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Workshop References and Demonstrations



Painting of a tree trunk in winter. The reference and the interpretation – Workshop class, Friday 2/16/2018, Paper, Arches 140 lb, cold pressed, back side.

Creating the illusion of a tree trunk in winter is easily done by understanding the textures and edges we have to symbolize.  In addition to the basic form, other details enhance the work. The branch passing in front of the trunk is scraped with a dull jack knife to “push” the paint aside leaving a light “line” as is passes across the darker area. Once this line breaks in to the lighter area, a darker line extends it across and beyond the tree. Note the vertical but “sketchy” scrape light valued markings up and down the tree to symbolize ruts and grooves in the bark.  Where the white shapes for snow contact the tree bark, the edges of that white are defined by the darker color surrounding it. This “texture” would be rough, accomplished by a horizontal brush parallel to the paper and a light touch. The brush would actually be used in a vertical motion downward along the outer edges. Additionally, the paint has to be damp or (less fluid) such that the texture of the paper is revealed.  To shadow the snow and have a soft edge that designates the lighter side (to the left ), “clean water” is added to the left edge of the white shape. A wash of Ultra Marine Blue on a wide (1″) brush is gently washed in one motion. Starting above the white, bring the brush down through the white. Allow the left edge of the brush to pass through the clean water. This will result in a wet into wet mix ( soft edge). Continue down through the lower white shape with the same stroke if possible. This “Once and Get Out” stroke will preserve the edges with little blurring if any.  The ground shadow is made in the same manner. Using the same Ult. Marine Blue, wash the color starting in the dark area of the tree and pulling is down and into the white. Continue this stroke after leaving the tree shape and create the shadow as you intend.  You can have interest in the shadow if the lower edge is less “flat” or “straight” by making the color edge rise and fall as though there’s  something under the snow in that area. Note the branch shadows on the ground on the left. By “drawing” an up sweep or undulating line, the topography of the snow is stated.  After all is dry, additional detail can be added in the form of ground twigs and weeds. Anything out in the light will have to have a shadow as well.


Peck of Peppers

Workshop class 2/23/2018, 1/4 sheet Arches watercolor paper, 140 lb cold pressed.

A challenging task, skipping the drawing part and going direct to paper with the brush. The sequence of shapes painted is not that important as long as they are reasonably separate from one another. One can choose to work front to back. Or, start at any point. The exercise is intended to force the painter to draw with the brush, make color changes by examining the objects and seeing value change. There was a clip holding the price tag to the basket, but the complexity would be an issue in the time constraint of 1-1/2 hours. It should be noted that all the students completed the painting even after they didn’t like the fact that they couldn’t take in process photos nor draw.  As shown the photo was edited from the original in the middle.  The far right is a photo shopped image.

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