April 2020 will mark my third year as a watercolor artist. I began painting in April 2017 and this has been a wonderful journey.
Over the past year, my watercolor ‘career’ has taken off. I am now acting president to the Watercolor Society of South Texas (WSSTX.ORG).
I’ve been fortunate enough to be recognized for some awards with my watercolors, even winning the prestigious Past Presidents Award – 56th Annual Members Show for the Southwestern Watercolor Society (SWS) 2019 – “The Piper”
I have been so fortunate to meet a number of artists and take workshops that included such famous watercolor teachers as Iain Stewart, Frank Eber, Vladislav Yeliseyev and Herman Pekel.
The instruction that I have been so fortunate to receive has elevated my art and I am now beginning to teach some of what I have learned from these wonderful artists to other students. In this process, As acting President of the WSST, I have started plein air classes and mini-classes along with bringing some of these world class artists to our area to teach workshops. (If you want to come and join us for some area workshops, you can REGISTER HERE)
Don’t get me wrong, I am still learning this very difficult medium of watercolor and I don’t think you ever stop learning! It is an ongoing process of development.
Out of a necessity of the Covid-19 crisis of 2020 and in order to stay connected with our members of the WSST, I recently launched a new YouTube Channel! This is a way to stay connected and continue to paint and teach. I want to also bring to you my sketching and drawing, painting and color mixing techniques in real time.
This seemed like a good time to make a video of some of the things that I’ve actually been blogging about over the past 3 years.
Most of my blogs posts are geared toward my growth and techniques that I’ve developed over the last 3 years as an ’emerging’ watercolor artist. There is a lot of insight, instruction, learning and reading that I’ve done over the past few years to get me where I am today. Adding YouTube and Facebook Live gatherings to this instruction is an attempt for me to continue to learn and elevate my painting while helping others who may benefit from the things I’ve learned.
For example, I recently uploaded a video of one of my dog paintings. I began ‘sketching’ dogs as a way to practice my sketching technique and practice more on a daily basis. One thing I’ve learned in the past 3 years is the importance of daily sketching to train your eye. This is probably one of the best ways to elevate your art work.
In the beginning, I used some aids such as rulers and ‘sticks’ , pencils and pens to measure spacial relationships and proportions between shapes. Now, my sketching has almost become second nature and I do it without the help of aids, tracing paper, light boxes or grids. I wanted to become proficient at sketching as a way to improve my overall work.
I rather call everything I do ‘sketches’ , because I want to keep a sense of ‘looseness’ to my works. This seems to be something that really resonates with people who appreciate my art. They really enjoy the looseness and spontaneous look of my watercolors.
This video highlights some of the things I’ve learned over the past 3 years including how I now streamline my sketching and painting process. I hope you take the time to watch this video and subscribe to this new channel.
This video is a 2 part video that goes into great detail about my way of approaching a work, drawing or sketching, painting and the way I mix my colors.
I have broken down my technique as follows:
- Mix 3 primary colors into a watery mix (about the consistency of tea) using Coblat blue, Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ocher. Place down these mixes as your base wash.
- Increase tonality with richer primary colors painting mainly wet into wet. I use deeper pigments such as Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Burnt Sienna (Reds), Ultramarine (blue) and Quinacrodone Gold (yellows) to INCREASE TONE in my works.
- I mix my 3 primary colors to get my GRAYS and use them for early wet in wet shadow work.
- I continue to increase my tonality of colors by mixing a much thicker mixture (now milk to cream consistency) of Alizarin Crimson/Quinacrodone Burnt Orange (Reds), Ultramarine and Dioxazine Violet (Blues) and Raw Umber/ Van Dyke Brown (Yellows) to increase tone. I continue this process wet in wet and wet on damp paper.
- Texture paper when damp.
- Blot as needed.
- Let the work completely dry
- Add tone and shadows on top of dry paper.
- Finish and detail work using the deepest, richest pigments, sometimes directly out of the tube.
I try and follow this process throughout all of my paintings now. Something I have learned is to be repetitive and consistent in the way you paint. This is my process and I hope it helps you.
As I enter into my fourth year of painting in 2021, I am more focused on sketching, painting as often as possible and focus more on what techniques work best for me. Painting is a growing process and every artist will find his/her voice as they continue to paint.
I have found a unique way of painting that now works for me. The next challenge is to translate my technique to larger work and continue to focus on composition and my drawing. I think it only elevates everything you do.
Again, I hope you take the time to watch and subscribe to my new YouTube Channel! I will update my channel with more works as I continue in this process.
Best and happy painting!