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Upcoming Release!

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The time has finally arrived to announce the upcoming release of Back Roads and Memories, the Art of Don Rankin.  The large format book, 9″ x 12″, will contain at least 200 images of my work spanning the past 5 decades.  There will also be a leather bound edition, autographed, signed and numbered  limited to 300 copies.

For orders please contact www.acclaimpress.com or call toll free 1-877-427-2665

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Plein Aire?

Edge of the Lake

      Edge of the Lake                 watercolor                                  14″ x 22″

If you read a  lot of current art magazines no doubt you will run across the term “Plein Aire”.  Basically, it means to paint outdoors. Seems the trend these days.  In fact some say  that it is one of the fastest growing movements in painting.   The question comes what really constitutes plein aire painting?  Does it mean that every stroke is completed on site or is there room for making adjustments in the studio? Well the answer is it all depends upon whom you ask. Personally, I got into the habit of painting outdoors in art school many decades ago. It was the belief that painting outdoors was the best way to capture a moment.  In some ways that is true.  However, painting outside has its own challenges . While I recommend it highly I must confess that it poses often unpredictable situations.  The obstacles can run the gamut from uninvited critics, fickle breezes, sudden gusts of high wind, insects and aggressive animals of all sorts and so on.  Then one must consider the fact that the sun does not stand still.  In fact, the light and color can change about every 2 seconds. For a beginner the list may sound formidable. However all of these things can be over come. Some require tact while others require proper preparation.  Perhaps the biggest challenge is what to leave in and what to leave out. In short, proper editing. Wait that sounds like writing. Well. yes it does. However, visual editing for the painter is of the utmost importance.

The photo below was taken in my backyard, outside my fence. Two new houses have been built so my favorite  spot is no longer available. Perhaps at some point I can introduce myself to my new neighbors and get back to the original vantage.  At any rate perhaps you can pick out the essence of this photo that was the inspiration for “Edge of the Lake.”

This is a beautiful place with all sorts of movement of shapes and color.  I will return to it from time to time  to explore all of its possibilities. You may not have a lake in your backyard but no doubt you have unlimited possibilities that you can explore. The mood changes with the light and the seasons.  Overcast skies, bright blue sunny skies; all make for tremendous opportunities . Our first year here it snowed several inches.  My wife used to get a kick out of me whenever it snowed.  That beautiful white blanket turns everything into a magical  wonderland  and I just had to do my best to capture it.   She would say that I was worse than a kid when it started snowing. There is just something special about it. For my Pennsylvania and New England friends they don’t always share my enthusiasm but then snow for us is a rare treat.

Lake Cyrus

Photo: Lake Cyrus  taken with my iphone.

I do make use of a camera but I refuse to become a slave to it. Long ago I trained my self to remember shapes, light and color. Sadly at times photos destroy my inner vision. That is why I am very careful with them.  Pick out the strong features and discard the rest of the visual clutter. One of the best teachers is FAILURE.  When you hit a wall; analyze the problem and then work around it. At times you will find numerous sketches on my studio floor.  Often the failures are glaring.  I just pick up another sheet of paper and start drawing again.  Small thumbnail sketches are great for developing the shapes of the design but larger sketches produce refinement of image.  Not every painting gets the same attention. Some are very spontaneous while others require more planning. Let the spirit guide you.

Want to know more about watercolor glazing techniques ?

Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor by Dr. Don Rankin is available at

 

In Loving Memory

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Geneal M. Rankin  June 1944- January 2019

A number of you have wondered why this site has been vacant.  For the past 27 months my wife was seriously ill.  Geneal suffered from complications of Type II Diabetes.  She had been diabetic for a number of years.  Finally the complications began to pile up with her suffering complete kidney failure that led to dialysis.  At first we trained for home dialysis and that worked for about 18 months. In May of 2018 that suddenly failed and we had to go to Hemo-dialysis.  The complications continued with amputations and a series of surgeries. Our battle was over on January 24.

I chose this picture of a happier time when two beautiful strangers graced our deck for part of a day. Sasha and Sitka decided to leave their fenced in back yard.  Someone left the gate open! After about two days of wandering they swam the creek and came knocking, literally,  on our front door. We decided to bring them into our backyard with our two dogs. Praying that no one would claim them, we knew we had to call the local vets.  Sure enough their owner came around later that day.

I will resume posting paintings soon

Meanwhile you can see work at don_rankin_watercolor.com on Instagram.

Painting Memories

B1Misty Morning, _355DSC_0011

Morning Mist, Boundary Waters            22″ x 30″                     watercolor

The older I get the more memories I tend to paint.  I did some of my final graduate research work in the Boundary Waters not far from Ely, Minnesota.  My mode of transportation was by canoe and hiking. Ever carried a three man canoe up a steep cliff? It can be exhilarating! That is, if you don’t fall.  In those days we could portage and paddle into Canada; no questions asked. 9/11 changed a lot of things. These days my travel is limited but my sketchbook is full.

We would take turns paddling and dead heading. Dead heading was the term we used for the fellow in the middle who sat while the other two worked the bow and stern. I got a lot done when it was my time to rest. I had plenty of water all around and my small travel kit of paints and brushes. Now I find myself poring over old sketches and photos from those days.  Time has acted as a filter and helps distill the images I recall so well.

Maybe the color is a bit more intense or maybe I’m a little more generous with it these days.  I still have other images to refine.  Imagine, if you will, leaning against the trunk of a pine tree, peering over the edge of a stone cliff at a sea of blueberries glowing in the dappled light of the sun. I can still see those berries. Thankfully, at this stage I don’t have to concern myself with momma bear who would bring her cubs to dine on the succulent treasures. I’m not sure which one of us liked the wild berries more.

This tree in this painting, like an old friend, was one of our sentinels that marked our way and let us know we were nearing camp on our return.   I hope it is still standing. It stood on the far side of the lake adjacent to our camp site. These days I’m living on another lake and I am blessed to enjoy the ever changing light and the glow of evening as well as morning. These are the subjects that lend themselves so well to multiple layers of watercolor washes.

Want to know more about watercolor glazing techniques?

Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, Vol I by Dr. Don Rankin is available direct from the artist at www.createspace.com/3657628.  A revised edition of the original classic.

On-line classes coming soon on a new platform:

The new classes will be available in two versions.  Students will be able to choose to participate in a fully interactive version or a view only version. We are in the editing phase of all new content. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Exploring New Paper

Misty Lake _358DSC_0014

Morning Mist                                                     20″ x 15″                                            watercolor

I have always loved quality watercolor paper.  Without it I would be lost.  Ruscombe Mills handmade paper in 300gsm (140Lb.) cold press is nothing new for me.  However, this batch of Joshua Cristall historical paper is a new adventure. Morning Mist was my second attempt on this sheet. I’ll show my first try in a moment.  I am accustomed to painting with fairly controlled washes where I can predict and/or manipulate the effects on the surface. Well, this paper gave me some surprises. Now I don’t consider this to be a bad thing.  All of us need a challenge to wake us up.

This paper has a high linen content and I am told that there is also a measure of hemp in the sheets I ordered.  The paper is beautiful and while I have stated unpredictable; I need to clarify my comments. Remember this is handmade paper and is a bit different from previous batches I have ordered. In this case it behaves as if one side of the paper reacts like a hot pres sheet while the other side acts like a cold press surface. Morning Mist was executed on the side that reacts like a cold press surface. The color hold out is quite good and while there are a few layers of glazing washes; a great deal of the approach  was direct and spontaneous while some of the grass texture is dry brush.  The foggy areas are the result of wet ‘n wet washes and you can see them crop up in numerous places in the back ground and foreground.  The highlight of the lake surface is the pure white of the paper.

I really like the effects this paper produces and can’t wait to start another group of paintings. While moving my studio I found some old sketches from 1968! My wife accuses me of being a pack rat. At any rate I have some canal sketches and one intriguing group of the gondola factory that was on a less traveled portion of Venice.  I was 25 years old and fresh out of art school when we arrived in Italy.  In Venice I walked and sketched some of the areas that John Singer Sargent captured in watercolor.   I never painted from the sketches but I think now I am ready to give it a try.

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Cat on hot press side                              20″ x 15″                                                     Watercolor

At the time I painted this I really didn’t like it too much.  I’m still not wild about it but I am showing it for a reason. This sheet is the other half of the sheet that was used for Morning Mist.  This was the first attempt I referred to earlier in this post. This was the flip side of the paper, the side that exhibited “hot press” tendencies. One particular thing that will immediately stand out is the  texture of brush stroke in the background. Hot press papers tend to show brush strokes and pose a bit of a challenge with layered washes for the previous wash will often lift very easily.  When I was learning to paint egg tempera I was required to paint on hot press and plate finish paper. The reasoning was that properly prepared traditional gesso (not the commercial acrylic kind) presented a very smooth surface.  One had to learn to deal with the crawl of ink wash on the smooth surface. In actual practice I’m not so sure that it is a really big deal.  However, that is the way we were taught.

On the plus side the color is very vibrant.  I’ll be playing with this surface some more.  Both sides of the Joshua Cristall paper invite a lot of spontaneity.  I really like having the paper on hand.   If you are a watercolor painter you might want to give it a try.  I know I plan to always have plenty of  Ruscombe Mills paper on hand.

On line classes: NEW PLATFORM

Some of you may know that for several years I have been conducting on line watercolor classes. Those offerings have been pretty successful with over 500 students. One limitation is/was limited interaction with students. As I get older I prefer to have more painting time.  In spite of that I still enjoy sharing watercolor. I am just curious about how many of you would be interested in an interactive on line class. This would involve each student being able to post their work and for me to comment and to do impromptu demonstrations of various visual problems.  Sort of like taking requests. Students would be able to post privately or perhaps post publicly for all enrolled students to see and learn from written critique. The contact hours would be set on a given schedule and the numbers would be limited.

I realize that this is a vague outline but send me an email if you think you would be interested in such a program.

Interested in knowing more about the watercolor glazing technique?

Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor by Dr. Don Rankin is available direct at www.createspace.com/3657628 .  A revised and updated edition of the original classic.

The Antique Shop: remastered DVD of an onsite study painting demo with brief tutorial www.createspace.com/350893

 

Now on View

TaffyIIDSC_0270_153Taffy II,                                              watercolor                                    35″ x 25″ unframed

A lot has happened since my last post. I’ll not bore you with all of the details, except to say I have a new studio, not yet fully operational, recovering from two surgeries, a new home and a new email provider. Taffy II is an older work that has never been publicly exhibited nor offered for sale. Why you may ask?  Well it just wasn’t. Taffy was the first of many cats to grace our home and she was very special.  In fact, all of our pets, cats and dogs,  have been individual family members; all with their own unique personality.  I recently posted a shot of the painting on my Instagram site. Ms. Barbara Moore of Barbara Moore Fine Art Gallery in Chadds Ford, PA saw it and requested that I send it to her. So if you are in or around downtown Chadds Ford be sure to drop in.

New Gallery/ Familiar Faces:

I have known Barbara for quite a while, dating back to 1985 as I recall. Barbara was Director of the Chadds Ford  Gallery in Chadds Ford and has over 40 years experience in specializing in Wyeth works.  She recently opened her own gallery and will be hosting her usual Christmas in Miniature exhibition carrying on the tradition.  If my memory serves me correctly she is the lady who inaugurated the Christmas in Miniature Exhibitions that seem to be popular across the country these days.  The exhibition will open on the evening of November 29, 1-8 PM. The Gallery is located at 1609 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA. (barbaramoorefineart.com  Tel 484-776-5174.

Five Miniatures of mine will be shown:

Quiet Stream

ShadowsDSC_0294_335

Paradise Creek..AKA Marley’s Place scooterliftDSC_0285_325

Acadia Acadia

Old Hackberry Lane old-hackberry-2

Callie in Sunlight callie-in-sunlight-4

All five pieces are framed ready for hanging.  Framed and matted they measure around 14″ x 12″.  Feel free to contact Barbara for more details.

Want to know more about watercolor glazing techniques?  Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, Vol 1  by Dr. Don Rankin is a revised updated version of the original best selling book published by Watson-Guptill.  Available at http://www.createspace.com/3657628

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2017 Recipient of the Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement in Art and Art Education     

The Surface Makes a Difference

Have you ever noticed that some watercolors by the same artist  have a different look or impact?  While there are many possible variables there is one element that can have a profound impact on the effect. All else being equal, that is the same quality paint and brushes, the choice of paper can really change the dynamic. Most painters paint upon either cold press or rough watercolor paper. A few adventurous souls work on hot press and/or plate surface paper. What is the difference?  Basically, one is more absorbent than the other. Hot press and especially plate surface or finish paper is slick. The moisture and the paint have a tendency to crawl and creep across the paper rather than blooming or blossoming across the paper in the usual expected way. A slick surface brings on a whole new series of effect. Some of it can be quite magical while for some painters the whole thing becomes a nightmare.

My first encounter with the idea of painting watercolor on a less absorbent paper surface came about while learning to paint with egg tempera. While the gesso ground for traditional egg tempera is absorbent to a degree; it can be modified by the degree of polish one produces on the surface during the layering of the gesso. By the way this is NOT  the canned gesso you buy in most art supply stores. Traditional gesso is a mixture of hide glue and and ground chalk with or without pigment  and requires a rigid support to prevent cracking.  Very often beginning painters develop their painting skills on plate finish papers using watercolor washes. After a few maddening hours, if the student is willing, they began to see some intriguing results.

I would encourage any watercolor painter to work with hot press and plate finish papers and boards for the effect that can be achieved. Yes, it is different.  I’m going to share a few examples of watercolor on hot press boards. I keep a decent supply of the paper in my studio for those times when I want to get a different feel to a subject. Often the color is brighter and more vibrant. The reason is that the color dries mainly on the surface and has less tendency to sink into the sheet.  One word of caution.  Since the paint is on  the surface it can easily be disturbed and create mud. Melting OffMelting Off ,  16″ x 7″ (40.64 x 17.78 cm ) Watercolor on High Surface/ Plate Finish paper board. From the Collection of Sonat, Inc.

The palette was simple combination of vermilion, thalo blue with some gamboge and a dose of black India ink in the foreground, with much of the tree line poured onto the dampened surface and allowed to blend and puddle.

Compare that with the following effect on a traditional sheet of watercolor paper with a coldpress surface.

MarchDSC_0372_185March,  18.5″ x 32.5″ (48 x 38 cm) Watercolor on 140lb. D’Arches paper. Private Collection

While the palettes are similar the dark passages are softer, the blending is more subtle, creating a quieter image.  The basic message is that the paper surface can contribute to  making a big difference in the presentation and the feeling in a work.

The QuarryDSC_0345_165

The Quarry, 10.5″ x 21.25″ (27 x 54 cm) Strathmore hot press rag illustration board. Artist Collection

The mood and the palette are different. But note the sharp edges in defining the rocks on the edge of the waterline.  If you look carefully you can see hints of Gamboge in the upper edges of the treeline and in the limestone rock of the quarry’s edge. The colors in this work are Thalo Blue, Gamboge and Winsor red blended in with blue to create the darker passages.

Want to know more about watercolor glazing techniques?

Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, Vol I by Dr. Don Rankin:                             BUY DIRECT at http://www.createspace.com/3657628

ON LINE WATERCOLOR COURSES: Join Don and learn more about watercolor glazing techniques at your own pace in your own home. Level I covers the basic techniques for developing wonderful glazing effects.  The course is designed using simple exercises to acquaint you with the underlying principles of watercolor glazing.  It also directs you in the better choices of color selection and the proper sequence of application. You can stop the video, do an exercise, master it  and continue or review as you wish.

https://www.Udemy.com/mastering-glazing-techniques-in-watercolor/

Level II is a full (real time) demo in the artist’s studio.  The only editing is the omission of the drying time between some of the washes. See the progression from beginning to end.

https://www.Udemy.com/mastering-glazing-techniques-in-watercolor-level-II/

MemPhoto_Generic6a  2017 recipient of Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achiever Award in Art and Education

Are your paints fresh?

From time to time I get questions about the strength of color in my paintings. Some want to know how I get such powerful luminous washes in watercolor. While the glazing technique plays a large role in the creation; there is another component. This is something that perhaps I have neglected to mention. old-hackberry-2

                Old Hackberry Lane                     approx 8″ x 6″               watercolor*

FRESH PAINT: In order to fully explain I must digress to 1983. I was writing one of my first books on watercolor.  Since I was writing I felt that I should get some technical data from the manufacturers that made what I considered to be the best watercolor paints.  While there are a number of excellent paints these days; in 1980 there were two very popular brands in the USA.  I made contact. Winsor & Newton was very open to discussing their paints with me. Wendell Upchurch was my contact. When we first began to talk, I asked him what was his job. His reply shocked me.  He stated that his primary job was traveling around the country correcting all of the erroneous information that was found in so many of the watercolor books that were being written! He was delighted to spend time with me explaining the processes and the actual facts concerning producing and using quality watercolor paints. Needless to say we spent many hours discussing watercolor paints.

Two Choices: Most watercolor painters in America tend to use watercolor that comes in a tube. Many painters in the UK and parts of Europe  prefer to use tub colors. What is the difference ? Aside from the consistency the most important aspect is the degree of binder and preservative found in the paints. The colors that are packaged in tubs are a bit more tacky and they allow for constant re-wetting in daily use. Tube colors have less preservative and binder and it is suggested that one should only put out as much color as will be used in a day’s session. Many are accustomed to putting the tube colors on the palette and wetting and re-wetting the color until it is used up. Then more color is applied to the palette and the cycle resumes. In my early years I followed this pattern myself.

Everybody Does it or Do They?  Be honest, most people follow this pattern. However, a lot of painters have found a better way.  You can test this yourself.  Put out a little fresh paint, dampen your brush and apply a wash to a piece of paper. Rise out your brush and moisten a portion of the same color that has dried on your palette. Look at the results.  Surprised?

Old Hackberry Lane is a memory painting. Years ago it was one of the routes that would bring you to the eastern edge of Shades Mountain. The narrow two lane chert road made several switchbacks up the side of the mountain.  At times you would feel hemmed in as the orchard tree branches would scrape across the fender or roof of your car. Luckily,  I never encountered an oncoming car. There were no street lights and often in the fall and winter as the night began to fall the bare branches would be cloaked in the gathering gloom of mist and the settling of smoke from the numerous fireplaces.  Painting luminous darks can often be a challenge. I prefer to create the dark using a wet into wet technique, layering fresh dark colors over a vibrant under painting. The fresh color is more powerful and luminous. Simple to apply yet profound in effect. If you are new to this the power of the color can be scary. However, it is a good idea to practice and see what it can do. *Original on view at Andrew Wyeth Gallery, Chadds Ford, PA

Want to know more about watercolor glazing techniques ?  Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, Volume I by Dr. Don Rankin is available.

Just go to http://createspace.com/3657628

Watercolor Classes online:  Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor with Dr. Don Rankin.  Lifetime access of beginning principles at http://www.Udemy.com/mastering-glazing-techniques-in-watercolor/

LEVEL II: an in studio demonstration of the watercolor glazing technique.  Preview at: https://www.Udemy.com/mastering-glazing-techniques-in-watercolor-level-II/

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate Light and Life !

Let’s face it; without light things would be pretty dismal. In fact without light there would be no life.  In my painting career I have celebrated light in all of its incredible manifestations. Light and life go hand in hand. Toward that end I want to  share a recent painting, actually this is a watercolor study.  This study will be used to develop a larger egg tempera painting. This study has a story; so here goes.callie-in-sunlight-4

Callie in sunlight                                      8.5″ x 6″                                watercolor on paper

Animals have always played a large role in our household. Almost all of our furry children are rescues of one sort or another. The first cat came into our household when my daughter was around 8 years old. That has been more years than  I wish to think about. So a little over 16 years ago my daughter, Carol, came to visit from one of her business trips carrying a furry ball in her arms. She had already been named Callie since it was obvious that she was a Calico. Callie had been rescued from starvation in a town where my daughter had been sent to do some field work.

Callie needed a home and like others before her,  we welcomed her into our home. As everyone knows cats are not like dogs and pretty soon Callie became pretty much the dominant pet in our home. There was one exception, our Golden Retriever mix didn’t like cats.  There was always barking and snarling and threats but no bloodshed. Detente reigned.  In fact it was quite comical.

A little over a year ago Callie became quite ill and we went to the vet.  They did a number of things for a cat that had been lethargic and with little appetite.  Callie pulled through. Her personality changed.  Our fairly quiet cat had become vocal and demanding, always seeking food.  She started slipping out onto the deck in our fenced in backyard. She would sit for hours on the deck gazing and dozing in the fresh air.  She would even brazenly strut close to Marley, our retriever, as if to say, “What are you going to do about it?”  Talk about chutzpah, she displayed it in her final days.  About two months ago Callie died and now rests under a stump in one of her favorite haunts in our backyard.

At this point in our life she will be the last cat to grace our home. This watercolor was inspired by one of those moments when she sat in the sunlight in our den gazing out onto the deck she loved. The light seemed to illuminate her as she melded into the light. Little did I know that she was nearing the end of her days.

Revisiting old sketches, places

Nova Scotia corrected_

                   Nova Scotia                                            21″ x 14″                                  Watercolor

The end of July is come  and like other parts of the country, Alabama is under sweltering heat. Currently I am sitting in the cool of my studio waiting for a wash to dry. Momma red-tail hawk is outside my studio window calling in a shrill voice urging her young children to fly.  Her sound reminds me of younger days and being outdoors in all sorts of weather sketching and painting. These days my activity is a bit curtailed.  Geneal and I spent the last part of  April and part of May in northern California.  She had never been and I got to revisit places of my youth when I would spend time in California with relatives. Of all the state, I prefer northern California.  However, it is a beautiful state with a lot to offer any visitor. My travel has been restricted for several years and perhaps this was a bit risky. The only down side was a case of HAPE, high altitude pulmonary endema.  I’m still working through that.  If you are getting on in years be very careful about airplane rides.

At any rate we came back with tons of videos, photos and sketches. Memories in a can, if you will.  Those things are great but the personal experience is worth more than all of the reference.  A lot of folks are anxious to see my California pieces. Knowing my way of working, it may be a while.  I like to let things percolate inside of me before I put brush to paper. Sometimes it happens quickly, at other times it is a slow, perhaps painful, process. In the meantime I am working on a piece that I sketched many years ago in Nova Scotia.  Talk about hopping the continent!  While publishing two of my first watercolor books I spent time in Maine and Nova Scotia. I think viewing the Pacific and the Big Sur prompted me to compare it to the Atlantic coast. While both are beautiful, they are different.

I remember the day I reluctantly left Maine to board an overnight ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The rest of the family was up for it but I really loved Maine and felt that anything else would be anti-climatic. Well, I was very wrong. Nova Scotia was incredible. I made two trips up while writing my books.  The first trip was in the Spring and the return was in the Fall after all of the tourists were gone. I have always been drawn to wilderness and the population was not crowded. In some cases the foot print of mankind was not as evident as in other places. The color of the water, the trees and the salt in the air  has a presence that is different from any other place.  The light is incredible. As I looked at my recent efforts in California the effect and contrast became very evident.  While there are several physical differences  there is an atmosphere that any coastal area seems to possess.  While the atmosphere has similarities, it also has striking differences. Those differences are extremely important.  Those are the things that I seek to embody in my work.

Nova Scotia:

This current work has haunted me for years. It has haunted me every time I looked at my sketches or the photos I took,but I kept delaying.  Finally,  I told myself it was time to paint. I have no explanation for the delay. It just happens. I wasn’t ready.  Now the time had come.  I’ll digress and provide a little history.  I remember that it was an early morning well before midday.  The light is very different and in combination with the atmosphere it renders objects in a more dramatic way than in other latitudes.  At least that is my experience. The light, the air, the stillness was like a magnet that drew me in.

Materials:

I used a 140 lb. cold press sheet of Kilamanjaro watercolor paper. The paints were Andrew’s Turquoise from American Journey (available at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff). M. Graham Gamboge,  Holbein Marine Blue, Holbein Leaf Green, M. Graham Sap Green, Holbein Marine Blue, Winsor & Newton Perylene Maroon, and Winsor & Newton Red. The reds and blues were mixed to create some of the stronger dark passages in the watercolor.  The painting approach was very simple with a number of layers of color applied with brushes as well as a natural sponge for some of the foreground , especially near the edge of the building. The tiny flowers were suggested by using a combination of incredible white mask with a handy little gadget called Cheap Joe’s splatter screen. masking toolsTexturing and masking tools: Natural sponge, Incredible White Mask and Cheap Joe’s splatter screen.

As a general rule I don’t ruin my natural sponges by dipping them in masking fluid. In the past I have used plain screen wire at times but Joe’s screen with a handle is a bit easier. A word of caution if you choose to use brushes in the masking fluid make sure you lather them thoroughly with soap first. If you don’t you run the risk of losing a good brush. Also  dried masking fluid in a screen, brush or sponge is almost impossible to remove.

How I use it and why:

Hopefully the arrangement of the flowers in the foreground looks fairly random and natural. The idea that one would want to sit and methodically apply each drop of masking fluid to the page would border on insanity to my mind.  However applying a bit of masking to the screen and then BLOWING a short breath of air creates a more natural, random pattern. If you hit spots you don’t like you can blot the masking fluid out or better yet, cover the areas you don’t want to mask with bits of paper.  For the uninitiated we use the masking fluid to preserve either the white of the paper or previously painted areas.  In this case both methods were used. Some wet ‘n wet wash areas of bright Winsor Red and Gamboge were applied first.  After they dried masking was applied.   Once the masking was dry, then I used a combination of washes (from light to dark) and a natural sponge to create texture. Some areas of dry brush and fine detail should be evident. If you are not familiar with dry brush technique, I’ll give a brief explanation. Literally it denotes that there is more pigment than water in your brush. It allows you to draw and create texture with your brush that is different than a broad wash. It requires a bit of practice but is a very effective technique for enhancing an area of a painting. Like any other approach,  avoid over doing it.  Too much pigment can produce a dull over worked effect. The same is true of glazing with layers of wash. Some painters go to extremes  killing the natural beauty of glazes.   Above all PRACTICE.  Get to know your materials, it will pay off.  We often learn a great deal more from out set backs than we do our fleeting successes.

 Want to know more about Watercolor Glazing Techniques?  You can purchase the updated version of Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor entitled Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor Vol.1 by Dr. Don Rankin  at http://www.createspace.com/3657628

Enjoy a remastered classic on Watercolor Glazing Techniques by Don Rankin in a remastered DVD  entitled The Antique Shop at http://www.createspace.com/350893

Study basic watercolor techniques with Don Rankin at your own pace with an online course, unlimited use of  31 lessons that cover basic watercolor glazing techniques at Udemy.com https://www.udemy.com/mastering-glazing-techniques-in-watercolor

LEVEL II: online in studio demonstration of the watercolor glazing technique: https://www.Udemy.com/mastering-glazing-techniques-in-watercolor-level-II/

Study watercolor techniques in person with Don Rankin at Artists on the Bluff, 571 Park Avenue, Bluff Park, Alabama every Thursday from 9:00-11:30 Am. For details contact                 Ms . Linda Williams, Director 205-532-2769 or artistsonbluff@gmail.com

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Don Rankin's Watercolor Studio..painting tips

Don Rankin's Watercolor Studio

Don Rankin's Watercolor Studio..painting tips

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