Learning how to paint with watercolors or acrylics is a journey. Painting, like going on a journey has hills of challenges and valleys of easy travel. Successful artists devise a road map of simplified steps that lead to an adventure with paint and creative thought.
In my "Fearless Painting" classes, I aim to assist my students as they travel a colorful road of painterly discoveries. In my programs we practice techniques, study the artwork of talented masters and share ideas about how to express who we are as artists. All with the purpose of learning how to successfully paint something we like.
In one of my recent classes, my students and I were inspired by a photo that I had taken many years ago of a Foss tug boat moving logs on lake Coeur D’Alene, ID. Our goal was to create a painting that captured the essence of the scene based upon my student's interpretations of the class’s inspiration.
To help my students I have developed a program to assist them in their journey and I call it the "8 steps to success for Fearless Painting!"
Enter the 8 steps to success for painting the Foss Tug!
In using these steps to success, my students and I first learn how to "see" our inspiration with new eyes and utilize our own creativity while we paint artwork that is fun to do! Following is the story behind the methods that I used to fearlessly paint the tug boat in the photo shown. I hope that these steps help you to better understand how you can paint successfully, simply by planning out your visual "road trip" to a successful painting.
Whether you are working from a photo or painting on location , it is important to make choices. Our first choice is to determine where the lights and or darks are in what we see and want to paint.
Which is why I always create a value study to help me make choices before I begin to using my brushes.
What is a value study? It is a black and white image that gives me information. I can make this study a drawing using my pencils or I can turn a color photo into a "value study" simply by printing the photo in black and white. Once I have a black and white image/print, I look to "see" a range of lights to darks though out the composition. I, then, create a very simplified line drawing copying the contours of what I see & feel is important in my inspiration.
I make notes as to the locations of the light to middle gray values and the rich, shadow darks by filling in my line drawing with a pen or pencil in order to create a range of simplified value shapes. This step helps me make better choices once I begin the painting process.
At this stage of the creative process I simplify and think about the shapes that I see and I study how these value shapes fit together, to describe the development of my composition. .
It is now time to pull out a piece of watercolor paper or a canvas. Your choice, what do you like to paint on? I am going to paint this image on a 11 x 14 canvas. Since, I am making the choice to create a painting that is representational I need spend some time drawing a fairly accurate image on my canvas. When drafting the "road map" of my composition, I need to keep in mind the relative sizes of one object ( such as the boat) to another ( such as the space delineated in the background) . I also need to remember and draw in the important details ( such as portholes and doors on boat). Including these small details make the subject matter interesting and lend believability to my painting.
Step four is based upon one simple word “CHOICE”! As artists, we have to make choices because when we paint , we are in charge of our own visual creation.
Question #1: What styles of painting or techniques do you , as the artist, like and want to use, in order to create your own unique visual statement?
Artist’s over the years have developed many different “styles” in painting. An artist can be realistic, impressionistic or even abstract an image. One can create a mono-chromatic painting based upon a value study. One can play with brush strokes to design a painting that is reminiscent of an impressionists such as the American: John Henry Twatchman.
An artist can also simplify their designs. By stepping away from the realism in our inspiration we can create a painting that is abstracted but still reminiscent of our inspiration. Consider what Charles Demuth has chosen to do in his watercolor of sail boats..
Question #2 What style should I choose to create this landscape?
Option #1 I can choose to paint loosely and focus on shapes without details , like in this photo adaptation.
Option #2 I can choose to create a painting that is bolder, colorful and more painterly than my inspirational photo is. I am choosing this option, because I want to create this painting using both my watercolors and my fluid acrylics and be impressionistic in my use of brush stroke.
Since, I have decided that I want to be bold with my brush strokes and use intense, vivid hues and I will be using two types of water- media....my next step is to pick out the colors that I will use and place these paint choices on both my watercolor and acrylic palettes. Now, I am ready to paint!
Paint Color Choices for this painting :
Hansa Yellow (wc & acrylics) , New Gamboge (wc / Darilyde Yellow in acrylics) , Phthlo Blue - Green ( in both wc and acrylics) , Permanent Alizarin Crimson (wc / known as Quinacridrone Crimson in acrylics)
STEP 6: LET THE FUN BEGIN!
I have now made choices regarding what colors, values and mediums I want to use in this particular painting. I have decided that in this work I will begin by using my transparent watercolors on a canvas that has been prepared with Golden's Absorbent Ground.
I begin the painting process by making the choice of working wet into wet with my watercolors, so that I see soft flowing edges between my transitions of primary colors. Working wet into wet means that I am first brushing my canvas with a large flat brush dipped into clean water. Once my canvas is saturated I then drop an assortment of puddles of primary hues across the canvas. Lifting my canvas I let gravity do the work of mixing paint into some interesting secondary hues.
Allowing the initial strokes of water color paint to dry, I continue layering a series of washes and strokes of paint to build up the light to dark values that I choose to include in my composition.
I focus on making sure that I paint a range of light to dark washes so that I can see the start of a three dimensional look to my boat and landscape.
In this photo, you can see how by layering my watercolors I develop my seascape. I want to see the lightest areas of the sun shinning on the boat and the water and the mid values in my trees. I used fanciful brush strokes to capture the idea of the water movement on the lake. Finally, I focused on mixing a dark hue of phthalo blue + my alizarin crimson to paint the dark hull of the tug boat.
STEP 7: PUSH AND PULL OF COLOR AND VALUES.
To see and understand what my future painting steps need to be, I need to take time to study what I have done thus far. I use my cell phone to snap a photo of my painting. Then by using the "edit" and "saturation" slider options on my phone's camera, I turn my color photo into a black and white "value study" simply by sliding the "saturation" bar from the color option to the black and white option side.
Enter acrylics! Using fluid acrylic paints with my watercolors allows me to take my painting to a new and exciting level. These acrylics can be used diluted with water and become transparent or I can use these paints opaquely. Acrylics allow me to push the contrast between the lights and darks via using both transparent and opaque techniques in one work. In my use of acrylics painted over some of my watercolor areas, I am able to modify how my painting looks. My acrylic paint pigments can be applied diluted, creating a transparent look that allows my previous strokes to show or they can be used opaquely in areas where I push the dark values . I t is your choice!
The only rule is to play and have fun with your tools and materials!
Lets look at some close ups where I have used both of these mediums in this painting. Frequently ,when I paint with watercolors my values or colors or strokes are not quite what I want. By introducing acrylic paints into my creative process, I am able "correct" those areas that I feel need attention. Such as when my watercolors swim into areas where I do not want them to end up. Look closely and you will see in this photo that a dark drip of paint has migrated over the top of the white area on the tug boat.
Acrylic paints let me correct what needs adjustment. All I have to do is let the paint dry and paint over the area with the acrylic color of choice as needed!
In this photo , I am over - painting with titanium white on the dried region of the tug boat, where my dark watercolors flowed.
STEP 8 : FINAL STEPS TO FEARLESS PAINTING SUCCESS!
Now is the time of the painting process, when I am ready to concentrate on those details that define what type of boat this is. After studying my photo, I can see that I want to "clean" up some of my edges around the hull of the tug boat. I want to add "punch' to my painting and emphasize the warm colors next to cool hues. I, also, want to enhance the contrasting light vs dark elements in my work. I do this by layering with warm hues where I want my subject matter to come forward and I layer cooler hues in those places that I want to recede , such as the trees in the background.
I determine that I want to make some of my darks even darker. To do this I mix up phthalo blue and quinacridrone crimson acrylics to make a dark blue-ish purple to which I add a small amount of darilyde yellow. Yellow is the complimentary color of purple by adding a bit to my purple mixture I can get a dark blue/puple-ish black value that is more interesting than just painting with carbon black.
I continue to layer paint to create small, dark jewel-like areas throughout my painting. I pushed my darks in the port holes and doors to compliment the lights on the cabin.
I added strokes of blues and greens to the water to enhance the feeling of water's movement as the wake of the boat passed by. I enhanced the orange and yellow hues that surround the boat's hull to further make it stand out and away from the background. And then I stopped. I have finally come to a point in this painting where I have nothing more to say!
Here is my finished painting of the Foss Tug boat on Coeur D'Alene lake. I had a fun time painting this piece and I hope that if you consider to follow the ideas that I have written about, you will find increased enjoyment simply by planning out your visual "road trip" for a successful painting.
Thank you for visiting this blog post. If you would like to learn more about my artwork I invite you to visit my web site www.beattieartworks.com
Are you interested in registering for a Fearless Painting classes? Here is a link to my in-person and online art programs for painting with watercolors or acrylics.
Fearless Painting Art Classes
mixed media painting the fearless way!
Happy New Year, my creative friends!
Last summer I had the pleasure of helping my friends at the Florida Watercolor Society by creating a video about my fearless painting techniques for their 2020 online convention. In the video below you will get to watch as I pour watercolors, paint with acrylics and use paper collage all to create a mixed media landscape painting inspired by my yard.
I hope you will enjoy watching this video as I create a painting that I now call
My Giverny". If you are interested in learning more about my fearless artwork, I invite you to visit my my art galleries.
Fearless Painting art classes are now on line!
Are you interested in learning more about my methods of fearless painting? You can learn how to paint fearlessly with me, online, in one of my many classes scheduled for 2021. To read about my upcoming art classes for using watercolors, acrylics and collage please go to my art classes page on this web site.
Please check back soon, I will have more fearless painting informational articles, step by step demos & videos for you to watch and try out at my YouTube page.
In the mean time.....
Stay well and stay creative, my friends! Elise
Every year I create a different holiday card for all of my friends. This year, I decided to create one that was both animated and relative to the new way even Santa has to approach his work in 2020. May this little video card bring a smile to your holidays!
So from this side of the digital divide to yours :
I wish one and all a very Merry, Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!
Some of my students have been asking me about my creative process. Since I am about to begin teaching a new online class I thought writing a post about my preliminary procedures would help students of my unique "fearless" methods get started. If you know me, you know that my inspirational techniques begin with an adventurous paint pouring process similar to the techniques used by the artists Helen Frankenthaler or Jackson Pollock.
My creativity begins with a series of adventurous watercolor pours, but my work has entirely different style. In the pouring process that I use, there is a lot of splashing, dribbling and generally making a big fun mess which allows me to mingle colorful washes with passion and imagination resulting in what I call “Fearless” painting.” Some of my work is abstract and some is quite representational.
If you have visited my art galleries you will see that my subject matter is a mixture of inspiration, photography and paint which cause a fusion of representation and abstraction.
In the artwork shown above, "Reaching for the Wind" © is an abstract painting but with a representational marine themed twist. A lot of my art begins with the photos that I take in my journeys, even if the finished art is somewhat abstract.
In all of my work, I still enjoy beginning with what I call a road map. I like to make as many choices about what and how I am going to paint prior to allowing my paints to hit the surface of my paper or canvas. When I am creating a representational painting, like of the 1952 Caddilac below, I must be very exact as to the placement of subject and background. This requires drawing skills.
These types of realistic works require me to create a complete drawing of the image to be painted. In my work, I project my ideas onto either my watercolor paper or canvas using an opaque projector. I spend a lot of time paying close attention to the details required to make my visual statements and the projection process is just one step of many in the my creative process.
Let's begin with a little history. There are many different methods of transferring an image to one's painting surface,using projection is just one that has a long history. We know that as far back as the Renaissance, Artists have used photographic projectors, similar to the one I currently use, like the "Camera Obscura" or "Camara Lucida". The 15th century German artist Albrecht Durer used a plate of glass and a grid to help him realize the correct lines for perspective drawing, as you can see in the artist's etching.
In the 19th century the French artist Edgar Degas was both familiar with the early methods of photography but also utilized elements of photography to help him understand the movements of the dancers and race horses that he painted.
There are many other graphic artist tricks of the trade used by artist to facilitate the copying of lines, shapes and forms. One convenient tool is to use a graphite transfer paper. In my copying process , I recommend and use a product called Seral Transfer paper, which is available at most quality art supply retailers.
As a teacher and person who works to inspire others to be fearless artists, I try to simplify my methods so that anyone can enjoy their own creative process. I know that sometimes availability of a product is not possible,therefore adaptation is required. Recently, I created a short video to assist my students with a method of making one's own copying paper. This method will allow beginner artists to use and copy their favorite photos for their painting inspiration.
For this project the materials that will be used for an 8 x 10 canvas or watercolor paper are:
1 sheet of white 8.5 x 11 paper ( or match the size of your paper to the size you want your painting to be.)
1 soft carbon pencil like a 3B or 4 B
1 photo of choice
1 painting surface such as watercolor paper or a canvas
Now let's watch a short video:
If the video does not open, please click here to go to my Youtube video about how to make your own transfer copying paper
I hope this short tutorial helps you get started drafting out and creating your own masterpiece. In my next post, I will be sharing a new video and writing about the methods I used in creating the small demo painting ( shown below) done for one of my classes.
Until next time,Stay well my creative friends,
April , day whatever, and we are all at home wondering what to do! Well let's do something together as a family.
Let's make some art!
Following is a lesson plan to inspire other's to be creative. Any age person can follow these steps and make something beautiful. Now follow me as I show you the steps to make your own painted bouquet of flowers,
the easy and fearless way!
The materials that you will use:
1 piece of watercolor paper any size. I recommend 140 lb cold press watercolor paper. Strathmore makes and sells pads of this type of paper.
Some watercolor paints in your favorite colors:
reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples
a cup of water to clean your brushes and thin your paint.
a palette or a white plastic or foam plate to use as your palette.
You may also want to grab a bottle with a spray top on it, also.
Did I mention you will need a couple of brushes. I like to use round and flat brushes in assorted sizes.
If you do not have any brushes try using Q-tips and yes, you can even paint with your fingers! Anything works to make painterly marks.
Two ways to approach creating a wet paper surface.
1) Spritz your paper with a water bottle with sprayer.
2) Or using one of your large flat or round brushes, dip your largest brush into a jar of clean water and then stroke your brush over the entire piece of watercolor paper, until it is wet.
Make sure that your whole page is completely covered with clean water and there are no dry spots. If you can see dry areas, just wet down the paper some more. It's easy!
Now let's mix up some paint. On your palette or plate, make a puddle of water in an open area and drop your favorite color of paint into this puddle and mix. You can use one color like a yellow, like I have shown in the photo or mix two favorites such as red and yellow to make an beautiful orange color.
Next up it's time to paint like a pro. Using your favorite painting tool : a brush, your Qtips or even your fingers dipped into your paint, create a swirl or a circular flower form by dropping the paint onto your WET paper.
Note: If your paper has dried spritz the paper with fresh water.
Continue to add other colors in "flower" type shapes like swirls, long stripes, circles with small "petal" shapes around the outside, just like I am in the photos.
Use your imagination and just have fun dropping color onto your wet paper surface. Remember to let the paint have enough time to spread across the surface in anyway that the wet paint on wet paper wants to.
STEP 4: It's time to give our flowers some detail.
First off let your paper dry and when dry then you can....
begin by picking a color of choice and outlining a few of your favorite flowers shapes with a couple of simple strokes around the area of paint.
In the my next pictures you can see....
Painting #1 I just painted flowers in an abstract bunch
and in ....
Painting #2 I have added a vase for my flowers to stand in.
Remember when you choose to paint fearlessly, you paint it your way!
This exercise was about relaxing, spreading paint and enjoying sometime with whomever you are with. I hope that you have had as much fun as I did painting loosely using just bright colors on wet paper?
Keep practicing painting what we call wet (paint) onto wet(paper surface) and each time you give this technique a try it will get easier and easier!
YOUR GOAL IS TO SPEND SOME TIME JUST HAVING SOME FUN!
Please check back soon, I will have another fearless painting step by step demo for you to try. In the mean time.....
Stay well and stay creative, my friends!
A is for Abstract.
Painting abstractly is not difficult. Anyone can paint an abstract fearlessly! All you need is a little desire and willingness to play. Sometimes I like to be a little representational, as you have seen in my web site gallery. And sometimes I like to live on the wild side and be abstract!
Have you ever felt like unleashing your inner artist and painting some non representational art?
Well here is your chance to learn first hand how easy it is to have some fun with abstraction!
Read on and join me today as I show you how to paint with your imagination and mind's eye.
For many years, now I have been writing an informational blog. Some posts were about my work as an artist or the classes that I instruct and others were written about the methods I use to create my fearless paintings. Informative yes, but, I want my blog to be of assistance to others; therefore, my goal is to write my future posts to help my readers search for personal creativity.
Throughout my life as an artist, I have come to believe that the only constant in life is change. Unfortunately the changes that we face today are global. Disease has changed all of our lives and left humanity in a precarious position! Our world has been turned upside down and all too many people around the globe are dealing with the horrendous effects of the Covid19 virus and are in social isolation. We are alone with our thoughts and fears, wondering what to do....?
As a professional artist and adjunct instructor at a community college I have found myself, like many others, unemployed, lost in a sea of red tape without a plan about what to do while life and work are furloughed. It's not easy to go from experiencing life at full speed and then be forced, out of caution and common sense, to park one's activities at the street corner, while we attempt to deal with a life filled with uncertainty .
I believe and am a practitioner of positive thought and action. I believe,nay, I know that these "unusual" times too shall pass! But until that times arrives...
ALL OF US MUST STAY HOME IN ORDER TO STAY HEALTHY!
Under the circumstances and with that said, I feel that the best thing for me to do is to try to help others who are also asking "What now?" by writing informational blogs about how to be creative. I would like to help you! How by sharing my fearless methods of making art in ways that will help you spend a part of your day being fearless and creative.
Statistics show that spending time with a creative pursuit, whether it be painting, writing, dancing, singing to name but a few forms of creative thought, is an excellent way to improve physical, emotional and mental health. So how about it, come be fearless with me and let's stay healthy with art!
In my next blog post I thought it might be of interest to my readers, to share the methods I use when I create a non-representational artwork. Creating abstract art is easier than you may think. in my post you will see photos of how I work + if you scroll down the page you will find step by step instructions of how you can be a little creative.
I hope the following post inspires others to grab some tools and spend a little time being expressively creative.
Have you heard about the recent craze for pouring acrylic paints?
Pouring paint is alot of fun! As you know from reading previous posts or looking at my art online in my website, I have been pouring watercolor paints for years. In conjunction with my pouring process, I also use fluid acrylic paints and paper collage to create patterns in my artwork.
Pouring acrylics with the sole purpose of being abstract and allowing the paint to do its own"thing" well now that is new to me. But, I am the fearless artist after all and that means that I am not afraid to try to techniques.
A number of year's ago a good friend of mine introduced me to the abstract pleasures of letting go and letting my paint react. It took me awhile to understand the alchemy that occurs when paint is mixed with a variety of other ingredients all with the purpose of allowing the mixtures of medium, oils and paint to develop into patterns with limited interference from me.
What I have found after numerous experiments, is that pouring paint is exciting and fun! It is an easy method of paint application that is more like play then work!
So how about it, check out my new video about this process and then jump in, be fearless and let's give pouring a try!
Every so often an artist has a success story to share and today here is mine. This week I am honored to share with my readers that my painting " Reaching for the wind" (shown here) has been accepted into a special exhibition in Seattle. My painting has been accepted into the North West Watercolor Society's Signature Exhibition at The Washington State Convention Center!
My painting is one of 64 to be featured in the bi-annual 2019 Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS) Signature Exhibition at the Washington State Convention Center July 11 through October 6. This year’s Exhibition “exemplifies diversity and excellence of artistic expression,” according to Kristi Galindo Dyson, Signature Show chair.
...And the good news kept coming because the painting that I entered is also being honored with a “special recognition of achievement” award at this year’s exhibition!
Following is what the NWWS has written about the artists and the work that has been accepted into this prestigous exhibit:
"Signature membership is an achievement and honor that is earned through a high level of artistic production. To become a signature member of the NWWS, an artist must have 3 or more paintings accepted into the organization’s national juried exhibitions. All members including Elise Beattie have put in their ‘brush strokes’ towards this success."
If you would like to see this exhibition the public is invited to an artist's reception and recognitions ceremony, which is July 13th 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the Convention Center on Level 2.
Located at 705 Pike Street, Seattle, the Convention Center is open daily. For directions and parking information go to http://wscc.com/.
NWWS is an active society promoting artists with two yearly juried exhibitions, the International Open and Member’s Waterworks. Painting opportunities and meetings are open to professionals and beginners and feature demonstrations by leading artists. https://www.nwws.org/.
The Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS) was founded in 1939 in Seattle, Washington when a group of eight artists came together to form an organization dedicated to the celebration of watercolor. With a goal to inspire both a lasting interest in the art of watercolor painting and an appreciation for watercolor as an artful, imaginative medium, the history of NWWS began. From these modest beginnings, NWWS has grown into the internationally recognized, historically rich organization of today with a membership nearing eight hundred Signature, Lifetime and Associate Members across the USA, Canada & internationally.
The Northwest Watercolor Society of today is a structured organization that offers a wealth of opportunities and experiences for the artist, the art patron and all those fascinated by the magical wonder of watercolor. Recognized as one of the most prominent national/international watercolor societies in North America, NWWS continues to gain attention and exposure. Although NWWS has grown enormously throughout the years in both numbers and accomplishments, the organization has remained firmly rooted in its history, devoted to the philosophy of the Mission Statement of its Founders … To promote and elevate the art of watercolor as a medium and to encourage the growth and creativity of its artist members. www.nwws.org
For additional information contact, Sarah Love, NWWS PR Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org, 425-985-8653
My name is Elise Beattie and they call me the Fearless Artist. I paint, I teach and I promote all aspects of the arts. In this new blog site you will find a variety of creative posts dedicated to sharing knowledge about my fearless art techniques and the materials that I use. You will also be able to learn about my art classes and see photos of my newest art and the exhibitions that my work is displayed in.