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Watercolor Exercise 1: "Homestead"

These images are presented to assist the beginning artist in the fun of using watercolors.

These images are presented to assist the beginning artist in the fun of using watercolors. They may not be copied, printed, downloaded, distributed or altered in any manner without the express weitten permission of William F. Powell

Watercolor Exercise 1: "Homestead"

This simple exercise is designed to help beginners get the feel of watercolor. Relax and have a good time with it. Don't worry about each stroke! Let it happen and enjoy the medium of watercolor. It is a great escape to another world of fun!

Paper: Use any size you wish. I like to practice on small scraps of paper around 140 lb weight. For final works, I enjoy using full and partial sheets of not less than 300 lb weight.

Brushes: This little painting can be created using only two brushes. They should be soft, natural hair which holds a good amount of color. Some synthetic brushes work well with watercolor but I prefer natural hair brushes. One flat styled brush about 1/2" wide and one round with a good point will do the trick for this little exercise.

Colors: Colors needed for this exercise are Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson Permanent, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue Yellow Ochre and Lemon Yellow.

 

Step 1.

Use a pencil with a lead hardness of HB. Lightly draw the subject onto the watercolor paper. Keep the lines light in darkness and do not press too hard as this will put grooves and creases in the paper. These are hard to paint over as the colors pool in the grooves.

Follow the drawing and try not to erase very much as erasing can also ruin the surface of the paper.

Practice making your drawing on another piece of paper and when you are satisfied with the composition, either lightly repeat the key lines on your watercolor paper or transfer the drawing using an artist's graphite paper.

Step 2.

Paint in a thin wash of alizarin crimson making sure to keep the color thin and wet.

Paint right over the trees but try and keep color out of the area of the old house. We will paint boards and color washes in the house area later.

When painting a wash, make certain to keep the colors thin and light and begin at the top, working your way down to the trees.

Hold your paper at a slight tilted angle (about 15 degrees) so the colors will run downward. If held too upright, the colors will run too fast and create stains of color where we do not want them.

 

Step 3.

Now we begin adding other colors. Add a wash of ultramarine blue to portions of the sky. Add water to the color to weaken it at the bottom. This makes a soft blend. Add a light wash of ultramarine blue to the small distant trees. Allow the sky to dry and mix yellow ochre and ultramarine blue to a deep olive green. Paint this color mix in varying values into the tall, dark trees.

Make a light wash of lemon yellow and cerulean blue and begin painting the foreground grass.

 

Step 4.

Add color to the grass and trees using washes of various combinations of yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, lemon yellow and cerulean blue. Cerulean blue and lemon yellow make a cool light and brighter yellow green. By varying the mixes of ultramarine blue and yellow ochre, a wide variety of dark greens can be obtained. Combinations of cerulean blue and yellow ochre create a soft and somewhat greyish olive green.

Try to vary the darkness of color applications.

 

Step 5.

Wet the front of the house and let dry until it is just slightly damp. Paint a wash of yellow ochre into the area. Then, while it is still wet, paint a thin wash of alizarin crimson into the upper right area of the front and let it run for a blending effect.

Let the front dry and then paint a wash of cerulean blue into the window panes. Next, use burnt umber in a thin wash and paint the left side area of the house. Turn the paper upside down to let the color pool darker under the eaves and along the front edge. This begins the play of depth using shadows.

 

Step 6.

Paint the boards on the side of the house and porch using a slightly darker mix of burnt umber. Add a little alizarin crimson to the color here and there for variation. Next, use a dark mix of burnt umber and paint the dark underside of the porch roof, the holes in the roof and posts and shadows from cast by the boards leaning against the house. Darken the mix here and there with the addition of ultramarine blue and a little alizarin crimson.

Add a bit more depth to the foliage and grasses using a variation of the previous green mixes.

 

Final Touches: Paint in boards on the front of the house using darker washes of burnt umber and here and there a little alizarin crimson. Let them dry and darken some with another coat. Draw spaces between the boards using a small, round pointed brush. Leave some boards lighter than others.

Paint the cast shadows cast on the face by the decaying roof edge. Paint in the staves of the barrel using a wash mix of ultramarine blue with a bit of burnt umber to grey.

Paint the boards leaning against the house using a thin glaze of yellow ochre. Draw in the distant hawk using the pointed brush and a thin mix of burnt umber and alizarin crimson. Continue to a add detail to your satisfaction.

I hope you have enjoyed this exercise.

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