In this video, Cesar Santos shows how to use Nitram Liquid Charcoal to draw with liquid charcoal. Yeah, that sentence might not make any sense until you watch the video.
I received a new tube of Nitram’s Liquid Charcoal to try it out. I decided to share my attempt with you all. Here is a time lapse demonstrating the whole process from start to finish of how I draw with Nitram’s liquid charcoal.
This video covers various basic techniques with NEOCOLOR® II Water-soluble Wax Pastel by Caran d’Ache: drawing, graded applications, washes, watercolour effects and techniques. Soft, velvety texture, ultra-high pigment concentration, luminous colours, excellent light resistance, and superior covering power – these are more than just crayons. The NEOCOLOR II Water-soluble Wax Pastels have the widest color range on the market – perfect for dry or wet drawings, water color effects, washes and sgraffito. On sale for 20% off through March 31st!!!
We are delighted to introduce DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Artist, Joanna Barnum! Joanna will take us step-by-step through her process for making a watercolor portrait.
For this portrait painting, “Fae”, I started with a photo of my friend Amy, a dancer and professional fairy, who did an impromptu photo shoot with me at a festival. I liked her wistful expression and fanciful costuming as the main inspiration for the painting. This piece is an example of my typical portrait painting process in watercolor.
I like to work with photo reference as the jumping off point for my portraits because of how a photo can capture fleeting expressions and movements, as well as the memories of a particular time and place. Although I also enjoy painting the model from life, and this practice informs all of my other drawing and painting, a live model is more limited in what can be sustained for several hours. Sometimes I hire specific models I want to shoot photos of (or press friends and family members into service), other times I’ll bring my camera to events to capture more organic moments. I particularly love working with dancers, actors, and all kinds of performers, since they’re very at ease in front of a camera. I might have a particular concept in mind when I start shooting reference, or I might just file the photos away and see what they inspire for me later on.
I look for expressions, gestures, and light that inspire me in photos, but I don’t worry about keeping the original composition of the photo, or painting everything exactly as shown in the photograph.
In this case, I first crop from a larger full body photograph, and then move the portrait 2/3 to the right of a horizontal composition so that we can follow the subject’s gaze through the composition. I plan to eliminate the extraneous background information, and handle the environment in an expressive way. I also plan to paint the overall colors a bit warmer than what my camera captured, since the photo has a slight cool caste to it.
I like to work on 300lb cold press or rough paper. I don’t stretch my paper, but I might clip it to a board to make manipulating the piece easier as I work. I’ll start with a fairly well defined preliminary drawing, which allows me to be looser and more relaxed with the painting process- I know that I already have my likeness nailed down. To avoid overworking the paper before I begin painting, I will transfer the basic lines for the image from either a separate preliminary drawing or a draft copy of my photograph, and then I will refine and develop the drawing using an HB (#2) mechanical pencil. I try to avoid excessive erasing.
Since I want a loose, expressive background for this piece, I begin there. I work mostly wet on wet, painting a soft interpretation of the natural environment in the photo, leaving out extraneous elements. I also add a big swath of pink radiating out from the flower, to create sort of a magical feeling. I allow some of the background to merge into the shadow side of the figure. I also sprinkle some salt in areas of the background while it’s semi-wet to create small salt blooms as an additional atmospheric element. When I’m working a large area like a background, I try to use the largest brush I can, only switching to smaller brushes for more control when I need to.
My basic process for painting a portrait in watercolor starts with a cool colored underpainting. This is a personal quirk I developed through trial and error when I painted lots and lots of (too cheap) portrait commissions right out of art school. Painting believable flesh requires using not just warm colors, but including some cools- and I found that painting some of the cools first helped to set them “under” the surface of the skin, and helped me get a good sense of the overall value structure of the painting right from the get-go.
It’s vital to note that this is NOT a full-value underpainting like one might do an umber “grisaille” in oil painting. Since everything put down on the page in a watercolor will remain visible through subsequent transparent layers, going overboard with this initial cool layer would be completely overwhelming. I just focus on the cool shadows I see. Large sections of the portrait remain unpainted at this stage.
Cerulean Blue, Chromium is the color I used most often for this stage. It has a slight warmth to it, and even at full strength, is not too deep in value. However, I will sometimes integrate greens, other blues, and purples at this stage, depending on the complexion of the subject or the lighting of the scene. On a subject with dark skin, the cool underpainting might shift to using more ultramarine blue and purples.
During this stage, I also make sure to put the white of the eyes and any visible teeth mostly in subtle cool shadow. Aside from any bright highlights on these areas, they are never fully the white of the paper. I also usually carry the cool shadows into other areas, like clothing, for consistency.
Overall, I tend to think in shapes of value and color, leaving fairly hard edges to my shapes. I might soften the edge of a transition within a face with just a little bit of clear water or with a dry brush texture, but “smoothness” is not something I concern myself with- I don’t think of it as a fundamental characteristic of watercolor. The major relationships are more fundamental in creating the illusion of realism. And any blooms or organic textures that arise in the course of painting are embraced and appreciated.
Once the previous layer is fully dry (I use a hair dryer if I’m impatient), I look at my photograph and identify both the pure white highlights on the flesh, and the lightest light warm flesh tones. I put down a large wash on all of the flesh areas, except for the white highlights, in this light flesh color. It goes right over the cool underpainting. Indian Yellow, Pyrrol Scarlet, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Quinacridone Rose are the colors I usually choose from when mixing this color. There is no one exact formula- it depends on what I observe. In this case, the lightest light areas in the subjects face seem to shift more yellowish, so I used mostly Indian Yellow and Pyrrol Scarlet, well diluted. While this wash was wet, I drop in a little bit of Pyrrol Scarlet under the subject’s chin where there is a particularly warm sunny glow.
Once again, I allow the previous layer to dry fully. Now I am layering my mid-tone warm flesh color on top of the lightest lights, leaving some of those previous light areas unpainted. Indian Yellow, Pyrrol Scarlet, Permanent Alizarin crimson, and Quinacridone Rose are again usually the colors I choose from for the mid-tones, although for a dark skinned subject, I may also introduce Burnt Sienna at this stage. The mid-tones on the subject look more pinkish to me, so I use cooler reds in the mix. There will also be variety from one area to the next in this layer. It’s important not to be too hesitant when painting the warm mid-tones. At this stage of the painting they will be the darkest thing on the face, which can lead to a tendency to want to paint them too light. Better to be a little more aggressive now, rather than realizing at the end of the painting that all of the mid-tones are too washed out.
Before I move on to adding more detail to the face, I make sure that all other areas of the painting are blocked in with an appropriate light color. I try to work a painting as a whole so that I can understand the overall relationships, rather than totally finishing one area while another is still totally unpainted.
At this stage I may switch to using mostly smaller brushes, as the areas I’m handling are getting smaller. I build up details and darker areas as needed to complete the painting. Colors here could be anything. As I darken some shadows on the flesh, I may return to using some cool colors. Small shadows that define the features can be warm darks or cool darks. I mix neutrals and darks using a variety of complementary color pairs.
It’s important that the lights and darks in the finished painting feel well balanced and create a pleasing movement around the page. Sometimes there is a tendency for beginners to make the nostrils and the pupils of the eyes the only dark areas on a face, which looks odd. And when it comes to details like the texture of hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes, it’s important to observe carefully and not default to a cartoon idea of what these things look like. Think about bigger shapes first, with individual hairs being just an enhancement in certain places.
Tips for painting portraits in watercolor:
–Use the largest brush comfortable for an area, and switch to a small one for more control or detail only when you really need to. Don’t get caught up in trying to cover a lot of area with a tiny brush.
–Think of breaking down the major value changes in the face like creating a stencil. Big shapes and accurate values are more important than smoothly blending one value into the next. A preoccupation with blending and smoothness can lead to an overworked painting, or a face that lacks structure.
–Embrace the fundamental character of watercolor. Allow it to be alive and do what it wants to do, to some degree. Accept blooms, tide lines, and other organic textures that arise naturally during the painting process as a beautiful, natural part of the process rather than fighting them or trying to “correct” them. An organic “accident” is more beautiful than overworking an area trying to force it to behave in certain way.
–Don’t isolate features – don’t think of a “nose” or “lips” as separate objects that need to be worked separately from the rest of the face. Work in big connected shapes.
–If realistic full-color flesh tones are the goal (as opposed to an intentionally limited palette- which can also be great) it’s important to have both a warm and a cool red.
–All flesh contains cool tones as well as warm tones.
DANIEL SMITH Watercolors – I love how pigment rich DANIEL SMITH Watercolors are, enabling me to achieve intense color saturation easily; and and how readily they re-wet back to full strength even when left to dry on a palette – just like new with no scrubbing or rubbing! The wide selection of colors offered, including those with unique properties not available elsewhere, means each artist can choose precisely the palette that works best for them, and find exactly what is called for in any circumstance.
Permanent Alizarin Crimson
Phthalo Green (Blue Shade)
Cerulean Blue Chromium
#1 round – Synthetic white sable
#4 round – Synthetic white sable
#10 flat – Synthetic white sable
3/4” flat – Synthetic white sable
2” flat – Synthetic white sable
#16 round – Faux squirrel
Palette – For small pieces and travel, I use a plastic one with individual wells for color and large divisions for mixing. For large paintings, I use a variety of enamel butcher trays and individual ceramic dishes.
About the Artist:
Joanna Barnum uses watercolor to express universal emotional states and the unique spirits of her portrait subjects, balancing experimental, abstract use of the media with sensitive realism and symbolism.
She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2006, and has since made her living as an artist across the realms of fine art, illustration, and teaching.
She is a Signature Member of the National Watercolor Society and serves on the boards of the Baltimore Watercolor Society and the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters’ Association. Joanna’s work has been recognized by American Illustration, Illustration West, the “Splash: The Best in Watercolor” series from North Light Books, Infected by Art, and at juried watercolor society exhibitions and plein air painting competitions around the country.
She has worked with clients and collaborators including Renegade Game Studios for the game Overlight, NASA, AARP, Cricket, Faerie Magazine, Eating Well, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Her work has recently appeared on Every Day Original online, at Abend Gallery in Denver, CO, and at Rehs Contemporary Galleries in New York, NY. Joanna also teaches her approach to watercolor as a guest workshop instructor for watercolor societies and institutions.
Joanna currently lives in Harford County, Maryland with her husband and their greyhound (and studio manager) Zephyr.
Think Tank Gallery is finally moving into a physical project space again, after two years of transient shows and programming stretching from the Santa Monica Pier to the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina. The new venue is called Think Tank Gallery & Showroom, and will also serve as a new headquarters and official partnership with longtime collaborators Bloody Gums Collective, who has taken over the gallery for the grand opening exhibit. The next in their series of knockdown, drag out, mega group shows, Bloody Gums will continue Think Tank’s trailblazing of the last decade as an experimental arts venue paving the way for Downtown LA’s crop of selfie palaces, ticketed immersive environments, and experimental theatre. Full of visceral street photography, illustration, painting, and art installations, the official grand opening exhibit of Think Tank Gallery & Showroom takes place on February 16th, 2019, with LA is Trying to Kill Me.
LA is Trying to Kill Me features a slew of immersive environments – a recognizable staple in the portfolio of shows that the Think Tank has featured over the years depicting different views of LA’s constant onslaught on the artistic psyche. Hospital and police station installations tie directly into the show’s visual threats on its audience, featuring various performance artworks and ubiquitous selfie opportunities complete with costumes, though admittedly much harsher in style and message than LA’s recent selfie station pop-ups.
LA is Trying to Kill Me is a show that feeds into a lifestyle of excess in Los Angeles,” says curator Andrew Barsoum. “LA is trying to kill us all, in one way or another. And it’s their own take on this excess that every artist in the show is expressing.”
The full list of artists and upcoming programming, exhibit information, a schedule of events, and a link to purchase tickets and memberships can be found at http://thinktank.gallery.
Official Grand Opening Saturday, February 16, 2019, 7–11PM Show Run February 16–March 2, 2019 RSVP HERE.
Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastels is easy to use, yet it opens a range of creative possibilities for artists to go beyond paper. Like most GOLDEN acrylic gels, pastes, colors and mediums, it can be applied to anything acrylic will adhere to (which is most things), like walls, furniture, unglazed ceramic, plaster, natural and synthetic panels, and even paper. For artists like Steve, everything is a potential “canvas” – here he transforms a common door panel into a large work of art. If you’re an artist like Steve, thankfully we have all Golden Acrylic Colors, Gels, and Mediums on sale for 40% off during our Back To Whatever Super Sale: Winter Edition! But you better act fast because the sale ends tomorrow, February 8th!
Also, Sennelier Oil Pastels are on sale for 20% off! Created in the 1940s in collaboration with Picasso, these creamy, lipstick-like pastels are rich in pigment, cover well, and have outstanding opacity and lightfastness. These pastels are available in 110 “classic” colors and 10 iridescent colors. They are acid-free, can be applied to any surface, and may be thinned with turpentine and worked with a brush. Modern Sennelier Oil Pastels’ diameter are 20% larger than the original stick, and are available in a larger size called “Grand”, which is the equivalent of eight regular size sticks.
If you missed Robert Burridge’s fantastic oil painting tutorials from the 2018 Strathmore Online Workshops, we’ll be re-playing them here, starting with Setting Up Your Studio & the 4 C’s. What are the 4 C’s? Concept, Composition, Color Combination, and Commit & Continue. If you’ve always wanted to try oil painting but didn’t know where to start, or if you’re looking for inspiration and painting techniques, then let’s get started!
Not only are M. Graham Oil Colors 40% off until February 8th, but you can also get a FREE tube of Alizarin Crimson or Manganese Blue Hue when you buy three (3) or more tubes. It’s a great time to try this high-quality oil paint ground in walnut oil.
We’re starting this thing where every Saturday we serve up a tidbit of info about art, or art history, or whatever art-related. Basically we want you to know all about art. We’re going to start with some info on the Barbizon School, aka the Fountainebleau School.
An important movement in French painting, the term ‘Barbizon School’ refers to a group of painters who, around 1848, settled in and around the French village of Barbizon near the Fontainebleau forest. They were also known as the Fontainebleau School and their work is regarded as the strongest movement of purely landscape painting in nineteenth century France.
Noted above all for their plein-air painting, Barbizon artists developed a remarkable naturalism, minutely observing natural settings. In so doing, they rejected many of the canons of academic art in their quest to establish a new and prosaic form of realist painting – an idiom that led directly to the socially aware realism of Gustave Courbet. Their paintings are mostly landscapes of plains, trees and forests, all rendered in a fluid style.
The most famous representatives of the Barbizon School are Camille Corot and Theodore Rousseau, the latter being the organizer and leader of both the group and proponent of its theories. Other noteworthy figures were Jules Dupre (1811-89), whose work was characterized by the sombre use of light, and Jean-Francois Millet whose work, The Gleaners (pictured above), is an oil painting depicting three peasant women gleaning a field of stray stalks of wheat after the harvest. Charles-Francois Daubigny, a specialist in landscapes featuring riverbanks, was also an important member of the group, as was the Spanish-born painter Narcisse Diaz de la Pena (1807-76).
This French Earth Set features natural earth colors made with pigments from regions of France with historical importance. Natural earths provide a type of texture, physical presence and subtlety of color that synthetic iron oxides simply cannot provide. This 10-color set includes 37ml tubes of French terra verte, French yellow ochre deep, French raw sienna, French ochre Havana, French brown ochre, French brown umber, French light sienna, French ardoise gray, French raw umber, et French noir indien.