Thursday, May 18, 2017

Key Secrets to Watercolour Pencils - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Watercoloured pencils can be harder than you think!

As you know, I have been busy getting my journal ready for my trip to Scotland.  After a bit of research and practice I settled on my kit.  (My journal prepping posts start here.)   As a result several of my students have come to me looking for pointers on watercolour pencils. Turns out many of you have a set but have really never used them. Or if you did, found them very lacking.  I was in the second department.  However, after working with my journal I have really changed my tune. Here are some of my best secrets to success.
My Kit: 2 - 03 Pigma Pens, HB Pencil, Waterbrush,  Stillman & Birn Journal Zeta Series 8 x 5.5in, kneaded eraser, 12 Derwent Watercolour Pencils, sharpener, 
Some Key Secrets to Watercolour Pencils

1. Use your pencils dry like any coloured pencil.  Used dry they provide a lot of texture to the picture.  The harder you press the more pigment on the paper, the darker the colour. You can mix this up in your picture if you want. The contrast in texture can be very interesting.
Note the text on the left (dry pencil) and the smooth blended colour on the right. (wet with brush)  

2.  Activate the colour carefully.  Using a waterbrush or regular brush with water still means you work in your colour area.  For example: In the picture of Dunvegan Castle below, texture is created with the brush strokes.  Short strokes just in blue to activate it but not blend it completely into the gray that was also there.  Blending everything together ends up with grayed colours.  If you want separate colours, then activate the areas separately and clean your brush in between.  
Using short strokes without mixing my blue and gray, I was able to get texture in my wall. 
3.  Do more than one layer.  Once you have 'painted' an area, don't hesitate to do a second layer if it is not dark enough.  There is no limit to the number of layers you can put on an area to get the kind of dark you want.
In order to get the really dark areas in the rocks I repeated the layers many times. 
4.  Get a sharp bit of colour right from the tip. Just like you can use colour straight from the tube you can use colour straight from the pencil.  Just wet your brush, damp not dripping wet, touch it to the pencil tip and you will have straight pigment to add that punch you need in a special spot. See the shot of orange around the door and one window on Dunvegan Castle above or the dark blue on the shadow side of the fish shack above. 

 5. Get some good Darks in the Shadows.  When you are working with a set of coloured pencils the tendency is to reach for your black to get your really dark shadow. But, there are many other ways to do that. Here is a little picture I was working on with a student as we tested out her pencils.

 Cactus by the water in Mexico

Yes you can add black, note the dark shadow at the base of the bush line in the bottom left corner. But check out the tones on the main cactus.  That is a shadow laid down with a 8B graphite pencil in the dark area and then a lighter bit of graphite with a 2H on the lighter side.  Then a light wash over the graphite to smooth it out.  When it was dry I put my colour on top with my pencils.  Then activated that colour with water.  Note the rich dark blended area.  I have set up the second cactus with the graphite so you can see how it looks before the water and colour go on.  To me it is a warmer, richer shadow tone than the black coloured pencil.  A good contrast when I need it.  Note the dark shadow on the small cactus on the left side.  That is just a really dark blue line over the green.

So get those watercolour pencils out and try them again. They can do lots more than you think.  I for one am adding an 8B graphite pencil to my Scotland kit.  I really like the fast, strong dark I can get with it.
 Do you use watercolour pencils?  Any secrets you can share?

Great Opportunity to get some help with drawing: My  Drop-In and Draw Sessions  for June are Monday,June 12 & 19,  10-12pm, or  1-3pm.  Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.  Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Me.  Less set until September. 

June 11- Art on the Farm
 
Kilby Historical Site, Harrison Mills. Join us for an Awesome ART Filled Day - sketch on the farm, join in hands-on drawing and painting sessions, see the sights.  My Hands-on Sessions will be at 12 & 2pm.  We will be drawing one of my flower favourites, Blackeyed Susies.  Have coffee and fresh pie afterwards at the cafe.  My personal favourite.  No registration, cost site fee only. 


 Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!
 As you know I am off to Scotland next week,  so my Shop will be closed until June 10. Look forward to seeing you then. 


Special Offer: 3 Horse Cards = 1 Pack = Instant Download for only $12
 My 3 Horse Doodle Cards LET'S RIDE, LITTLE ONE AND FREE SPIRIT are 1 Digital Downloads Pack at my Etsy Shop.  Yes, you can print and personalize your own cards instantly. Your family and friends will love them. They are great for any occasion. See the story of their creation here.

 Be sure to like and share my posts.
 You won't miss a single one if you Follow by Email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy

Thursday, May 11, 2017

From the Itty-bitty to Humongous, Values Matter - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

I love to paint miniatures.  I mean really, really small art pieces.  Miniatures are a very intimate type of art.  Where the humongous pictures want you to stand back, my little pictures invite you to come close and enjoy their fine detail.  This type of art has been popular since the Middle Ages.  Its main uses was to provide a portrait of a loved one that was small enough to wear as a necklace or carry in a pocket or pouch.  By today's standards those type of portraits were small.
MOM & POP WOOD DUCK - watercolour, 2.25 x 4
Miniature Shows today will accept pictures up to 12 square inches, 3 x 4 or any combination of measurements to that size.  I like the 3 x 4 inch size but I am always challenging myself to go smaller.  My latest pieces, Mom & Pop Wood Duck and Wood Duck Waddle measure 2.25 x 4 and 4 x 2.25 respectively.(9 sq. inches)  They are off to Levis, Quebec for the International Miniature Show, held there every 2 years.  This is a major show with pictures coming from over 173 artists and 21 different countries. I am very excited to have my little guys part of the show.  

WOOD DUCK WADDLE - Watercolour, 4 x 2.25
Whether you are working with an itty-bitty or humongous painting the same principles are important.  In working with these little portraits I was reminded of the Values.  You often hear painters say it doesn't matter what colour it is it is, it's the Value that is important.  As one that struggles with the hot/cold colour choices in my paintings I find this a ray of hope when I am 'stuck with my colour choice'.  

 By Values I mean the shades of gray from White to Black. Whether your work is in colour or black and white, each part has a value which is interpreted by the eye. 
Value Scale- White is 1 and Black is 11 (some scales go to 9 or 10)
I decided to use the magic of the digital world to see the differences of value with my little guys.  My Wood Duck was happy to oblige as a model. 

Original Picture - Backgroud is a 2/3
Original Picture - head and upper body have the Punch and your Attention
  
Mid Value - Background is a 5/6
Background Value pushed up to a mid tone - head and upper body still have some punch but now the white markings on the chest are competing and will need to be toned down.  











Dark - Background is a 8/9
Background Value pushed to the upper limits - there is still a focus on the head but other markings are pulling the eye around.  They will need to be adjusted to get a good eye movement happening.
As you can see things change a great deal when the value around them changes.  Note my watermark, which is the same value throughout almost disappears in the final example.

So how does this help. . . .

1.  Looking at the values of an image in black and white removes the pull of that favourite colour and helps you see what is going on in the painting.
2.  Value affects the focus point or area of emphasis in the picture
3.  An area can be muted by placing similar values beside it.
4.  The Bigger the contrast in values the more emphasis on that area.

I find it interesting to note that the really dark value looks good with my Wood Duck.  The background value is now darker than his body which now appears lighter.  The mid value is the only one that I feel is not effective for my little guy.
Which one do you like best?

I am off to Scotland soon and focusing on my Travel Journal.  Time to get your journal ready, there are lots of tips in my Travel Journal Series which starts  HERE.

Great Opportunity to get some help with drawing: My  Drop-In and Draw Sessions  for May are Monday, May 8 & 15,  10-12pm, or  1-3pm.  Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.  June Dates: Monday, June 12 & 19, 10-12pm & 1-3pm.  Still 1 Spot available in each. 
       Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Me.

June 11- Art on the Farm, Kilby Historical Site, Harrison Mills. Join us for an Awesome ART Filled Day - sketch on the farm, join in hands-on drawing and painting sessions, see the sights.  My Hands-on Sessions will be at 12 & 2pm.  We will be drawing one of my flower favourites, Blackeyed Susies.  Have coffee and fresh pie afterwards at the cafe.  My personal favourite.  No registration, cost site fee only. 

 Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!
Special Offer: 3 Horse Cards = 1 Pack = Instant Download for only $12
 My 3 Horse Doodle Cards LET'S RIDE, LITTLE ONE AND FREE SPIRIT are 1 Digital Downloads Pack at my Etsy Shop.  Yes, you can print and personalize your own cards instantly. Your family and friends will love them. They are great for any occasion. See the story of their creation here.

 Be sure to like and share my posts.
 You won't miss a single one if you Follow by Email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Finding Time - Travel Journal - Painting and Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

How can you lose TIME?  Somehow you do.

Steve, Max and I just returned from a little spring holiday to Osoyoos and the Similkameen Valley. We have had a very cold spring this year.  Would you believe our grass got its first cut April 15.  So we were looking for a bit of Spring Sunshine.  What better place than Osoyoos, the warmest, driest place in Canada in the winter.  Well, not this year.

Osoyoos Lake - Constantly Changing Skies. Ink & Watercolour
My plan was to enjoy the sunshine, do some sight seeing and of course do a bit of journaling.  Weather was up and down, sight seeing was good but journaling had a few lumps and bumps.  Like many of you, I do not travel with fellow artists that like to stop and sketch a bit.  Max, likes to chew on brushes and pens if he gets a hold of them. Steve is pretty good at reading for a bit but even that can only be for so long.

The problem is to FIND time.
A Spot of Green - Still gray in the valley so these little shots of green really stand out. Ink & Watercolour 
Time Finder #1 - Skip a Step

For 'ASPOT OF GREEN' I skipped a step.  Rather than doing a layout with pencil, I jumped to it and put down some watercolour.  It is similar to blocking in with colour but with a bit more detail.  As soon as it was dry I firmed up the detail with pen work.  The Final darks were added at the end and 'A SPOT OF GREEN' was ready to go.  I really like the liveliness of drawing over the watercolour, hitting and missing the edges.  But if it is raining out, which it was, it takes a few minutes to dry between steps.  I was in the car so I used the heater to dry my work.  (cheating, I know but it was raining out!!)

Mountains surrounding Hope, BC - I really wanted to capture the feeling of the mountains hemming in this little town.  Ink
Time Finder #2 - Drop to 1 Medium

The sun came out briefly in the evening when we were at Hope so I grabbed the chance to sketch the mountains.  They really dwarf Hope, the way they circle it.  With the blue sky and snowy peaks right in your face it is an awesome sight.  Catching my main idea in ink told my story and somehow colour just seems redundant.  A Panarama of inkwork in your book always makes you feel good.

Time Finder #3 - Time Yourself

Yes, get the stopwatch out and time yourself.   I don't mean try and beat the clock kind of timing but just time yourself as you do a sketch.  Small sketches, larger ones, mixed media ones and single media ones.  When you are working you are in your own place and really have no idea how long it takes to do a sketch.  Timing yourself let's you how long it takes to grab your sketch.  This means if you are standing in line for 30 minutes, you know if you have time to sketch.  If your party wants to leave and come back, you can say, sure, give me 25 minutes.  (Or more or less depending on your speed.)  You will find knowing how fast you work will free you up to do more.  And of course, the more you do, the faster you will be.

More time saving tips can be found in my Travel Journal Series which starts  HERE.  

Great Opportunity to get some help with drawing: My  Drop-In and Draw Sessions  for May are Monday, May 8 & 15,  10-12pm, or  1-3pm.  Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.
       Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Me.

June 11- Art on the Farm, Kilby Historical Site, Harrison Mills. Join us for an Awesome ART Filled Day - sketch on the farm, join in hands-on drawing and painting sessions, see the sights.  My Hands-on Sessions will be at 12 & 2pm.  We will be drawing one of my flower favourites, Blackeyed Susies.  Have coffee and fresh pie afterwards at the cafe.  My personal favourite.  No registration, cost site fee only. 

 Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!
Special Offer: 3 Horse Cards = 1 Pack = Instant Download for only $12
 My 3 Horse Doodle Cards LET'S RIDE, LITTLE ONE AND FREE SPIRIT are 1 Digital Downloads Pack at my Etsy Shop.  Yes, you can print and personalize your own cards instantly. Your family and friends will love them. They are great for any occasion. See the story of their creation here.

 Be sure to like and share my posts.
 You won't miss a single one if you Follow by Email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy