Monday, September 28, 2015

Mod Podge Jack O' Lantern

Last Halloween season I decorated some Dollar Store Altar Candles for halloween, this year I grabbed a round bud vase from Dollar Tree and decided to make it into a Jack o'Lantern.

I grabbed some orange and yellow tissue paper and tore the orange paper into chunks. You could put it on in strips too, but whole sheets over the round surface would bunch in odd places, so I tore it for a rustic pumpkin look. I glued the chunks of tissue paper all over the surface until it was covered. Then I covered the outside of the tissue paper with mod podge. Then I cut out two triangle eyes and a mouth out of yellow tissue paper and tapped them onto the wet surface. Then I painted over them with the glue to seal everything in.

When I was done, I was left with a nice pumpkin jack-o-lantern candle holder (or candy holder if you rather).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dripped Alcohol Ink Vase

Most of my alcohol ink projects lately have involved stamping the ink onto the surface, I felt it was high time I did some more drip projects. I even bought myself some glass eye droppers, but I didn't end up using them with the rubbing alcohol/blending solution because the drips were turning out so nice and vivid that I didn't want them to blend.

I flipped the vase over so I could drip from the bottom, and I started out going around my vase with a bright shade of blue (sailboat blue). I made a point to drip lines of different lengths so the finished product wouldn't look too uniformly stripey.

Next I added some green (clover) and some purple (purple twilight). I just continued to drip around the vase with each color in varying lengths, filling in as I went.

Then I added some red (watermelon), some orange (sunset orange), a little lime green (citrus), and a little pink (raspberry) before coming back with the colors I used first (the blue and green) to finish filling in the top of the vase (the bottom in the picture).

I used colors from three different sets of bright alcohol inks (dockside picnic, valley trail, and summit view). I really liked how bright and colorful it turned out (it looks even prettier in person than it does in the photograph). Now I just need to seal it with some acrylic sealer so I can start using it for flowers!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Butterfly Watercolor Painting from a Photograph

If you've been following the blog lately, you know that I've been teaching myself to paint with watercolors. Up through now I've been posting youtube tutorials and my results of following along. But today, it's time for my own tutorial. This week I painted from a photograph. I did a google search for butterfly photos on flowers and found the photo above (I don't know who originally took it, it was on a bunch of free wallpaper websites so I don't have a credit). I knew I wouldn't get all of the fine details of the butterfly in the painting since watercolor painting is sort of impressionistic in nature, but I did my best.

The first step is to make a sketch on your watercolor paper. I like to tape the paper to a foam board so that I can easily turn the painting as needed. Using binder clips would work too....or an easel if you like to paint vertically. Use a light touch with your pencil so the lines aren't still visible after it's been painted. If you struggle with the sketching part, you can always use a grid pattern to help. I did a free sketch as I knew I wanted to adjust the scale a bit and turn a horizontal picture into a vertical painting.

The next step is to use a wet brush to dampen the paper. Brush around your focal points. I brushed around the flowers and the butterfly to begin with. Then I used watered down paint to create a fuzzy background. At this point in the painting I often feel like there's no way it's going to look the way I want it too, but the first step is just to get some paint on the paper--mainly the background. When I was done mixing colors in the background I put some pink paint onto my flowers to get a base color going. Then I let the whole thing dry.

After it was completely dry, I went back in over the flowers with some less watered down paint and started with some color on the butterfly. I also added a little more color to the background after it had dried and I got an idea of what it was going to look like. Then I let that dry.

My next step was to try to get the rest of the color on the painting and start to outline the butterfly. I made the fuzzy out of focus flowers on the right bottom look a bit more like flowers instead of just colored blobs, I added more depth to the flower petals and filled in the background anywhere it wasn't filled in, and I added the rest of the color to the butterfly before I started with the black outlining.

I let it dry the rest of the way and then did some last detail painting. I filled in and retouched the painting until I was satisfied (and I drew in the tiny butterfly legs and proboscis). 

One of the things I like the best about watercolor painting is that you can change things that don't turn out the way you like. You can re-wet the paint and blend it or dab it off with a paper towel and start nearly new. It's a very forgiving medium. And since it's designed to be loose and impressionistic, it doesn't have to be perfect. I feel like this one turned out pretty well for a beginner. I hope it gives someone the courage to try their own painting from a photo.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Butterfly and Tulip Watercolor Painting Tutorials

I stumbled across some more watercolor tutorials to aide in my ongoing project to learn how to watercolor paint. They were a collection of old videos posted on an art supply store's youtube channel. These both come from Susan Sheewe and are very quick and easy (well they seemed easy :)). 

I had wanted to paint some butterflies and this one made the whole process look like a piece of cake. It was a quick painting, but I felt like the butterfly wasn't the right shape when I was finished.

After it dried, I widened some of the wings just a smidge and painted in a background with a light cerulean color wash. The painting flattened out a bit more as it dried, but I decided I didn't like working on 80lb watercolor paper that I had. The paper warped too much from the water, and the paint behaved differently on it. I believe it came with a kit, so I'll stick with the slightly more expensive stuff.

Next I decided to watch a video about painting tulips--one of my favorite flowers. She used a technique where the paint was on the tip of the paintbrush and created a gradation effect. She didn't explain how to do this, and I wasn't able to recreate it, so I just did my best at painting some tulips.

This time I used some watercolor paper postcards to paint some smaller flower paintings.

For the red tulips I painted the foreground (the tulips) first, and for the purple tulips, I painted the background and just got some paint on in the general shape of tulips for the first coat. Then I let them both dry. I really like working on two paintings at once because you can let one dry while you work on the other.

After they both dried, I went back in and added more detail and color variation to the petals. I also added a light blue background to the red tulips.

So the butterfly photo I was able to do pretty much just like in the video, but wasn't happy with the way it turned out. With the tulips, I wasn't able to paint them the way she did in the video, but I liked the way they turned out. It was interesting to try to paint these with an angle brush like she does in the videos. It seems like each painter has a favorite brush. I think I lean toward a round brush for watercolor painting and an angle brush for acrylic painting. At any rate, I enjoyed painting and I keep learning new techniques.