Wednesday, October 30, 2013


For these sketchbook exercises and color studies, you'll need the following:

A sketchbook, pencils, black pen, gold pen, colored pencils and watercolor pencils, markers, and -- okay -- an eraser, if you must.  Also, a watercolor sketchbook, if you have one, or small pieces of watercolor paper, and watercolor paints and brushes.

Try a few, or all, of these ORANGE exercises --

1.  PUMPKINS -- Draw a pumpkin, with pencil.  Then, add color with colored pencil.  Layer the colors, starting with yellow first . . .

Now, try another pumpkin -- this time, drawing with pencil, and then painting with watercolors.  Add a patterned cloth at its base.  Once again, start with an underpainting of yellow . . . 


- Draw a Daylily, or another orange flower, with pencil.  Color it with colored pencils . . . 

Look at a bouquet of orange flowers, or part of a bouquet, and start painting the colors and shapes, without drawing first.  Mix the oranges right on your paper.  Let that dry -- and then come in with a black ink drawing on part of it. . . 

3.  PAINT A "FEELING" OF FALL -- Don't draw first, just paint a simple little landscape, using oranges and other autumn colors . . . 

4.  ORANGE FRUIT -- Buy some orange fruit -- preferably, the kind you like, so you can eat it after you're finished drawing/painting.

- Draw a few pears and an apple on a ledge.  Add a pattern on the "tablecloth".  Mingle your oranges on the fruit.  Paint a violet background, and then paint the pattern.

- Zoom in on your orange fruit and fill up the page with the shapes -- to make it almost abstract.  Draw contour lines with a gold pen, and then mingle the orange colors within the fruit.  Paint some darks in your background.


- Flesh-Tones -- Do a page of Fleshtone mixtures -- which is really just pale orange.

Make notations right on the page, so that you remember what colors you used.

- Orange Grid (a la Paul Klee) --  Draw a grid of square, and in each one, make a notation of the color you will try to achieve there.  (Be sure to include one Blue square, for contrast).  Then paint each square, either directly (from the tube, or mix on the palette first); wet-in-wet mingling (use water first, and mix on the paper); 

6.  CARROTS -- Buy some carrots, with the greens still attached.  They are more fun to draw and paint that way.  Draw them, and then paint with watercolor.  Do a yellow underpainting on the carrot and greens.  Then paint the rest of the background a light blue.  Mingle the colors in the carrots, using yellow, orange, and a warm red like Cadmium Red.  Leave some of the yellow showing, especially in the middle of the carrot, to give it a rounded look.  Then use the blue to paint a cast shadow.

7.  ORANGE-LINE DRAWING/PAINTING -- Set up a still-life, or look at your pet.  (Use a photo, if your pet won't sit still.)  Mix up an orange paint with your watercolors, and start "drawing" the shapes with your brush and the orange mixture -- no pencil drawing first.  Keep drawing shapes until you run out of paper.  Then, fill in the shapes with mingled colors -- exaggerate the colors!  Paint up to the orange line, but not over it, so that you get the nice contrast.

8.  AUTUMN LEAVES -- Collect some leaves from outside, and draw/paint a few small leaf studies.

9.  DO SOME DOODLES -- Draw some doodles with black ink, add a patterned background, and color with colored markers, especially orange.

10.  FACES -- Paint a few ORANGE under-paintings on small pieces of watercolor paper.  Then, using a black pen, draw a face on each one.  (Either find random faces from magazines, or use my examples here.)  Title and date your faces.

Orange you glad there aren't eleven of these?  

Monday, October 28, 2013

BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK -- My 2-Day Watercolor Workshop in Ohio

I enjoyed painting with 6 wonderfully eager-to-learn ladies, at my 2nd Annual Watercolor Workshop in Uniontown, Ohio, that took place two weeks ago.  We painted forests, using the negative painting techniques that I love to teach.  It is such a great technique to learn, in order to achieve depth in your paintings.  

Even though they were all following my lead, with this step-by-step project, they managed to create 6 uniquely different paintings by the end of the day.  It's always fun to see the results of this project.   

music is "Leaves of Autumn" by Jiang Xiao-Qing

On the 2nd Day of the Workshop, we worked on two different projects -- a Grid of Leaves (where we tried out various underpaintings in each section, and then drew and painted different leaf shapes over them),  and Stargazer Lilies (where we drew and painted lilies, from life, (and one sunflower!), and did some negative painting, too).  Since we went back and forth between projects, no one was able to finish any one painting, but they were all off to great starts on both.  Hopefully, they all finish their paintings at home.

music is "Autumn Equinox" by Cynthia Jordan

It was a great time, and I think everyone learned something.  I'll definitely be back next year!