Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lesson 5 - Flowers

The last class was all about flowers, how to arrange a still life, where to put shadows and what not to do. I loved my first try, but had stayed to concrete up to the tips and have to admit that after having washed out the upper part of the gladiolas, the painting looks much better: ("more loosely, loosely" was my teachers "war cry" whenever she looked at one of my paintings).

OK, I can do "loosely" and splish, splash painted two more gladiolas (both go in the same direction, the right one 'leaves the building' - both no no's in a still life). My teacher loved them and after they were dry we decided that I shoud make a mixed media painting out of it and use pencils to work on some of the lower flowers. I used watercolor pencils and did disolve them carefully with a very thin wet brush (which - according to my teacher - turned the whole thing into pure water color and no longer mixed media - I don't care, I love the result).

During the last hour of class I tried painting one of the sunflowers we had. They were turned to the other side of the class and as they were painted from there, I decided to try the back. Getting the area, where the stem turns towards the flowerhead right, is really difficult. The stem turned out too thick. I will probably leave this painting as it is, as a record of what I learned this week.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Lesson 4 - Winter

Today started out with a lesson on perspective, which got rather involved but was very interresting. Then we were supposed to paint a winter landscape. Mine turned out more like late autumn. As we spent so much time on perspective, there was no more time for "rain in the city".

This must have upset someone as - after the hottest day we had this year - we had also massive rain and hail storms over most of Austria. I spent half the night mopping up rainwater which was pressed in through the closed windows by the storm.

This is the painting from day two, using all three kinds of trees we had learned. I was not too happy with it, as I painted in the lake as an afterthought, not knowing how else to fill the space. I tried to break up the area in the front with salt but it did not really satisfy me. So I added a bush in the right corner and grass at home. I'll show it to our teacher again for more advice on it.

Friday is the last lesson and we will paint flowers.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lesson 3 - Tricks of the Trade

Today we learned some tricks to get certain effects. We worked with a white candle on paper, with a candle over color to see how it kept the covered area permanently in the color it was. Then we painted rather wet on a piece of paper, put it down on our painting and pulled it off to the side. This is a great way to make a basis layer for backgrounds.

The second row is showing how gummi arabicum lets a color appear lighter and adds a shine to it. Then we used a wetting agent to drive away color (alkohol like gin or wodka works too :-) - nothing with sugar added like cognac, but you can use any "schnaps"), painted on glass and pressed the wet painting to the papier, scratched through the wet paint with a spatula and painted over masking fluid.
Here we scratched through the wet paint with a comb, used soap to wash out the color and blew the very wet color out of the painted square with a drinking straw. We also tried out printing with a sponge.
Removing the paint with a rubber was not very successful for me, maybe I was not aggressive enough. Then we used a gelatine leave to "print" as well as a plastic bag. I removed the plastic too soon, so I got rather rough structures. We also got to try out scratching through the paint with a knife and dropping seasalt and fine salt into the wet paint.
Then we used an old toothbrush to create splashes.
Finally we tried out certain colors which, when used together, seperate. This is an effect best seen on rough paper - mine was not rough enough, but it can be seen some.

This class was hilarious, we had tons of fun trying out the different things and comparing our results.

Tomorrow we'll get a lesson on perspective and then will paint a winter landscape and - if there is time - rain in the city (it is the hottest day of this year here in Austria. We have tempteratures up to 36° C in Vienna - so maybe painting snow and rain will cool us off).


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lesson 2 - Trees

We continued our class with trees as seen in a medium distance and

trees nearest to us, I decided to let one grow into the picture.

I did try a whole tree as well. I could have gone darker with the shadow side and the first limbs are a bit thin. That near to the trunk, I think they could be thicker.

We also started a landscape using all three kinds of trees, but that is not finished yet. I have all three kinds of trees but no idea of how to connect them. I'll probably try some kind of water situation - lake, river?

Today we will try out different effects and got a whole list of things we need for that. Good thing I am on vaccation and could go shoping to my favourite art supply store - what hardship....

Till tomorrow!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lesson 1

Yesterday I had my first class of the watercolor course I am attending this week. We started out with getting to know the material, "splishing and splashing and generally making a mess" as the instructor told us. We were told how to recognise the different levels of wet, how to recognise when the paper/color is still too wet or too dry. She recomended to get to know one kind of paper first and stay with it for a bit.
Then we did a little exercise with the colors, talked about the color wheel and shadows. The above "ball" was the first real "painting".

Afterwards we turned towards woods. Far away and misty woods, playing with water droplets and make the resulting "flowers" look like snow.

I ended up with a spring wood, fitting for a middle distance. In the end I did manage to get "far away woods" but could not work out how to use the water drops for giving the image of snow. The teacher promised to show us at the beginning of todays class.

In the evening I felt I had earned my "favourite drink" and as I read that that was the EMD challenge of the week, I decided to jump right in and give it a try. Aperol Spritz, a not to sweet, fizzy, cold drink - ideal for a hot summer evening.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Joining the fun

Painting and drawing, cooking and quilting - my favourite ways to spend my time! Having thought about sharing my journey in these areas for quite some time, I've decided to jump right in and just do it.

I'll start a watercolor class tomorrow, so that will be the first journey I'll share.

This quilt was a gift for a friend. It is machine pieced and hand quilted.

One of my original designs, made for the Exhibition of the Austrian Quilters Guild, the title "Heimat großer Töchter" (Home to great daughters - a variation of a line of Austrias National Anthem - Heimat bist Du großer Söhne - You are home to great /important Sons) made me think of all the work women do to build our lifes. I remembered especially what my mother told me about the time after the second world war and how her brother and his wife built their house out of bricks, wood and nails found in the ruins of buildings destroyed during the war.

I originally started drawing as I had troubles with designing my quilts. Soon I discovered Danny Gregory's 'Every Day Matters' group which equaly inspires and discourages me. Since I have started drawing and painting I have joined a watercolor class on a trip to Mallorca last September

and a trip with the same group to Cormons, Italy, in the middle of June.

Tomorrow I will start a one week watercolor class which I plan to report on regularely.