Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Value of Experimentation-Taking Risks- Day 3

Yoga Watercolors at San Marco Square Day 3
Most people are risk averse, but I have to tell you, every risk carries it's own reward.  Cliche as it sounds, I kind of knew this painting would turn out like this, but I wanted to learn.  When a monkey was sent into outer space to see if it could survive the journey, it prepared man for space flight by what was learned.  Today I wanted to do an experiment with larger paper and try Hot Pressed Arches, because I ran out of Cold Pressed Arches blocks.  So I Tried Hot Pressed 140lb, and while I don't quite like the way it takes the color, I do like the larger format.  I also use a larger flat brush for most of the painting which allows me to work boldly and loosely on the surface.  I also used the pencil a little more boldly letting some show through, so think I might try that again.  Normally I don't like pencil lines to show, but with architecture and complex subjects it's practically a must.  It isn't the best watercolor I have done, but half the purpose is learning and experimentation.  As far as I am concerned, it is a success!  I got out to paint, enjoyed the day, met an old friend who was walking in the park, and tried new approaches, tools and materials.  Win win!!



Saturday, May 30, 2020

Yoga Watercolors at San Marco Square Day 2

The hardest part of Yoga Watercolors is taking the risk, getting out, and showing up! Besides that, the next challenge is selecting your possible site from among the confusing selection of stimulating choices.  San Marco Square is fun, classical and stimulating.  There are trees, statues, fountains, buildings, lamps, landscaping, people lounging and talking.  Perfect atmosphere for a subject.  Excitement , then fear sets in!! How are you ever going to capture all that information.  The first thing I do is pull out my phone camera and crop a composition that I think I might like by using the zoom feature.  I snap a few pictures which I will show you here, and then drill down patiently to figure out what the best light and my skill level can handle ! lol  I also take into account where the sun is likely to move so I can not get toasted as I stay put there for at least an hour! 


 So I considered this one with the classic lions, may do that another day.  I still like it.  






Then I began considering the Movie Theater across the street and the tree and bench. 

People later sat there so I might have had some models too, in time.

 Ultimately I chose this one , I liked the shadows, the fountain perspective and the gazebo has always been a favorite of mine.
So I set up and started the pencil sketch shown here
 



I find I don't like the square format paper I bought.  It is an Arches watercolor block, but I don't usually work so small and the square format is too stumpy for me , tends to make my compositions feel a bit off, so I need to break down and get a 12"x16" which for my pace and speed gives my washes time to dry for second layers.  Picking paper and brush sizes and types can be a matter of personal taste and relative to your speed and agility.


Friday, May 29, 2020

"Yoga for Watercolor" Plein Air Painting in San Marco Day 1

If you are ready to get out of the house,
 but still want to stay safe, and enjoy this great spring weather while being inspired and uplifted by nature.....  
Join this 4 week Plein Air class 
with Gordon Meggison.  

This will be for both Acrylic , oil and watercolor.  I can coach in whatever medium you prefer.  My demo will initially be watercolor because it was designed to be a sketch medium for future works in other mediums. 
Call Patti at  Reddi Arts 
 (904) 398-3161 x 312 patty@reddiarts.com,  
ask about the Plein Air Class in San Marco with Gordon Meggison June 4-25

"Yoga for Watercolor"
 Plein Air Painting in San Marco
 The literal meaning of “yoga” is “merging two into one”. Yoga is known today as a system of physical postures that promote physical well-being and calmness of mind. However, that is only one meaning of yoga.  The word, yoga,  from  Sanskrit means "to yoke" and "samadhi" or "concentration."   So yoga is a practice that can apply to many things that join the mind, body and spirit.  Plein Air work helps me to do that, gets me off the comfort zone I tend to like, stretches my body, mind and skills, so that I become looser, more flexible.  It creates balance and makes me respond more directly to the moment and the visual stimulation in front of me more intuitively.
It also helps me conquer fear by getting things into perspective, since absolute perfection is not possible, a more playful approach becomes helpful, thus getting me back in touch with the mind of my inner child.

Why Do Plein Air Yoga?Watch this...


I picked San Marco because of it's nooks and shady areas, it's many interesting spots to use for compositions, and it's classical pedestrian friendly atmosphere.  In this case I brought the puppies along to enjoy the beautiful spring weather, and they always love being with daddy!


 
The key to a fun outdoor painting experience as in any travel
 plan, is to travel light. I keep pairing my kit down to the bare
 essentials.  A 2 liter water bottle and container to wash or mix color,
 a palette or small pochade box case with burnt umber, burnt sienna,
 rawsienna, indigo,chrome or sap green, cobalt or ultramarine blue, I like
 horizon blue, and cerulean blue, cadmium yellow. A pencil and kneaded
 eraser, kitchen sponge, some paper towels, Arches watercolor 140lb block
 8x11" or larger depending on your speed and experience. 
You'll need a case, possiblywithwheels, watercolor easel (or you'll
 work on lap) and a butter knife for scraping.
 

When you select a spot you have to keep several things in mind. 
 First sun or shade. If you are not bringing an umbrella, you will need
 to plant yourself in a shay area that is likely to stay so for an hour.
 If not bring a big hat and sunscreen, because you will need it. Sun also
 dries out your paper faster. You also don't want to overwhelm yourself with
 too many details, you will not be able to tackle complex subjects in
 just an hour so pair the theme down. 


I often don't use the pencil, you can start with a brush and lightly
 paint in the drawing, by staying soft and light you can correct later.
 Many people howerver feel it's just too scary without the pencil so I am
 doing that here, but still stay loose, no rulers please,
 this is Yoga after all!
 

 It is always a bit scary to start that first color , the antidote is 
 just to do it. I like to get some line work on but tone and light is fine
 too. Line can come later, but if the paper is wet lines tend to bleed.
 Florida stays humid, so surfaces remain wet for a while, so I developed
 a method of painting where the line work comes first, then I color it in,
 around the line leaving a halo using negative space technique. It keeps it
 calligraphic and looses, and looks a bit abstract which I like.

 

How many and what type of details are important,
 too many and it's overworked, to little and it looks unfinished,
 but more often than not less is more.


A closeup of the San Marco Little Theatre painting.


I finished the San Marco site by 9:30 so I decided to see
 if I could get one more watercolor in at another location
 I had my eye on Alexandria Park.  I had started another
 watercolor there before, but a dog knocked my easel
 and paint into the dirt, and I was out of water so I didn't
 quite finish it.  This time I brought more water and thought
 I would try the same spot , and it worked fairly well. 
 I don't usually have the energy to do two in one
 morning so I wasparticularly pleased with myself,
 a side benefit to "Yoga for Watercolor"  ! lol


Not sure you can handle it or Keep Up?
take a look at my blog with videos that
walkyou through a painting I did today, you'll
get a feel for what we will be experiencing.
I call it Yoga Watercolor
One or two spots left, 8 max

To balance mind, spirit and body
in these stressful times, get in touch
with your inner playful child, it's less
about perfection and more about the
pure joyof being and doing.
Patty Lorimer (904) 398-3161 x 312 patty@reddiarts.com,
about my Plein Air Class
starting in San Marco Square!
with Gordon Meggison
Thursdays, June 4 to 25
8am -11am
A NO ZOOM ZONE!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Sick of Zoom Art Classes?


If you are ready to get out of the house,
 but still want to stay safe, and enjoy this great spring weather while being inspired and uplifted by nature.....  
Join this 4 week Plein Air class 
with Gordon Meggison.  

This will be for both Acrylic , oil and watercolor.  I can coach in whatever medium you prefer.  My demo will initially be watercolor because it was designed to be a sketch medium for future works in other mediums. 
Call Patti at  Reddi Arts 
 (904) 398-3161 x 312 patty@reddiarts.com,  
ask about the Plein Air Class in San Marco with Gordon Meggison June 4-25

Gordon has painted all through Europe and has experience dealing with outdoor painting.  This class will help you travel light, stay in touch with the best source of inspiration- nature - real reality!  Plein Air work has always given artists a way to get in touch with loose immediate impressionism and helped them find their style.  It forces you to get out of your self to get to the heart of what is important, fast!


Dates : Thursday June 4, 11 , 18, 25 .  
If weather is poor we can add a day to the end or move over to a Friday slot.
All social distancing protocols will be observed , but there will be lots of room outside for all of us.  Let’s have fun old school!

Description:  This class is only for 4 days presently, by it may be extended if it is well attended for longer weather permitting.
We will meet early, 8-8:30am, because Florida can get warm as the day progresses, for the first day at the San Marco Square plaza gazebo in the center of the Square.  There Gordon will introduce the essentials of plein air work and how to set up for success.  Traveling light is the key!  I will be covering both acrylic and watercolor processes.  So bring your medium of choice. 
We will caravan over in separate cars to the next paint site at the nearby open park with plenty of space to spread out, low traffic, lots of shade choices.



Tools: For Watercolor Students-
Paint - Windsor & Newton PRO GRADE  or Holbein paints (No Cotmans!!!) :
Pre-Load your Watercolors into a Plastic folding Palette-
you can use : Cadmium Red or Opera rose, Cerulean Blue, Horizon Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine blue, Olive Green, Sap Green, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, Indigo
Brushes - #12 and #16 Sable (Princeton (best) ,a 1”hake’ brush or flat natural hair
Low tack masking tape 1”
#2 pencil
1 KNEADED eraser
Flat 3” X 5” kitchen sponge
WIDE BASE Water Cup such as tupperware for cleaning brushes and 2 larger water bottles
Paper towels- fold some into a small plastic sandwich bag
butter knife for scraping
whales tale palette knife small made of metal-
buy tools at Reddi Arts  before class day



  
For Acrylic Students: I will show you how to get more image from less paint, show you how to simplify your process and get to it with less effort.   Brushes-small flats and filberts
Colors- White, raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber, black
Water & container, small palette that is resealable stays wet style-ask reddi arts- I suggest either a small canvas like 8x8” or  on 140lb minimum or heavier (300 lb)  watercolor paper, 10” x12” something small.  When you are out you don’t want a huge piece.
A kitchen Sponge
I can bring small stools but let me know if you need one to reserve them.  I can provide easels for acrylic students or bring your own easels if you have one.

 Plein Air work has been embraced of for centuries as a great way to get honest with your direct response to nature and your art.  It brings immediacy to the work, where studio work appeals to all your tight impulses! It's like hunting, some times you bag the big game some times you don't but it's the hunt that is where the fun is.  It is about getting fluid and loose with a minimum amount of materials and time invested.  It is a form of personal calligraphy and a kind of simplification and accuracy challenge!  Fresh air doesn't hurt!

 Here are some examples of plein air watercolors by John Singer Sargent.



Friday, May 22, 2020

When Are You Finished With a Painting ?

You are finished by most standards but.... 
So I have been posting the ongoing progress of this painting, I will call Notan Dragon.  I may change that, anyway, I am 99% finished.  It is that point where you are afraid to screw it up, but when you see an area targeted for improvement, enhancement or correction, you should act, and take the risk.  Risk is where you do the most learning and growing, fear of loss is where the fear lives.  This unusual piece was designed for risk!! lol
Here is the overview, and some areas I am targeting for improvement.
I have not done them yet so I will post when I am finished and you be the judge if it was worth it!

Below: I am posting a lot of detail here to examine.  Note the trees will get a bit of attention to give them some color and contrast, hopefully without drawing too much attention to them.  They seem too light in the upper left hand corner now.


 Below: I wanted to add some grey neutral wash to the middle value texture of the bark to bring out the brush texture without darkening the whole thing too much.  My hope is that it will give it even more depth.



Below: I am looking at the foam and wave action and considering some warm raw sienna washes and pale blue values to sharpen but a few of the pools to differentiate the shapes, it seems a bit too fluffy and lacey.


Below:  I am considering adding some brighter blue in the sky and darker grey in the storm clouds to show one of those typical Florida days when it is both sunny and threatening at the same time, much like today's environment we live in!


Stay tuned for the next post to see if I have succeeded!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Adding Highlights With Washes


 Above: I like to wash over the texture areas to add an even sheen to lighten and highlight or darken areas to enhance the strength of the form
Here I am adding highlights with a bottle of fluid white 
acrylic to my wave foam portions to add depth and snap 
and texture.   It is acrylic, and will shrink by about half.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Laying in the Surf!

I am not finished yet, but I am posting the stages of progress.  Even I don't know how this will turn out, that's the risk and the adventure!
In this post I am giving you a lot of time on the video to watch the strokes as I build the water and surf details.  There is a lot of layering, using glaze liquid in my acrylic to slowly build the depth.  as I go I add more white to the foam color, but start with pale blue, or warm raw sienna, white and glaze , so that there is a sense of roundness.  If I just put white down it is too harsh and looks campy and fake.

I tend to use a larger brush with lots of glaze and extender to make the paint fluid and flow right off the brush.  The larger flat, holds more paint and I can change my angles to the brush to achieve different effects.

Adding washes To Textures To Enhance Brushstrokes


Washes in glaze form or with water thinly applied over a textural base give highlights to the textures.  When warm tones like raw sienna are used it adds to the feeling of sunlight, when cool washes in the shadow areas are added, it adds to the interior depth.  Here are a couple of videos that show me adding that to the base I illustrated in a previous post "Building the Base"
The first video will show a simple warm glaze over the water to create a color combination in transparency.
The next two glazes show more complex editing features too glazing technique.

 




Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Passion of Children!


We often marvel at children's ability to draw or be taught to paint, but I have found that they are often blank slates, and if you inspire and guide them clearly, they will run with the information with all the passion we remember as children do.  It is often when we age we let thoughts of selling, fear, judgement, perfection etc creep in thwart our innate curiosity, and drive to create and take risks.
Here a but a few of my star pupils passionately at work!
 


My Practice Run At Alexandria Oaks Park 5/16/2020






I decided since it has been awhile since I have painted outdoors, what with all the hibernation these days, that I would get my feet wet at the Alexandria Oaks Park near the San Marco Square.  It is a lovely park I frequent for a nice time with the dogs, and fresh air.  I thought it would be an ideal location in these isolationist times to give everyone a chance to be together but a bit apart, get fresh air, enjoy a common interest and keep our skills sharpened for when we get to travel again and see the uncovid world.  At that time we will be able to carry our watercolor or acrylic paint skills anywhere, no studio or church needed, just some paint and a desire to do something adventurous, even heroic!.  Some people skydive, or scuba, I choose to risk it all and paint.  Remember it is like hunting, you don't always bag your prey, but the hunt is all part of it.  When it works it is very rewarding for years to come.  When it doesn't you still have fun and fresh air.
Example:  So today I am doing this piece you see, not quite finished but almost, running low on water (note to self bring more water next time!) and some curious onlookers with dogs come nearby.  The dogs begin rough housing, mine are not by the way, perfect kids, and they run thru my tripod and knock over my paint into the dirt.  That is where water would have been handy!  Also note to self bring a portable stool!


Friday, May 15, 2020

Plein Aire -Paint outdoors with Gordon Meggison June 4, 11 , 18, 25



If you are ready to get out of the house,
 but still want to stay safe, and enjoy this great spring weather while being inspired and uplifted by nature.....  
Join this 4 week Plein Air class 
with Gordon Meggison.  

This will be for both Acrylic , oil and watercolor.  I can coach in whatever medium you prefer.  My demo will initially be watercolor because it was designed to be a sketch medium for future works in other mediums. 
Call Patti at  Reddi Arts 
 (904) 398-3161 x 312 patty@reddiarts.com,  
ask about the Plein Air Class in San Marco with Gordon Meggison June 4-25

Gordon has painted all through Europe and has experience dealing with outdoor painting.  This class will help you travel light, stay in touch with the best source of inspiration- nature - real reality!  Plein Air work has always given artists a way to get in touch with loose immediate impressionism and helped them find their style.  It forces you to get out of your self to get to the heart of what is important, fast!


Dates : Thursday June 4, 11 , 18, 25 .  
If weather is poor we can add a day to the end or move over to a Friday slot.
All social distancing protocols will be observed , but there will be lots of room outside for all of us.  Let’s have fun old school!

Description:  This class is only for 4 days presently, by it may be extended if it is well attended for longer weather permitting.
We will meet early, 8-8:30am, because Florida can get warm as the day progresses, for the first day at the San Marco Square plaza gazebo in the center of the Square.  There Gordon will introduce the essentials of plein air work and how to set up for success.  Traveling light is the key!  I will be covering both acrylic and watercolor processes.  So bring your medium of choice. 
We will caravan over in separate cars to the next paint site at the nearby open park with plenty of space to spread out, low traffic, lots of shade choices.



Tools: For Watercolor Students-
Paint - Windsor & Newton PRO GRADE  or Holbein paints (No Cotmans!!!) :
Pre-Load your Watercolors into a Plastic folding Palette-
you can use : Cadmium Red or Opera rose, Cerulean Blue, Horizon Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine blue, Olive Green, Sap Green, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, Indigo
Brushes - #12 and #16 Sable (Princeton (best) ,a 1”hake’ brush or flat natural hair
Low tack masking tape 1”
#2 pencil
1 KNEADED eraser
Flat 3” X 5” kitchen sponge
WIDE BASE Water Cup such as tupperware for cleaning brushes and 2 larger water bottles
Paper towels- fold some into a small plastic sandwich bag
butter knife for scraping
whales tale palette knife small made of metal-
buy tools at Reddi Arts  before class day



  
For Acrylic Students: I will show you how to get more image from less paint, show you how to simplify your process and get to it with less effort.   Brushes-small flats and filberts
Colors- White, raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber, black
Water & container, small palette that is resealable stays wet style-ask reddi arts- I suggest either a small canvas like 8x8” or  on 140lb minimum or heavier (300 lb)  watercolor paper, 10” x12” something small.  When you are out you don’t want a huge piece.
A kitchen Sponge
I can bring small stools but let me know if you need one to reserve them.  I can provide easels for acrylic students or bring your own easels if you have one.

 Plein Air work has been embraced of for centuries as a great way to get honest with your direct response to nature and your art.  It brings immediacy to the work, where studio work appeals to all your tight impulses! It's like hunting, some times you bag the big game some times you don't but it's the hunt that is where the fun is.  It is about getting fluid and loose with a minimum amount of materials and time invested.  It is a form of personal calligraphy and a kind of simplification and accuracy challenge!  Fresh air doesn't hurt!

 Here are some examples of plein air watercolors by John Singer Sargent.



Building a base, keeping it simple, building power into the subject

Here are a couple of videos of my process, 
trying to simplify and add drama to the piece, 
down in the bones of the piece, to deliver the 
best emotional content to the subject.