On a rainy Tuesday morning in August, the artists left their wet umbrellas outside on the deck before coming into the studio for class, unknowingly creating a painting ready to happen with those wet umbrellas. For the last couple of weeks, most of the class has been creating lively, exciting paintings inspired by the colors and shapes of those umbrellas.

My final sketch contained several minor adjustments to help improve the composition, and a value study helped me determine which shapes needed to be lighter, which ones darker, (which I forgot to follow at one point.) We'd decided to work with FLUID ACRYLICS this time - the OTHER watercolor! No one in the class had used them, and the challenge was on.

I'd recently watched Nicholas Simmon's new dvd again showing his expert use of fluid acrylics. Viewing it helped reinforce all the things he'd taught us when he was here at the studio last November for a week long workshop. We moved slowly to incorporate the same process and techniques that Nick demonstrated on his dvd.

Below is Step 1 - painting the deck area (background area.) This shows the area with the miskit removed. Fluid watercolor acrylic paints were poured onto wet paper. There are two pours of colors over the whole area, and I made sure that blossoms and run backs happened each time before spraying off the paint just before it dried. Nick calls this effect his 'watercolor batik' look, and it's a very cool way to make great textures. Some drizzles of water and paint were added to the deck boards to add more texture before the miskit was removed. Click on the picture to see textures better.

To see more detailed photos of another original umbrella painting, go to Rhonda Carpenter's blog at http://rhcarpenter.blogspot.com/. I forgot to take more pictures until I'd completed the painting, but Rhonda has posts about the succession of her painting on August 18, 19, 20, 27 plus today's, showing her completed masterpiece. I wish everyone could see it in real life. It's got a magnificent glow, and the colors dance off each other beautifully. She wasn't loving it until she cropped off one umbrella (which I liked.) She's gotta love it now.

The next step was to paint all the dark and blue umbrellas - (the middle ground areas.) I miskited any shapes and patterns that I wanted to remain white, then wet each area to be painted before charging in the colors. Back runs were encouraged again. Before the paint dried out completely, a blast from a sprayer washed off the still damp areas, creating more of the batik looking areas.

Knowing when to blast off the paint after making blossoms is one of the trickier parts of this process. Waiting until the 'blossom' areas were still a little shiny to blast off the fluid acrylics seemed to work best to create those batik spaces.

Popping in that bright color on the wet red umbrella panels, then spraying off the blossom areas again, made for a lively textured focal point. Each panel was done separately, and when they were all dry, I painted more red over the entire umbrella after wetting the whole red shape completely with water.

We used Nick's SEWING MACHINE STITCH to soften some edges, then drenched the entire painting with water before swishing color randomly throughout the painting. That helped to soften and unify the painting. A few more drizzles were added to the red umbrella, too.

After class was over, I added stronger color to one of the red panels and also placed a very light orange glaze on parts of the deck floor. Now I'm living with it for a while before I call it finished. A few more small areas may still need to be darkened. I've started another bigger painting using fluid acrylics and will post it when it's done.

If you want to explore some really great techniques using fluid acrylics, I'd recommned clicking on http://www.ccpvideos.com/page/CCP/CTGY/ARTNS to order Nick's dvd from Creative Catalyst Productions.
And THANK YOU, Marian, for bringing that red and orange umbrella that day. Purple wouldn't have worked (inside joke.)
"MARIAN'S RED UMBRELLA" Fluid Acrylics on 140#HP Arches, 16 x 21"


Nick said...

I just never know what to expect when I come here...this has got to be the most active and comprehensive watercolor blog I've seen, Sandy. ALWAYS something new! Love this piece, the anchor, the portrait, everything is top notch. I appreciate the plug too, that's very nice of you. :) Are the pigeons circling?

Watercolors by Susan Roper said...

After reading about everything that went into this beauty, the technique and result I like the best is that final addition of light orange to the deck, that just sings! Seeing that orange glow next to that darker umbrella just does it for me. This is a super painting! I would like to see what a difference it would make in the outcome if you had done this on Yupo? (hint, hint) And, if you did try it on Yupo, pretty-please try to stop to take a few WIP photos!

Dawn said...

Wow Sandy, this is great, and your deck is amazing! it is my favorite part of the painting. everything is perfect!

RHCarpenter said...

Delicious colors and shine, Sandy :) And thanks for the plug on mine but I'm still thinking it's the red-headed stepchild until I get past the agony of its birth!
Loved the Alice Neel quote you sent me, too - I'm saving that one!

Sandy said...

Gorgeous red and the deck is beautiful.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

What an interesting post - such a great subject and method of working. Sure will go over to see the rest of Rhonda's work - the image you show is quite beautiful. I too love using the coloured inks they flow and mix so wonderfully - like magic.

maryjane said...

This turned out great as usual. The photo was a good inspiration. I do like seeing the work in stages and the ending was brighter than I thought it was going to be. Love it.

Mi mundo a la acuarela said...

Thanks you share your artwork, this p├Čece is very special..congratulations.