Thanks to guest writer Christina Hugo for today’s post.
Today Carolynn Wagler helped to bring spring to Portland with a watercolor of warm, vibrant, orangey tulips. It was a fitting subject as we sat in the window of Muse safe from the intermittent April showers.
Carolynn came ready with a light graphite sketch of her design, which was from a photograph she had taken at a tulip festival a few years back. It was an image she had been saving, waiting to give it new life in paint. After a few touch-ups with her pencil to define her lines, which would be the map for her piece, she began by masking her whites. Carefully identifying any white detail in her color photo, she mimicked these areas with masking fluid to repel paint and maintain her tulips’soft white tips. The plump blooms were then washed with a wide, wet brush followed by a sweep of lemon yellow. Carolynn then used a blow drier to set the yellow, and already the strong effect of the masking fluid was evident. Bright yellow tulips with sweet white highlights now filled much of the page. She told me that as she added more color the masking fluid would be scrubbed away to blend the white naturally into the petals.
Crimsons, golden oranges, and bluish purples gave the blooms dimension, texture and richness . Thin upward strokes of color brought out the veins and spines of the petals, while a water-charged brush diluted color in other places to give contour and shading, bringing it all slowly to life.
Carolynn used a test palette of watercolor paper painted with her original yellow to see how each new hue would appear layered on the last. On this tiny watercolor laboratory she discovered, through trial, error, and inquisitive patience how to coax her perfect purple from a neutralizing yellow background.
Carolynn has been painting with watercolors for 11 years, but has experience with acrylics and pastel as well. She says watercolor is her favorite because of its fluidity. She says she finds it “a thrill to see what you come up with through the nature of the water and pigment together.” Carolynn’s portfolio is filled with landscapes in all seasons, and expressive faces which portray emotion through bright eyes and flowing features. She is looking forward to painting some of the tropical flora she captured on film during a recent trip to Hawaii. Carolynn teaches pastel painting through Portland Parks and Recreation and she is a member of the Portland Fine Arts Guild.
The last picture below shows Carolynn’s painting at the end of the day Monday (with watercolor paper still taped to board). We’ll post an update with a picture of the finished piece. UPDATE: The last picture below shows Carolynn’s finished painting.
Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.
Thanks to guest writer Sera Stanton for today’s post.
Virginia Church takes the beauty she finds in reality and makes it more vibrant. Her palette today was soft but colorful and diffused light across the canvas. Usually a painter of landscapes, Virginia has an interesting process. Her focus is to communicate the mood of the place she paints.
Virginia first takes a photo that she likes and alters its colors in Photoshop to match what she wants her palette to be. She then makes either a charcoal, or in today’s case, pastel drawing of what she plans to paint. Today she was working from a photo she took while orienteering in a park. Her pastel drawing helped her judge the values she needed in her piece. After a careful study, she laid the paint down on canvas in layers, starting with a warm background. From there, she added more layers of paint until she was satisfied. Oils are her favorite medium to use, but she says she prefers working on panels to canvas. Virginia likes to paint wet-on-wet because it’s fun to solve the problem of colors mixing.
A Portlander since 1961, Virginia finds the Northwest inspiring. She worked in a bike shop before she retired to paint full-time. Before that, she made illustrations for Portland’s Urban Naturalist Quarterly. The love of outdoors that all of Portland has is apparent in her paintings, watercolors and drawings.
Today Eve created a pastel painting of a scene in the Columbia Gorge. She had taken several photographs to use as reference, from which she prepared a sketch in pastels to work out her composition and color palette. Before she started today, she had prepared her surface with a golden-brown pastel and water to spread the color as a wash over the entire background. Then she sketched out the basic lines and shapes of her composition.
Eve started today with the blue and white colors of the sky. For the most part, she worked from background to foreground and from larger, more solid areas to finer details with more varied color. For areas like the hills in the background, Eve built up colors that were in a similar range for subtle blends and a more quiet, solid feel. In the middle-ground and foreground, especially in the grassy areas, she layered contrasting colors in smaller strokes to create a more and active feel. Between the warm, vibrant colors in the grasses, Eve carefully selected and blended the blues in her palette: some that feel light and distant in the sky and foothills, and others that pop out from her toned background in the shimmering shallow water. The whole effect captures the light, distance, motion, and stillness that one experiences while walking along the water’s edge in the Gorge.
Arlene is a multi-talented artist who works in many mediums, including oils, acrylics, and watercolor. Today she brought her painterly skills to a landscape in oil pastels. Working on Ampersand Pastelbord, a hard panel with a somewhat gritty surface, she first roughed in some shapes to establish her composition. Arlene had prepared a sketch to work from inspired by the central region of the Willamette Valley.
Arlene used Gamsol odorless mineral spirits along with the oil pastels to blend the colors together and to help keep layers thin since oil pastels can build up pretty thickly. She used brushes and a variety of scraping tools, (even dental tools!) to apply and scrape away fine details. It was fun to see her piece take shape throughout the afternoon as she added layers and details to sky, trees, water, and reflections. Arlene took her piece home to add some finishing touches. The final image below is the finished piece.