Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Questions on How-To Friday’s

It’s coming up on three months of blogging How-To Friday’s. I have been concentrating on watercolour, which is my first love. I am open to expanding this into other painting medium but before I do, I have some questions.

Are you finding these How-To blogs helpful?

What would you like to see covered in these postings?

What are your special areas of interest?

Are you interested in seeing posts using other media?

Which ones?
I could gear these How-To Friday's blogs to something you are more interested in if you could take a few minutes to answer these questions in the comments section.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Born to Blog – A Book Review

While wandering through a book store recently, I found a book called Born to Blog. After reading the back cover and skimming through the book, I decided to purchase it. Since I have been working on my blog trying to post on a regular basis I thought that finding this book was timely.

Born to Blog – Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time is well written and easy to read. The authors provide a review of common traits of successful bloggers. They determined that bloggers have a similar set of skills – Dreamers, Storytellers, Persuaders, Curators or Teachers. They expand on these skill sets in further detail and even provide a small quiz to help you determine your skill set. Some portions of the book do apply more to businesses (as the title indicates) but even these chapters have something to offer the personal bloggers. They discuss How to Measure the Success of your Blog; Developing a Content Plan as well as how frequently you need to post and have a section on how to handle negative comments. There is a chapter devoted to Personal Blogs and Blogging Habits (something I need to work on).

All in all, I have found this book to have some excellent suggestions on how to write, plan and track how well my blog is doing.

Born to Blog
Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time
Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford Smith, Copyright 2013
McGraw Hill
ISBN 978-0-07-181116-3
CDN $12.95

Friday, 8 November 2013

How-To Friday’s – Painting Snow

The Stacy of the ACEO Challenge blog is hosting a Swap. The theme of this Swap is Winter/Snow/Christmas. If you are interested in joining the swap send your name and address to Stacy at the email address provided in her posting.

In since the swap involves snow, I thought that would a good topic for today’s posting.

There is a nice article on the Artists Loft website called “Making Snow Sparkle” How to layer watercolor to make snow look bright white. It was written by William H. Hays; The Artist's Magazine, February 1992. It is still relevant today.

Deb Watson shows "How To Paint Snow Scenes inWatercolor". In this demo, she paints with a limited palette using only four colours.

Also, in an earlier posting on Creating Texture with Salt, Lee Pierce commented that Salt is a good way to imitate falling snow in a winter landscape. Give that a try!
Work in Progress - Acrylic

Monday, 4 November 2013

Reference Photographs

I’m not a photographer so I won’t be getting into various cameras, lens or all the attachments here. I don’t have any bells and whistles on my camera. My camera does an adequate job for my purposes at the moment. Regardless of which camera you own, they are not perfect. The view your eye sees through the viewfinder is not the same as the image captured. They aren’t the same colour. The lights are too light and shadows are too dark and often they lack depth of field.

I can’t blame all my bad photos on the camera though. I have my fair share of blurry pictures and family members who are missing the top half of their head. Some bad photographs are just that, bad. Some, however, are excellent for references.

Reference photographs are a collection of photographs you put together on various themes. This collection is used as inspiration for creating original artwork.
Start a collection of photographs of possible subjects for painting. Organize your photos into categories to make it easy to find the different elements you want – sky, water, trees, flowers, barns for example. You can use the sky from one picture, the water/waves from another to compose your painting.

Keep some photos of people and some of benches and flower pots or other objects that draw your eye. You could include some of these elements in landscape or cityscape paintings.

You want pictures that aren’t too busy. Look for simple shapes both positive and negative. Keep your great shots, but not as a reference photo. You may be tempted to just copy it and where is the challenge in that?

Arrange these photos where you can access them easily either in photo albums, binders, file folders or boxes or even on the computer; whatever works for you. I prefer to hold the photographs in my hand so all my photos are on standard size 4 x 6 inches paper. Once you have decided how you want to organize your reference photographs treat yourself to an “Organize your Photos Day”. Have your organizational supplies on hand and a beverage of your choice and start organizing your photos. Have fun with it and maybe even share the day with your artist friends.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

How-To Friday's - Painting Skies

So OK it’s really Saturday. I’m a day late with my posting – computer problems – now resolved.
Today you will find three great videos on painting skies.

Patrick Ley-Greaves shows how to paint How To Paint A Blue Sky With Clouds he is using only three colours.

Wilson Bickford shows a wet-in-wet technique in How to Paint a Watercolor Sky.

Bob Davies paints a stormy sky in his video How To Paint A Stormy,Atmospheric Sky In Watercolors.

Some interesting skies from my photo collection.

Friday, 25 October 2013

How-To Friday's - Painting a Doily

I found this video on painting lace by Sherie Tengbergen. It involves taking a paper doily and painting a mask through the holes, then painting the doily. It’s an OK technique.

I was taught when painting a doily to paint the holes – in effect negative painting. I will show you what I mean. This is my first attempt at creating a video so be nice with your comments while at the same time, being honest. I need all the constructive criticism that I can get
The painting that I am using is in an earlier post.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Possible Fund Raiser

Do any of you do mind mapping of your ideas? I do, it helps me get everything out of my head and down on paper.
Here is a mind map of something I am currently working on.  
I am a big believer in supporting the Canadian Cancer Society and have been thinking of ways to help raise some funds. Check out our TeamMike Facebook page as well as my TeamMike Etsy store.
We have raised $34,668 since we formed as a team in 2010.

Anyway, I wanted an idea that would generate income on a fairly steady basis and incorporate my art. I know some of you may offer home painting parties and I thought this might be a way to go.
Painting parties
  • Supplied – Acrylic paint, canvas, brushes, water containers, palettes, knives, instructions; sample of painting to be done.
  • Cost – $20.00/person, minimum 5 people, maximum 20 people
  • 10% of the profits going to the Canadian Cancer Society
  • Paintings – to be developed
  • Collaborative painting – everyone gets a small piece of a bigger painting to be assembled after all are completed – if for a bridal shower, finished painting could go to the bride.

What is your opinion on this? Do you have any suggestions or comments on how to make this work? I would appreciate your thoughts – the good, the bad and yes, the ugly (I can take it). I will do another post to share my progress on this project.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Out of my Comfort Zone

Yesterday, I told my sister that I was going to work on my blog all day. I had run out of scheduled posts and the ones I was posting lately were getting shorter and boring. The type you would post just for the sake of posting something.

I decided to do a post on using doilies in your painting (in a still life for example). I found one that was quite nice using a technique I was not familiar with but I couldn’t find one using the technique that I use.

So I decided to make my own video. This would be a first for me and outside of my comfort zone. I set up a simple still life and put my little camera on a little tripod and started painting. I found that I can’t talk (intelligently) and paint at the same time. Plus my technique – while is easy – isn’t fast. I soon realized that it would be a pretty boring video, so I stopped recording while I continued to paint. I finished the painting this morning. Today, I will load the video to my computer and see if I can actually load it to this blog. If I can you may just see it in one of my How-To Friday’s postings.
This is my set up and my finished painting.

Friday, 18 October 2013

How-To Friday's - Fun and Studious

I have two videos for you today. One is just for fun (a technique) and the other is more studious. Both are excellent.

Hope you enjoy Lian Quan Zhen’s technique in creating grasses. This is a preview of a DVD.

Bob Davies shows the Value of a TotalSketch.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Watercolor Unleashed – A Book Review

I borrowed this book from the library and found it to be very interesting. The painting depicted on the cover drew my attention. I love the fresh colours used.
Watercolor Unleashed – New directions for traditional painting techniques is written by Julie Gilbert Pollard. There are 6 chapters plus the Introduction and information on materials. The first chapter The Essentials covers the basics – drawing and composition, value sketches, dark against light, colour theory, positive and negative shapes and paint consistency. Ms. Pollard expands on these essentials in Drawing and Composing your Painting where she discusses the value of sketching. She works through Asymmetrical Composition and Assessing the Final Painting in this chapter’s demo. Color Theory and Negative painting are the subjects of Chapters 3 and 4. Spice up Watercolor with Acrylics is my favourite chapter. In this chapter (5) she explains how she uses fluid acrylics to lock in the darks. The effect is beautiful. This is the technique I will be experimenting with. 
Ms. Pollard uses excellent demos to show the various techniques.

Watercolor Unleashed
New directions for traditional painting techniques
Julie Gilbert Pollard, Copyright 2013
Published by North Light Books
ISBN 978-1-4403-2088-0
CDN $25.99 (US $24.99)

Friday, 11 October 2013

How-To Friday's - Wax Resist

Today I wanted to talk about using wax or crayons as a resist. It’s a great technique to reserve the white of the paper when using the clear wax. When using crayons you can get some vibrant colours in your painting. You definitely need to plan your painting out and know where you want to place the wax. Once you have put the wax on the paper, it is there to stay.

I thought I had found a video that, by the title, fit my criteria. Sad to say, it did not. The artist was using Misket and kept calling it wax – these are not the same thing. In addition to referring to the Misket as a wax resist, the artist dried it using a hair dryer. NEVER do this; you run the risk of bonding it to your paper.

I did find a demo using wax on Yupo paper. I have not tried this paper yet, but I do believe it would be a little harder to work with as I don’t think it absorbs the paint in the same manner as watercolour paper. Regardless, the demo is a good one.

It is presented by Yevgenia Watts; Bell Peppers.

Here is also a good tutorial on the wax and crayon.

This is one of my paintings I did using crayons.

Friday, 4 October 2013

How-To Friday's - Creating Texture with Salt

Today’s demo is provided by Bob Davies. WatercolourFoundation Course - Using Salt. This video is excellent. You can use this technique to create a background for other paintings or incorporate them in different elements of a painting.

Hazel Soan's Watercolour Textures. This is a trailer for a course. She shows other textures that are very easy to use.
The trick to using salt is like everything else in watercolour – timing. You can’t put the salt on when the paper is too wet or too dry. Practice the timing and change up the type of salt you use. Don't forget to chart it!

Friday, 27 September 2013

How-To Friday's - Atmospheric Perspective

Atmospheric Perspective: refers to creating a sense of depth in painting by imitating the way the atmosphere makes distant objects appear less distinct and more bluish than they would be if nearby. Also known as Aerial perspective.

MeredithSteele provides a visual explaination of Atmospheric Perspective which is easily understood.
Atmospheric Perspective
  • Colours become greyed down with distance (to grey colours down, mix that colour with its compliment)
  • Warm colours advance while cool colours recede.
  • The closer objects are more distinct and detailed.
  • Objects closer to the viewer show greater value contrast than those in the distance.
  • Put the strongest contrast in your centre of interest.
  • Highlights, white tones and light areas generally move toward the viewer while shaded areas recede.
  • The value of an object is determined not only by its own tones, but by the tones that surround it. To darken an object, for example, you can lighten its surroundings.
Here you can see that warm colours come forward and cooler colours recede.

Arizona, Watercolours

Heptonstall in England, Oil

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Show us your pumpkins

I just created these three ACEO's; they are my interpretation of the latest ACEO Challenge - Show us your pumpkins! They are all done in watercolour and ink on bristol. One of these little cards is on it's way to my swap buddy Anne B. Hope you like it Anne!

Why don't you join our challenge and show us your pumpkins too.


Friday, 20 September 2013

How-To Friday's Triads

A triad is three colours that are an equal distance from each other on the colour wheel. The best ones use the primary colours – red, blue and yellow.

 Linda Aman gives a wonderful demonstration on triads in her video. Watch how she mixes the colours on the paper. The colours obtained are more vibrant then if they were mixed in the palette.

Doris Glovier give an introduction to triads and provides three different triads and give illustrations of the difference. You need to scroll down half way through the screen to find the introduction. The top half of the article talks about a different mixes. I debated about using this article however; I felt that the different tirads she used as well as her samples were helpful.



Friday, 13 September 2013

How-to Friday's - Painting with two colours

I found an excellent video of creating a painting using only two colours.You can obtain a wide range of different mixes and values using just two colours. Roy Simmons uses ultramarine blue and burnt umber to create a landscape.

Below is one of my paintings using ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

I have also charted the range of mixes you can get from Thalo Green and Alizarin Crimson.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Difficult Job

I recently had to sort through my watercolour paintings with the objective of reducing the number of paintings I had. I needed to destroy some of them. It was a very difficult process. Some of the paintings were cut down into bookmarks and will be offered for sale in my TeamMike Etsy site. I just have to write up the descriptions and then post them. The rest were ripped and put in the garbage. I kept the best and some are offered for sale in my ArtWanted shop, either the originals or prints.

Some New Bookmarks

Friday, 6 September 2013

How-to Friday's

I set up a new page and will be posting links to different How-to links on the internet (videos, e-books or links to pages) with regards to painting, watercolour, oil, acrylic, and mixed media. I will review these links and post up my thoughts on how effective they are.
My first reviews are for value charts.

Lori McNee explains The Importance of Value and; Tone in Painting in a very straight forward manner. Very easy to understand with examples provided.
Carol McIntyre gives a demo of creating a value chart in her video How to Make A 7-Step Value Scale. She provides step by step instructions in creating a value chart. She is working in oil paints. The video is approximately 13 minutes long.

Cheap Joe Miller demonstrates How to Make Your own Color Value Chart using watercolours. He creates a watercolour value chart of each colour. This chart is suitable for posting in your studio. This is a short video just over 2 minutes long. 

This is a value study I did  which includes a monochromatic painting usine Burnt Sienna - watercolour.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Charts and Experiments

An important source for my art is a binder I put together. It holds most of the charts and experiments I do with my paints – watercolour, oil, and acrylic. I was looking at the binder last night and realized that I have been doing these charts and experiments for over 10 years. I do a lot of charting this helps me know how my paints react and how various colours mix together.

When I see an interesting painting technique, I try it out and keep my experiments with my charts. Some of my experiments have made it into paintings.

Not all my charts/experiments have made it to the binder, only the ones that fit in those 8 ½ x 11 plastic sheet protectors are in the binder. Some are too big. I’ll post them later.

Some of my charts are below.

Here are some of the experiments and paintings I have created.