Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Georgia O'Keefe Flowers!

American artist Georgia O'Keefe painted flowers from the inside out, you could say. She painted something very small in a very large format. In addition, she usually painted just a portion of the flower so that you could see the tiniest structures in great detail.

For this project, we selected a flower that we liked and masked off just a small section of it to paint. Then we enlarged that section to a 9 x 12 piece of black construction paper, on which we created our flower using soft pastels. We used our fingers and Q-tips to soften and blend our colors or to slightly remove color to create lines, shadows, and detail.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Cactus Gardens!

These beautiful mixed media cactus gardens are ink drawings that have been filled with watercolor.

Creating this little cactus garden helps students to plan a composition, gain confidence with ink (Sharpies), blend a background using two or more analogous colors, use Native American-inspired patterns in artwork, and plan a color harmonious scheme. It is also a great way to encourage using the watercolor palette wells for mixing watercolors instead of simply painting with the colors directly out of the pans. I asked the students to mix a variety of greens to paint the various types of cacti after observing from photos how different each shade or tone of green actually was.

By the way, I have found that Prang watercolors are the best for teaching beginning watercolor. They are super bright and radiant, and are affordable.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Flower Sketching in Watercolor and Ink

This week we worked on watercolor and ink flower sketching in both ART Camp and in our Thursday afternoon paining class.

This can be done in the studio while observing fresh flowers or from photos. Even better, watercolor flower sketches can be create plein air - right on the spot! You can take a hike and create wildflower sketches in your sketchbook or sit out in your garden and do the same.

All you need is a bottle of water, a cup to put it in, a brush, and  your paint pans. It's really a great way to quickly fill in your colors than using all those colored pencils or pastels - and a lot easier to carry with you. (Although, we did add a bit of oil pastel within our flowers here and there for an added resist effect prior to painting.)

We used a black Sharpie pen to create the basic sketch before filling in the shapes with watercolor. It is okay to lightly sketch your basic shapes in pencil first, but we learned right away that the pens aren't as intimidating as they seem, and we often ignore our pencil lines when re-sketching in ink. A great lesson in gaining self-confidence as an artist!

After painting in our backgrounds, we added a bit of salt to add more interest and fun to our work. The flowers were painted in as the last step.