Monday, February 22, 2010

A New Year, A New Continent: Asia!

It's so great to be back for our Spring 2010 semester. We "lost" some but have gained some...three new students (not to mention the three new continents we'll be going on assignment to). NOTE: students' names are below their paintings.

This first illustration ("Many Boats") is a scene of a busy harbor in Vietnam and contained a couple of challenges for all of the students.

1) First is the opportunity to try rough-press watercolor paper; a surface that a certain long-time watercolorist had never even worked on previously. It proved a little difficult to transfer our drawings onto, so once I found the window-as-light-table made that a whole lot easier several students were able to finish up their preparations with less frustration (directly tracing on the rough stuff in ink, instead of pencil transfer and overdrawing in ink).

2) The second challenge was to leave all those white (rope) lines. This turned the background seawater into a varigated blue jigsaw puzzle. Even with our very fine opaque watercolors the lines if added-back would not have been as beautiful as an untouched paper surface. I hate to come across too "artsy" but I have to say the imprecision of the 'ropes' in the very first version below (one of the new students, Miss Noel) strikes me as quite 'charming.' Yes?

Miss S. Noel
This (new) student achieved an effect due to the rough-surface that I was hoping to see: more concentrated/darker areas of paint - as the watery mix 'settles into' the mini-lows it of course 'flows-off' the mini-highs (which remain lighter). See if you can find these effects in her sea-water jigsaw pieces...

Miss R. Fadler
Though I suggested students choose a 'paintbox blue' for their water areas (to save the hassle and heartache of running out and coming up with a dissatisfying re-mixed color) Miss Fadler choose a custom-color and I really like it. Can I take your picture to Home Depot and have some wallcolor mixed from it for my kitchen?

Miss M. Wolfe
Although M. missed one of our classes, she certainly seems to have gone full-steam-ahead in the time she had.

Miss M. Craycraft
Another one of our 'new' students - forced to fly half-way around the globe to join the rest of the Escape-Artists. Miss C. was able to add not only the wavelets with the edge of a flat, watercolor 'wash' brush but also includes some subtle boat shadows which effectively add a third dimension to an otherwise two-dimensional illustration.

Miss K. Breeding
A few of the young ladies in class seem to prefer to remain on the transparent side (of our paints) and of this group there is none whose work is more ethereal than Miss K.'s. (That's one of my daughter's favorite words BTW...) If she tried to go back and add in white rope lines I believe the picture would be ruined.
What say you?

Master J. Wolters
J. had one of the most carefully done and most precise transfer-drawings and inked drawings in the group. And that's saying a lot considering the surface of this particular painting-paper.

Miss G. Smith
Also one of our new students...can you see the precision in the shaping of her windows and the 'saving' of her rope lines?

Master D. Harwell
Another one of the most precisely transferred and inked pictures. I ws asking a lot of the students (as usual) and because of that you can see in D.'s picture the difference when the 'rope lines' are (inadvertently) inked...

Miss C. Lee
Illness kept C. away for one week, so she's behind on this one. I typically don't hand back paintings untill end-of-semester, but in this student's case I know she'll put aside some time during the week to work on it.
Oh...Note her ink work, the "line quality": how it is more drawn-than-traced in appearance. It surprised me in that it gave the impression that she was actually sitting there and drawing the boats on-site!

Miss Am. Cole
(sister of the returning-student formerly known on this blog as 'Miss A. Cole', who now must go by 'Miss Al. Cole.')
Am. had gone pretty deep in the tones of blue she used for her seawater, so to texturize it (place any sort of wavelets on its surface) she'd have to either 'wash off' some blue paint (which we'll be trying in our next illustration) or more simply just go lighter. Compare the results with Miss Craycraft's above, or the two below.

Miss Al. Cole
For me this one is all about that beautiful (Caribbean-colored) water. I want a long shimmery & translucent silk scarf stained with those swaying colors of blue RIGHT NOW!

Miss A. Escue
Ditto on the scarf. Unfortunately A. was sick, too, so missed adding in any windows or shadows under her boats, but I could grow fond of these boats considering the colors she chose.
Note in the very bottom ('closest') water-jigsaw piece how she added a darker blue over the original pale one? See how her brush (unintentionally?) "skipped over" some of that dry bottom color? It may have been simply because it was running out of liquid, but when painters do that intentionally it's called, can you guess? Dry-brush technique. Well, duh!

Anyway, the point is to purposely leave some of the first color showing and for watercolorists that's the "low spots" on these rougher types of paper...

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