― Claude Monet
things from the flowers, for especially
in the month of June. There’s a wealth
of happiness and romance, all in the
~ Alice in Wonderland
then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
~ Van Gogh
In this lesson, I share with you, from start to finish, a demonstration of the flower bouquets I have been creating lately. I hope that whatever level you are at in your art you will give it a go. The best way I know to learn is to jump right in and begin. For those of you new to painting, the process may seem foreign or intimidating. I ask that no matter where you are you just follow along with me and try your hand at it! I have been painting for five years now and a blank paper or canvas is still a bit daunting to me. However, I find that inspiration and the desire to create and to learn overrides any anxiety I may have. Every. Single. Time. If I had let the voice of fear inside my head win when I began, then I would never have gotten through my first painting.
I have always said, "It's only paper." If you are pleased with your work, then that is a wonderful thing. If not, it is only paper. Paint it again and again until you begin to say, "Ahhh, I am getting this!" So you may go through a few sheets of paper...I am pretty sure that is what it is made for and they do make more! ;)
You may try to think of painting as of growing a flower. You begin with a seed (an idea). You plant the seed (begin to paint), as you water it and nurture it (continue to practice and to believe). Your flower begins to grow (your painting begins to take shape), as you continue to give it water, sun and care, your flower keeps growing (your painting gets better). You never know how big your flower will get or how many blossoms it will yield (you may be surprised at the outcome of your painting), but if you had never planted the seed in the first place, you would be assured that nothing would grow! Once you have grown a flower, the next time it is easier and the next time and the next, until one day you are an expert gardner!
As you begin to experiment with the techniques I have shown you, please keep in mind that this is very loose and abstract form of creating. The only thing I knew for sure when I began my demo, was that I was going to paint a bouquet of flowers. All of my color and design choices were made as I went along. Have fun with it. Let your intuitiion help to guide you. If you make a mark you don't like, remove it or paint over it and try again. It is not sculpture. It is not carved in stone!
Will your painting turn out like mine? Well, of course, you may copy what I have done as a way to learn and get comfortable. Many times, when first beginning something new, the best way to learn is to copy. It takes away the big question, "What should I paint?" Nevertheless, it will be done with your hand and your colors and your materials...all which will translate into a different painting altogether.
It seems to be our nature to be tempted to compare our work with others, but I ask that you try to refrain from this bad practice. Try your best not to compare what you have created with anyone else's creations. Comparison, I think, should be done only in relationship to yourself. Once you have created multiple paintings you can begin to compare your own works to see how far you have come, how much you have learned and how much you have grown.
I am here to share what I have learned in my artistic journey, to teach you all that I have to offer. I am here to answer any questions you have, and give you all I can with an open and sharing heart. Keep in mind these are just techniques, ideas and philosophies that I have gathered through my own experiences. My own way of making and creating. The things I show you are not 'rules'. They are tidbits to put in your own bag of tricks. They can be changed up and manipulated to suit you and your art making process. I give you but a few drops of water to help your garden grow.....
I look forward with great delight to seeing you all blossom in different and beautiful ways.
~ Oscar Wilde
In today's demonstration, I paint very similarly to the last lesson, with a few variations. I changed up my palette, I painted on a bit larger scale, a little looser and less picky with my washes. I did not edit any of my 'mistakes'. I left in all of my indecision about color and design choices as I went along, so that you see the "real deal". Not an edited version of me in my studio, but the actual way in which I work. I really valued being able to see the good, the bad and the ugly in my painting classes and I hope you find this to be helpful to you too.
In this lesson, I also discuss all the variety of watercolor papers. Because I know that all the choices, brands, weights and textures make it a bit overwhelming to make a simple purchase.
So, to recap a bit, I put it here for you in writing so you will have it for future reference:
The weight of the paper: The higher the number the heavier the weight. So, 90 lb. is lighter (almost like a nice cardstock) and 300 lb. is very heavy. 140 lb. (which is what I have been using and recommending) is a perfect weight for the type of art we are creating here and probably the most popular for most art applications.
The surface of the paper: Cold Press is toothy and textured. Hot Press is smooth and flat.
The brand of the paper: There are, of course, sooo many different brands to choose from. "Arches" is a brand I love. It is a premier paper. Arches pads and blocks are quite expensive. It is sold in single sheets and is fairly reasonable if you purchase it that way. It is not the brand I would recommend for 'experimenting' but more for work that you may hang or sell. I also really like "Fluid" brand watercolor paper. These are sold in blocks that come in many sizes from very small (4 x 6 inches) to fairly large (12 x 16 inches). It is reasonably priced and I have found it to be a really decent paper for the value. "Strathmore" is also a nice paper, it is easily found and is often on sale. For those of you wanting a really economical option, I found a pad of w/c paper at Target. It is called "Kid Made Modern" and is very inexpensive and surprisingly nice to work on. I like it for creating cards and smaller works. The only drawback is that it only comes in 7.5 x 9 inches. But if you are wanting to paint small or just to practice and experiment, this is a great option. As you progress, (and if you are a paper hoarder, like me) you will trry many and find what you like best!
Watercolor Blocks-This is paper that is glued together on the edges. This is so that you can paint directly on your block and it will not buckle. You can remove your painting after it has dried, by taking a palette knife and insterting it in the part of the pad that is not glued and gently running your knife all around it until it seperates.
Watercolor Sheets-These are sold individually or in 3/5 packs and are generally quite large (16x20 and up). They may be cut or torn to the desired size.
Watercolor Pads and Journal-These are just pads, glued or bound on one side and come in all brands and all sizes.
I would like to see you paint and play some more! I would like to see you choose your favorite colors and really just experiment. Try loose and washy paint layers. Try some added stamping or collage! If you are inclined, you could even work on two at one time. This really helps to keep you from getting too focused on one and, I think, it gives you even more permission to play and be free. In our reference photos there is a picture of many different vases, this may help you try your hand at some different shapes. Also, take time to look at some images in magazines and/or online and find inspiration.
It is also great to have these ideas up your sleeve for those times when we need a gift or a card for a special occasion! And sometimes, it is just fun to work a on a smaller scale...working small feels a bit more intimate and a little less intimidating. I have always enjoyed 'miniature' things and so I especially love this lesson! I hope you do too.
You may want a couple of the optional items listed here:
1. Blank A.T.C. cards ("artist trading cards") or you can just cut a few pieces of watercolor paper to 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch size. Here are the ones I used in my demo: Inchie Art ATC cards
2. Colored card stock. (whatever colors compliment your piece) I cut sizes to 'frame' my ATC.
3. A Micron or Pitt pen. (I provided links to the ones I use most).
4. A small frame for a tiny painting. (I purchased mine at Michaels).
There are a lot of other things you could create too out of your flower paintings! Here are a few more ideas that I would like to try in the future:
- Journal Covers
~ Henri Matisse
I also am using some collage papers, a background stamp from RubberMoon, PVA glue and some *heavy body acrylic paint. *you do not need heavy body acrylic paint. I chose to use it to add more texture and dimension.
The app is called Over and it's great for adding text to your art. You can then put your art or photos up on your blog and/or social media sites or make prints to frame or mount and create greeting cards and notecards.
Please let me know if you have any questions at all. Enjoy!
~ Hans Christian Anderson
I hope that I can impart a bit of my love of this fun and whimsical medium.
To truly get the best out of your watercolors, I do recommend that you use the best brush you can afford. I think that a decent brush is probably the most important component to a user friendly watercolor painting, followed by the quality of paint and paper.
When I first started painting, I began with very basic, inexpensive, 'student grade' materials and worked my way up (and am still building my library of artist grade paints). I don't want you to feel any pressure to spend or invest a lot. I just want you to know that if you are loving watercolor and yet not super happy with your results, the materials you use, can and will make a difference!
With the paintings I created in this lesson, I began with some reference photos. And though my paintings look nothing like my references, I used them for inspiration, color, form, shapes and value. I created a very loose and light sketch and let the water and paint do it's thing, making sure to leave white spaces and not get too heavy handed or painterly.
My first tip about watercolor is to use WATER! Lots of fresh, clean water! Remember that it is not paint the same way acrylic or oils are paints. You are not aiming for brush strokes or texture. You are not going to manipulate it the same way. Though you can and should layer your washes, you must be more patient with it. I think this is where it becomes such a challenge and many people become frustrated. So I hope you will take your time with this lesson and enjoy the beautiful challenge of watercolor painting!
sketch a loose and light sketch on watercolor paper
paint first with a layer of clear (or very lightly tinted) water
add your watercolors in layers of wash building the values as you go
often leave the white of the paper to create lightness and contrast
So please don't leaf! We are just breaking ground!!
It is a privilege and honor to grow with you all!
As many of you know, I often paint, sketch, illustrate and doodle on my ipad.
It is a wonderful way to create even when I can't get into the studio. It is great for getting my ideas down when I may be pressed for time and a fabulous tool for creating a maquette.
I have been wanting to share a little bit of my knowledge of apps and how I use them. This bonus lesson is just to give you an idea and get you started trying your hand at this 'medium'. Honestly, I could do an entire class on apps and ipad art alone. But maybe, someday, that will be a whole other class!
Of course,for this little lesson, I used flowers as my subject matter, but of course, you know, the sky is the limit and there are no limits to what you can do with your art on your tablet. Think of it as just another medium.
If you do not have an ipad but another type of tablet, I know there are comparable apps for whatever device you have. I am sorry but my knowledge is limited to the ipad for this bonus video.
Thank you all again and again for being here and please continue to make art and share in our little secret garden!
The apps I show in this video:
The apps I currently have installed (and use often):
Have fun and grow wild!
Password to watch both bonus videos below is: flowerspowers