Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rezzo loo shunz...bye 2015

Resolution...What does that mean anyway? You already had a solution but didn't use it and now you're reapplying it? That's why I don't understand making them. Setting yourself up to not do something you're already not doing seems vaguely metaphysical.
 However I AM going to attempt that other new year tradition of "getting organized". My studio is what my Dad used to call a "s**t house mess". Now that the really cold weather is coming I'll be spending more time working in it...or trying to. I can't just use it as a place to dump painting gear and store frames before heading to the spacious outdoors. This 13x13 ex-bedroom needs a makeover (which is another big tradition, I think...but this project will need more than press-on nails and a pair of spanks).
 Here are some before photos. As 13x13 is a small footprint, my only option is the urban architecture approach of going vertical - these shelf/table combos are going to get stacked and a 36"x80" work table will slide out from between the two.

 The big easel is going to go to a corner where the windows always light it indirectly. Right now it starts the day with bright, direct light and gets darker and indirect as time passes.

The portable easels will go on the top shelf of the new stacked version (would that lifting constitute a workout program?).
 Still, there are a few things I don't know how to rearrange just yet. If you have any great ideas, please pass them on and I will share pictures as things develop.
Happy 2016!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Drag it - don't nag it

 Oh, phooey...I wanted to imbed video in this post but time and incompetence have gotten the best of here's the info in verbal form and perhaps someday I'll manage a video redux.
 Previously, I've written how paint looks and behaves on the palette and what value to expect once it's put to paper. To recap: Runny paint (paint that moves freely on a tipped palette) makes light to medium value marks. Paint that moves slowly on a tipped palette makes medium to dark value marks. Paint that stays put makes the darkest mark available from that pigment.
 So, with the right color in brush, the next challenge is to get it on paper with the desired appearance.
Watercolor doesn't like to be dabbed, stroked or's mostly water and water likes to flow.
Think like so: The water carries the color and you move the water.  You lead it where you want and after it evaporates, beautiful color remains....or not.
If you dab, stroke or otherwise nag it, watercolor leaves a mess. Lead it about nicely and it will gift you with colorful presents.
 Runny paint and slow moving paint require different application procedures - but neither involves rubbing, scrubbing or dabbing.

 Runny paint flows across the paper easily. If  your paper is at a 45-60 degree angle it forms a juicy bead at the brushstroke's lower edge (the flatter you work, the faster the water soaks into the paper - it has to be on the surface to lead about). If you touch a loaded brush to the bottom edge of your bead you can continue to lay a smooth wash wherever you lead that bead. When you OVERLAP the bead with your brush, you risk streaks. Bringing your brush into an area you've just painted does a couple things: it can "wipe" a bit of the previous stroke away, leaving a lighter patch. Or, the additional liquid may wash the area lighter. I like to say "bring the brush TO IT but not THROUGH IT". The bead waits for you while you apply color to other areas, so don't run your brush out and leave a dry edge. Leave a bead so you can pick up where you left off. Just reload your brush, pick up the bead from underneath and lead on. When you get where you're going, "drink up" any remaining bead by touching a squeezed out brush tip to it.
WASH TIP: Keeping the brush handle pointing up lets gravity aid the release of paint. Pointing the handle down slows that release as gravity pulls it back into the tuft. If your bead starts to starve out, go "handle up" to keep it juicy. If you're coming up to a complex shape and need to paint around it with care, go "handle down" to slow the flow.
Slow moving paint is trickier to lead about because it's thicker. It won't form a bead you can coax along. So how do you get a relatively smooth application over large areas? Again, "bring the brush TO IT but not THROUGH IT".
Put some slow moving color on the paper - as far as it will go and still look wet. It should glisten. Then, reload your brush and bring the brush to the WET EDGE of the previous mark and let hydraulics do the joining. DON'T STIR BACK INTO PREVIOUSLY PAINTED AREAS to blend the new paint unless you want streaks, texture or blossoms.

Common mistakes
1. HARD PAINT: Make sure the paint in the palette is fresh or re-moistened enough to get the desired consistency.
2. MIX PLENTY: Have color ready so the bead or wet edge isn't drying up while you mix more. Often painters try to cover too big an area and then starve their bead, or let their wet edge get too dry. While they're  mixing more color - which is difficult when there's little of the original to go by - a hard edge forms where they left off. Then, they torture and scrub that distinct line trying to get the new paint look like a seamless extension of the old. The result is usually blotches and bands.
3. DON'T DILUTE: Another no-no is trying to extend the paint by bringing more water to it. That only lightens the mix you worked so hard to get right.
Remember: The trick to getting a smooth transition is to keep the bead - or the edge - wet!