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These commissions help me keep this site up and running, in order for me to keep providing helpful and inspiring art content. :)
In today's post I'll be sharing my most recent paintings and sketches. I've been working hard on, not only staying consistent with my blog and YouTube channel while teaching art classes locally, but also on producing the work I will be selling as soon as I'm able to open my online shop.
The two oil paintings included in this small compilation are the last two in the collection of five large (90 x 70 cms.) landscape oil paintings that I sought out to create about two months ago. It was a self-imposed challenge as I had never really created a "series" of larger paintings, and I really wanted to push myself to explore one single theme.
This weekend, I'll be starting on a collection of five still life oil paintings that will also be for sale and I'm very excited about that!
Through my online art shop, I'll be selling originals created with both oils and watercolors!
Aside from these two oil paintings, I'm sharing the watercolor illustrations I created for the July calendar I sent out to my e-mail subscribers this week (at the end of each month I send them a calendar for the following month). I really enjoy painting with watercolors and pushing myself to continue improving with this medium.
Aside from using these illustrations as part of the calendar design, I also create awesome products for my Society6 and Redbubble shops with them, which I'd LOVE for you to check out! :)
And, finally, I'm also including some sketches. I'm always going on about how I find drawing so important, and how it's important for artists to keep drawing throughout their journeys, and I'm holding myself accountable!
I'm continuing to push myself to create human figure studies in more complex/dynamic poses (as opposed to the very stiff and uninteresting poses I drew when I first started). The human figure is a great challenge for me, but I've seen significant progress since I've started drawing it more consistently.
Thanks so much for dropping by and checking out my work. I really appreciate it! And if you're a beginner/intermediate artist looking to improve your skills and find your voice, make sure to check out past blog posts!
*This post contains affiliate links. I receive small commissions for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. These commissions help me keep this site up and running, in order for me to keep providing you helpful and inspiring art content. :)
Are you struggling with saving your whites when painting with watercolors? Have you been considering the use of masking fluid but are unsure about how to use it effectively and whether it's really necessary at all? Have you avoided using masking fluid in your work because it makes the process longer and more tedious?
One of the most difficult things to get used to when starting with watercolors, is planning where the lightest areas of our paintings will be and keeping them protected throughout the painting process. Watercolors are quite different from other painting mediums due to the fact that they are translucent and require us to work from lightest to darkest values. As opposed to acrylics, oils or gouache, this painting medium doesn't allow us to simply cover up mistakes.
By doing a bit of planning beforehand and knowing what tools/techniques to use for each project individually, we can ensure that we're using watercolors to their full potential. When used effectively, this artistic medium is able to create very striking paintings that have a "lighter" feel to them than those created with acrylics or oils, and also seem to glow from within. Protecting our lightest areas is essential in order to achieve such qualities.
In this blog post, I am sharing the steps I personally go through when using masking fluid in a watercolor painting. I will also provide some essential tips that will help you avoid accidents. To illustrate each step, I have included a beginner-friendly masking fluid exercise. It's very important to do a few explorations with new tools before actually trying them out in a painting!
Even though many watercolor sets contain white paint, traditional watercolor artists avoid using it. There's no need because the watercolor paper itself IS the white and the areas left free of pigment will stand as the highlights of the painting. Whether the artist decides to use masking fluid or not, he/she makes sure to protect those whites because, once pigment touches paper and is absorbed, there's no way to get that white back.
Traditional watercolor artists also avoid using black, but that is a story for a different day.
To learn about the ten most important things you should make sure to apply when painting with watercolors, read my blog post titled 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting with Watercolors.
Now-a-days, there are TONS of amazing artists who use watercolors in combination with other types of mediums, creating beautiful mixed-media artworks. There are those who complete a watercolor painting without paying much mind to highlights until the end, when they add them in using white gouache, acrylic paint, paint pens, and/or other drawing mediums.
I'm all about exploring mediums and creating one's own artistic style!
However, I've found it invaluable to study each medium individually and challenge oneself to create desired effects using that medium alone. I noticed the biggest improvement in my painting quality when I pushed myself to complete a project using only one medium. So, I really recommend making time to explore each medium on its own once you're at a certain skill level, especially if you find that you're continuously reaching out for a second/third medium as a crutch because you were unable to create the effects you were intending to.
Once you've learned the characteristics of each medium and the general "rules", THEN go ahead and combine them, if you wish to. But let it be because it's your stylistic choice, and not because you needed another medium as extra support. It's hard! But I PROMISE you, that it will help you improve A TON.
Masking fluid is NOT NECESSARY to create a great watercolor painting, but it sure is a great tool to know about, especially when painting certain kinds of subjects that have shiny, reflective surfaces and/or tiny areas you want to block out. If you don't have masking fluid or wish not to use it, you have the option of carefully working around your planned white highlights, but because watercolors are so fluid, it may be a challenge.
Here is an example of a painting I created by very carefully working around the areas I wanted completely white at the end (no masking fluid). See all those tiny white spaces? I consciously made an effort not to get any pigment in them! If I had accidentally covered up those spaces, my painting would look flat and wouldn't have that "glow" to it.
So, what is masking fluid, exactly?
Masking fluid (also referred to as liquid frisket) is liquid latex that dries to a rubbery/waterproof film, allowing us to block out areas in our paintings that we want free of pigment. It contains ammonia, which makes the liquid very smelly and makes it necessary to work in a well-ventilated room.
Usually, we're presented with masking fluid options at art supply stores that look white while in the bottle and dry to a transparent/yellowish film. However, pigmented varieties are available, in case the artist requires a greater visibility throughout the placement process.
Though the use of masking fluid entails adding in a couple of extra steps and makes the painting process longer, it does make protecting the whites a lot easier and is a great tool to have when painting complex, detailed subjects!
How to Use Masking Fluid
You will need:
-Cup of water
-Old rag or paper towel
-Bar of soap or dishwashing liquid
-A tool for placing your masking fluid (old paintbrush, wooden skewer, paper clip, cotton swab, etc.)
-Rubber cement pick up or soft eraser
1. Create your initial sketch
As always, start with a good, light pencil drawing. Once you're done, map out where you want your highlights to be. Usually, this will entail having a good look at your reference picture and pinpointing lightest areas. Then, we would lightly outline these small shapes.
*Illustrative exercise (recommended for beginners):
For the purpose of this little abstract exercise, we will be blocking out lines. Create a simple design using straight or curved lines and keep them as light as possible (so you can erase them later)!
2. Select a tool to place your masking fluid with
Depending on the effect you're going for in your painting, this tool can range from a paintbrush, to a wooden skewer, to a cotton swab, or even a toothbrush (for splattering). If you DO decide to use a paintbrush, make sure you use an older one that you don't mind damaging because it doesn't take much for masking fluid to kill those bristles!
Personally, I've already ruined at least a couple of paintbrushes and have gotten used to applying masking fluid with paper clips!
*For this exercise, you'll need a pointier tool so you're able to trace your pencil lines.
3. Take your time placing your masking fluid on desired areas
Do this carefully and take your time! Make sure your not scraping or otherwise damaging your paper, especially if you're using a sharp, pointy tool to place your masking fluid with. If you're creating a finalized painting using a reference picture, try to look at it constantly so you make sure to block out all areas you want protected.
*Carefully trace your pencil lines. It's totally normal to have to re-dunk your paper clip into your masking fluid every few seconds! When you're done, allow it to dry completely (this can take up to 30 minutes depending on the thickness it was placed in. Make sure it's completely dry to the touch before continuing with the next step.
4. Paint as per usual
Move on to the painting process, starting from lightest and most translucent values to darker values, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. Don't be afraid of painting over the masking fluid. That's what it's there for!
If you're creating a finalized painting, take your time developing those values and get your painting as close to being done as possible before removing the masking fluid. What I personally do, is to make sure I've arrived at a point at which I feel I can't advance any further until my masking fluid is out of the way. Once you're done, allow your painting to dry naturally and completely.
To see how I create striking paintings working in layers, visit my blog post Realistic Watercolor Sandwich Process
*For this beginner-friendly exercise, explore different colors and effects until you arrive at something you like.
5. Remove that masking fluid!
This is the time we've all been waiting for! Once your painting is completely dry, carefully and gently remove that masking fluid with a rubber cement pick up, a soft eraser or using your fingers. Rub gently until part of it lifts and then gently pull the rest off. Make sure you remove it completely and lightly dust your painting off so no pieces are left behind.
6. Soften hard edges and finish any last details
Once your masking fluid has been removed, you'll notice that you're left with very stark-looking, sharp white shapes. If you're creating a painting that's more on the realistic side (like in the car painting time lapse video I've included in this post), you'll probably want to soften at least some of these.
To do this, simply wet your paintbrush in clean water and do some gentle scrubbing on those sharp lines, moving the pigment around on your paper. However, be very careful not to cover up all of your white!
Now is also the time at which you can further deepen values in your painting if you need to, or carefully create any washes you feel would improve your painting.
Allow to dry completely before removing any masking tape.
*For the purpose of this abstract exercise, I left my white lines as they were after having removed my masking fluid because I liked the look of it. If you'd like to explore softening some of them or even adding in extra washes of color, go for it!
Masking Fluid Pro Tips!
1. If you want to use a paintbrush for masking fluid placement, soak its bristles in dishwashing soap (or rub them gently on a bar of soap) before dipping it into the masking fluid. This will make it easier to remove the masking fluid when you're done.
2. Never shake your masking fluid bottle before starting with its application. This creates air bubbles and may lead to coagulation, which may make it harder to place on desired areas and may affect the outcome of your work.
3. Only apply masking fluid on bone-dry paper and only remove it from bone-dry paper.
4. When using masking fluid, resist the urge to speed up drying times using a hairdryer or any sort of heat tool. Warm air can cause the already-hardened masking fluid to stick to your paper even more, which can later lead to rips and tears as you try to remove it!
5. Never allow hardened masking fluid to be on your paper for extended periods of time (over two days). Whether this is a problem or not will depend on a number of variables such as masking fluid and paper brands/types, environmental temperature, etc. However, be wary of leaving masking fluid on your paper for long periods of time because it can get to a point at which it may be impossible to remove!
6. Explore different ways you can apply and use masking fluid! There are so many ways to do it, from placing it carefully the way we did in today's exercise, to splattering, smearing, etc. Experimenting with different tools and techniques can definitely open up your horizons about what's possible with watercolors and will also allow you to have different tricks up your sleeve whenever you're painting complex subjects!
What method do you personally use to create highlights in your watercolor paintings? Do you have any negative experiences with masking fluid? I'd love to know in the comments section below!
Hey there, creative friends!
In this week's blog post, I'll be sharing some of my recent sketchbook entries and finished paintings (both watercolor and oils).
As far as sketchbook work, I continue challenging myself whenever I'm able to, focusing on subjects that are difficult for me. For these last entries, I practiced female figure studies and a male portrait (I rarely draw men!).
The oil paintings included here are two in my new landscape series. I have now completed three out of the five I will be selling. Very soon, I'll be sharing progress of the fourth one. So do follow me on Instagram if you wish to know how that goes! Once I complete these five landscapes, I'm going to be working on five still lives. I currently sell my original artwork only in Mexico, but have plans of opening online shops to ship to other countries in the near future! So due stay tuned! :)
The watercolor paintings included here, are part of the group of illustrations I created for the June calendar design I will be sending over to my e-mail subscribers very soon! At the end of each month, I send them free printable calendars in both Letter and Tabloid size featuring my illustrations. :)
If you'd like to become part of my insider group and receive these exclusive freebies, as well as helpful art content and news about offerings that will help you progress artistically, subscribe here:
Thanks so much for visiting and checking my work out! I really appreciate it!
If you're a beginner/intermediate artist looking to improve your work, do check out the posts below! I constantly produce helpful blog posts and YouTube videos with art tips, tutorials and encouragement!
Have a beautiful weekend!
Hey there, fellow artists!
I'm easing back into my regular work routine after my trip to Canada and really wanted to make some time for a watercolor illustration I could have fun with. Of course, I went for food!
Whilst in Toronto, I took a few pictures of food items I ordered at restaurants and cafes. I thought this sandwich would be a good one to get back into the flow of painting after my break!
Today's blog post will be a short one, but stay tuned for next Friday's post/YouTube video, because a meatier article related to how I stayed creative during my trip is in the works! I'll be sharing specific tips to make traveling both enjoyable AND productive as an artist!
*This post contains affiliate links. I receive small commissions for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. These commissions help me keep this site up and running, in order for me to keep providing you helpful and inspiring art content. If you're considering buying art supplies online, and you're finding my content useful, I'd be extremely grateful if you'd consider using my links. :)
Watercolor Painting Process
This is the original picture I took at the restaurant.
Before starting with the painting process, I sketched an outline drawing lightly, making sure to take advantage of my space on the large sheet of watercolor paper I set out to use. I wanted to challenge myself to create a larger illustration and went for a large 50 x 50 cms. of Canson Montval watercolor paper (185 g/m²).
I wanted to enjoy myself with this illustration, but I also wanted to push myself and make it a bit more on the realistic side. Due to this, I knew I was going to have to work in layers and be patient until I arrived at the desired effect. The whole illustration took me about four hours to create, counting drying times in between layers.
I had a great time painting this sandwich and this piece will be a wonderful reminder of my trip to Toronto.
Thanks so much for dropping by today!
Watercolor Landscape by Eddi Reid
One of the most amazing parts of having a blog is the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world with whom you share passions and interests with.
Today, I have the honor of sharing this amazing painting created by Eddi Reid, a participant in the current series I published- Watercolor Landscapes for Beginners. I've had the pleasure of getting to know Eddi through email and she is, undoubtedly, an incredibly creative, courageous, and kind artist that I can now say I'm fortunate of knowing.
Thank you SO much Eddi, for your participation and for sharing your work with us!
You're truly an inspiration and I'm looking forward to enjoying more of it!
Check out the Watercolor Landscapes for Beginners series here:
*This post contains affiliate links. I receive small commissions for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. These commissions help me keep this site up and running, in order for me to keep providing you helpful and inspiring art content.
Ever wondered how to go about painting a watercolor landscape? Do you find complex, layered watercolor compositions too hard or intimidating to create? Are you curious about how to paint a unique landscape using a photograph as reference?
Painting a watercolor landscape can definitely be daunting when an artist is just starting out with this medium, especially due to its fluidity and transparency. We often hear that watercolors are "difficult to control" and "unforgiving", which may cause beginners to stay away from painting certain types of compositions. This, if you ask me, is a complete shame.
I'm here today to encourage you to give watercolor landscapes a try! If you have a basic understanding of this painting medium, as well as Art Fundamentals like perspective and proportion, it's not as difficult as you may think. In this post and the video included here, I will be taking you through my complete process, one-step-at-a-time. I will also be sharing some of my personal tips and tricks that allow me to manipulate watercolors to create the effects I'm looking to create.
I completely, 100% believe, that it is through experimentation and stepping out of our comfort zones that we learn faster, not only about the particular medium or technique at hand, but also about our own tastes, strengths and possible areas of improvement. I've personally been able to speed up my artistic growth by remaining open to mediums and techniques, challenging myself on a consistent basis, and by embracing mistakes as signs of exploration/growth.
Want to learn about one of my FAVORITE methods of exploration? Read my blog post titled How to Effectively Use Other Artists' Work as Inspiration and a Great Method to Start Developing Your Own Artistic Style!
Welcome to the fourth (and final) part of the Watercolor Landscapes for Beginners Series!
In this series, I have broken watercolor landscape compositions apart into commonly used elements and/or layers in order to help you gain a better understanding of the painting process. By making time to study individual elements before jumping into a complete composition, you gain confidence in your painting skills AND increase the chances of producing a finished piece you'll actually be proud of!
A landscape composition is usually made up of different layers (foreground, middleground, background), as well as a large variety of colors and textures. The artist has to have a good sense of compositional arrangement, depth and perspective. All of these items are HUGELY important when attempting to recreate any kind of believable scenery that transmits harmony.
Watercolor Mountain Landscape
All of the "base" layers of paint were created using the wet-on-wet technique. I used less and less water in my paint mixtures as I moved on with subsequent layers, which allowed me to create deeper values, textures and details.
2. I painted the first layer of my sky using the wet-on-wet technique. Using my two inch paintbrush, I wet my entire sky area using clean water and started adding in my first layer of blues, making sure to create a variety in values since the very beginning (I used my rag to do lifting wherever I wanted to create the illusion of clouds). I then decided to allow my first layer of paint to dry, jumping to the opposite side of my painting. *Refer to the How to Paint a Watercolor Sky blog post/video.
3. I wet the entire grass section of my sketch using clean water. I then dropped in and played around with a few yellows/light greens until I had to allow that section to dry.
4. I wet the entire mountain area and started dropping in and playing around with greens in this section, making sure to observe my reference picture in order to have a general idea of where darker values would be placed later on (this is very important especially when there are overlapping elements present).
5. At this point, I went back to finish my sky area by adding darker blues and a bit more definition in specific areas of my clouds. I was very careful not to go overboard! Add some definition here and there, and leave other areas blurrier.
6. I decided to jump to the lake area of my picture because the sections around it were already dry. Again, I wet this area with clean water and started dropping in my blue paint mixtures, making sure to create a tonal variety since the beginning. I allowed this area to dry.
7. Jumping back to the dry mountain area, I started adding in deeper, darker values. I made sure to observe my reference picture constantly for this, but wasn't attempting to make everything exactly the same. It's important to be very careful when placing darker values of color because you risk flattening out your painting!
8. I jumped back to the middleground/foreground area, adding in deeper, darker greens where I saw them in the picture, allowing the lighter greens already there to show through.
9. I created a purple paint mixture and quickly practiced my lavender flowers before adding them into my painting. I added a few here and there, but made sure not to go overboard. I also made sure to place them in irregular patterns and to make some smaller than others. Remember, when painting anything natural, go for asymmetrical and irregular patterns and shapes! *Refer to the Watercolor Flowers and Rocks blog post/video.
10. At this point, I wanted to start adding in trees/plants and started with the ones located in the middleground. I used gentle scribbling motions in irregular triangular shapes to give the impression of pine trees in the distance, and made sure to keep them quite small, as they are quite far away from the viewer. It's very important to give thought to the size of each element you'll be adding in, as this helps give off the impression of depth and perspective. *Refer to the Watercolor Tree Tutorial blog post/video.
11. I could tell that my mountains (which had already dried) required a bit more contrast and darker values in certain areas, so I went back to work on them.
12. Jumping back to the foreground, I used a darker green to add in the effect of short shrubs/plants in some areas. I used a scribbling motion to create these textures. Remember, you're creating the ILLUSION of plants, and not trying to paint every single detail! I recommend keeping it loose and expressive!
13. At this point, it was time to add the large tree in the foreground! I created my lightest and most translucent green and started adding in the illusion of the layered leaves I could see in the picture using light scribbling motions. Once I was done laying down the general shape of the tree, I started adding in deeper greens in certain areas, making sure to not go overboard.
14. I created a light and translucent green paint mixture and started adding in individual blades of grass using upwards strokes with my smaller round brush. I knew I was going to go back in later with a variety of greens to make this area look more believable. Remember that the blades of grass that are farther away (closer to the horizon line) have to be a lot smaller than the ones closest to the viewer. Once my initial layers of green grass had dried, I start adding in my mid-to-darker values.
15. Finally, I stepped away from my painting and compared it to the reference image in order to pinpoint where darker values have to be added in. Because watercolor paint dries lighter than it looks when wet, usually deeper contrast has to be created later on. Don't be afraid to add darker values! Just make sure to add them deliberately and carefully (only where necessary and never covering up large areas of your previous layers entirely).
Specific colors I used for this study:
Permanent Green Olive
Permanent Green Olive
Permanent Green Olive
Plants and Trees
Permanent Green Olive
What areas do you find most difficult when painting landscapes? Are there any elements that you avoid adding in because they've been too difficult to render in the past? I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below!
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