Saturday, July 28, 2012

Plumeria Update

I'm still not finished with my plumeria watercolor! I've made some progress but I have fine-tuning to do. It's been a hectic week, I flew back to the US from Poland and have been a busy (and jet lagged) bee ever since. I hope to finish it this week!

I tried ripping tape so I could have an irregular border but the paint leaked a lot underneath and I couldn't lift it out. It didn't have the effect I was after so I'll probably just crop it out when I finish the painting. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Plumeria In Progress

Still working on the watercolor Plumeria flower painting.  I wish I could have gotten a little further or finished by now, but it's been so unbearably hot and I haven't had the energy to put into it. It's supposed to be cooler this week so hopefully I'll be able to finish it up! :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tropical Inspiration

In honor of our upcoming trip to Hawaii, I'm starting a new watercolor painting of plumeria.  These beautiful flowers are all over Hawaii, and it is what they make lei's out of.  
I am so excited!  A friend of ours is getting married in Maui in January, which is the reason for this trip. I've always wanted to go to Hawaii and I cannot wait to get there! We booked our flight, condo and a car. And who knew that even 6 months in advance, things start getting sold out already. We just booked our car yesterday and lucky for us we even got one, most places were out of cars and the ones that were left were outrageously expensive. Our crappy '04 Nissan Sentra cost over $400 for 2 weeks. Yikes. So if you're ever going to Hawaii, make sure you book what you need like 9 months ahead. 
Anyway, I'm doing this watercolor on high quality 9x12" Arches cold pressed watercolor block. 

Arches blocks of paper are great, but very expensive!! It was I think $50 at Michaels, but, being the thrifty artist I am, I would never go to Michael's without a 40% off coupon so it wasn't too bad.  These blocks (which come in many sizes) usually have 20 sheets to a block, and they are glued together at the edges to keep them from buckling while you work. When you're finished with your painting, you then take a palette knife and cut the paper off the block. 
I drew the flowers in my 9x12" sketchbook, traced it and then transferred the drawing to the watercolor paper.  I never draw straight on the watercolor paper anymore, because you can make too many mistakes that don't erase completely or just scratch too deeply into the paper.  It's always good to draw on a separate piece of paper, work out all the issues there and then transfer your final drawing. 
But before I transferred my drawing, I put some clear Liquitex gesso (artist primer) on the watercolor paper. 

One thing I don't love about watercolor is how flat the color is when it dries, no glossiness at all. I've tried adding gum arabic to my wet paint but it doesn't work very well for me. It comes out glossy, but I don't like how the paint reacts with it. (Maybe I did it wrong?)  When painting on top of this gesso with watercolor, there is a slight sheen to the finished painting. I discovered this because I recently gesso'd over a failed painting, first using cheap, opaque gesso. Once the painting was covered with a few coats of that, I used the clear Liquitex on top of it so I would be painting on a much better quality surface. I like the results! So I'm going to do it again with this painting. 

So my paper is prepped and ready to go, I will begin painting this today. I have the ragged tape around the edge so it will have an irregular border. I got this idea from artist Judy Morris, featured in the June 2012 issue of my Watercolor Artist magazine.