Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fall Leaves Number Two

This was my second attempt to paint autumn leaves.  I had a beautiful photo from which I worked, I just had to simplify the image. 

I really enjoy mixing most colors I use from the primaries of yellow, rose and blue.  There are several triads from which to pick.  For this piece, I chose Cobalt Blue, Quinadridone Rose, and New Gamboge or Permanent Yellow Deep (both yellows are so similar, I don't know which one I used)
I also added sap green to the pigments for the leaves.  I mixed and mixed and layered and layered until I had the effect I wanted.  I wanted the lavenders and yellows to produce  a wonderful glow. I also wanted the subtle greens to buffer the complementary colors.

The background was painted with mixtures of Winsor Blue, red shade, Sap Green, Permanent Yellow, Quinacridone Rose.  I mixed up puddles of all the hues  I wanted to use. I wet the background, waited a bit (for the paper to begin to dry) and painted in the colors with leaf shapes.  I lifted out some shapes with a clean, almost dry brush to show light coming through. 

After the background dried, I rewet some areas and dropped in more color, tilting the paper to let the colors run together.

I wanted the corner colors to be dark and dull. 
FOR MORE PAINTINGS OF LEAVES, visit my website.  Just GOOGLE pacific northwest watercolors.

Autumn Leaves

I have been collecting fall leaf photos for a long time knowing that some day I would paint a series of autumn leaves.  This was the first attempt for red maples leaves.  I wanted the leaves to be very vibrant so I used Winsor Red for the brightest colors.  Then I wanted to vary the colors from bright red to gold, to mixtures of red, gold and blue.

I chose Winsor Blue, Red shade for the blue and Winsor Yellow for the yellow/gold tones.  I painted all the red leaves first varying them with lighter shades, and mixtures of red and blue, or red and yellow.  Then I decided which leaves should be brighter and layered over them 2 or three times with the Winsor red. Some of the bottom leaves where painted with varying mixtures of red and yellow  after wetting the leave shapes.  The colors ran together a bit, which I liked.   

The background was painted in without masking.  First I painted the top and middle shapes, then the bottom.  I painted over some of the leaves on the bottom and the top.

This was my first try with leaves and I was pleased that it became more of an abstract painting than a realist one. 
This watercolor completed in late 2011 for new greeting card.  I used three primary transparent watercolor pigments for the blossoms, cobalt blue, Quinacridone Rose (Daniel Smith) and Aureolin Yellow.  To get the darker shades, I layered over dry paint as many as 4 or 5 times.  In the shadowed part of the blossoms, I sometimes dotted in blue, and rose paint and let it mix on the paper. 

For the leaves I underpainted with Aureolin Yellow, then mixed Sap Green with Yellow, or Cobalt Blue.  For darker greens, I used the sap with rose or with a rose and blue mixture (lavender).  The background was painted wet into wet with cobalt blue, yellow and sap green.  The background pigments were brushed in with thick and juicy paint.  I painted arount the leaves (did not mask them). 

To view the inside of the note card just Google Pacific Northwest Watercolors and click on "greeting cards".

Sunday, June 13, 2010

White Rose Yellow Glow Background


The techniques I used for the background of this piece: wet into wet and layering. After completing the rose in the foreground, I chose mixtures of staining pigments to begin the background. I wanted to accent the rose so I chose neutral green colors as well as hues from the rose. I also wanted to leave some white shapes (the rose has white shapes).

Pigments used: Winsor Blue, Red Shade, Alizarine Crimson, Quinacridone Gold (Daniel Smith).
Quinacridone Gold is not considered a staining pigment, but it mixes well with all other pigments and neutralizes greens (when they become too bright) I may mix in sap green at times with the pigments above.

I prefer making rich and juicy puddles of the three pigments above and mix several shades of neutral greens. First I mix the Winsor Blue with the Quin Gold, in 3 or 4 shades of green, then I add small amounts of Aliz Crimson into the different puddles so I have a number of shades and values of green, gold green, blue green, gold, etc.

Ready: Dampen the background with a large brush (2 inch squirrel is the best for me) Begin at the corners with the darkest dullest hues. Let the paint flow from the corners toward the center, use a damp (almost dry) large flat brush to help pull the paint into organic or leaf shapes making sure the edges are soft. You can also tip the paper to help the paint flow faster. When you think you may have a satisfactory first layer, let it dry.

TIP: If you pull your brush through two or more different hues before applying the pigment, you will have a beautiful mixture of varing hues that mix on the paper and flow together to make even more beautiful fresh colors.

These staining pigments will dry much lighter. I usually apply three to four of these washes to build up color and shape. It is important to use a very soft brush when layering so the dried paint underneath does not lift.

A damp, clean brush can be used to lift out lighter shapes while the paint is still wet or damp.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

White Rose, Yellow Glow

The image used for, "White Rose, Yellow Glow" was taken from a photograph I took from a neighbor's garden.
I started by sketching the rose on a piece of 300 lb cold press watercolor paper.
I then put out the pigments I would use for this flower: aureolin yellow, cobalt blue, and quinacridone rose (from Daniel Smith)

I began the painting by applying washes of pure yellow on the shapes under the petals that I wanted to have that yellow glow. I let these areas dry
I then began mixing grayed hues of the yellow by mixing various amounts of cobalt blue with the yellow. If the mixture appeared too green, I added a drop of quin rose to neutralize the color. I then applied the yellow-grays to the areas that were previously painted with the pure yellow glaze. I gradually built up these areas by letting the thin glazes dry before applying additional yellow gray colors on top.

I then began painting the blue gray shadows on the petals. I started by mixing my various shades of gray by mixing cobalt blue with mixtures of aurolin yellow and quin rose. If the mixtures turned toward brown, I added more blue. (The different between mixing gray and brown is the amount of blue added.)

I used the same method painting the shadows on the petals as I did under the petals by building up the subtle shadow colors glazing one gray over another letting the bottom layer dry first.

The background was painting with a different mixture of pigments in addition to the colors used for the flower. this blog will continue later

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bio of Author and Artist

I would like to introduce myself:
My name is Sharon Freeman.
I have studied and painted in watercolor since 1992, I majored in fine art and educaiton at Central Washington University in Washington State. After teaching elementary art and other subjects for nearly 25 years, I now teach adult watercolor workshops periodically. I also have a small business selling my original watercolors and reproductions.

Watercolor is a means for me to celebrate nature.
Trees, flowers, and water are a few elements that
capture my imagination. I look for unique patterns within small areas of nature and try to emphasize them. My paintings generally begin with several photographs taken in morning or afternoon sunshine. I am most successful when I have sunshine to help me define shapes, shadow and translucent color.
For me, watercolor is all about light and translucent color, accented with rich, deep shadows. My intent is to achieve a glow with transparent watercolors by using complementary colors, glazing (layering one color over another), and sharp value contrasts.

In the painting shown here, I began with the yellow centers of the daisies. I used aureolin yellow mixed with a bit of quinacridone rose. I layered over the yellow centers until I achieved a rich yellow color. As I painted the centers, I dampened areas of the background and dropped the color (yellow into various areas to balance and repeat color) I made sure the background yellows had soft edges. After that I began painting the petals. I did not use masking to save the whites. I painted around them.

The shadows on the daisy petals vary from yellow gray to blue gray. (yellow gray near the center and blue gray on the outside edge) I mixed the grays by using a triad of cobalt blue, rose madder, and aureolin yellow. I chose those three colors because they are very transparent and mix well together. They also lift more easily than some other pigments.

After 17 years of mixing grays, I am quite efficient at achieving just the right gray, but it does take practice. The time spent is well worth the effort as you can achieve beautiful glowing grays that change hue as you paint through a shadow-shape. After the shadow-shape has dried, you can change the color again by glazing over it is a slightly varied color mixture. (example: mix a light lavender-gray and paint over a gray shape achieving a glow)

My next blog will explain how I achieved the depth and sharp contrast in the background. Also how I "painted around" the petal shapes while maintaining soft background shapes.
Autor, Sharon Freeman
Pacific Northwest Watercolor