Oct 10, 2019

The WHY of Your Art - Painting & Drawing Tips

Why do you paint/draw?
Why that subject??
Why that method?
Why that medium?
Why do you make the choices you make in your practice?

TREATS FOR MY SWEETHEART - Matted 20 x 24, Watercolour $700

You are driven to create.  That part is easy but have you determined WHY you do what you do?  What drives you?

Having a Show brings this all to the forefront. . .

I just finished a 2 week show at the Pop Up Gallery here in Surrey.  It was wonderful to see a large selection of my coastal wildlife work in a location right befitting it.  Right beside the coastal shore.  My herons, eagles, seals could smell the salt water, they were so close.  It was wonderful.

But . . . .people were asking all kinds of WHY questions.  

They expect an interesting, articulate answer.  Definitely hard to do if you haven't spent some time with yourself.  Some artists journal their thoughts.  Despite being a writer, that doesn't seem to be my way.  My thoughts rattle around in my head.  They emerge in my titles, my write ups, my advertising. . . And of course, in my work.

My Story

The first big why?
Why do I paint/draw wildlife?  I am curious, fascinated, drawn to wildlife.  As much as I love the scenic west coast, I find it hard to paint it unless it has some life in it.  A seagull, a bird, a deer.  Somehow that gives meaning to me.  I use only my own reference material.  This meets my second goal.  To share that feeling of awe and wonderment of seeing my bird or animal in the wild.  To sit on a log and watch a woodpecker feed its baby or a mother seal teach her pup to swim is special.  Something to share.

But why the method? the medium? the style?
This becomes more about my practice.  I work in three mediums: permanent ink, graphite and watercolour.  Together or separately.  How do I decide?

Sometimes it is the challenge . . .
Can I draw a realistic animal using just my line work in ink?  I had been working a lot with my pens and felt I was ready for that step.  Just line work.  No, watercolour to cover an errant line.

HERON: TIDES RUNNING - Watercolour,  Matted 8 x 10, $130 

Sometimes the style
Can I mix abstract with very tight realism? I had been playing around with ideas in my sketchbook and so decided to try it. 

JUNCOS AT THE FEEDER - Ink & Watercolour mounted on Wood Cradle, 8 x 10 $200

Sometimes the place . . .
Painting Plein Air, means painting from life.  I work smaller, 5 x 7 or 8 x 10.  I need to work quickly.  My animals wont stay there forever.  I chased these little pigs around the pig style for several hours to paint my Three Little Pigs!!   Maybe this was more of a Challenge than just a place thing. 

THE THREE LITTLE PIGS - Watercolour SOLD

Sometimes it is a memorable moment . . .
This little seal popped up to watch me as I kayaked on the Campbell River.  We were both there for the Salmon Run.  Him to eat, me to photograph.  He let me get a great shot then turned, flipped his tail and splashed me.  Not such a great good bye. 

UP FOR AIR - Coloured Pencil, SOLD

Sometimes I really want to do meticulous realism  . . .
I look to my pencils for this.  They allow me to convey the detail I crave, give me the textures I want, and the control that I need.  For me, the subject comes alive.

BIG BLUE - Matted 12 x 20, Graphite $450

Have you answered your Why's?  
Sometimes, my Why is simply to enjoy myself.  I love the feel of my pen on paper, the joy of watching colours flowing together and the soft blend of textures in graphite.  But the other riding goal

Bringing My Birds and Animals to Life on Paper

More on the Why's:
Why Graphite? 
Have You Felt the Freedom of the Line?
Ready to start Drawing


Looking to move your Drawing Skills to the Next Level?

Contact Me to Register ↓↓↓↓


Get Ready for Christmas!! with a Fun Way to Improve your Drawing Skills
This year's theme is Candles, Holly and Poinsettias

Christmas Card Classes 
Saturday, Nov 16, 10-12pm. Art by Wendy's Studio, North Surrey
Wednesday, Dec 4, 1-3pm. Gardenworks at Mandeville, South Burnaby
Treat your Friends to a Special Christmas Greeting
All supplies Incld $40      Contact Wendy

OR

Book a 3 Pack of Private Lessons with Me - 3 Lessons 2.5 hr each $225
Drawing lessons in graphite, carbon, ink, watercolour, watercolour pencils or coloured pencils.
Based on your Schedule at my Studio, N. Surrey. 

FYI
I am scheduled for a Demo at Opus this fall: 

 Drawing: Values, Light & Shadows Saturday, Oct 19, 11-12:30 or 2-3:30 Free 
Contact Langley Opus to Register  604.533.0601


My Etsy Store is always OPEN: Etsy - WendyMouldsArt

Originals, Prints, Commission Work and Instant Printable Cards for all Seasons available.

Be sure to like and share my posts to keep me coming into your box, 
You won't miss a single post if you Follow by Email or Like my Facebook Page.
Have a great Artful Day,

Wendy



Oct 3, 2019

Drawing with Carbon Pencils - a Trip to the Dark Side - Painting & Drawing Tips


 As you know I am a Black Ink Artist.

I love the crisp, sharp, dark Mark that my pen makes. 
It doesn’t bother me that it is permanent, never to be erased.  I can live with that.  I know many can’t. 

However, my artwork is not always about crisp, sharp, dark Marks.  . .


QUAIL ON THE GRASS - 8 x 10 Matted, Carbon Pencil $130

I am also a Pencil Artist.  I love the soft, touch of graphite on paper.  Many of you have seen my pencil drawing and know what I mean.  Special Moments, below is a classic example of what I like to do with my graphite pencils.  


SPECIAL MOMENTS - 16 X 20 Matted, Graphite, $550

As you can see the graphite can be blended to make the coat of the seals sleek, you can feel it.  On the other hand, the rough coarse rocks are enhanced by the course texture of the graphite.  I love that.

But there is a problem . . . .

I am always searching for a better Dark. Referring to a value scale with #1 being white, the #10 being the darkest.  It is a better #10, that I yearn for.  My pencils are a mixture of graphite and lead or clay or carbon.  With the lead or clay mix, there is always a gray tone to the graphite work.  The carbon blend has a darker, blacker, colder tone.  I find with my animals I am drawn more to the gray tone.  Hence my use of Derwent or Caron d'Ache pencils. 

But change is in the wind. . . .
I have found a new Dark Side.  Carbon pencils by Wolff.  Inexpensive. Easy to use. And produce a very dark, dark.  I decided to give them a try.  (Carbon pencils are a combination of charcoal and graphite)


Drawing with Carbon Pencils - a Trip to the Dark Side . . . .  with my Quail


A selection of Wolff's Carbon Pencils, vinyl eraser & kneaded eraser

Notes from my trip:

1.     Loved the dark, using the BB and BBB pencils I could get lovely darks without pressing too hard.  Then meant I could use the tooth of paper for added texture.  A big plus

2.    The B, BB and BBB were soft. Creamy. Smooth. To draw with.  A pleasure to work on the paper.  However, the H and HH were very hard, scratchy.  Definitely not the same appeal there. 

Comparison Marks with some of my Pencils

3.  Although the Dark was great, it was difficult to get lighter values.  Pressing lightly with B pencils give a lighter value but can be laborious for a larger area.  However, changing to the harder pencils results in not only a lighter value but a different hue as well.  Note on the practice sheet - the B pencils are a cold dark black where the H and HH pencils have a more silver tone to them.

4.  Erasing and softening.  This really was the issue.  Lifting the carbon with the kneaded eraser was difficult.  It certainly didn’t want to come off easily.  Softening the mark with the kneaded eraser was much easier.  However, it changed the mark.  It is a subtle change but then you know, sometimes those subtle marks can make or break your image.  When I look at the quail on the upper left side of his chest, the marks there are blurry.  It is not my photography that did that.  I had decided to change the marks I was making and as soon as I touched it with the kneaded eraser, I could see I had lost some of my texture.  (That granular effect that is prevalent throughout the image.)  This is something to think about when working with the carbon.  Your mark is not easily changed once put down.  (I know, a bit like my black ink. I have learned to live with ink's permanence so I know I can learn to manage it with carbon).

5.  Fixative.  Still very necessary.  Drawings need to be protected, just like graphite.  Workable fixative can be used, and drawings can be worked on again after spraying if needed.

6.  Archival.  Carbon pencils like graphite pencils will not fade.  If handled right carbon will far outlive the paper/support, it is on.

Will I give up my graphite for carbon?

No.  I will use the carbon pencils for some drawings but when I want that hyper-realism, I will stay with my graphite.  I like the range of values I get with it.  I enjoy the realism of my birds and animals in the silver tones.  I find them reminiscence of old photographs.  That sense of time gone by.  That grounding of history that comes with it.  It is a language I love.
 
But yes, I will use them again.  Like my pens, they have their own enticement.  Their rich, velvety, matte lines draw my eye and will bring me back to draw with them again.

How about you?  Do you draw with carbon pencils? 

Other posts on Graphite Drawings:
Why Graphite? 

Looking to move your Drawing Skills to the Next Level?

Contact Me to Register ↓↓↓↓


Get Ready for Christmas!! with a Fun Way to Improve your Drawing Skills
This year's theme is Candles, Holly and Poinsettias

Christmas Card Classes 
Saturday, Nov 16, 10-12pm. Art by Wendy's Studio, North Surrey
Wednesday, Dec 4, 1-3pm. Gardenworks at Mandeville, South Burnaby
Treat your Friends to a Special Christmas Greeting
All supplies Incld $40      Contact Wendy

OR

Book a 3 Pack of Private Lessons with Me - 3 Lessons 2.5 hr each $225
Drawing lessons in graphite, carbon, ink, watercolour, watercolour pencils or coloured pencils.
Based on your Schedule at my Studio, N. Surrey. 

FYI
I am scheduled for a Demo at Opus this fall: 

 Drawing: Values, Light & Shadows Saturday, Oct 19, 11-12:30 or 2-3:30 Free 
Contact Langley Opus to Register  604.533.0601


My Etsy Store is always OPEN: Etsy - WendyMouldsArt

Originals, Prints, Commission Work and Instant Printable Cards for all Seasons available.

Be sure to like and share my posts to keep me coming into your box, 
You won't miss a single post if you Follow by Email or Like my Facebook Page.
Have a great Artful Day,

Wendy

Sep 26, 2019

The Tears Free Way to transfer your Image - Painting and Drawing Tips

Fall means CURLING SEASON is HERE!!

Now maybe Curling isn't your thing but I curl twice a week and really enjoy it. This Friday will find me down at the rink throwing a few rocks and getting into the groove.  Next Wednesday night at 7 pm, the first game.  Before I play I need to be ready - shoes, grippers, broom, clothes, gloves, stretching, practice.

I Have my groundwork done before I start. . .

This little quail looked good in my sketchbook and now I want to do a Better Drawing.  I need to TRANSFER it to my drawing board. 

Getting a new picture/project underway requires the same attention to readiness. My recent worked with a new student pointed out a big whole in my readiness discussions on my blog.

The need for a TRANSFER. . .

What is a Transfer? Why do you need it?
When you layout your drawing, many of you like me, like to have some very detailed images in our work.  ie. I draw realistic birds and animals.  Have you ever tried to draw a bird?  Their beaks will drive you crazy.  I usually find I fiddle away with them forever: too long, too short, too fat, slanted the wrong way, . . .You know, all of those things and more.  If the beak isn't right. The bird is not right.
I work on Arches 140 lb cold press paper, special drawing boards or specialty papers for my finished pieces.  Erasing and redrawing will kill them.  The tooth of the paper is corrupted.  Whatever medium I am using graphite, watercolour or ink will highlight this patch on my paper. A corrupted piece support is no use to me.

So I need to do a TRANSFER . .

I draw my picture on a separate paper then transfer it onto my good paper/drawing board once all the bugs are worked out. ie. the 'beak' is right.  In this example I am using my little quail which worked really nice in my sketchbook and now headed for a more detailed drawing on my special drawing board. 

I got that, you are probably saying.  What's the big deal.  Well, no, you can't grab the old standby, carbon paper and trace you drawing onto your support.  That carbon will play havoc with your watercolours, your graphite, your coloured pencils, your pastels, . . .

The best TRANSFER is with graphite.  

Yes, There is such a thing as graphite paper for transfers but I find it expensive, found only in specialty art stores, and messy.  (It can leave lots of unwanted graphite on your work if not handled carefully)

Materials for TRANSFER: tracing paper, 2B pencil & 5B pencil.  Make sure the tracing paper is transparent.  

How to Transfer a Drawing onto your support without Graphite Paper:

1.  Tape a piece of tracing paper over the drawing you wish to transfer  (use painter's tape or other low tack tapes)
Step 1: Label this side 'Front' 

Trace the drawing with a pencil.(Dark enough to see clearly but not too dark).  use a 2B pencil. It is softer than an HB, it gives a dark line but will not to score your paper in your sketchbook.

Step 2: Label this side 'Back' - follow your drawing lines carefully so you put graphite on them

 2.  Remove the tracing paper from the drawing.  Turn it over.  Use a soft pencil, 5B to redraw the drawing on the back.  This is how you put graphite on the BACK of the tracing paper. Rather than graphite all over the tracing paper, it is just under the actual drawn lines.

Step 3: Play your image where you want it on the page before taping.  

3.  Place your tracing paper on your GOOD drawing surface, RIGHT SIDE of tracing paper FACING UP.  Tape it on one side so it is possible to flip it up without shifting it.  Draw the drawing by using a 2B pencil to go over your first Tracing.  (From Step 1).  Press hard enough to transfer the graphite on the back side onto your good drawing surface.  Make sure you are not scoring the surface of the good drawing surface.  You can flip the tracing paper up and down to check. You might have to touch it up a bit as you go.

Flip your tracing paper up to see how things are working out.  

4. Remove the tracing paper and the transfer is done.
My Quail is now on my drawing board ready for me to shade with my pencils.  Notice outline is dark enough to see but light enough to erase and it does not score the drawing board.  

OMG!! You are probably saying by now. "How many times do I have to draw the same thing." 3 Times for sure and if you count the touch up at the end, 4 times.  A bit of a drag, I agree.

 But  . . . your good drawing surface is in excellent shape.  And a big bonus, you have just studied your drawing 3 or 4 times in great detail.  You are now way more familiar with your subject and READY TO ROLL.

Added Bonus: If you use a grid to draw that detail, this means no worries to remove those grid lines on your special paper/support.

Only a Few Days Left:

My ART Treo Pop Up Gallery,  Last Day Monday, Sept 30
Open 11-5pm Daily 

Beecher Place, 12160 Beecher St. Crescent Beach

Wonderful venue to view my summer collection from Texada Island, I painted every day when we were there.  Also featured are Doris Biddle and Donna Schipfel, both have some awesome work to share with you.

Finish your Art tour with a walk on the beach walk (we are right beside it) and a special coffee or desert from the local shops.  Great way to spend a fall day. I will be at the Gallery on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  See you there.

Looking to move your Drawing Skills to the Next Level?

Contact Me to Register ↓↓↓↓
Drop-In and Draw at the Pop UP GalleryMonday, September 30, 1-3 pm 1 Spots Left 
Beecher Place, Cres. Beach $20.  Get tips on old projects or new. 

Get Ready for Christmas!! with a Fun Way to Improve your Drawing Skills
This year's theme is Candles, Holly and Poinsettias

Christmas Card Classes 
Saturday, Nov 16, 10-12pm. Art by Wendy's Studio, North Surrey
Wednesday, Dec 4, 1-3pm. Gardenworks at Mandeville, South Burnaby
Treat your Friends to a Special Christmas Greeting
All supplies Incld $40      Contact Wendy

OR

Book a 3 Pack of Private Lessons with Me - 3 Lessons 2.5 hr each $225
Based on your Schedule at my Studio, N. Surrey. 

FYI
I am scheduled for a Demo at Opus this fall: 

 Drawing: Values, Light & Shadows Saturday, Oct 19, 11-12:30 or 2-3:30 Free 
Contact Langley Opus to Register  604.533.0601


My Etsy Store is always OPEN: Etsy - WendyMouldsArt

Originals, Prints, Commission Work and Instant Printable Cards for all Seasons available.

Be sure to like and share my posts to keep me coming into your box, 
You won't miss a single post if you Follow by Email or Like my Facebook Page.
Have a great Artful Day,

Wendy

Sep 19, 2019

Are your Landscapes too GREEN? Painting & Drawing Tips

I live in a GREEN, GREEN world, here on the West Coast. 

When you are outdoors painting did you notice how GREEN it was out there?  The trees. The shrubs. The moss.  Everything is GREEN. 

BIRCH TREES BY THE STREAM - sketchbook page


I am not complaining. I like GREEN.  Here on the west coast there is lots of GREEN.  We have a temporal climate,  mild winters and mild summers.  I love it.  (I am a 25 C  person, any hotter is too hot for me) All this means we have lots of rain and very rich, lush GREENS that are often here year round.  

But all GREEN landscapes are boring to paint. . .  They need COLOUR. 

As many of my readers know, I did a lot of outdoor sketching and painting this summer.  When I encountered my lush GREEN landscapes I did the usual.  Blue greens, yellow greens, light greens, dark greens.  But I realized this was not enough. There was no colour. No drama. I decided this summer I was going to do something about it. I devised a challenge for myself.

My Summer Challenge: infuse colour into my green landscapes that was believable and interesting.  With colours that reflected me.



Birch Tree with a little stream - Lots of GREEN
Did you see this scene this summer? 

Pretty little spot in the park.  Birch Trees (my favourite with their white bark) they even have a few sun and shadow spots on them.  A little stream with interesting rocks in and around it.  Ferns and shrubs giving an interesting frame for the trees and stream.  Trees and foliage in the distance.  Pretty, meditative spot.  But so much GREEN.  

How I Infused my GREENS with Colour:

1.  I looked for other colours, no matter how small to include: dead leaves had rust, tans, browns. 

 2.  I pushed into new colours: red (Quinacridone Red) - hidden in the darks of the foilage; and pure blues (Ultramarine and Phalo Blue) -  Patches in the water, the background and darks on the birches.  

3.  I used a deep purple as my darkest dark.  This meant my transition colours were pinks and mauve from the same family.  (I mixed my purple with Ultramarine and Permanent Rose.  This meant I could make a variation of my purple learning to blue, mauve or pink)

Sound logical, right. . . .

Really #1 feels easy to do and a logical extension to what you see.  But #2 and #3, they really require you to step out of your box.  Red.  There is no Red in my reference picture.  But actually it looks kind of nice and adds a sparkle to the picture.  The purples and pinks.  More Sparkle.  I really enjoy looking at this little picture.  

A few Secrets from my Colour infusion . . .

a. This was not my first picture.  I started off slowly.  Added red.  Robert Genn said to add a bit of red to jazz things up. So I started dropping in red.  Reluctantly.  Quietly. Then got louder.  I liked it. 

b.  One drop of a new colour draws too much attention.  Put it in 3 different places, it blends in. Can be all the same tone or variations.  It seems to settle in. 

c.  I got braver.  I started playing with the purples.  Started adding them. Tried different values.  Tried different hues. Moved to a bit of pink. Some mauve.  

d.  I got even braver.  I added more and more colour.  This little picture brought it all together for me.  It sparkles.  It speaks to me.  

e.  Ok.  I know you might feel it does not look EXACTLY like the spot I was painting at.  But it reflects more than that.  It reflects how I felt about that spot in the kind of colour (language) that is unique to me.  When you chose your colours for your painting whether it is a green, blue, red or yellow, your chose is based on your preference.

Try a little colour in your life.  Don't let those GREENS run the whole show.  

Other posts on colour mixing:

Contact Me to Register ↓↓↓↓
Upcoming Drawing Classes: 

Sunday, September 22 & 29, Beecher Place, Crescent Beach, S Surrey. 1-3pm. $40 ea.
Part 1: Get that Line Drawing Right - Sept 22 Full
Part 2: Values, Light & Shadows - Sept 29   Full
Beginners to Advanced Welcome.  Come to one or both.      
Drop-In and Draw
Wednesday, September 25, 1-3pm 
2 Spots Left   or   Monday, September 30, 1-3 pm 2 Spots Left 
Beecher Place, Cres. Beach $20.  Get tips on old projects or new. 

Contact Wendy to Register and for more information.  

OR Book a 3 Pack of Private Lessons with Me - 3 Lessons 2.5 hr each $225
Based on your Schedule at my Studio, N. Surrey. 

September 19-30 I will be at Beecher Place with Art Theo featuring Art by myself, Doris Biddle and Donna Schipfel.  During our stay we will be offering classes and showing/selling our work. I have Drawing Classes on the Sundays (Sept 22 & 29)  and a Drop-In Session (Sept 30)  for those that want to practice more from the classes or would like help in their own projects or starting new ones.

Doris will be offering a 2 Day class working with Acrylics $80 and a Ceramic Painting class $45.  Donna will be offering 2 classes on Watercolour on Rice paper $40 ea.

FYI
I am scheduled for a Demo at Opus this fall: 

 Drawing: Values, Light & Shadows Saturday, Oct 19, 11-12:30 or 2-3:30 Free 
Contact Langley Opus to Register  604.533.0601


My Etsy Store is always OPEN: Etsy - WendyMouldsArt

Originals, Prints, Commission Work and Instant Printable Cards for all Seasons available.

Be sure to like and share my posts to keep me coming into your box, 
You won't miss a single post if you Follow by Email or Like my Facebook Page.
Have a great Artful Day,

Wendy

Sep 12, 2019

Watercolour- Really?? Wet by Wet? - Painting by Drawing Tips

No, Not a Misprint - Wet by Wet, is a Watercolour Technique


POPPIES, FULL OF LIFE - watercolour mounted on wood cradle, 14 x 22 inches, $850

Painting watercolour wet into wet is the norm and certainly a technique most watercolourist employ at some point in their work.  I certainly struggled with this method many times as I learned to paint.  And yes, it is now something I do in my work.  But the more I painted the more I realized it doesn't tell the whole story.  Working with my latest picture, Poppies, Full of Life, I realized I really wasn't working wet into wet. . .

I was working wet by wet.

In the true sense of the wet into wet technique, you mix the colours on your paper.  Adding one colour to the other when they are wet.  The colours will mix, or not, depending on the pigments as they move about the space.  They will certainly give an array of  colour you can not get with a simple brush strokes.  Definitely, one of the reasons why watercolour is such a special medium.

So what is Wet by Wet?

Paper is wet, a colour is down but the new colour is added beside the other colour, not into it.  Sounds easy enough but as you know, when it comes to matching water and pigment, nothing is that simple in watercolour.  


Wet by Wet - notice the space between the colours and the bleeding of colour into the neighbouring one.
Close up from - Poppies, Full of Life

In my Close Up from Poppies, Full of Life, you can see how the new darker green pigment is being added to the area around and into the lighter green and but only close to the red poppy suggested in the background. Notice how the pigments bleed together making a soft edge but still keeping their own areas of colour.  This is the big difference between Wet into Wet and Wet by Wet.  With Wet by Wet, the two neighbouring colours are not changed only their edges are affected.  (See more on the painting of the background of Poppies, Full of Life on my last post, here)

This 'softness' is the key . . . . 



Poppies Full of Life - WIP - notice how the edges within the poppies are soft (middle flower) and the edges in the background are all soft

Why the soft edge?

A soft blended edge is needed in many places within a painting.  Looking at Poppies, Full of Life - WIP you can see it:
1.  In the background to suggest leaves, branches, other blossoms
2.  Within the blossoms to suggest petals, shadows, highlights
3. Within the leaves and buds to give a gradual colour change rather than a sharp one.

Special Note: In this particular painting, I particularly liked the loose, plush look of my flowers which is a different look to one that is created through layers of glazing.  I did some glazing later to add the deep shadows and define the markings.  


Close up of blossom BEFORE final glazing for shadows - Note the loose, plus look the blossom has.  Only needed to add the shadows with a bit of glazing. 

How to do Wet by Wet . . .

Okay, now you are not going to be very happy.  This technique is a balance of water, pigment and doing a single stroke.  This is a no 'fiddle around' technique.  (You know,  you touch the brush again and again to an area, rather then one stroke and leave it - Fiddle Around) You will need to practice this technique a lot,  to get the balance of water and pigment correct.  Also, when using new colours, I would suggest doing a little test first.  You never know when your pigments might have their own idea when they touch.  

Things to note:
1. Works best on good watercolour paper. I use Arches 140 taped down
2.  Paper is wet but not sopping and warped.  
3.  Brush is wet but not dripping
4.  When you touch the paper with the brush the pigment moves out slowly not spreading quickly
5.  Let things dry naturally, no blow dryer.
6.  The amount of pigment on your brush is determined by what you are painting.  You only get one swipe so make it a bit darker than you think as your paint dries lighter.
7. Work quickly as your paper/paint dry quickly
8.  To wet your paper if too dry, use a fine mist over a larger area than what you need. 
9.  Apply paint with as few strokes as possible (no Fiddling) 

Lots to think about I know, but worth the practice.  I find I use this technique in some form all the time in my work.  Keep at it.  You will be happy when you have it.  

Other things you might be interested in:

Using Glazes to Finish the Background

The Secrets of Watercolour Paper

Painting those Pesky Backgrounds

Looking to move your Drawing Skills to the Next Level?

Contact Me to Register ↓↓↓↓
Upcoming Drawing Classes: 

Sunday, September 22 & 29, Beecher Place, Crescent Beach, S Surrey. 1-3pm. $40 ea.
Part 1: Get that Line Drawing Right - Sept 22
Part 2: Values, Light & Shadows - Sept 29
Beginners to Advanced Welcome.  Come to one or both.      
Drop-In and Draw
Monday, September 30, 1-4pm Beecher Place, Cres. Beach $20.  Get tips on old projects or new. 


Contact Wendy to Register and for more information.  

OR Book a 3 Pack of Private Lessons with Me - 3 Lessons 2.5 hr each $225
Based on your Schedule at my Studio, N. Surrey. 

September 19-30 I will be at Beecher Place with Art Theo featuring Art by myself, Doris Biddle and Donna Schipfel.  During our stay we will be offering classes and showing/selling our work. I have Drawing Classes on the Sundays (Sept 22 & 29)  and a Drop-In Session (Sept 30)  for those that want to practice more from the classes or would like help in their own projects or starting new ones.

Doris will be offering a 2 Day class working with Acrylics $80 and a Ceramic Painting class $45.  Donna will be offering 2 classes on Watercolour on Rice paper $40 ea.

FYI
I am scheduled for a Demo at Opus this fall: 

 Drawing: Values, Light & Shadows Saturday, Oct 19, 11-12:30 or 2-3:30 Free 
Contact Langley Opus to Register  604.533.0601


My Etsy Store is always OPEN: Etsy - WendyMouldsArt

Originals, Prints, Commission Work and Instant Printable Cards for all Seasons available.

Be sure to like and share my posts to keep me coming into your box, 
You won't miss a single post if you Follow by Email or Like my Facebook Page.
Have a great Artful Day,

Wendy




Sep 5, 2019

How Many Planes does your Painting Have? - Painting & Drawing Tip

Background, Mid-ground, Foreground
Do you struggle in the planning stage?
How Much? How Little? What Colour? What size? . . . .?

POPPIES FULL OF LIFE - WIP - 14 x 22, Vanished Watercolour on Wood Cradle

As a wildlife artist I find planning is a big part of my work.  Whether it is a bird or animal, it rarely sits/stands/looks exactly how I want, in the place I want.  I have to create an environment for my wildlife.  

This means building Backgrounds, Mid-grounds, Foregrounds . . .

Ok, you might say, there is a bit of reprieve.  When I look at my work, it seems I put my wildlife in the mid-ground.  I think that comes from my strong belief that my wildlife must be 'in' my environment.  Foreground placement strikes me as having it 'on top of' the setting.  And putting my birds and animals in the background seems to make them small and unimportant. So yes, the Mid-ground does plan itself.  


DEER ON THE BEACH - 11 x 14 matted unframed $225 - I like my Subject in the Mid-ground.  Log and sand in the Foreground and Sky and sand (suggested) in the Background.  

So, my modus operandi is:  Background - subject - Foreground

Now the question is What should they look like?  


Foreground 
This is an easy one.  I don't want to cover up my subject so there is usually a branch, leaf or rock suggested here.  Not a lot of things, just something to suggest Foreground: Placement 'inside' the setting.  

Background
This is the big one.  I have struggled with it over the years and tried various things.  From Abstract to Realistic to the Big White Space.  (See Post Have you De-Cluttered Your Painting for a discussion on no Background)

After working with "The Big White Space" I found my picture "Poppies Full of Life" an interesting contrast for my study on Backgrounds.  (Strangely enough, it isn't based on wildlife.  I love the poppies in my garden, what more can I say) In order to paint the picture I first needed to paint the background.  

Things I noted as I worked:

1.  My poppies were very complex so I needed a background that was both realistic and had depth but didn't detract from poppies.  

The black and white version gives a better view of the complexity of the Background.  There are many layers suggested but few specifics.  

2.  There needed to be a strong Powers of Suggestion - several layers - to give complexity.  I was trying for 3 or 4 layers.  I think I achieved it, in the middle and lower potion.  Closer to my focal point. 

All of the colours in the background are present in the other planes.  Not always the same value but certainly the same family.  

3.  It was important to include all the colours in the Mid & Foreground in every plane, in order to tie everything together. An isolate colour will look out of place and draw unwanted attention. 

4.  Seeing the background filled in with my subject area open, gives me a good check on my composition.  I felt that I had arranged my poppies in a pleasing, interesting way.  

5.  Planning the values for each plane needed a lot of thought.  Where the focus point was, the lowest bloom, I needed the darker values in the background for a strong contrast.  The other blooms needed to be interesting and not compete with the focal point.  So their background value needed to be lighter to allow for less contract between the planes.  

Once I was satisfied that my background was basically set I moved on to the flowers.  I will leave that to my next post.  I did a lot of mixing wet into wet that made a very lush look for my poppies.  I was very excited about it and thought you would want a more lengthy explanation as to how that worked. I feel that I really nailed it.  I hope you do too. 

Painting Backgrounds is a subject that has interested me a lot.  I have talked about it many times.  Here are a few posts on the subject, you might find interesting.  If you put 'painting backgrounds' into my search box on my blog you will get even more articles.  (Yes,  I have struggled with it and talked about it a lot.)

Backgrounds that Paint Themselves 
What's Going on Back There
Painting Those Pesky Backgrounds


Looking to move your Drawing Skills to the Next Level?

Contact Me to Register ↓↓↓↓
Upcoming Drawing Classes: 

Sunday, September 22 & 29, Beecher Place, Crescent Beach, S Surrey. 1-3pm. $40 ea.
Part 1: Get that Line Drawing Right - Sept 22
Part 2: Values, Light & Shadows - Sept 29
Beginners to Advanced Welcome.  Come to one or both.      
Drop-In and Draw
Monday, September 30, 1-4pm Beecher Place, Cres. Beach $20.  Get tips on old projects or new. 


Contact Wendy to Register and for more information.  

OR Book a 3 Pack of Private Lessons with Me - 3 Lessons 2.5 hr each $225
Based on your Schedule at my Studio, N. Surrey. 

September 19-30 I will be at Beecher Place with Art Theo featuring Art by myself, Doris Biddle and Donna Schipfel.  During our stay we will be offering classes and showing/selling our work. I have Drawing Classes on the Sundays (Sept 22 & 29)  and a Drop-In Session (Sept 30)  for those that want to practice more from the classes or would like help in their own projects or starting new ones.

Doris will be offering a 2 Day class working with Acrylics $80 and a Ceramic Painting class $45.  Donna will be offering 2 classes on Watercolour on Rice paper $40 ea.

FYI
I am scheduled for a Demo at Opus this fall: 

 Drawing: Values, Light & Shadows Saturday, Oct 19, 11-12:30 or 2-3:30 Free 
Contact Langley Opus to Register  604.533.0601


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