Monday, May 29, 2017

The Humble Coffee Mug

For beginners, after I run through the basics of color wheels and value scales etc.  I like to do a coffee mug, something close to home!  The elipses, the reflections, the neutrals and gray scales are all there.  The rich coffee color can be more colorful than people realize.  Here is a demo I recently did too illustrate that point.
Of course the sketch can be a good start.  I have another approach with out the sketch but this can be scary for beginners.

Poetic Bird Study

Artists often like to render the bird very accurately like a Basil Ede,
or Audubon, but there is a place for a looser interpretation of the magnificent bird, 
without obsessing over every single detail, which can tend to leave the painting
looking a bit stiff. 
 This watercolor demo was done at Reddi Arts  from a photo my sister in law took at a nearby pond. 
 In this case I started with the drawing, just the necessary clues, keeping it light, use a kneaded eraser for erasing.

1. I start laying in preliminary washes in the lightest areas building detail slowly.

 2. Watch out for the birds legs they can get too big or too small easily.  Egret legs are gangley and it doesn't take much to make them look worse!

3. Build detail slowly with light glazes alternating purples and blues for interesting combinations.

4. Once I have most of the bird structure worked out I move to the background, again,
working the lightest grasses and pond muck in neutrals first.

5. Start adding greens lightest first moving to dark colors last, allowing 
wicking to happen on it's own.  Let the water do the work!  My Mantra!

6. I find it's best to do the dark colors carefully , less is usually more in areas such as grasses.  Drawing every blade of grass should only be done if you want to do an Audubon style rendering. 
A halfway rendered clump of grass can just look uncommitted, go a little abstract there, since 
the bird is the focal point.  I did the background in the upper area in deep purples and added salt.

7. I try to keep the water shadow reflection multicolored by keeping it as one unit, one color bleeding into another. Then I added salt.  Foreground can have just enough detail to get the point across.
Enjoy the closeup !

Taking on Complexity

Taking on a complex subject such as this Kingsley Plantation Inlet photo reference, can be daunting.  I choose to look at it as an abstract, simplifying light and dark sections.  I do this by separating warms from cools, into families of warm yellows , warm and cool greens etc.

1. Start the lightest yellows first, then build the range of greens into the wet washes to get the wicking effects to add texture.
2. Build detail slowly with varieties of fun color mixes, still maintaining the wicking approach to get extra "on the paper color mixes".

3. Work your way to the cooler color mixes in the picture, purples and greens etc.

4. Keep moving into the cools getting bluer and purple mixes 

5. Add salt into rich wet color mixes (kosher coarse grain works for me) 
6. After the salt water dries, brush salt off with a palette knife gently, and add details if necessary:


Monday, March 20, 2017

Reddi Arts Watercolor Demonstration for a Purple Iris

Flowers challenge the water colorist because they are so subtle in the way they shift colors while also exhibiting brilliant color variety. 

If not done skillfully a white flower that has yellow tones in the center can 
end up looking like a yellow flower in the painting.  Striations can end up
looking like weird streaks.  Here is my demonstration of a purple iris with 
water droplets on the petals. Enjoy!

Reddi Arts Demo for a Yellow Iris

By Now my method is similar, start the sketch, add the light yellows first, 
preserving the whites, and slowly introduce the color.  
Here is a step by step on a recent demo. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Treating Complex Landscapes As Color Fields

Recently I was visiting Talbot Island by boat with my friend on the Now and Zen Sailing Charter.  We landed temporarily at the North Florida Land Trust house and grounds there, and witnessed this wonderful sunset scene upon returning to the boat.

Below: I took this photo while there and in the Reddi Arts watercolor class, I decided it would be a great object lesson to simplify complex landscape references into larger multi-color fields.

Treating it this way allows you to capture the feeling of the light at that hour without getting lost in the details of the trees.

My sketch on the white board was to illustrate the loose composition I am targeting.

So here are the steps I used to get there.
First a color wash in yellows for the light, I skipped the drawing, you'll see why, this takes practice and confidence, and knowledge of the structures of palm trees.

After that dries I glazed in other pinks and blues to give vibrant colors, glazes work better than mixing them on the palette.  I used salt into wet color in the background tree areas to simulate detail.

Now here I do the "drawing" direct with a light application of color to indicate in 
peach orange where the trees will go, working fast and trying to keep the areas wet 
so as to add color directly into the tree structures. 

The finished product!
For a look at other fine art by Gordon Meggison, go to

Raise a Glass to Better Times

Glass has always been mysterious in it's multifaceted reflective qualities, and it's transparencies.  In my Reddi Arts watercolor class I decided to do a simple wine glass demo to illustrate how to simply "see" and render the multitude of confusing principles to wine in a glass.  Wine itself has also always had a symbolic aspect worth considering, a sort of meditation on hope! 
To see more works demos from the past or fine art from my collection, go to
Here we go starting with the drawing and masking fluid

To see more works demos from the past or fine art from my collection, go to

NEW! WATERCOLOR CLASSES at Reddi Arts February Schedule 2021

A dventure in Watercolor!  A class for beginners and Intermediate alike. I approach this medium with a sense of adventure and flexibility,...