Tag Archives: how to

Let’s Paint a Birdhouse on Wire Fence Speed Demo VIDEO

Last June I went to Christ in the Wilderness for a 4 day retreat. Every time I visit, I’m rewarded with beautiful solitude, majestic nature, the ability to think and pray. It is like a spiritual renewal or refreshing. God works in mysterious ways and I believe he was speaking to me through nature, almost preparing me for the near future. More of that on a later post.

While I was there in June, I took video of the surroundings and was inspired to paint a picture of a lonely birdhouse on a wire fence that borders the property of CITW. After completing the painting, I was inspired to name it:
“Going Home”

This perhaps is in direct relation to the passing of my dear friend, Alanna. She always said our bodies are vessels and this world is not our home. How true.

Today’s video is in two parts. It is a pastel painting with a watercolor underwash on a white Ampersand Pastelbord. There are a few minutes of beautiful nature in both videos. The first video is a demo of the bulk of the painting and the second video is a demo of highlighting the details. All supplies are listed in the info section on YouTube. Enjoy.

Video 1 of 2 (9 minutes)

Video 2 of 2 (5 minutes)

It was brought to my attention that sometimes the videos do not show up in your email. That’s weird. I do not know why this happens. In any case, if you are reading this post from your email and do not see the videos embedded in your email, visit http://www.letspaintnature.com and view from the web site.

Interested on a print or greeting card of Going Home?
click here
Photography Prints
Thank you

Advertisements

Difference Between Watercolor Underwash and Pastel/Turpentine Underwash with a Pastel Painting

What is an underwash? With a pastel painting, it is the first layer of the painting. Why are underwashes needed? Because it either covers the media, saving you from using too much soft pastels, or has a desirous effect with your painting. We will discuss both. In both of these examples, I am using a 10″x8″ Ampersand Pastel Board.

Example #1  Watercolor Underwash

In this example I used watercolor as a first step underneath my pastel painting.
Pros: Watercolors have a cool effect. The water spreads the pigment and the clouds look soft, distant trees look realistic without much effort. Let the watercolors do what watercolors do…..spread on their own. Do you see under the clouds? It looks as if rain is descending on the ground….I did not do this intentionally, the watercolors spread on their own and like magic it looks realistic.
Cons: When dry, the watercolors dry very, very light. Apply dark if possible.

When applying soft pastels on top, do not cover the whole painting. Let the watercolor underwash show through. This enables you to achieve a 3D effect, effortlessly.

Example #2  Turpentine and Pastel Underwash

In this example I scribbled a little pastel color and blended it on my board with turpentine and a bristle brush. A little goes a long way.
Pros: It takes very little pastel scribbled on your board to cover the entire surface. It actually takes a lot less than what I used. Just apply a tiny bit of pastel color and with a clean bristle brush, spread it with turpentine. Pastels are expensive, but if you use this method you will not waste much soft pastel.
Cons: Not much of a 3D effect, rather flat, but many layers can be applied for a dimensional look.

Both methods are fun. These two examples were done on Ampersand Pastel Boards. These methods will NOT work with regular pastel paper. The water with the watercolor and the turpentine in method #2 will destroy regular pastel paper.

Explore and have fun! Layer and see where it takes you.

 

Let’s Paint a Winter Storm at Night!

The Chicago area has been hit by two significant snow storms since winter started. I love snow. Not only is it soothing to watch as it descends, but it dresses the winter trees in their formal attire. How beautiful. Each and every one dazzles.

So, let’s paint a winter tree during an enchanted nighttime snow storm!

I do not have a reference photo but the technique will work with any deciduous winter tree.

Step1_Winterstorm

Step 1: Draw your tree on a 140lb coldpress watercolor paper with a pencil. My paper size is 6×9. The focal point is the tree itself so in the composition law of thirds, I wanted the tree to fill 2/3 of the paper.

Step2_Winterstorm

Step 2: Using masking fluid, paint where the snow would land on the branches. I covered the tops of almost every branch. Let completely dry. If you do not wait until it is completely dry, you will ruin your brush. You can make sure it is dry by lightly touching it after about 10 minutes.

Step3_Winterstorm

Step 3: We are going to paint the sky wet on wet. Using a 1″ flat brush with clean water, wet the paper in the area of the sky and the tree. Brush right over the dried masking fluid. Make sure you do not skip around and leave dry spots. When the shine on the paper disappears, paint ultramarine blue on top and bottom of sky and mauve in the middle. Let the colors blend and touch. You’re literally laying down a few brush strokes and stepping away. Do not over work this.
While the paper is still wet, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on the paper and let completely dry. When dry tilt your paper and discard the salt.

Step4_Winterstorm

Step 4: Paint the tree starting at the bottom and work your way up. I used a medium round brush. If you look at the base of the tree I started with a mixture of sepia and ultramarine. As I work my way up, I added mauve to that sepia/ultramarine mixture, then viridian green, lastly at the top alizarin crimson.
Using a small round brush, paint in smaller branches repeating the colors we already used.

Step5_Winterstorm

Step 5: Rub the masking fluid off with your finger. Paint shadows under the tree using the same sky color on top.

Step6_Winterstorm

Step 6 Final: Using a small round brush paint a light mixture (meaning less pigment and more water) of prussian blue where the snow touches the branches, making a fine line. This is the shadow color of the snow on the tree.
When everything is dry, take a #3 black micron pen and draw tiny branches/twigs coming from the small branches. Outline the trunk and main branches of the tree to make it stand out.

I hope you enjoyed this free step-by-step demonstration of how to paint a nighttime winter snowstorm.

If you would like to purchase a greeting card ($4.95) or archival print click below. Thank you!
Art Prints

Let’s Paint a Winter Branch with Watercolors!

willow_branch

Hi Folks! This is going to be a fun lesson and very easy! No really, I’m serious, very easy!! Have you tried painting with watercolors but were frustrated because you didn’t know why it wasn’t doing what you wanted? Well, this lesson will take some of the guess work out what’s happening.

Here is our subject: a winter willow branch.

step1

Step 1: Using 140lb cold press watercolor paper and a pencil, sketch in the shape of the branch. Now at this time, I like to really study my subject inch by inch and review the details. I say things in my head like, the bark is really smooth, mostly blue with some gray, the shape of the twigs are wavy, I see twig and leaf scars, and on and on. Write these things down if you like. The more intimate characteristics you pull out of your subject, the better you will paint.

step2

Step 2: My willow branch has some peeling bark. When the bark peeled off, it turned slightly yellow in color. Under the bark was a nice red/brown flesh. Normally I would apply masking fluid here and do this step last but yours truly left her masking fluid in the car during sub zero weather and ruined her masking fluid! Learn from me, don’t leave masking fluid in the car. Lol.

Using a small round brush paint in cadmium yellow and burnt sienna wet on dry. That means do not wet the paper first. Just paint right on the dry paper. Try not to touch them as the colors will bleed together. Let dry.

step3

Step 3: Using a mixture of cobalt blue and sienna paint in the branch. While it is still wet, on your palette, mix a little more sienna to your mix and paint the bottom of the branch darker. This is the part of the branch in shadow. The light is coming from the top. Because the branch is still wet, the darker color with melt into the lighter for a nice transition. That’s called painting wet on wet. See that tiny little twig on the bottom right of the picture? See how the two colors are separate and have great contrast? That’s because that part of the paper was dry by the time I painted in the shadow color.

step4

Step 4: While the branch is still wet, mix some sienna and Payne’s grey and paint in some dark spots on the branch. These spots are here and there. Because the branch is slightly wet the edges become smooth.

oscar2

This is not a step, but a brief break to meet Oscar Mayer…it’s Oscar Mayer time!!! Oscar Mayer time!! My dog likes to hang out and watch me paint. 😀

step5

Step 5: Okay, back to work. With the smaller branch on top we are going to do the same steps as before using the same colors, except the very small twigs were more of a red/brown color so I painted them burnt sienna. I do this in sections so it doesn’t dry too fast to work with.

step6

Step 6: As before, we are going to add some sienna/Payne’s Grey spots to the branch when slightly wet.

step7

Step 7: When everything is dry, using a rigger brush and Payne’s grey, paint some thin curved lines on your branch. Remember the branch is round not flat, so your thin lines are rounded too. This is a very important detail for your branch. Next, with burnt sienna, paint a few leaf buds on the tiny twigs (like dots). In this step I also softened the color of the yellow peeling bark by painting over it with yellow ochre using the rigger brush. Looks great!!!

branch_final_step8

Step 8 Final: Now this step is optional and kind of cheating. To make the white marks on the branch, I used a white Conté Crayon. Remember to draw following the shape of the branch in a nice curved angle. Lastly I drew with a black Micron pen #03.

You’re done! Not bad!

oscar1

Oscar Mayer Weiner is pretend ignoring us as I stick a camera in his face…but he hopes you enjoyed this free demo of how to paint a winter branch using watercolors!!
Yay!

Let’s Paint November Sunset!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What is it about November that I like so much? Could it be the calm before the storm (peace before holiday chaos)? Could it be the de-clutter of leaves on the trees, providing a sort of de-clutter in my mind? Is it the warmth of the sweater that surrounds me or the first sip of hot chocolate? I’m sure it is a combination of all of these and many more. I love autumn even when it sheds its happy colors and puts on a more subdue garment. At this time of year, the grays and browns dominate, but you can still catch some exciting colors in the sky.

20111126_nov_sunset_photo

So let’s enjoy this time of the season by making a pastel painting of a November Sunset! This is going to be 100% pastels from start to finish. It won’t be too hard and you will have sooooooooo much fun in the process!

20111126_nov_sunset_step1

Step 1: I am using a sheet of Kitty Wallis Museum Grade 18×12 pastel paper. It feels like sand paper. You can get this wet and apply an undercoat, which we will do in a few steps. I made a rough sketch with a pastel pencil, it doesn’t matter what color, it will disappear in the end.

20111126_nov_sunset_step2

Step 2: Holy Hot Tamales!!! This is a fun step, well all of them are fun, but this step will connect you to your child like self buried deep, deep, down somewhere. Don’t worry about the bold dark color. This will be painted over. In this step and the next few, we are just laying down color. I am using Rembrandt pastels. Scribble in most of the sky using a dark pink, a little red and some orange. Repeat the same colors in the water.

20111126_nov_sunset_step3

Step 3: Now take a medium blue and scribble in the rest of the sky and some of the water. Take a dark blue and scribble in where the distant trees are just above the horizon.

20111126_nov_sunset_step4

Step 4: Look Mom! Look what I brought home from 1st grade! Hahahahahaha. In this step scribble in the land with a dark maroon/brown. Wait until you see what comes next!

20111126_nov_sunset_step5

Step 5: Now we are going to spread it around. Pour a small amount of turpentine (smells) or turpenoid (doesn’t smell) in a cup and wet a 2″ bristle brush. Dab on a paper towel to get excess off. You do not want it sopping wet. Start on the lightest color and touch the pastel spreading it around with small sweeping strokes. Clean brush before you move to the next color.

20111126_nov_sunset_step5b

That’s what I’m talking about! Yessssss. Spread it around now! This is an undercoat. Don’t worry how obnoxious it looks. We are going to apply another top coat of soft pastels. Only a tiny amount of this color will show through. Let this dry completely.

20111126_nov_sunset_step6

Step 6: We will start at the top and work our way down. When your undercoat is dry, take a light pink pastel and paint in the sky. I hate saying exact color names or numbers on my step by steps. I do not want people to run out and buy more art supplies because they think they don’t have the “right” color. All colors are right. All colors are usable. Use what you have. When I’m determining what color to use on top of an undercoat, I just use a shade lighter.
Paint in the sun colors using a lighter orange and a touch of dark yellow. Paint the lower half of the sky with a light blue.

20111126_nov_sunset_step7

Step 7: With your finger and a light touch, blend the two colors with a sweeping strokes.

20111126_nov_sunset_step8

Step 8: Using the light blue sky color, fill in the water near the horizon. Take a medium blue pastel and paint in the distant trees. Using your finger blend the trees upward towards the sky. Looking good so far.

20111126_nov_sunset_step9

Step 9: Now I realized my maroon land color was not dark enough, so I’m adding a very dark blue Unison pastel color. The darkest Rembrandt is not really dark enough for me. Unison pastels can get very, very dark. I also painted more of the water with the light sky blue color.

20111126_nov_sunset_step10

Step 10: This is a close up of the land where I’m going to describe how to paint the dried grasses. Now because the light technically is coming from the back and it’s the beginning of evening, the grasses will not have much color. Using a dark blue pastel pencil, make dots and lines on top of the water just above the land. This represents cattails in the distance. Next take a gray-purple pastel and make lines for grass on the land. I like to be messy about it. Neat is boring.

20111126_nov_sunset_step11

Step 11: Take a lighter pastel, like a light gray-brown and make some grasses in the front. Take your dark blue pastel or pastel pencil and make some tiny grass sticks here and there in the very front, some put right in the water. Oh this is coming along nicely!

20111126_nov_sunset_step12

Step 12: Using a dark blue pastel pencil, paint in the trees. I thinned them out from the picture. I didn’t want them to be too distracting. After my trees were established I went over them with a dark brown color. Working on the water, take the same sky colors and paint the foreground. Don’t forget the nice orange color of the sunset. Make sure you add the tree trunks reflecting in the water.

20111126_nov_sunset_step13_FINAL

Step 13 Final: Add more blue sky color to the water in the foreground. Because the wind was so strong, it was breaking up the reflection in the water, so paint some more like blue and pink in the water.
Lastly, let the sun kiss the tree trunks and limbs by adding some hot colors; hot pink and orange work nice. Finished!

“Sweet November Sunset”
pastel
18×12

If interested in purchasing the original, click here to see availability.

I hope you enjoyed this free step by step pastel painting demonstration. I am so very honored that God has blessed me to be able to share this with you.