I want to share about a recent watercolor I completed. It is a piece that came out of a prompt from Fellowship Bible church ministry of Spectra. The opportunity was given to whomever wanted to create a piece of art telling your story / your faith. I was nervously excited to participate. Brene Brown says it is a good thing to be vulnerable and what better way for me as an artist to share in my language of art. So here is where I went with it…
I follow an uber talented artist, Kathleen Giles . Her work excites me. She paints in watercolors and her work of people is stunning. I want to paint like her. The shadows, the light and dark contrast in her paintings are brilliant and illuminating. So I used this Spectra challenge to practice painting like Kathleen. I used these images of hers as a map to follow.
My story my faith journey is about not feeling enough and looking to the world’s standards for validation. Then slowly learning (still in the process) of exchanging the world’s standard with God’s standard for me. Accepting that I am already enough without “doing”, “earning” or “striving”. He made me perfectly imperfect. Just as he wanted me, born already enough. Psalm 139
13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
It is a bumpy acceptance because of the enemy’s voice in my head that keeps interrupting God’s voice.My journey is ongoing, forgetting and then remembering to ask for His guidance and strength to step around the enemy who is always trying to trip me up.
My life since giving Christ Lordship of my life has been God revealing to me, his best for me.When I invite him into my struggles and joys he gives me this inner peace and direction that always leads to love.Love for myself and love for others.On my own I resort to selfishness.The closer I draw near to him the more I recognize his voice.Holy Spirit helps me differentiate the voices in my head and put off the enemy’s taunts and lies.
My journey is ongoing, imperfectly perfect. I am enough.
So back to my art piece connecting the story of my faith with my painting. My daughter Brooke has a tattoo on her arm that says “You Are Enough” in hebrew. To remind her and others she comes across, just that! In Him, Christ, You Are Enough. I knew I wanted to paint her and her tattoo to help tell my story. I wanted it to be a painting that matched Kathleen Giles style. I began taking photos of her trying to capture a good reference of light and shadow. I wanted the tattoo to be highlighted but also a natural pose. It is hard to pose someone and have it not looked posed… here are a few that I took:
then my husband Joe took this candid picture of Brooke on her way to OBU for the new school year. I loved it for the reference I was looking for. Her tattoo showing and the dance of light and shadow. So this picture became my reference photo to create a watercolor telling my story, my faith.
Here is my set up. My painting in progress, with the magazine and article on Kathleen Giles process next to me to refer to. My ipad with the color photo of Brooke to be able to zoom in on details. And the black and white photo copy I used to trace her onto my watercolor paper with chaco paper.
Here is a progression of the painting:
then, the completed painting! This was so fun to paint and be able to connect it to the telling of my story, my faith.
“What colors do you use?” This was a question I was asked in my class this week and is a question often asked to artists. I too love to know what colors/brands other artists use in their palettes and why.
I will answer from my experience. This is what I know thus far, I still have much to learn about paints and colors. My current palette is not necessarily the “right” way to set up your palette. It is a personal preference and I encourage you to try out different colors and brands to find what excites you.
What brand? Any professional grade paint is a good choice. Here is a list of some brands of professional grade watercolors. For greater depth in the differences between them, read this.
Windsor and Newton
Not all colors look the same in different brands. You may find you prefer ultra marine blue in the Windsor and Newton brand as opposed to M Graham brand. While your favorite lemon yellow may be in the Holbein line of paints. My palette is mostly Windsor and Newton. I have not tried all the brands, I have landed on Windsor and Newton, especially their burnt sienna and have stayed pretty brand loyal to them. However I plan to experiment with more brands to discover the differences between them for myself.
A good color plan to recreate in your palette is to have a warm and a cool in each of the primary colors. A note about warm and cool colors. Not all yellows are warm and not all blues are cool. As with all colors there is a warm version and a cool version. Even in blacks you can have a warm black and a cool black. I encourage you to do some research on this and make a color journal with your paints. Make notes about the brand, color, temperature, transparency, staining etc. Mix different combinations and log the colors and the actual paint swatches in your journal (use a watercolor paper journal).
Warm color appears to move forward while cooler colors recede into the background. That’s why when painting a landscape it translates reality to use warm colors in the foreground then move to cooler colors and lighter values (meaning more water) in the background. If a subject is mostly warm, use a cool shadow, if your subject is mostly cool then use a warm shadow. If you want the most brilliant color results you need to mix cool colors with cool colors and warm colors with warm colors. Keep in mind there are areas in your painting where you may not want it to be the most brilliant.
Here is a list of paints and their temperature:
Cadmium Yellow Pale, New Gamboge, Cadmium Yellow, Winsor Yellow Deep, Indian Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Orange, Winsor Orange, Winsor Orange (Red Shade). Cadmium Scarlet, Scarlet Lake, Cadmium Red, Winsor Red, Rose Doré, Quinacridone Red, Opera Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Magenta, Cobalt Violet, Permanent Mauve, Winsor Violet (Dioxazine), Cobalt Blue Deep, French Ultramarine, Ultramarine, (Green Shade), Winsor Blue (Red Shade), Cerulean Blue (Red Shade), Winsor Green (Yellow Shade), Yellow Ochre, Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Brown Ochre, Magnesium Brown, Burnt Sienna, Light Red, Venetian Red, Brown Madder, Perylene Maroon, Perylene Violet, Burnt Umber, Vandyke Brown, Sepia
Lemon Yellow, (Nickel Titanate), Bismuth Yellow, Cadmium Lemon, Winsor Lemon, Lemon Yellow Deep, Transparent Yellow, Winsor Red Deep, Permanent Alizarin, Crimson, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Carmine, Permanent Rose, Rose Madder Genuine, Indanthrene Blue, Cobalt Blue, Antwerp Blue, Prussian Blue, Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Cerulean Blue, Phthalo Turquoise, Winsor Green, (Blue Shade), Terre Verte, Perylene Green, Permanent Sap Green, Olive Green, Terre Verte (Yellow Shade), Green Gold, Raw Sienna, Indian Yellow
For more details about colors/paint descriptions from Keene Wilson go here,… a great reference on color for certain subjects, transparency, staining etc…
This is my current palette. It does get tweaked every now and then however I will list my colors in order of preference.
Sap Green or Hookers Green
Transparent yellow – Aureolin – Lemon yellow
I like to label my palette with the color information on medical tape (can handle getting wet). The tape can be easily removed if and when I change colors in the well. Some colors I have not put all the information about temperature, transparency or brand as I have either run out of room or I have not found out yet.
I would love to hear about what you have learned in your own journey with watercolor paints.
This is my 18 year old son, Trent who just went off to college. He gets his good looks from his Dad, isn’t he handsome? This portrait process was taught this summer in my classes at The Art Location where I teach watercolors and collage.
I want to share this process with you and show some examples of this lesson that I first found here.
This is the photo I chose to edit in pic monkey. I chose 3 colors in the posterize filter.
Below is the time lapse video of me painting this portrait.
These examples are from the students in my class.
Now that I have done one of my son Trent, I plan to paint the other 3 kids of mine. Here are the edited photos I made in pic monkey to use.
Give it a try. I’d love to see what you come up with on your Easy Watercolor Portraits.
In the theme of our collage class of “food and drink” Here is my example. My inspiration behind this collage is my special coffee mug. It’s a “just because” gift from my daughter Brooke. She thought it looked like me.
So here is the photo I took of it, I really like the surroundings of The Art Location Studio and the paint splashed table and my lipstick on the rim of the mug, very artsy:
To make the collage I squirted a gold acrylic paint in the middle of a wooden canvas and squirts of umber around the edges. Then I spread the paint with a brush to cover the surface, while also scratching in some random strokes with the back of the paintbrush. keeping the middle golden and edges brown. After paint was dry I began placing my “pieces” to apply to the canvas in different arrangements until I liked the outcome. On the left side, I used a torn dryer sheet for some texture. I glued down the pieces with modge podge. When that was dry, I darkened the edges with a darker brown and wispy strokes. After this layer dried, I put a turquoise crayoned edge, using a ruler, around the coffee mug photo. I dotted pops of red to finish it off. When all was dry I covered the whole surface with a final coat of modge podge. And “ta da”, a personal collage to display. I am looking forward to what the students will bring to work on this theme next week.
Fall classes coming to an end with our finishing technique on negative painting. We have spent two weeks on this skill. Negative painting is such an intriguing and beautiful approach it would lend itself to an entire 8 week course. The artist we were following is Linda Kemp. I have a link to her work on my facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/artist.beth