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Advanced Watercolor Painting Lessons. Masterpieces here we come.

"Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do." Edgar Degas
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As an advanced student, you have probably figured out what to order when you open up an art supply catalog. Are you using less than 12 colors? If not may I suggest, and only suggest, that you try to think that number down. There is a charm working with a limited palette.


Getting the exact right color has never been very important to me. Perhaps it's because of Frank Webb. he once told me: "As long as the values are right the colors don't matter". Skip Lawrence said "Frank's wrong". I think Frank was right. I still adore Skip.

You have probably settled on a pair of watercolor papers. One for sketching and the other for serious painting. My sketching choice is Monval. It's not very tough, but oh so erasable.


Do you size your paper to fit standard frames? A 16 x 20 frame takes a 16 x 20 mat, which has an 11 x 14 hole in it. (All in inches; sorry rest of the world, our bad). That works out to a perfect fit for a quarter sheet paper. Okay, almost a perfect fit. 8x10 mats have a 5x7 opening (1/16 sheet). These are off the shelf sizes in any frame store. It's a great idea two size the painting to fit a standard mat in a standard frame. That saves a ton of dough unles you are like this man. I paint because I love to cut mats. (Arthur Alexander)


I hope you have figured out a size to paint. Size has a tremendous influence on style. Consider big, (full sheet), or even really big. (you can buy rolls of cold pressed, 44 in wide). That's the kind of wide I dream about.


Speaking of size. I think of a big painting as if it were a small one painted big. It just takes bigger brushes on bigger paper. You get a lot of "POW" appeal from much larger formats. Small passages turn into large washes. Nothing says watercolor like large washes of sedimentary pigments. In graphic art, little if anything is as beautiful as big juicy sedimentary washes.


Big has another advantage. I's the only way I've ever found to get five figures for a painting.


The golden mean.

The Greeks had it nailed down to great precision. They were able to divide any geometric shape using straightedge and compass into two parts. The ratio of those two parts produced the absolutely most beautiful relationship possible (According to them). I'm perfectly content using approximately one-third two-thirds. One-third two-thirds of what?

Line - shape - value - color - texture.

Those are the 5 (and the only 5) elements of composition.

We want dominance of each of those five. We want one shape to dominate the rest. We want one line type (straight or curved), 1 value (light, dark or mid value), one color and one texture to dominate. Nothing wishy-washy about our compositions. Is that all there is the composition? No, but it's a great start. It's a subject thats covered in the tutorial, "The Three Bears".


Value does the work; color gets the glory. (Richard McKinley)

Color sure is where to find the glory. It takes three big video lessons to tell the color story. Really four lessons if you count the "shadows in the landscape" lesson.


The best book on composition I ever read said that there are no good books on composition, itself included. it's an enormous subject which probably never ends. We will keep plodding.


"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."  (Aeschylus)

LESSONS ON PAINTING
Advanced

Watercolor painting of a basket filled with tomatoes. How To Paint A Basket - Part 1
Baskets are favorite subjects for watercolorists, and they always look so difficult to paint. In this lesson I will show you the easy way.
Part of the lesson will be the use of watercolor medium’ gum Arabic” and also the use of masking fluid

Watercolor painting of a basket filled with tomatoes. How To Paint A Basket - Part 2
Here we finish the painting by adding the fruit and shadow to the basket.
This part covers a little about warm and cool colors and a little about shadows in general.

A wet in wet watercolor painting of a glass vase filled with flowers. Bouquet of Flowers - A Wet In Wet Floral Painting
The queen of watercolor painting techniques is wet in wet. This difficult but rewarding way of applying paint will amaze you, once you master it.

We work with the "sedimentary" properties of our paints. They diffuse outward and settle downward at different rates. This gives us the "wet in wet effect". On a small scale, the color is very broken. On a larger scale the edges are soft. We get electrifying results painting this way, and I will show you all of my tips and tricks.

Watercolor landscape painting showing mountains lakes and trees. Creating Depth
Depth is perhaps the single most important element in any landscape painting.
Creating depth requires several different skills. You will learn how to do it, and, most important, why.

How To Paint A Basket - Part 1 Baskets are favorite subjects for watercolorists, and they always look so difficult to paint. In this lesson I will show you the easy way. Part of the lesson will be the use of watercolor medium’ gum Arabic” and also the use of masking fluid How To Paint A Basket - Part 2 Here we finish the painting by adding the fruit and shadow to the basket. This part covers a little about warm and cool colors and a little about shadows in general.

Monoprint watercolor painting using plastic wrap. Monoprinting using plastic wrap - Easiest Painting ever..
This as a fabulous way to generate interesting patterns in watercolor paint. Sometimes they are so beautiful that you just want to frame them "as is". I usually use them as a "start." I use a start as the basis for a painting. The final work is always very dramatic, ( or a failure). if its a failure, that's no problem. I just wash off whatever paint I can, an then use it as another start,

Abstract watercolor painting of a bridge Abstract Art – A discussion.
Even if you hate abstract art, you at least need to know what it’s about. If you are a beginner who loves abstract painting, or an old hand who is getting bored, this is for you.


A watercolor painting of a barn and silo, illustrating blue shadows in the landscape. Using shadows in landscape paintings.

There is so much to know about shadows in the landscape. There are objects in shadow which cast shadows on other things. There are shadows under overhanging surfaces. And there is the special case of foreground shadows which create the feeling of sanctuaries.

A sunny day lifts our spirits. You will learn that the hallmark of a sunny day is blue shadows. The emotional content of a painting is carried by the colors in that painting. The use of the color blue in this case, will definitely communicate a feeling of happiness. You may also come to understand the "blue period" of many famous artists.

LESSONS ON
Color & Composition

The color wheel for watercolors. a lesson on mixing every color there is. Color For Beginners - Mixing Colors

A lesson on how to mix any color at all, and how to mix it for maximum effect.

Color is my favorite subject. Here you will learn to use the dual primary palette, ( I use it ), and why. We can make every color at all with only 6 tubes of paint. We can also darken them, even to a black, and lighten them to almost white.

Watercolor painting showing warm and cool color schemes. Color Advanced - Warm And Cool Colors - The Emotional Content Of A Painting

In the previous two color lessons we covered the "nuts and bolts" of color. This lesson covers the "touchy - feely" part of color. First it offers a few tips and tricks about speeding up the color learning process. The next part covers the use of color for contrast, such as creating a center of interest. We also learn to use gray to potentiate colors. The main part of the lesson is how to use color to convey feelings.

Color schemes are a very useful technique for determining the colors to use in a watercolor painting. Color For Intermediates - Color Schemes

A lesson on how to select color schemes for your paintings. This is not just a watercolor lesson, but is useful with any medium. oils, acrylics, pastels, anything. It is not only a painting technique, but also a technique for your personal life. It's useful for selecting your wardrobe, the clothes you put on now, and interior decorating.

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