Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My usual palette

This is my usual palette, for most of my watercolor paintings. I don't use all of the colors in every painting, and I sometimes use some colors that aren't on this list. For instance, I use viridian and manganese when I'm painting a tropical seascape, but not if I'm painting a snowy landscape. You might notice that there's no cool reds or yellows on my palette. I have several cool reds, like permanent rose, alizarin crimson, Quinacridone rose, etc., but I use them in very few of my paintings. I also have a few old tubes of cool yellows in my studio, but I can't remember the last time I squeezed any of them onto my palette. 
Another thing you might notice, is that most of these colors are in the semi-opaque and non-staining range of pigments. I sometimes use some staining colors and some that are more transparent, but I like the ability to lift paint so I tend to stay with these colors most of the time. In my classes and workshops, I don't require that my students bring all of the exact same colors that I use. There are some colors that I just can't live without -- like indgo, payne's grey, and ultramarine, and my students that don't bring those colors to class will be lost! But other colors can be substituted with similar counterparts, like cadmium red for carmine, cerulean or cinerous for manganese, permanent green for chrome green, thalo green for viridian, or Quinacridone gold for ochre. Other colors can be mixed, such as using cobalt and alizarin to make violet, or indigo and ochre to make olive green. Actually, we do a lot of mixing in my classes. Indigo and sepia to create really dark greens in landscapes, violet and cobalt to create icy cold shadows, and a lot more.

For oil painting, I use a split primary palette consisting of a warm and a cool version of each primary, plus titanium white. Depending on the subject, I add two or three additional colors to mix a wider variety of colors.

Most importantly, I recommend that my students only use professional quality paints and materials in my classes and workshops. Student quality paints and materials are more difficult to work with and will not produce paintings of the same high caliber.

I have new classes starting every month, both online and in my studio. Click on the "Calendar" link on the top of this page to see the full current listing.

posted by Annie Strack @ 1:33 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Watercolor Painting Tutorial, Boats and Reflections

I started this painting a couple of months ago, but then I got distracted by classes and workshops and I didn't get around to finishing it until Friday at my Open Studio event. I had quite a crowd coming and going all day at my studio, and I always seem to get more work done when I paint in public!
Drawing the details. I draw as much as I can see, and a few things that I can't see but I know have to be there. I draw a suggestion of the reflections, but that is always likely to change as I paint.

I masked out the boats and painted in the sky and the lightest values of the water, using magnesium blue, cobalt, and payne's grey.

I used a wet into wet technique to create the dark background of the trees with indigo, payne's grey. sepia, yellow ochre. I also splattered paint, and dropped some intentional water blooms into the background to move the paint around and add interest.

As I worked on the trees and background, I also worked in the reflections at the same time, while I had the same  color on my brush to match the background.  

I used a Faux Squirrel Reservoir Liner brush from Dynasty Brush to paint the cypress trees in the background. The brush made it easy to loosely paint the branches and moss.

At this point, I wasn't happy with the vertical lines created by the reflections, so I wetted a few spots and wiped the paint out. I then went back and added more of the blues. It worked, and the water now appeared to be more "wet."

After the water and the background were done, I peeled off the masking fluid and began to paint the boats. I used my Faux Kolinsky from Dynasty Brush for this -- the brush has lots of spring and it's very responsive, and it keeps a fine point while holding los of water and paint.  

Some of the boats in my reference photo are different colors, with varying trims and canvases. I decided to make all the hulls white, and all the trims and canvases ultramarine blue.  

To add the focal point, I used the complimentary cadmium orange on a kayak in the "sweet spot" of the painting.  It looked a little off, so I added a red life ring on the boat next to it so that the orange didn't seem so isolated.

Lastly, I added the reflections of the orange and the red in the water, and this is the finished painting! I haven't titled this one yet, and I'm open to suggestions. This 14x20 painting will be going off to juried art shows soon, but it is available for pre-sale at $1095.

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posted by Annie Strack @ 7:32 PM   3 Comments

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

County Collectors Painting at Chester County Studio Tour

I've just finished this watercolor painting for the County Collectors series of the Chester County Studio Tour. Each painter in the tour will offer one 6x6 painting on panel in a black floater frame for $75. If you want to buy this one, you'll have to come out to my studio bright and early when the tour starts, before someone else buys it!
I started this painting by masking out the boat and painting the backgound. I painted this on rough paper with a light touch, so my brush skipped over the surface of the paper and left some white showing through like sunlight sparkles on the water. I used a soft brush for this stage of the painting, a #12 Faux Kolinksy from Dynasty Brush. This is a line of brushes that are soft, yet have a great amount of spring and a sharp point.
I often paint upside-down -- turning my painting and my reference photos upside-down, that is! This helps me see the perspective better, and identify the details more accurately. This is a small painting, so I'm using my #8 Faux Kolinsky from Dynasty Brush to paint the details.
After I finished painting, I trimmed the painting down to size and sprayed it with a couple of coats of clear varnish.
Next, I brushed a coating of acrylic medium onto my 6x6 Ampersand board. The acrylic medium is the binder that I use to adhere the painting onto the surface. Watercolor paintings that are mounted on board can be varnished and don't need mats or glass when framed.
And here it is, finished and framed! I call this painting "Waiting" because that little red dinghy is waiting to take me away. Be sure to come out to the Chester County Studio Tour, and come to my studio early if you want to get this before someone else snaps it up! (This painting has been sold)

posted by Annie Strack @ 5:21 PM   0 Comments

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