palette) or just plain blue/ aquamarine on the same mixture and create varying strokes on the dark areas, wet on wet, to show depth. For finishing, let your painting dry completely and wash your brush well. Dry technique will be used on the final stages and to complete your subject. Add indigo or violet and some browns into the mixture and dab on some areas of the bottom part to create shadows. Clean your brush , dip its tip in clean water and soften the edges of some of your last application  to avoid distinctive marks. Wait a few minutes to totally dry up the surface and you may start working on the bark of the tree. Make sure to use different shades of brown to show the texture and some shadows of the bark.

Water Color Painting: Practice 2


As previously mentioned, it is important that you study your subject well. If you are painting from a picture, you must look at it closely and observe the different tones you see. Some objects may look the same at a first glance but if you will let your eyes focus on an object, you will see the different tones I am talking about.

For this painting, several techniques were used. Wet in wet technique was used  in trees, foliage and grass; while flat and graded wash for the sky and the reflection on the pond. The grass near the water were glazed with a light yellowish pigment. Before you begin painting, lay out you drawing as your guide. 

TREE, FOLIAGE, GRASS. Depending on what you see in your subject, identify the type of green you see. Create a light mixture and apply it on the object using a flat wash. This will be your highlight. Let it dry a bit. On the same mixture, add another paint to make it darker than the initial mixture. Apply in irregular brush pattern. Repeat the process with the mixture; making it darker in shade for the shadows. Do not use the paint straight from the tube. For a realistic effect, you can try to create mixtures of green, yellow, some brown, some blue to darken the color that will be used for the shadow. Make sure that all mixtures will be based on what you see on your subject. It may not be the exact color but should be something closer, at least. Always have another paper ready to try the colors first before application.

REFLECTION. Draw a line connecting the eye to the water and measure the angle created between the water and the line. Use this same angle to connect the top of the item being reflected with the water. Where the line hits the water, this is the top of the object's reflection. Make paint mixture thin and transparent, keeping in mind that the actual color of the water should be the dominant hue. Paint the water over the reflection. It should be a thin wash that would allow the reflection to show clearly through. Add more water to thin out the mixture or use lighter colors. For the wet method, paint the water in first. While the water is still wet, add in the reflection. Instead of using stripes, fill the brush with the desired color and create lines. Allow the paint to run and bleed into the wet color of the water you already applied. The reflection will distort automatically as it mixes with the wet paint. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Watercolor Painting: Practice 1


Before you start painting it is always good to make preparations. Do some drawings and practice the difficult pieces; make tonal studies of the colors you are going to use - this means different tones of just one color. You also need to study your subject. Visualize it well. If you are going to paint from a picture, make sure to study the details well and observe the colors you see.

It is imperative to execute your painting with confidence. Starting a project can be daunting for beginners..Doubts that you can do it can wither your confidence. Do not allow this to happen. Always be in a relaxed mood.

Start with sketching your subject as they define shapes for you. We know for a fact that there are different variety types of water, each with its unique characteristics. Rivers, lakes, falls, puddles and oceans have their own attitude. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of their movements.

One of the basic painting techniques is to start with the darkest areas and use a darker shade than the rest of your depths. It may look uninteresting at first but as you progress you would be able to blend the different depths that would add realism to your painting.

When you begin painting water, you would also want to start with the darkest areas. Continue to paint with different depths, gradually move towards the lighter shade as you work your way into the shallow areas. In this illustration, a some sort of turbulence needs to be expressed because of the different levels of the water bed.

Title: Mambukal

Of course, the result of your painting would greatly depend on the materials you use. If your painting turns out to be not as good as you expect it would be, do not tear it! Treat it with respect. The majority have to learn by trial and error.

A little imagination can have a great deal of fun and pleasure as you learn to paint with watercolor.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Watercolor Painting III


GLAZING TECHNIQUE:   This technique is an application of a transparent color (more of water than paint mixture) over a completely dry layer of color that gives an interesting blend of new color. This is done with a soft brush and not much pressure on the surface.

WET IN WET TECHNIQUE:- This technique is an application of wet (water) wash over a surface. This is done by evenly apply a wet brush with water by using the flat wash technique over the surface. Any excess water must be absorbed by a clean sponge or tissue paper. The trick here is just to have the surface evenly saturated before applying watercolor.

DRY BRUSH TECHNIQUE This technique is an application that uses a fairly dry pigment and little water mixture. This is usually used for adding the essential details on your subject. It focuses on the outlines of an object e.g. hair, eyes, grains and probably textures  for a more realistic approach on your subject.  Most artists would use a variety of watercolor brush techniques in a single painting for a much more interesting effect.

Do not limit yourself on the techniques that are cited here. You can use other techniques you would want to try - be creative as you can be!

  • Wet the area that needs to be removed with a clean sponge and absorb the color with a tissue.
  • If the color does not come off, apply water carefully with a brush and let it soak a bit longer to soften the paint before attempting to clean it with a sponge.
  • If you are still unable to remove the color, damp the area with a bristled-brush and gently scrub it. You have to do this with utmost care to prevent the risk of damaging the surface of the paper.
As a note, watercolors can give gorgeous translucent effects on your subject. However, this medium is a lot more difficult to manage that other types of media such as acrylic and oil paint. It is quite difficult to hide a mistake with another layer of paint mixture. Therefore, a little planning is needed before you start doing painting.


As an initial step, use a sketch pad for your preliminary composition. Draw your subject with its basic shape that will serve as your guideline. Your center of interest or what we call the focal point must not placed in the center of the painting to give it a more interesting piece. Some areas should be more detailed than the others. After the preliminaries, the following must be taken into consideration:
  • Check the light source.
  • Decide and mark areas for highlights, medium tones and where shadows should fall.
  • Consider wash technique to use.
  • What wash to be applied first, second and so on.
  • Areas to leave blank.
Do not despair if you feel disappointed with your first piece. That can happen to anyone and even with professionals for that matter! Always move on to the next masterpiece and look forward to another exciting experience. Always take your time and enjoy each and every stroke. Put your heart into it. Do not rush. Keep every piece you have accomplished for comparison. You will surely notice your progress. Remember, every stroke you make is time well spent!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Watercolor Painting II


This is the second basic wash skill. This technique is a smooth transition in value from dark to light. This is somewhat similar to flat wash except that its application starts with a dark value and transitions with a lighter paint or just water to decrease the intensity of the color.

  • Draw a 2" x  3" rectangle on your board.
  • Pick a color of your choice and mix a liberal amount of medium intensity with a little water. Mix well and charge your brush with it and start the application from left pulling a straight line of paint across the edge of the rectangle. Repeat the process until the middle half of the area you are working on. Lightly dab your brush on a sponge or tissue paper and dip the tip of your brush in the water and continue working on the previous stroke; overlapping it. This would automatically blend the color with water. Repeat the process all through out the bottom. 

  • It is alright to reapply and do a second coating to correct uneven strokes. Make sure to dry well before reapplication.

I did a second application here.

A third and final application to smoothen the transition.

  • It really takes practice to perfect your wash. Experiment with different colors and intensities. You may try with one color to another for interesting multi-color effects. You can also practice this technique with some basic shapes like the sample rendering below. 

Graded wash used in rendering a cone.

Flat wash used in rendering a slab.

Note: Do not forget the light and shadow lesson I taught you in the previous lessons. No matter what medium you decide to use in the future, you always need to consider your light source.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Gallery

Title: Chillies
Medium: Charcoal and Colored Pencils on Paper

Title: Penguins
Medium: Oil on Canvas

Title: Kumpuni

Medium: Poster Color on Board

Title: Rabbi
Medium: Sepia

Title: Bamboo
Medium: Colored Pencils on Paper

Title: Sunset
Medium: Pencil on Paper

Title: Hot Air Balloon

Medium: Pencil &Colored Pencils on Paper

Watercolor Painting

WATERCOLOR is a painting technique that uses water soluble pigments that can be transparent or opaque. It is easy to apply but must be done with utmost care due to its quick drying properties.

There are a variety of techniques with watercolor application. However, I will just introduce the most basic ones and the rest  as we go along. You may want to try and experiment with new techniques. I encourage you to explore your creativity!

For starters, here is what you need:

  • 16 colored set of Watercolors (I would suggest Prang)
  • #9 rounded brush (You may also use a flat brush, if you want)
  • Acid free Watercolor Pad (Canson)
  • Water
  • Tissue Paper (a roll)
  • Mixing plate, bowl or bottle


A  technique which gives a solid color in an area.

  • Draw a 3" x 2" rectangle on your paper.
  • Put a liberal amount of water in your mixing plate and select a color of your choice and mix it with water. Mix a medium intensity of paint. Make sure that you mix enough so you would not run out  of the mixture in the middle of your application. Otherwise, you might have to mix again and may not achieve the same intensity of color value
  • Tilt your watercolor pad about 8 to 11 degrees so the color will pool on each stroke and be picked up on the next until you reach the bottom of an area you are working on.
  • Dip your brush on the color mixture and start the application from left to right by dragging the paint with the tip of your brush across the area towards the right side of the rectangle. Dip your brush into the mixture again and let your brush pick up the previous stroke starting from your left and drag the pool of mixture towards the right end of the rectangle. Repeat the process until you have reached the bottom of the area you are working on. Once you reached the end line, pick up the excess mixture on your paper with your brush and dab it on a tissue paper; repeat until all excess liquid is out from the bottom of the rectangle.

  • To achieve an intensified tint, let the surface dry naturally and you may reapply the mixture by following the same process.
  • Always stir the mixture before picking it up with your brush to avoid settling of pigments. You have to do this quickly so you can catch up with the pool of mixture that was previously applied to avoid from drying up. Undesirable water marks might be noticeable once it starts to dry up. 

See next post for technique 2.