Early in January, I bought different packs of watercolor pads from Jackson’s Art. I wanted to try different brands of watercolor paper. One of which was a pack of 25 Fabriano Artistico postcards. I painted on these cards in January only when I felt like painting.
My first postcard was a winter scene from Niigata Prefecture in Japan where my friend Grace lives.
I guess I was busy from February to May because the next postcard I painted was done in June. I also have painting tutorial on how to paint these tulips.
I was pretty hard working in June and painted all these.
In July, I challenged myself to not paint flowers and I was happy with this little accomplishment that I posted this photo on Facebook.
Two of my friends (who happened to be husband and wife) took notice and asked me if they can buy all the postcards. I knew I had 4 empty postcards left of the 25 so I offered that they might want to wait for the rest of the postcards to be painted so they could chose which postcards they would like to buy. Without hesitation, they offered that they will buy all the 25 postcards. My jaw dropped. They have not even seen the rest of the 15 postcards! I am grateful that they appreciate my art. As a little token for their appreciation, I asked what they wanted me to paint on those 4 postcards. My friend asked for postcards representing the four seasons. She picked what subjects to paint and it was up to me how I was going to paint them. I made these.
And I then I found out I still have an extra postcard so I decided to paint this.
And these are all the post cards in one photo. I hope my friends like them all.
Since I will be saying goodbye to all these postcards, I made a Youtube video!
I finally got around into writing another art tutorial. It is almost the end of July and it is World Watercolor Month. For this month, I challenged myself to not paint flowers so this tutorial is about painting cherries. The reference photo for this painting is from Pexels.
I always start with a drawing and I marked all the areas where I put my highlights and shadows.
I used Raphael kolinsky round brushes (size 2 and 4) and I used Daler-Rowney watercolors. For this painting, I used alizarin crimson, cadmium red, prussian blue, chinese white, viridian and yellow ochre.
To get the colors I wanted that are close to the dark red plump cherries. I play with these three colors: alizarin crimson, cadmium red, prussian blue. I mix alizarin crimson with prussian blue when painting the areas and the shadows. I used the individual colors to match the different tones in the cherry.
Whenever I start painting, I always have this fear that I would be wasting my time trying to paint and end up with unsatisfactory painting. I like to scare myself that way. (Praning-praningan. hehehe) When I started, the first cherry did not look like a cherry at all. Honestly, I was not sure if I am going to successfully paint it but I continued painting. It took me almost two hours to complete the painting.
As you can see there were areas that I avoided painting, those are the areas for highlighting. Cherries have shiny skin. To show that shine, you need to leave areas unpainted because it is easier to add color to these areas later than to remove the pigment. For me, the markings on the drawing where to put the highlights and shadows are helpful in the painting process. I have not yet developed the skill of painting from memory. I still need planning on how to tackle a certain painting. I always look at the reference photo as a whole and try to understand where the light source is and how the light casts shadows on the surface. I also try to identify the different colors on the object so even if we see that the cherry is dark red, there are different shades of red you can see and these shades depend on how the light illuminates the surface. This is how I study the subject so that it would closely resemble the real thing.
In every painting I work on, I always have a tissue near my palette to easily blot the excess water on the brush. I also have another paper on the side where I test if I mixed the right color.
My usual painting technique when using watercolor is to apply my strokes using a dry and more saturated color on the dark areas and I gradually spread the color using a wet brush. I use this technique when my subject is either a flower, fruit or animal. It may look like I am very certain and precise about my strokes and colors. In reality, I am really looking at the reference photo every now and then and I paint the different shades on the different areas as I see fit.
At this point, the painting is slowly taking shape. Attention to details is important in realistic paintings. Each little highlight and fine stroke contribute to the painting a whole. This is one of the benefits in learning how to paint; you tend to be very observant of your surroundings.
All these colors used in painting cherries are the different colors that are produced from mixing alizarin crimson, cadmium red and prussian blue. These are the specific pigments I used. You can also try different shades of red available in you palette. Try to experiment one bright red pigment, one medium red and one dark blue or any combination of red and blue. Cherries have stages of ripeness and different varieties so different combinations of reds and blues could still result to a realistic painting.
Painting a glass jar can look challenging. It is easier to paint it by studying the jar. Understand that this jar is a clear object. It does not have color. The reflection of the cherries on the surface tells us that this is a glass jar. Also try to observe the way the light hits the surface. For the rim and grooves on jar, I see shades of light gray to gray on the surface of the glass. I used the existing colors on my palette . I mixed everything which made the mixture close to black and when I mix black with white, I get grey. The different shades of gray is dependent on the amount of white mixed in. In that way, I did not have use tube of black paint. I get save on paint by the the colors I already have in my palette.
In painting a jar, you do not have to paint the entire shape. You just paint the reflection and shadows and when finished, you can already see the shape of the container. When looking at the reference photo, I really try to identify the very dark areas and try to replicate it in the painting. The contrast between light and dark adds depth and makes the painting look real.
For the finishing touches, I went over the painting and started blending the colors until I was satisfied with the outcome.
I have a Youtube video on how to paint durian but I feel that the process deserves a separate blog post because, in the beginning, I was not confident on how this would turn out. Giving something a try ( as long it is legal) is worth your while when you learn something along the way. I feel like I have better control of the pigments and water because of this painting that I wanted to share the process. I hope somebody who wants to learn painting using watercolor will learn from my videos because I relied so much on Youtube videos when I rekindled my love for art. I am paying it forward.
So here is how I did it:
I started with a sketch. I made my sketch as detailed as possible.
I start painting it with green. Unripe durian is green and it slowly turns to brown when it ripens. Even with ripe durian, you can see the green part on the base of the spikes. The color I used was close to sage green. To get the green pigment, I mixed prussian blue and permanent deep yellow. I got this tip from a watercolor group to mix my own green color instead of the green watercolor tubes available. Most of the available green tubes can be too bright or too dark so I often get the right green if I mix my own yellows and blues.
Then, I started painting the spikes. You need to paint each spike so that you can clearly see them individually. The spikes are just a series of “V’s”. I used yellow ochre, burnt sienna and burnt umber. Yellow ochre is lighter so I used that for the lighter parts. Burnt sienna and burnt umber are for the shadows and darker areas. I generally used burnt umber on the tips of the spikes and the edges. Just blend the colors well so that it will look like spikes.
Not all spikes are the same. Some spikes are larger and the gaps between the spikes are wider. These spikes look like pyramids.
You just have to keep repeating the process. Start with yellow ochre. Spread lightly. Add burnt sienna on the sides. Add details using burnt umber. Add water to blend in colors. Dab the brush on the tissue to blot off excess water. The cycle goes on.
To paint the custard flesh, use yellow ochre and permanent deep yellow. Use the yellow ochre on the sides where the shadows are and use the permanent deep yellow on some of the fleshy part. Use ample water to create a light yellow wash. You just want a hint of yellow. Leave some white on the middle part of the seed to make it look fluffy. Mix prussian blue and some of the excess burnt umber we used earlier. Add some water to make it look greyish and use that to create shadows on the fleshy seed. You want a subtle shading so keep the color light by blotting the brush on the tissue. I always keep a tissue on the side because that is where I blot the brush if it has too much water.
You may use the same technique for that seed on the foreground. Just take note that the shadow is on the lower part of the seed so use darker tones on that part. Paint the permanent deep yellow liberally on the lower part of the seed and if you need to lighten them, just dab a clean tissue. Sometimes I go through the dab-paint-dab process several times until I get the kind of shade and texture I want. It is easy to do that with light colors. Just be careful in using this technique with darker colors as it may be difficult to correct the mistake. It is always safe to paint from light to dark. Just keep adding pigments until you get it right.
Since the durian is on a surface and not hanging on a tree, you need pain the shadows. Use the prussian blue-burnt umber mix for the shadows.
My aunt got a store-bought frame and just like that her gift was ready.
We had art classes in high school. Fine Arts was part of the curriculum for two years so I had prior knowledge on how to do watercolor paintings, sketch and use oil pastels. I did not just wake up one day and decide to do watercolor art.
In the past 25 years, I have picked up a pencil every now and then and did some sketching. In college, when boredom inspiration strikes, I sketch or paint. I kept a sketch pad (Care bears pa!).
I lived in a dormitory so the easiest things to sketch are those near my table. Haha
I also found time to pick up the brush. No, I had no morbid thoughts on that knife painting. It was the easiest photo of an object I can copy from a magazine. The second painting is an eye of the Philippine Eagle.
In recent years, I was really inspired by the artsy stuff that Alessa Lanot does. And I have recently seen Ala Paredes’ work. I used to read her blog and was impressed with her drive to pursue her art. Recently, I have come across her watercolor painting in her instagram. It was really impressive. So I decided to give it another try.
Ala wrote a piece about art and learning: that art can be learned through repetition. Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers, said something about doing things regularly like it would take some 10,000 hours to become an expert. Relying on sheer talent and not doing anything to improve it is useless.
So, I am sharing with you the YouTube videos I viewed to learn some drawing and watercolor techniques. I have received a few comments about being interested in learning how to paint or draw. The good new is… YOU CAN! You just have to try.
For now, I practice by copying existing images on the Internet. I am having fun doing it. One day, I hope to create original work from original ideas.
In case you are interested on the tools I use, here is the list:
1. Faber Castell 0.7 mechanical pencil+ refill+ Pentel eraser
2. Brushes + mixing tray. In high school, we only use chinese brushes. I am most comfortable using those. Regular trips to the school supplies store yielded me all these brushes. The blue and black brushes are sets and are inexpensive. (I think I paid Php50++ for each set.) The two brushes on the left were part of the watercolor set I bought.
3. Watercolor. I have accummulated several kinds in the past month. I am most comfortable using the tubes but I just recently purchased those. In some of the artworks I made earlier this month like the apple, strawberry and flowers, I used the watercolor in palette.
4. Paper. I use 200 GSM board. I recommend thicker boards for landscape painting. This type I use bends with water-heavy type of painting.
I think I have shared everything you need to get you to try watercolor painting. Let me know when you have created your work. I would love to see them.