Saturday, April 28, 2012

Work in Progress: Hide and Seek II (Continued...)

More development on this bigger rose painting today... I worked on several adjacent petals in a group, adding more saturated warm and cool reds to the mid-tone region of petals, and lifting out some light areas when the paints are still wet. After this has dried, I flowed in darker mixtures of Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine and Winsor Violet wet-in-wet in the shadow areas of each petal to separate the petal shapes from one another.

Hide and Seek II, 
Watercolor on Jack Richeson Zoltan Szabo140# Cold Press Paper, 10"h x 14"w, WIP 3

At the end of the day, most petals in the peripheral are at the right color saturation and value as they need to be in the final painting. For the shadow areas with warm reflected light, I used a mixture of Alizarin and Quinacridone Burnt Orange, with a small amount of Winsor Violet to achieve a warmer brownish red. I also started to develop the petal areas near the center of the flower, using mixtures of Scarlet Lake, Permanent Rose and New Gamboge for the glowing reddish orange hue in this region. I lifted the light stamen in the flower center before this orange red color has dried.

Hide and Seek II, 
Watercolor on Jack Richeson Zoltan Szabo140# Cold Press Paper, 10"h x 14"w, WIP 4

Friday, April 27, 2012

Work in Progress: Hide and Seek II, & Beauty Queen

I did a bit of work on both rose paintings today, adding a yellow wash on "Hide and Seek II", and another varied color wash to emphasize the different color tendencies in the foliage patterns of "Beauty Queen".

Hide and Seek II, 
Watercolor on Jack Richeson Zoltan Szabo140# Cold Press Paper, 10"h x 14"w, WIP 2

Beauty Queen, Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 7"h x 5"w, WIP 2

Thursday, April 26, 2012

... What Is Arena Doing These Days?...

Whew!... Time flies, and before I realize there has been weeks without a new posting on this blog!!! So, what is Arena doing these days? Has she been slacking off, enjoying the rising temperature, the rare cloudless sky, the cheeriness-filled April air of San Francisco?... Well... Just the opposite! The weather here may have been more that welcoming and calling for outdoor adventures on all restless souls, but Arena has been locked in a little room with all windows covered with black cloth... And drawing =___=b......

Not that I have any complaints about it -- I have jumped on the opportunity of a lifetime (at least in my point of view) and started to attend an Atelier program of classical realism. The full-time program would ideally last 3-4 years, and each student would start from copy master drawings, then progress to drawing plaster casts of classical sculptures and live models, painting casts in limited palette, and finally to full-palette painting of still life and figures. It's rigorous -- 8 hours a day minimum, with the mornings dedicated to the progressing of projects suited to each student's level, and afternoons (sometimes also evenings) devoted to drawing from a nude model holding a long post for 6-week duration. Time slows down and each drawing is supposedly executed with extraordinary precision, and seemingly progress with infinitely slow speed. (I shall post later of my accomplishments of the first four weeks and illustrate my point.) And the whole point is to train the eye of the student to reach the point of precision satisfying enough to capture all the subtle beauty of a living figure. Although my ultimate goal is not to become mainly a figure but landscape painter, I do think this kind of solid foundation, and the ability of seeing the nuance of nature, as well as the ability to put down what you see in a simple but accurate statement, is of utter importance and would benefit me in the long run. The teacher I am training under, Andrew Ameral, studied and later taught in the Florence Academy  of Art for years, which inherited the 19th century French Academy lineage. So far, I am absolutely in love with the training, and I'm counting my blessings everyday for being given this opportunity...

But, this does mean I can only paint in the evenings of weekdays and on weekends when I am not in school, and that has significantly cut into my watercolor time -- thus the long absence from the blog since I have nothing to post! I am not happy with this, and I'm trying my best to squeeze more time into my watercolor projects. Learning time-management is the key, and comparing to Carrie and Crystal, both of whom produce amazing amount of beautiful work with multiple young kids, I shall say I have no excuses... Following their examples, I have decided to have more realistic goals regarding my blog posting -- making sure to post on Friday, Saturday and Sundays during which I can paint full-time, and at lest once Monday through Thursday. I would still like to finish at least one, and hopefully two small pieces a week, although in the midst of painting larger pieces for juried exhibitions, I may not be able to do this every week. We'll see...

So, without further a due, I will share a couple of projects I have started this week:

This is a painting of a very light pink rose with contrasting green foliage patterns behind it. My goal is to not go to detailed and literal on the foliage patterns, but paint them as slightly out-of-focus value patterns wet-in-wet, while maintain surface interest by varying the colors across  the spectrum -- in other words, not just greens for the leaves, but adding the influence of yellow, blue, purple and even pinks! I have only put down two layers of very thin washes on this one, using the method I've learned in the fabulous Jeannie Vodden's class. I'm trying hard to keep it light and airy, not to go too dark too soon...

Beauty Queen, Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 7"h x 5"w, WIP 1

Same process for this tiny painting morning glory which I'd like to submit to a small work show, and has the potential of becoming a commission. The challenge here is to create the effect of back-lighting -- light filtering through transparent petals, light rings around more solid stem and leaf forms... Again, I started with a multi-colored wash of three-primary mixtures, this time Permanent Rose, Aureolin Yellow and Antwerp Blue.

Rise and Shine, Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 7"h x 5"w, WIP 1

This is a larger piece (quarter sheet is large for me :-P) of "Hide and Seek" which I am trying to complete for the San Diego Watercolor Society International Juried Exhibition. I've put down a couple of wet-in-wet washes here, mostly warm and cool reds, but also New Gamboge, Yellow Ocher and French Ultramarine to map out the blurry, out-of-focus leaf forms. At this stage I'm mainly focusing on value structures, leaving the center lid portion of the rose mainly white, and putting down soft, saturated color passages for the petals in shadow. I also paid attention to the petals receiving reflected lights and lights filtering through other petals, which are warmer than the ones in pure shadow. This is indicated by varying the color temperature of reds when putting down the initial washes.

Hide and Seek II, 
Watercolor on Jack Richeson Zoltan Szabo140# Cold Press Paper, 10"h x 14"w, WIP 1

What I found out is that a larger painting is not necessary slower in its progress than a small study -- especially when I have learned my lessons from the small study! That said, I don't like doing the same thing twice so I'm trying a different paper -- the Jack Richeson Zoltan Szabo #140 Cold Press for this one. Comparing to the Fabriano Artistico #140 Cold Press I used for the small study, the Richeson paper seems to glaze well, but much harder to lift. So I may have to vary the actual painting sequence of different passages, painting light to dark in glazes instead of darker to light with lots of lifting! We'll see how that goes... ;-)

I'm also trying to wrap up some old projects. The couple of rose paintings from February are close to be finished. For this one, "Peppermint Rose", I am trying to put in all the cast shadow and crevice dark now to create a sense of 3-dimensionality, while in the mean time fighting hard not to lose the brilliance of red colors in these shadow areas. Achieve true darks on Fabriano paper is always a struggle since it's so hard to glaze, but I'm trying...

Peppermint Rose, 
Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 140# Cold Press Paper, 8"h x 8"w, WIP 4

Finally, "High Summer Dreams" has come back from the Jack Richeson 2012 Small Works show, and I have decided to offer it for sale with starting bid of $150! It will be shipped with a 16"h x 20"w mat and foam core backing board, ready to be stick into a frame! This painting has been juried into the 2010 North West Watercolor Society's International Show and won the president award, as well as into the 2011 Philadelphia Watercolor Society Works on Paper National Juried Show, and Richeson Small Works 2012 National Juried Show. It's also one of my favorite pieces. I hope it would find a loving home through Daily Paintworks...

High Summer Dream, Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 10"h x 14"w, 2012 #1

Bid at My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $150)

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