Monthly Archives: January 2014

What Do You Want to Paint?

What Do You Want to Paint?.

What Do You Want to Paint?

TheCopperheadDSC_0084_107 18 x 22 image                                The Copperhead  watercolor 18″ x 22″

I want to share a bit of a story about some of my paintings. I have been painting Indians for about 20 years or more. These are not made up characters. Rather, they are friends and relatives who hold deeply to their traditions. They are living human beings that I have known for many years. We have laughed and cried together, we have faced challenges together.  A lot of folks don’t understand because they don’t have similar experiences in their life.   I’ve had some who would often say, “Oh no, are you painting ANOTHER Indian?”  Well,  yeah I am.  I’ve had occasions when I have asked myself, what is the point?  Sometimes it gets hard to continue on a road. This is true when you get a lot of questions about why you are following a given path.

About 3 years ago a dear lady named Mary Whyte took a look at some of my paintings of my relatives and friends. One  of her comments was, “Hey, I think you are on to something here.  Keep it up!”   Well, I have and now I am looking at a possible traveling exhibition that will record a little known portion of America.

Why am I telling you this?  I have a motive. I can write reams about watercolor technique or the do’s and don’ts of just about any technique. You must remember one thing.  Technique is only a part of the equation.

What is in your heart? What drives you to paint? What are you willing to continue to paint even if no one else understands?

Perhaps better stated what is it that you can’t avoid painting?  What draws you, what drives you to pick up that brush and try one more time?  What ever that something is; that is your passion.

I do paint other subjects.   I recall listening to Raymond Kinstler urging us to not only paint figures but paint landscapes, paint still life. Get outside and paint. Leave the fear behind.  Certainly learn some techniques. Find the best instructors you can and above all paint.  The more you paint, the more you learn.  I hope my words don’t make it sound too simple.  No, it is hard work.

However, it is work that brings joy.  

Every one of you who reads this has a still small voice inside of you.  You have your likes and your dislikes.  Find your path and travel it. Listen to your heart.

What about technique?

Yes, technique is important.  Make your brush strokes count. Do you merely want to render a surface or do you want to use strokes that help build the sense of form.  Think about this. Do you know what your colors can do?  Mix them to find out. Write  notes so you will remember. Pretty soon it will become a part of you.

If you have read this post you know that I have produced a new on-line watercolor course. I designed it with a method in mind. It is one thing to demonstrate or show finished watercolors.  It is quite another thing to share principles. I developed several easy exercises. Nothing complicated.  Just simple exercises that will help build confidence and share knowledge. The tutorials cover fundamental elements like paper, paints and brush handling; it is these things that build competence.  Nothing fancy, at first.  It helps you plant a seed.  Nurture it with thought and work.  Watch it as it grows.   You can analyze this foundation below.  the copperhead2DSC_0012_99 22x30 image

Under painting: this is the foundation.   Two colors; Holbein Marine Blue and Winsor & Newton Permanent Magenta were used. Note the areas of concentration. Both colors are staining colors which means they are not likely to be lifted or disturbed by additional washes applied over them. Also note  that in some areas the wash is applied directly to dry paper. How can you tell?  Look at the edges. If they are sharp and crisp it is a light wash applied directly to dry paper. At the end of the arm and around the back of the head you see soft edges. Some are wet ‘n wet while other areas were applied in a direct manner and the edges were softened with clear water. The colors were chosen for their staining ability to help create transparent washes but also because they can help amplify the effect of flesh.

What is the point?

Use the technique to create an effect. Use your brush to suggest form not to just merely color in an area.  Even a pointed round red sable has the ability to create interesting texture by dragging the side of the brush across the paper. Experiment, explore.

Want to know more about watercolor?  

Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, Volume 1 by Dr. Don Rankin


DVD: The Antique Shop, 56 minute tutorial selecting and painting a site

On-line  watercolor course, by Don Rankin  lifetime access. Watch the lesson, do the lesson, learn the lesson. Review as often as you like.  Regular price $49 .There may still be some reduced coupons available at $20 off the regular price. MGTIWa.  Slots limited!

Thank you

Thank you.

Thank you

I had a tremendous response from the readers of this post.  You put me over the top with your response to my last two posts.

All coupons were taken in less than 10 hours!  The on-line course for  Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor  is now publicly available. In order to say thanks I am able to offer a $20 off on the regular price of $49.  No guarantee of how long that will last.

The course consists of more than two hours of short easy to do tutorials. Lessons are broken into small segments do that you can hit the pause button, do the work and come back. I am told that you have lifetime access to the material and I will be updating or modifying from time to time. Right now there are 30 segments, dealing with brush handling techniques, paints, under painting, dry brush and other tips. In fact since some of you responded, I have added more material. One thing I ask; please write a review after you view the course. Those reviews are very important. I thank you in advance.

The coupon code is MGTIWa.  The site is

My apologies for those who tried to get in but were not able.  I was hopeful that people would respond. I just didn’t imagine that it would happen so fast.  While 10 hours is not a record it seems that Udemy considers any course that gets full response within 7 days to be a course that usually does very well.

In a few days I’ll be posting another watercolor tutorial.  My postings have been a bit sparse but we started this video project 8 months ago.  Now that it is completed I can look forward to more painting and posting.

I do want to make one observation.  In the course of doing research I have had opportunity to read various posts that are supposed to be about watercolor glazing techniques. I have to say that I was more than a bit dismayed by some of the articles I have read in the past week or so. I’ll not mention names but I will say that watercolor glazing DOES NOT require the addition of any substance other than water and watercolor pigment to develop the process. If you run across accounts that tell you to add acrylic medium or varnish to the mix you are definitely reading the wrong article.  Sorry folks but that ain’t watercolor glazing.

Want to know more about watercolor glazing techniques?  Order Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, Volume 1 by Dr. Don Rankin http://www.   

DVD: A complete tutorial of painting from start to finish: The Antique Shop

All coupons claimed in less than 48 hours

All coupons claimed in less than 48 hours.

All coupons claimed in less than 48 hours

The new watercolor course, Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, was launched just under 48 hours ago. I want to thank all of you who responded to my last post regarding the launching.  All of the coupons have been claimed.  We had a flurry of activity in a 2 hour period that took all of the available spots. I am now offering a new coupon for $20 off the regular price of $49.

The course is designed to bring to life, via video, the foundational chapters of the book Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, Volume1.  A number of my students had commented that they  would love to see some of the techniques up close on video. If you have ever been to a watercolor demo or a class you know that live demos can be a fleeting thing. You see it, you say Wow! Then you try to do it and POOF the technique eludes you. With a video you have the power of a pause button. You can stop the video, do the technique and go back to the lesson as often as you like until you make it your own. No more straining to see or hear.  You can even watch while wearing your PJ’s! 

So here is another opportunity to get the course at a steep discount. Better hurry though. If the last batch is any indication they won’t last long!   Here is the link

That coupon code is MGTIWa there are a limited number so hurry before the price goes back to $49.

Want to know more about watercolor glazing techniques?  Order the book at

Now in DVD format  a remastered classic demonstrating the watercolor glazing technique. ..The Antique Shop

Order at 


Here is to a Happy and prosperous New Year!

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