Watercolor painting of man playing a saxophone

This is a little watercolor painting I did of a man playing a saxophone.

My daughter was in the marching band and the jazz bands in high school.  I always thought that musicians make a powerful pictures.  Maybe it is the intensity they demonstrate or the sense of being one with the music that makes them look so cool.  I have always wanted to paint some portraits of musicians with their instruments.

Man playing jazz saxophone, watercolor 


This painting was first drawn with pencil and then I did several washes in watercolor using progressively smaller brushes as I moved toward the details.  I really like to use the liner brush to get the fine lines but it is fun to fan it across the page and let it roll the paint sideways.

I am learning to do a light wash of my lightest values first and let it dry then go over with my next darker value and finish with the darkest values last.

It is an adventure to add color to wet color and let the two colors interact on the paper.

I kept getting the colors darker and darker.  I finally left no area truly white except for the white undershirt and even then I washed most of it lightly with watery panes grey.  I am finding that using a little panes grey to darken the values and even to muddy the picture up a little seems to have a positive effect by virtue of contrast with the more pure colors.

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Watercolor Of Dogwood Tree Blossoms.

Here is a little watercolor I did of some dogwood tree blossoms near my house. I love spring time and the many flowers that bloom in Maryland.


Dogwood blossoms watercolor by Adron.
It was painted one evening when I was too tired to do anything else.

I started with some photos I took and using several to get ideas I created a composition and then spent  about an hour sketching it before painting.

I felt a little uneasy about the design so I started with the background blue to help finalize the composition.  It was harder than I thought to get the blues all the same value in all the different areas that were separated by branches or other structures of the tree. I started the leaves with a wash of yellow, then brushed in green and finished with blue for the darker areas.

The branches were dry brushed and done with a liner brush.

I used a liner brush a lot in the flower.  There was a lot of blending of blues and colors to make the shadows and curves of the flowers. I kept going too far with teh values and had to blot color out so it wouldn't be too dark.

I think it is a very nice painting.

Watercolor of Spring Blossoms

This is a nice little picture I painted over the last few days.  I know an expert in watercolor would create something like this in a few hours, but I kept changing my mind about things as I went so I took a lot longer.

I took photos of the trees in my neighborhood and used one for inspiration. I prefer to paint out of doors and see the object before me but that takes a quick hand and the blossoms would fall off all the trees by the time I finished.

Watercolor of Spring Blossoms 

I sketched it out carefully and went over the sketch several times to be sure I was making an outline that would be workable.  Even though you know what you are trying to render when it is time to put down the first wash everything looks different and you can't tell what is suppose to go where.

Using a medium sized brush I started with the blossoms and did the first wash in very lightly, next I washed in the leaves,  after that I did a wash of the background. Once dried it looked too pale and flat. I added darker values to the leaves and the blossoms. I was still not happy so I started to splash down darker hues in the back ground. After that dried I felt the background was too textured and needed to be smoothed out, so I used a soft brush and scrubbed in clear water until the edges of the colors softened and blended. I finished with a liner brush and added more sharpness and details.

I looked it over after it had all dried and felt it was still too flat so I deepened the values of the leaves that were in the middle-ground to bring the blossoms and front leaves forward some.

I am very happy with the results.

Painting Of A Tree With Roots In The River.

Painting of a tree with roots in the River is a fantasy composition meaning that I made it up without using any resources like photos or painting on location. This picture started as an illustration of a tree with the roots in the river to add to a blog post but I became a little enthralled with the composition and decided to do a watercolor from the pen drawing.  I actually traced the original sketch onto water color paper and then began with a lot of washes.

Watercolor painting of Tree With Roots In the River. 
Drawing from imagination is O.K. but I feel that when you use a few resource materials you get more ideas because the real world is so much bigger than our imagination.  Using resources also becomes a dialogue because you take a little from the resource and then add to it then look again at the resource and change or interpret it and so it goes back and forth between you and the resource.

(c) Adron

Life Lesson I Learned Wile Painting A Picture Number Three.

Painting pictures is a lot of fun but many times I look back at a project or a period of painting and realize painting taught me a valuable lesson.

MY GUNKED UP BRUSHES
At first I was spending a lot of money on paint brushes.  It seemed that they were always getting ruined and gunked up.  I would reach for a brush and find it was as stiff as a stick- a stick might have worked better.  I failed to clean them until it was too late; or I would give them a quick cleaning, but the lack of thoroughness after a few uses made the brushes unworkable.

I realized I needed to have a better attitude about caring for my brushes- my tools.  

BE COMMITTED TO YOUR TOOLS
For a while I tried fancy expensive brush cleaners. They promised quick easy cleaning but seemed to make things worse by depositing the residue into the furl where it built up like cement.  I went from one costly cleaner to another with discouraging results.

LEARN TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR TOOLS
Since then I learned to take care of my brushes and now rarely have to spend money on new ones.   I learned to clean them thoroughly as soon as I am done and to clean the way the manufacture recommends.

I normally use a little mild dish soap and knead the brush softly in the palm of my hand and rinse, then repeat several times.

HAVE A PLAN TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR TOOLS
When an hour is set aside to paint then I allow ten minutes at the end for cleaning the brushes, you can't paint to the last minute and then hope a quick cleaning will be enough.

When done cleaning I set them in the brush stand right away.

It is much more enjoyable to have the tools in good condition when I am ready to use them.  They last longer and perform better.

NOT JUST PAINT BRUSHES
This goes for whatever you are involved in.  If you are a cook you must keep the pots in good condition, the knives sharpened, and the stove in working order.  If you are a seamstress you need to take care of the sewing kit and the sewing machine.  If you are a musician you need to take care of the musical instrument.  If you are a mechanic you need to take care of your wrenches.

It just illustrates what they say, "If you take care of your tools then your tools will take care of you."

(c) Adron 15

Watercolor Sketch On The Path

Here is a little (6x9) watercolor sketch I did on the footpath near my home.  It is an early spring day and I was eager to get out and enjoy the blossoms. There are lots of little foot bridges on this path and a lot of trees, they make a nice composition.

I had a small set of Windsor Newton watercolors in a portable paint box and a handful of brushes.  As is often the case when I go out on the spur of the moment I find that there were things I forgot to bring; so this time I did not have any tape to hold down the paper on the board which meant it curled up as I was painting.  What was more discouraging was that I forgot any of my smaller brushes, so I painted with only flats and one round brush that I think was really a toy.

Watercolor sketch of the footpath at Harper's Farm in Columbia. MD

It was a hot day so I had to paint quickly which is why I am calling it a sketch.  I started with washing in large areas with my biggest brush.  I knew it would dry quick so I was generous with the water. Then a few moments later I used a slightly smaller brush and began to lay in smaller darker areas and after that I used a very small flat to put in the darkest areas and let them all blend.  I used the smallest brush to begin to put in details of trees and bridge. I pained over areas and used the brush to scrub out the earlier layers so the latter would rest on top.

It was tricky to work in the values because I was working in bright sunlight which is always a disadvantage, since your eyes adjust to the bright light but when you get your final piece inside everything looks dull. However I tried to allow for this and I think it turned out OK.  The total time was about an hour I think.