Thursday, August 31, 2017

WCW #21: The Benefits of Watercolor Study

My study of the inspiration piece.
Welcome to Watercolor Wednesday [aka Thursday] everyone! I apologize up front for this lengthy post. But it helps me, once I learn something, to turn it around and process through all of the layers of my learning. If you want to sprint through this post, I suggest you scroll to the bottom as I have some categories of interest there. If you like marathons, read on!

When I began my journey into all of the aspects of watercolor, literally in March 2017, I did not expect to uncover such a vast array of techniques needed in order to produce one, coherent painting in the medium of watercolor! What endless possibilities of colors, degrees of value and transparency, and ways to add depth and texture to each and every painting! The painting I'm displaying above is merely an exercise intended to establish a toolkit from which to draw. The painting below is my inspiration which is a surface design for material. As I look at the layers, it seems that this piece used acrylic or gouache to produce stunning results. No matter the medium or skill level, I have discovered one technique to help me in my quest to achieve desired results, and that is to create a study or thumbnails of this piece.

Print & Pattern Blog
Inspiration Pattern from Print & Pattern Blog: Frolic by Sara York
Yes, fellow artists, conducting a study will help in so many ways. The following photos will uncover some of the steps I took. And below that are a few ways a study can help improve your art. But first, the reason I embarked on this journey. I have been frustrated viewing other artists fluid ability to layer and create compositions that look...well...composed. How do they do that? Well, one answer may be...they studied!

While this example isn't optimum, a study is quick, fluid, and experimental...
not perfect!!
Yes, friends, I do think my personal struggle isn't only from lack of water, pigment, and brush control. It's more likely due to the fact that I don't take time to uncover the layers of my exemplar piece. 

Study on the left...painting on the right!
  1. I masked off sections, randomly, with the intention to focus on one aspect of the pattern.
  2. In the upper left corner, I studied the layering of florals and spray of black marks.
  3. In the middle left, I studied the smaller florals and red marks.
  4. Bottom left and center, I focused on single elements.
  5. The right panel is my interpretation of the piece.
Knowing that it wouldn't be possible to layer salmon over Alizaron Crimson, I mixed Cad. Red with Copic Opaque White. I also mixed Hooker's Green and Payne's Gray to create an opaque green and gray. I also added some of my own favorite leaves and berries to make my composition unique to me. 


This is my first organized study, and I am a believer. Below are a few of the things I learned from this initial study:
  • Composition
  • Noticed elements I didn't notice at first glance.
  • Isolate elements
  • Isolate values
  • Practice strokes
  • Practice layering

Since  I'm a self-taught artist, I'm putting all of these lessons together as I learn them. One of my favorite watercolor teachers is Steve Mitchell, and I viewed his tutorial on The Power of Thumbnails and How to Use Them. I adapted his tutorial to focus on what I needed to improve my compositions. 

I hope this post has been helpful. Please leave a comment below! Until next time, paint your heart out!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Stamp-A-Faire 2017: Anniversary Challenge Take 2

Stamp-A-Faire 1st Anniversary Challenge: Paper
Hello, everyone! I hope your week is going well. I'm slowly but surely going through a few of the 2017 Stamp-A-Faire challenges at Nichole Heady's Blog, Capture the Moment and Papertrey Ink. My card above is inspired by Lauren Bassen's beautiful ombre card. Her card uses the first year anniversary theme which is paper. For her technique, she actually sewed her petals to the card, and I would have done the same, but I'm allergic to sewing machines! Now I'm off again to try new techniques! Thanks for stopping by!

Laura Bassen for Papertrey Ink
Card Recipe:
Scrap papers
PTI Quatrefoil Coverplate
Graceful Gardens sentiment
Ripe Avocado

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Papertrey's Stamp-A-Faire 2017: Take Ten

Take Ten Challenge
Good Sunday evening to you, everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. However, if you are a Texan who was enduring Harvey this weekend, please know my thoughts and prayers have been with you...

I'm excited to participate in Papertrey's Stamp-A-Faire 2017. This is my second Stamp-A-Faire, and I'll be honest...I'm a day late and a dollar short. The challenges began Friday evening, but I was busy watching John Wayne. Then Saturday I wanted to finish a novel. Then today...well, you get the idea. The good news is we all have until 7:00 a.m.,Thursday, August 31st to participate, and I plan to make as many cards as I can.

9 inspiration
Pattern by Vikki Chu
The card above was inspired by  Vikki Chu's overall design. I used leaves and flowers from Gathered Garden and the sentiment from Swoosh Set to create this card. The colors of inks are shown below in the early stages of making this card.

My design and stamp colors: Saffron Spice, Green Parakeet, Spring Moss,
Bright Buttercup and Summer Sunrise
This card was a dream to make. Actually, I was able to replenish my stock of Birthday cards with this super simple card. I now have four Birthday cards to use in a pinch!

Don't forget...there is still plenty of time to play along! There are challenges for every card-maker's skillset and desires! Thanks for stopping by!!

How I Added Dimension to My Painting

Florals with three tones: highlight, mid-tone, low-light
Good Sunday afternoon to you! Before I go any further, I want to express my support to my fellow Texans who are braving the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. My prayers and support go out to everyone who is enduring this tragedy or has a loved-one who is in the midst of this crisis.

Which brings me to today's post. Because it's raining here in Wacotown, most of us are close to the news and staying inside. This has given me some time to learn from a new Skillshare teacher, Meredith P of @TheWittyGrittyPaperCo. I have followed her watercolor tutorials on YouTube for over a year, and I am so glad she's with Skillshare. Her first course is called Mastering the 3rd Dimension in Watercolors. The link is to her profile page, and if you scroll down, you will see her course.

My first steps...
In my painting above, I actually was attempting to paint a photo of Ranunculus I found posted by @gardeningdailypassion. I loved the clusters of pale pinks and soft greens, and I was hoping to capture that feeling in my painting. In the lower-left corner, I began by painting a circle-shape of light pink. I left a spot for the green center and attempted to show variation with two shades of green. Then, using a #6 long round brush, I dipped it directly into W&N Permanent Rose to add the lowlights or shadows. I had only filled in a few of the circles and was thinking about abandoning this project until I decided to finish Meredith's course first.

When she started talking about layering tones in 'threes' or more, I returned to my project to add a mid-tone to see if that would help add some dimension. It worked! I'll admit that this painting looks a little primitive, however, it is well within my reach right now. I plan to give try this painting again, focusing on getting the centers more fluid and loosening up on the highlight tone instead of painting a flat circle.

I hope my experience has been helpful. What have you learned lately to improve your art?  I'd love to hear from you!
Pinks: Varying intensities of W&N Permanent Rose
Greens: Light: Mixture of W&N Sap Green and  Quint. Gold
Dark Green: Mixture of W&N Sap Green and Hooker's Green

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WCW #21: How to Pin on Instagram

From a photo found on Instagram

Happy Watercolor Wednesday to you! Yes, I skipped a week as the days were filled with early starts at school. Getting school rolling after the summer takes a village, that's for certain! The painting above was inspired by a post from @gardenactivist. I love how they photograph food from the garden, and on this particular day, I found a photo that I was confident I could recreate with watercolor. But this post isn't about the painting. Rather it's about a feature I use on Instagram to save all those great photos by those I follow and discover.

Did you know you can create collections in Instagram much like Pinterest boards? If you do, then this post probably isn't for you. But if you didn't, keep reading. For over a year I have admired many photos that I wanted to revisit, but I didn't know how. So, I began experimenting with the 'like' button. In my profile, I found all of the photos I had 'liked.' However, it was still frustrating to me because none of the images were organized. Then I noticed a 'flag' symbol on my profile page.

The flag in the upper right corner is golden to me!
I clicked it and was taken to a blank page. Slowly, but surely, I figured out that all of the posts had the same little flag. My synapses may not fire quickly, but eventually, they do get the message. I began clicking that little flag as fast as I could scroll.

The darkened 'flag' means you have saved the post to your
main collection. You can also add it to a theme, such as Garden or Food
Soon I had a group of 'special' pictures I admired piling up on one large page. But after a while, that was about the same as the pile of 'likes' I had accumulated. I wanted something more. Whether it was there all along or part of one of Instagram's upgrade, I soon noticed that I could add photos to a collection board if I pressed and held the flag.

How to Create Collections on Instagram:

Step 1: Find a photo you want to save. Press and hold the flag. Create a collection by pressing the + sign.

Steps 1 and 2
Step 2: Enter a name for your collection, or swipe left to find a collection you already started. Instagram will place the most recent collections in the tray. All of the other collections are to the right. When you have saved successfully, a banner will appear at the top with the name of the collection you saved your photo to.

Step 3

Step 3: When you want to find a post you saved, go to your profile and press the flag above your own photos. Then you will see all of your collections or every post you have ever saved. Swipe to the collections tab, select the collection you want to view, and poof! All of the photos you saved are there, neat and organized. You can move the photo to another collection by selecting it and pressing the flag again. Then select a new board. You can also delete photos you no longer need.

Finally, I'm sure this is common knowledge, but if I do paint something I've found on Instagram and post it, I also tag the person who posted the original to let them know. It's important to honor everyone's hard work and original ideas.

While there is so much to paint out there, it's always nice to have quick access to a demo or photo for inspiration. Please comment below if you found this post helpful. Until next time, paint your heart out!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

How to Use Washi Tape to Enhance Design

Washi Tape adds clean lines to any painting---
Hello, everyone! Today's post is all about a trend I've noticed on social media. I follow, and she has several paintings where she sectioned portions of her paper into geometric shapes. Then in each area, she paints little motifs in a variety of colors.

For my painting above, I wanted to capture the transition between summer and approaching fall. On this particular day, July 31, we were expecting a 'cold front.' About six days later, the front provided relief from the summer heat. I decided to capture that by using cool colors in some of the sections and warm colors in other sections.

Neglected collection of Washi Tape
In order to get the crisp lines, I use Washi tape. I have several rolls that I'm not all that crazy about, so I use them for various reasons, like holding dies in place for card-making, or in this case, masking off sections of watercolor paper to create vignettes.

Washi tape creates various polygons...
To begin, I section off my journal page using random widths of tape and angles. I am careful to place the tape as straight as I can. I also look to make certain my angles are sharp. Because I'm exploring, my designs are totally random.

Angles and triangles...

The next step is to watercolor! For each section, I applied clean, clear water. Then I dropped in paint to allow the colors to flow. For the second painting, I used a new set of QoR watercolors. I love how all of the colors flow and blend! After removing the tape, I wasn't really pleased with the wider gaps between each section. So I put it aside for a couple of days to figure out what to do next.

The reveal...
As I examined the gaps, I thought, hmmm, they are wide enough to letter in, so I decided to incorporate a quote into the design, That helped the piece feel more connected.

The final product
What I learned from this is it is always good to play with the supplies you have on hand. You never know where exploring will take you. I'm not finished with this notion of using Washi to create paintings. This session taught me a lot about what I like and don't like about using this technique. I cannot wait to explore some more!

Let me know if you try this technique. I'd love to see your project. If you post on Instagram, please tag me @caboney1 so I'll be sure to see your creation! Until next time, paint your heart out!!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Watercolor Wednesday #20: Mixing Greens

This journey has taken me places I never dreamed I would go. I started out only
wanting to paint watercolor wreaths. What I have found out is...there is so much to learn
before event attempting to paint a watercolor wreath!
Hello and welcome to another Watercolor Wednesday! This post is partially about my journey learning watercolor. I've learned so much so far...but I also know that I have barely scratched the surface. What a delightful trip I've had so far! The painting above is merely a sketch. I am experimenting with mixing my own greens, and I was inspired by Angela Fehr's challenge: Green Acres.

You can find out more about this challenge by following this link: Watercolor Summer Challenge with Angela Fehr. You still have one more week to enter to win prizes. This week's challenge ends on Monday, August 7th. In her video she goes into detail about mixing primary colors to obtain various shades of green.

Green Acres Challenge--Ends August 7, 2017

For my own challenge, I decided to use three different yellows and one blue. My yellows were Pale Yellow, New Gamboge, Quint. Gold, and Cobalt Blue. Below are photos of the colors before and after mixing.

The pure colors...

...yielded at least 5 greens!!
Mixing my own greens have several advantages. To begin with, using premixed greens and attempting to vary the hues actually resulted 'more of the same' in my mind. I usually needed to add stronger blues or deeper yellows to the premixed greens to get variation. Because I used only one blue, I know that some of the mixed colors are quite similar, but they do react differently as I paint with them. For example, New Gamboge and Cobalt blue tended to separate on the paper and create lovely variations of the green without much effort. I also know that if I added a touch of Cobalt into the leaves, my depth and variation would be more unified. I have only just begun experimenting, and already I'm loving the results!

What are your go-to premixed greens? What are your favorite yellows and blues to use to mix your own greens? Please leave a comment below--I'd love to hear from you. Until next time, paint your heart out!