Painting people in watercolor is much like painting a landscape. With each line you are telling story, you are capturing a moment in time. But the difference with painting people is that the anatomy is hard to get proportional. A tree or flower can be misshapen, and a landscape can have the perspective slightly off and still be an amazing painting. However, if the portions of people are wrong then the entire painting looks off.
Since we are talking about proportion. First we must understand that the human body is highly symmetrical. And that when drawing or painting people in water there are rules that come into play.
1.) The height an adult body is the equivalent to seven heads.
2.) The Legs are equivalent to half the body
3.) The arms should be half way down the thigh.
4.) For the face. The face is broken down into the thirds.
5.) Three noses is the height of the face. (chin-hairline)
6.) The width of the face is roughly three eye lengths.
Drawing people is the next step in artistry. So how to start a watercolor painting with people as your subject, will be the topic of today’s post.
The first step in this how to start a watercolor painting with people guide is to understand that many of the first paintings will actually be practice works. Ideally, you should do as many as you feel comfortable with.
When you paint people you must understand that the body works like a machine. The legs support the torso, the arms are attached via the shoulders, the head is supported by the neck.
I think it is easy to start in the style of the impressionist. And with a woman wearing a skirt. Make a down stroke on the painting in any color. From there use a different color and make a down stroke below you first stroke.
For example. Your first stroke is a blue stroke, and your second is orange. With those to strokes you have created a frame. Without arms or the majority legs. Depending on how you made your strokes is how you add the limbs. If your second stroke is equal to your first stroke, then you must adjust the amount leg that appears at the bottom of the dress. And you must make it so the arms are proportional.
I know this kind of hard to imagine. But the ultimate goal is to begin in a manner that is comfortable, and not overly critical of your beginnings.
Here some tips to start a watercolor painting of people.
First stay loose. Do not be not be rigidity of people in watercolor, does not work. The medium itself is that of fluidity like water. So when you start you should be calm and flexible.
Secondly add action. The best way to express your figures and see them come to life is to have them in action. While running, working, lifting, swimming, flying, floating or whatever you can model how the body works.
This is the first of many, so come back and I’ll add some more to help you.
Modern painting styles and painting techniques in art have completely evolved from the days of oil based paints and frescoes. This is a series to show you where we are now, and how to get there. Currently we are in the postmodern, it started in the 1950’s and brought about PopArt, Mod, Graffiti, minimalism, and etc.
The best part of the genre is that it transcends eras, pulling painting styles from all over history to make them modern painting style. So we can see the style of Japanese wood block stenciled onto the side of a building. This is the era where Art is growing exponentially.
So lets talk about recreating something like the Banksy style. First off, everyone knows that when you start your journey to becoming an artist you copy. That’s why painting techniques in art come together into a style, and the modern painting style takes all of those and puts them into category all its own.
So Banksy, the execution of Banksy’s work is flawless. Don’t expect to be flawless; if you are, great. However, practice is what makes the monster for the rest of us. With that said the message that he sends is so much greater. Find your message first, before you take on a large project. But while you are looking for your message, practice. You should see how to actually stencil on the street. One clever modern painting style is the guerrilla graffiti movement. Take a shopping bag, cut the bottom out of it and add your stencil. Stop to tie yours shoes and spray the sidewalk real quick. If you are not into the risk of going to jail: fake snow in a can works just as well. You’re trying to learn a painting technique, so you want to learn how to layer, correct distance, and how to make your stencil look the best.
The best advice I can give you about stenciling is to practice: and when you start have a clear understanding of negative space. Essentially a stencil is a manipulation of negative space.
There are other painting techniques in art that can be used with a stencil. Just because the thrill of graffiti is there doesn’t mean you actually have to do it. You can affix a stencil to a canvas and practice the drip method. The drip method is especially hard because it requires a level of fluidity. The stencil will help you train your eye to follow curves, and make lines. Practice is the monster.
Modern painting styles aside the best way to explore painting techniques in art is to just try them. Find your medium. You can use watercolors, acrylics, spray paint, chocolate sauce, motor oil, glue, paste, pretty much anything that can be spread onto a canvas, wall, or whatever you would like.
If you have some questions about what modern painting styles to choose start looking through the rest of the blog. There is a lot of information for painting techniques in art and modern painting styles.
Whether this a new hobby, an elective, or you are just curious. Painting is an expression of creativity, that you should feel honored in being part of. It is something that gives you the ability to completely express your feelings and emotions, without having to say anything. There is no greater joy in painting than creating your own colors. When you create your own colors you can perfectly mimic whatever vision you have locked in your mind. You have stumbled across this article because you want to know what colors to mix and how to mix articles. This article will answer both questions.
What colors to mix?
Certainly you have heard of the primary colors: Red, Blue, and Yellow. However, what we were all taught in elementary school is not entirely correct. Because shades of colors that we typically see like purple have been created using the primary pigment colors: Cyan, Yellow, and Magenta. The combinations of these colors are what artists use to create Red, Green, Blue, which kind of makes them secondary colors. So what colors to mix; Cyan, Yellow, and Magenta are the basic colors to mix to get every color in the rainbow. However most artists start off with these seven colors:
Red | Magenta | Yellow | Cyan | Blue | Black | White.
They start off with these colors because they can use different color combinations to affect hue, saturation, and lightness. Although it must be said that magenta and cyan are normally used in the dye process.
How to mix colors?
Now that you understand what colors to start from we can discuss mixing them to allow your mind to create the beauty that you are seeking. We start with red, blue, and yellow. Yes for all intensive purposes these will be called the primary colors. If you imagine a triangle, each of these colors would have its own point. Now if you make a circle around this triangle, you will see the rest of colors come to life. So in between red and blue there is violet, in between red and yellow there is orange, and in between yellow and blue there is green. You can refer to wheel to the see these. To make these colors lighter or darker one must add white or black. For instance the difference between pink and red is the addition of white to make pink. And that is pretty how to mix colors.
How to mix colors and what colors to mix: color equations:
Red + Blue = Violet
Cyan + Yellow = Green
Magenta + yellow = Dark Orange/Brown
Red + White = Pink
Blue + yellow = Green
Below I have included some definitions just in case you would like to get a bit of further study. That’s about it for me keep painting.
Hue: is the position of the color on the color wheel.
Saturation: is the amount of richness, or lack there of, in a color
Lightness: is how close the color is to black or white, (dark or bright).
Look through the blog for some tips to learn about painting.
Acrylic paint, when compared with other mediums like oil paint, is a fairly new addition to the world of painting. It has only been around since the 1950′s . It has been continually under development and refinement since that time. Just because acrylic paint has not been around as long as oils, does not make these paints less important or enjoyable.
Some of the wonderful benefits of using acrylic paints are their versatility, permanence and ease of use. These paints can be applied thickly as an impasto or in thin washes similar to watercolor. Acrylic paint does not yellow or harden with age like oils.
Another reason artists love to work with acrylics is their fast drying time. Since acrylic paint dries so quickly, colors can be applied and layered quicker than oil paints. But with this fast drying time comes a few disadvantages:
1) The paint will not remain workable for very long, so you have to work fast.
2) Brushes can be ruined if you do not clean them right away.
3) If you plan to paint outdoors, then acrylic paint is probably not the best medium to use, especially on a hot sunny day. When you lay out your colors on a palette or other surface, they will begin to dry quickly forming skins on the surface, making them quite difficult to work with.
ACRYLIC PAINTING TECHNIQUES
Many artists like to use acrylics in a fluid state, similar to watercolor. There is a notable difference though. With acrylics, washes can be layered on top of one another without fear of disturbing the colors underneath. You must wait for one layer to dry completely before applying another of course. Once each layer dries it becomes insoluble in water. One disadvantage to using acrylics as a watercolor medium is the difficulty in modifying the color. Once acrylic paint begins to dry it becomes very difficult to modify and washes can sometime dry with unwanted hard edges. You can avoid this problem in one of two ways. You can either dampen the paper before the paint is applied or you can use an additional brush dampened with water. Use one brush to apply the paint and immediately soften the edge with the other brush that has been dampened with the water.
Pouring & Dripping Technique
This technique was made popular by the master painter Jackson Pollock in the late 1940′s and early 1950′s. You use a very fluid acrylic paint for this technique. You can pour it directly on the canvas or dip a brush into the paint and let it drip down onto the canvas. You can create some very interesting effects with this technique. Check out Jackson Pollocks work to see this technique in action.
Sgraffito is a scratching technique. It got its name from the Italian word graffiare which literally means to scratch. Just as the name implies it involves scratching into the surface of the wet paint which reveals either the ground or layer of dry color underneath. There are a number of different tools that can be used for this technique. Tools like screwdrivers or the sharpened end of an old paintbrush handle can work.
Using a Squeegee
A regular squeegee that you can buy at any hardware or auto store has the ability to create some interesting effects. First squeeze out some paint blobs directly along one edge of your support. You can layout whatever colors you wish. Then with one fluid motion drag the paint across the surface with your squeegee smearing and mixing the paint as you go.
ACRYLIC PAINTING TIPS
One of the things that makes a painting interesting is variety. Use a variety of different brushstrokes, techniques and values in your paintings. Change the direction of your brushstrokes or mix different techniques in the same painting.
Don’t copy other artists. Allow other artists to influence you and paint your own impression of what you see from your heart and soul. This is how your inner creativity shines on the canvas. It is what set painters like Vincent van Gogh and Salvador Dali apart from the rest. They each injected their own style and heart into their work.
Observe Your Surroundings
Spend time observing and studying your subjects and surroundings. Landscape artists spend a great deal of time outdoors studying nature. Figure and portrait artists spend a great deal of time studying the human anatomy. If you aren’t spending enough time observing the subjects that you wish to paint, then you won’t have the necessary knowledge to paint them.
Are you using quality acrylic painting supplies? In the beginning when you are experimenting, it is ok to use cheaper supplies, but as you become more experienced, you may want to consider investing in better quality. When it comes to fine art supplies, you usually get what you pay for. If you buy cheap brushes, they will more than likely begin to fall apart. The ferrule of the brush can loosen and the hairs can fall out. If you use cheap paint, you will get cheap looking results. The colors will not have the same brilliance or the right consistency.
Don’t Be Afraid to Use your Paint
Lets face it, good paint does not come cheap, so in an effort to conserve our paint, some artists will use as little paint as possible. This is a reasonable concern, but the truth however, is that your paintings will be more interesting if you lay down the brush stroke, leave it alone, and then reload your brush. Don’t try and scrub the paint into the canvas, otherwise you are just staining, and not painting.
Don’t Over Think
Don’t overly criticize or judge your own work while you are painting. This will discourage and frustrate you. Just relax and let go. Trust yourself and your abilities. ?
Oil paint dries very slowly, Unlike acrylic paints which dry very quickly. Acrylic paint was initially created as an underpainting medium for oil painting.
It is perfectly stable to put a base of acrylic and then place oil paint over it. Linseed oil added to oil paint will extend color, increase flow and increase workability. Oil paint with added medium is called long, oil paint used directly from the tube is called short or stiff.
You place you oil paints on a wooden board called a palette the very best palettes are made of pear wood.
It is very important to understand your paints and know which colors are:
Transparent (see through) Semi Opaque (slightly see through) and opaque (not see through) getting started put as much oil paint on your brush for two strokes three maximum always end your brush stroke on the canvas.
Make sure that you use linseed oil only when you are painting with the wet on wet method or process.
Do not confuse yourself with all of the many other mediums. Wait to discover those when you are more experienced. If you can actually afford the professional paints, definitely go ahead and buy them. You will notice immediately that they are completely different from the student paints.
Always buy the best brushes that you can afford. The Da Vinci brand brushes are the best professional brushes. Buy long handle bushes. The technique is to hold near the end of the handle. When developing talent one point to consider is the ability to take risks. Just play around with your paint however first understand it, only paint at an easel and make sure to stand back from your painting all the time. Never put your expensive brushes in turps when you are working in a session. Go ahead and wipe them clean with paper towels or cloth wash out your brushes in turps or a similar solvent at the end of a session and then be sure to clean immediately with soapy water.
Preparing the canvas the foundation of you piece
It is quite essential that you put on the first underpainting or wash on your canvas. This takes away the glare of the white (which will reflect back at you, quite annoying) and the more layers of paint you get onto your canvas the better and the more professional looking your painting, the more luminous the paint ant the more the painting will sing out with color and texture.
Traditionally an earth color of a burnt umber or raw umber, raw sienna or an ochre was painted on as a good first underpainting. Sometimes it can be pretty exciting to paint on a bright red or dark blue as your first underpainting especially when you are in the habit of putting on three or four layers and seeing the underpainting come through your painting. Use a big wash brush to apply the first underpainting it you use acrylic as your underpaint it will dry quickly and get you started quicker.
How to apply oil paint in two methods
1. Wet on wet or All Prima (in one step)
2. Stage Painting or Glazing Fat over lean
Wet on wet is applied by using the paint stiff, which is directly from the tube Or thinned to the consistency of salad dressing with linseed oil the essential part of painting wet on wet is making your brushes and painting knives do the work for you.
You definitely want to have full control of your brushes and experiment with different brushes to see the marks and texture streaks that they make.
Never work with turps unless you are working with the glazing method.
Never ever stand your brushes in any turps working in your painting session.
Turps will burn the bristles and inevitably there will be some left in the brush when you start to use color.
This will make it difficult to keep control of the flow or thickness of paint. The glazing technique is a process of building up your painting in a series of layers of the thinned paint.
I found this specific method for the glazing technique with oil paint it is called fat over lean
A Lean 1st layer thinned with solvent
A Lean 2nd layer thinned with less solvent
A Lean 3rd layer thinned with less solvent
A Fat 4th layer straight from tube
A Fat 5th layer thinned with little linseed oil
A Fat 6th layer thinned with more linseed oil
It is very essential that you this process exactly follow or the layers of paint will dry at different levels and possibly crack the paint. Granted, it is a slow method and you absolutely need some patience however the results are spectacular tonal values which are essential in painting. This glazing method gives you full control of creating tones in acrylic paint. Here there is no mystery about paint.
Remember that paint is just pigment with a binder. In the case of oil paint, it is just a pigment with a drying oil usually linseed oil is used for this. The very best professional oil paints you will find are Michael Harding and Old Holland. Windsor and Newton and some other makes are good as well just make sure they are called professional paints and not the lesser quality student paints.
One last thing, Oil Paint dries very slowly, have patience and enjoy the journey. Paint on.