View Full Version : Curious Technique?

05-21-2001, 01:06 AM
I paint portraits in watercolor (some pencil too). I was having trouble with portraits inexplicably going to mud so I began glazing using only three colors so I could learn color theory and figure out what was going wrong. Well I am hooked. I am getting consistently great results - not a muddy piece for a year and a half now! The paintings look pretty bizarre at times while in progress. At one point it might be very pink. Four or five glazes later it might be more orange. But as the glazes build up the colors lock on target. My kids love to watch the color shifting. It is a terrific way to learn how to get a very precise color and value. You just have to be patient as you build up the glazes. I was wondering if anyone else out there uses a limited palette and glazing in this manner?

05-21-2001, 03:09 AM
See if you can get a video by James Kirk from Oregon ,not the Enterprise. Now he really does wet in wet portraiture.
Billyg http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

05-21-2001, 08:25 AM
The technique sounds very interesting. It would be great if you could start a painting and follow it through and post it like a demonstration as you do it. You can see some of the demonstrations posted by Rod and Larry and Carole. It would maybe make it clearer to me. Sounds good though http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Why do I make it so hard?

05-21-2001, 08:28 AM
Yes, it would be super if you could post the steps of a work as you do them.

05-21-2001, 10:06 AM
BillyG - Oh wet in wet. That's scary. I have to admit I play it safe. The glazes are thoroughly dry in-between.

The demonstration idea sounds fun. I have had this computer and scanner for only a month or two so I don't have any past sequences showing this shifting. I have experimented with sending my most recent commission client progress reports via e-mail though. I didn't realize how safe I played it until I went to see if I could use it for the demonstration. I stabalized the color in every one prior to the weekly scan. Guess I didn't want to scare a client away. LOL. On my next one I will scan it as it is coming up to a color lock.

05-21-2001, 01:44 PM
Lisa: I use 110 Hot Press Arches watercolor paper. It is importrant to keep it tightly stretched when you use this light a weight. I gently brush the new layer on, trying not to go back over the wet area even on a return stroke. Who knows, mabey this is the real reason the mud has gone away<?>. It is not as hard as it seems to wait until the past layer is dry. Each glaze is usually over a small area, such as an eyelid. While it is drying I can work on an area of hair. And since I am usually working on two to five projects at one time I can always move on to one of those while another dries. I find that drying time is variable. My little 'studio' in the corner of the living room and is right under the air conditioning vent. This is sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse. When the air is running a glaze will be dry in about ten minutes. Just touch the surface lightly with your clean finger. It should be dry to the touch. Even though I do not currently have a sequence available, would anyone want to see a finished piece using this technique?

05-21-2001, 03:42 PM
thanks for answering my questions!

I would definitely like to see some of your finished paintings!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
also, do you feel that hot pressed is better than cold pressed for glazing..maybe I should try some..


05-21-2001, 08:57 PM
Lisa: I have found that for portrait work, the hot press is definitely superior. The weight doesn't seem to be too crucial. For non-portrait work I have worked on cold press only a few times. The horse included here is one. (Sorry for the glare on the glass - it was photographed after framing). If you are curious about the hot press/portrait combination, see the thread going in the portraiture forum that has some portrait examples- look for 'Gerber Baby'.
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[This message has been edited by TMoore (edited May 21, 2001).]

05-21-2001, 09:03 PM

that is a beautiful horse. IT's undercolors just glow through!

goint to check the other forum now for your portraits.

thank you http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

05-21-2001, 10:21 PM
Hi again Tammy... This horse is gorgeous and the colors just sing. I have not used hot press on any of the commission portraits I have done - maybe should try that next! Do you find it as "forgiveable" as cold press?
I am about to put in an order, and will probably try some arches hot press - their indented label is bothersome lately... hmmm
seems to have gotten bigger ?! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Carol


05-21-2001, 11:56 PM
Ah, just what I was wondering. Someone else is using a limited palette of three colors too. See "flittery Butterfly" currently active in this forum.

05-22-2001, 12:09 AM
Carol: Somewhere early on I read that it was a bad idea to have to erase or undo in pencil and watercolor. Now it seems funny - I can't remember where I picked this up from. It has taught me intense concentration and a high level of carefulness. I suppose I would have turned out with a different 'style' if I had never gotten this idea into my head. Hence I don't have much experience with taxing the surface of the paper. A hysterical, slightly insane laugh escapes my mouth. What torture this has caused at times. LOL.

05-22-2001, 12:53 AM
I have been trying to use glazing but my paper always gets "scrubby" looking. I thought maybe I wasnt letting it dry thoroughly enough in between glazes. how long do you let it dry? do you use a hairdryer?
also, what type of paper are you using to put up with the amount of glazing you are doing?

I also would love to see something you have done in stages.


05-22-2001, 07:38 AM
Here are some images that might be helpful. I didn't think of posting this one before because I am using this in-progress painting to explain a critiquing tool in the Design and Composition Forum. But it is useful here too. Because it is still in-progress you see some hints of this shifting prior to a solid lock on. The most recent glazes have been Winsor Blue - just before that, glazes of Winsor Permanent Alizarin. See the tilt toward the purples currently. Actually this piece has an interesting history. It was started 8 years ago and I had only three days at that time to get it far enough to be presentable for my mother-in-law's birthday. It was frought with errors because of the rush. It usually takes me about 100 hours to complete a painting and I tried to compress that into about 20. Also note that this doesn't show the full composition. There is a bubble in the foreground that little Melody is looking at. The first of the two pictures shows what it looked like when it was presented to her. She passed away four years ago and the painting came back into my possession. I couldn't get it out to complete it until a few weeks ago. I scanned it in before I started work on it as a memorial to her and am completing it for much the same reason.

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05-22-2001, 07:54 AM
Oh, on the topis of hot press vs cold press, There is a very different behavior between the two in regard to its 'sponginess'. Cold press behaves like a sponge. It 'sucks' the water and glaze into itself in a manner very different than the Hot press does. The hot press is a 'picky eater' it doesn't 'eat' ravenously. Your glazes will stay near the surface and hence it will be easier for them to lift back off in subsequent glazes. developing a delicate stroke with a loaded brush is important - especially in the darker passages which may have up to 300 layers of glaze. Now you see why it takes a hundred hours. LOL. But I think it is the very fact that the glazes stay so much more near the surface that the colors glow at a greater intensity. The delicateness of the stroke keeps the gelatin coating, that comes on the paper, intact and the white of the paper seems to retain its brilliance coming through. I hope this helps someone.

05-22-2001, 09:20 AM
Thanks Tammy..very informative. I was aware of those difference between hot and cold press - just haven't had much experience in lifting on the hot press.
Funny how you hear and remember tips from earlier years and how they affect your approach to painting. I had a few "hang ups" from that kind of thing myself...lol!