Page 7 of 55

November 13, 2015

Watercolor Painting Class - More Chinese White

I had my FIT Watercolor class last night, and did a painting with transparent watercolors on cardboard painted with Chinese White.  Our model was excellent and she was in the same pose, in 20 minute blocks of time, all night.  I underpainted my binder's board cardboard (a 7.5 X 11 in leftover piece from bookbinding) at home, so it was dry.  All of the painting was done with Winsor Newton transparent watercolors and a #10 brush.


Our Professor wasn't ready with his demo, so I sketched her with a Sketch and Wash pencil out of boredom.


He then demonstrated using gouache, using what he calls "body color," which was really Brilliant White Pebeo Gouache mixed with his transparent watercolors (lamp black, yellow ochre, and vermillion).  I had trouble achieving strong color when combining the gouache and my watercolor.  He showed us Toulouse-Lautrec paintings as examples, and said you could also add a little cobalt blue or Paynes Gray. 



With both of these paintings, I had trouble painting her skin because the water changes the color of the cardboard and I needed to adjust for that.  Next week - more painting with gouache and the introduction of another substrate. He mentioned using black gesso painted substrate and even black foam board during some of our remaining classes.

November 10, 2015

Watercolor Class Questions - Help!

Last week I painted on a Chinese White watercolor underpainting on Bainbridge Hot Press Illustration Board. 

This is my portrait of our model, a dark-haired and stubbly face guy in a motorcycle jacket.  I painted the illustration board with Chinese White mixed with water, did a very light simple sketch, and then did all of the painting with a #10 round brush on the underpainting, even the lines of the eyes and nose.


I missed the class demo when I was away, and never understood why we were learning this technique.   

I searched for information about Chinese White Watercolor paint and didn't find much.   

I learned that Chinese White, a zinc oxide, was first used in watercolor painting in the 1830s.  Although the white of the paper is usually used for white color in watercolor painting, Chinese White can be used to add opaque white details, or to mix with transparent watercolors to make them opaque like gouache.  

This is all I found about using Chinese White as an underpainting:   

"Lifting after using Chinese white as a base: Using Chinese white as a base makes it easier to lift and manipulate applied color to create hazy, misty effects, and soft-edged, subtly blended areas of tone. This technique is also known as blottesque. In blottesque, you apply a thin layer of Chinese white to your paper, let it dry and then paint over it with layers of transparent watercolor in the usual way. At any stage, you can lift, scrub or rub off color to achieve the effect you want. You can use the technique all over your painting, but if you do not want Chinese white to mix the transparent color, confine it to a few appropriate areas, such as the sky, to create naturalistic cloud effects. The blottesque technique is ideal for lifting color where you want subtle gradations of tone. It gives more control than basic lifting techniques because both the white of the paper and the white pigment contribute to the lightening of tones. When you lift color laid on a base of Chinese white, the edges are soft and merge into neighboring washes. Exploit these effects for naturalistic skies, and hazy, moisture-drenched weather effects." 

I'd love to hear from watercolor painters out there who can help me understand this technique. 

November 3, 2015

International Quilt Festival - 2015

I just returned from my annual trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas.  In high school I became a seamstress, then in 1980, while living in Texas, I learned how to make quilts.  By 1990 I was starting to dye and design fabric and loved mixing dyes and painting them on silk.  Watercolor painting became a natural extension after I retired.  But I only acquire new interests and don't easily give up the old ones.  This was my 30th annual visit to Quilt Festival where I look at 100s of quilts, take classes, and replenish supplies.

The Houston Convention Center is huge - think multiple football fields, and is now undergoing more building and renovation.  All 3 floors are devoted to this event and the last attendance record I heard, which was several years ago, was 55,000 attendees.


I painted once each full day I was there, and here are my sketchbook pages.  Jane Dunnewold's class was about working in a series, and we had many exercises to do during our 3 hours of discussion.  In one of the final exercises we had to quickly write down lists of words that we associated with colors.  Of greatest interest were the half of the class that hate purple and had lots of bad associations with it. 


My next class required 3 hours of sewing and I didn't paint during the session.  But I did draw one of my favorite dolls from the Hoffman Challenge Doll Exhibit as I walked through the exhibit areas. 


My third day and class was with Judy Coates Perez and we dyed and painted fabric using Acrylic Inks.  Wow!  the textures created were gorgeous, and were very different than those achieved with dyes.  But they also are not completely water resistant, making them better for art quilts that will never be washed. 


October 30, 2015

Figure Al Fresco at Battery Park City

I attended a figure drawing session at Battery Park City when I returned from vacation..  This weekly free program runs from May 1-October 31, weather permitting.  These are drawings from my last session, when it was cool enough that we moved down to the edge of the water to be in the sun. 

This is a photo of part of the group in the Battery Park South Cove,  The second photo shows the view over my shoulder, with the constant sound of water lapping under my bench. 




I am using one large sheet of watercolor paper for each of these series of drawings.  I sketch with a soluble graphite pencil and then add water with a waterbrush for shading.  Most of these were 10-20 minute poses. 





October 20, 2015

Vacation in Spain

We just returned from 12 days in Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona.  It was hard to find time to sit down to do a quick sketch as we traveled, so some of my time I carried an open sketchbook and sketched our walking tour guides, and an interesting roofline or something to remind me of the places.  Each tour (except Santa Cruz in Seville)  is about 3 hours and 2-3 miles.  The Santa Cruz tour was as long as the others, but that area which is very old is very small with winding alleys.  I have 5 of these journal pages, one with a watercolor wash, and 4 without.  Since this is "Inktober Month" I may leave them unpainted.

Walking Tour of Madrid - from Plaza Mayor, through old Madrid and then up to the Palacio Real, Cathedral Almudena, and Opera.


Seville Walking Tour of Barrio de Santa Cruz -  the tiny old section that was occupied by the Muslims and Jews from at least the 8th C until 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabella expelled all non-Catholics from Spain. 


Walking Tour - Highlights of Seville:  This tour began at the Seville Cathedral, then extended to the Real Alcazar, the Archives of the Indies, the Harbor, the Bullring, and the Spanish Pavillion. 



Granada:  We took a day trip from Seville to Granada to see The Alhambra - lots of hours on a bus, but worth it. 



Barcelona - We loved the city, but had a very disappointing tour guide.  We've done these walking tours with many companies in many cities, and this was the only one that we left before the end, partly because it started to rain!



We were traveling with another couple, friends for 45+ years.  Only my husband was in Spain previously and then only in Madrid for a few days for a meeting.  So glad we finally saw these 3 big cities, and hopefully we will return to Barcelona to explore this amazing city in the future.