Poured Watercolor Demo

For the month of August, I am the featured artist at the Gunnison Arts Center.  I decided to do a painting demonstration for the First Friday Art Walk.  Working on three subjects: a chile market in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico; a series of flamenco dancers; and a Norwegian Fiord horse, I need to decide which piece will be the subject of my demo.  I chose the Fiord horse, because Gunnison has a strong horse culture and tradition.  Additionally, I am well known for my equine paintings, so this gives my audience an insight into how I work.  Studying the ink value drawing, I decide the painting’s design lends itself to the poured watercolor method.  This will be a crowd pleasing technique!  When the paper is wet and the paint is flowing, exciting mixtures and effects occur.

fiord1

 

 

The Norwegian Fiord has a distinctive black and white mane and tail, along with a dorsal stripe running from the end of the mane to the beginning of the tail.  The goal of my study is to spotlight the Fiord’s unusual and distinctive markings.

 

 

 

 

fiord2

 

 

After mounting my watercolor paper on a sturdy board, I transfer my drawing to the paper and mask the areas that will remain white.   When the mask is thoroughly dry, I pour the first layer using light values of permanent rose, raw sienna, and manganese blue.  These pigments will be my primaries for this painting- (red, yellow, and blue).  Using my drawing study, (above), as my value map, I mask the areas I want to remain light.  I use both a mask pen for small areas and a mask brush for larger areas.

When the second mask is dry, the painting is ready for the medium value pour.  This I will do in Gunnison at the Arts Center during the First Friday Art Walk.  The colors are bright and dramatic, eliciting ooo’s and aaaah’s from the audience.

fiord5For the final dark layer, I will apply color loosely with a large mop brush.  I mix colors wet-into-wet directly on the paper in selected areas where the Fiord’s distinctive black stripes appear.

I’m not concerned with a realistic reproduction of the horse’s markings.  A camera can do that job.  My objective is to celebrate the unique and instantly identifiable beauty of the Norwegian Fiord.  For this purpose, I am using bright colors in darker values than previous layers.  At this point, I must wait for the paint to dry thoroughly before I can remove the mask.  Because it is getting late at the Arts Center, I plan to do the next steps at home.

Above Right, I begin removing all the mask layers.  This is my favorite part of the process.  I feel like I am unwrapping a gift as the image begins to emerge beneath the mask.  With the mask removed, the hard work of pulling all the elements together to refine and resolve the painting begins.  I spend as much time studying the painting as I do applying paint.

Good Hair Day
“A Good Hair Day!”  copyright Cheri Isgreen  16″x20″ framed  $350 click here to purchase

2018 Exhibitions

It looks like this summer will be busy with numerous exhibitions and shows.  First on tap is the Colorado Watercolor Society 2018 juried exhibition.  This year the show was juried by Robbie Laird, NWS.  Robbie is currently the president of the National Watercolor Society.

My entry, “Break in the Clouds, Nicaragua,” was accepted for exhibition.  This painting is available for purchase through this link.

Colorado Watercolor Society
2018 STATE WATERCOLOR EXHIBITION
May 12 to June 27, 2018
Library 21c, Pikes Peak Library District, 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Opening & Reception May 12, 2PM-5PM
Juror: Robbie Laird

Break in the Clouds (1)

“Break in the Clouds, Nicaragua” watercolor by Cheri Isgreen; framed size 20″ x 16″ $350

To learn more about this painting, visit this link

Upcoming March Workshop at Ah Haa School for the Arts, Telluride, CO

Time to register for POURED WATERCOLOR with Cheri Isgreen

Fri-Sun March 23-25 10 am – 4 pm. $355

Forgo the brush & experiment with the process of pouring watercolor to produce looser paintings with unique results. Learn pigment rules & pouring techniques, as well as color theory, composition, & strategies for successful painting. Learn how pouring watercolors in a series of glazes allows depth of color to develop while preserving underlying layers and enhancing luminosity. Experience how poured watercolor fosters a wide range of spontaneous colors while maintaining the harmony of a limited palette. All levels of painters welcome, including first-time watercolorists. Extra support for new painters and design challenges for experienced artists will be provided.

REGISTER FOR POURED WATERCOLOR

Painting Experimentation

Researchers say that teaching deepens the teacher’s understanding, so she is learning along with her students.  As I have been preparing for numerous classes and workshops this summer, I paint examples that I can use in my workshops.  As I paint, I reflect on what I’m doing, the decisions I am making, and the results of those decisions.  These reflections go into my lesson plans.  Often these reflections lead to experimental paintings.

FullSizeRender

“Cowboy Up,” explores lost and found edges despite using masks (hard edges) to preserve the layers in the pour.  This was achieved from two approaches.

  • in the initial masking by softening the edges through “scratchy dry brush” edge treatment
  • after the mask was removed, I softened the edges while adding neutralized wash to the wet areas

“Cowboy Up” was painted for my poured watercolor class to be held at the Ah Haa School of the Arts in Telluride, Colorado July 28 & 29, the last weekend in July.  Register through Ah Haa at this following link:  Poured Watercolor Registration

FullSizeRender
“A Splash of Poppies”

“Upsy Daisy” (feature image) and “A Splash of Poppies” show a myriad of techniques to employ to create loose watercolor paintings, including outlining, dripping, splashing, and wet-into-wet alla prima painting.  The next “Getting Loose” class is set for September 30th as a benefit for the Montrose Center for the Arts.  Register for this very playful, relaxing workshop with this link: Poured Watercolor Registration

This summer, I am teaching every Wednesday at the Gunnison Arts Center through the program, Wednesdays at Western State University.  You can register for the Gunnison classes at the following link:  Wednesday at Western Registration Cheri Isgreen  or by calling the university at (970)943-2885.

Sketch Journals– Wednesdays, 3:00 – 5:00 pm.
June 14, June 28, July 12, July 26, August 9.place1

Back by popular demand! Explore ways to combine text with image using creative expression, visual design principles, and art techniques. All levels welcome; beginners
will be given extra support, and advanced students will receive design challenges. 5 sessions, classes need not be taken sequentially. Instructor: Cheri Isgreen. $35.

Bringing The Art Masters Alive – Wednesdays, 3:00 – 5:00 pm.
June 21, July 5, July 19, August 2.

cezanneDo you love art? Bring it alive through creative discovery. Take a multimedia approach to exploring periods, movements, geography, and master artists through making art. No prerequisite; each session is a stand-alone class with new content each week Emphasis is on creative expression and discovery. We will not be copying masterworks.  All levels welcome; beginners will be given extra support; experienced artists are given design challenges to deepen their understanding. 5 sessions, classes need not be taken sequentially. Instructor: Cheri Isgreen. $35.

New Work 2017 “Break in the Clouds”

After seeing my “After School” painting, a good friend sent me a photo she took while traveling in Nicaragua, which she said reminded her of my narrative painting.  (see March 31 post- After School)  I thought the photo would be a perfect subject for a poured watercolor approach.  I will be teaching this technique in Telluride, CO this summer.  If you are intrigued by this method, you can register with this link- poured watercolor workshop

As with many of my paintings, the first step is a study in ink or pencil.  Lately I have been using ink.  These studies are important to determine values for the many pours, along with defining edges and movement in the painting.

1 break

After transferring the drawing to 140 pound Arches watercolor paper, I begin masking and pouring the multiple layers of color and value.  Now that Adobe Photoshop is so popular, many more people understand the process of poured watercolor.  One must think in layers from light to dark.  Details can be painting early and masked, or the area can be defined after all the masks have been removed and the layers integrate into a composition.  I do both depending on the colors needed and the type of detail I will be adding.  Street scenes have far more fussy details than the landscape and horse compositions I have been pouring, so I’ve been improvising the best ways to define details.  If the details have complimentary color in the adjacent background, it works best to paint and mask the details before pouring to keep the colors pure.

After the final pour is dry, the mask can be removed.  This is the time to clean up edges, define shapes, and resolve the composition.  Sometimes this step is like unwrapping a present; the painting revealed under all the drips, masks, layers, and pours is glowing and almost done.  Other times, removing the mask presents a conundrum; how do I pull all the elements together?  This painting presented a conundrum.  I studied this step of the painting for several days before adding the final touches.

4 break

After much study, I cleaned up the painting and started to add dabs of paint in ways that would unify the artwork.  This took a few days, some brainstorming, some problem solving, and outside eyes to discuss where things needed to go.  I was pleased with the solution.  This painting evolved organically, and the original painting I saw in my mind’s eye was not the final result you see here.  As artists, we must be flexible and listen to what the painting is telling us.

Break in the Clouds (1)

“First Pal” finished painting from Demo

“First Pal” is a portrait of my daughter’s first pony, a section B, 12 hand Welsh Pony, which I bought as a weanling for her fifth birthday.  Capriceaux and Marissa grew up together.   You can read more about them at Marissa and Capriceaux or just watch the video Pony Pals video

slide-scans-24002571
Taken on Marissa’s 5th birthday

It took me awhile to finish this painting; sometimes how to resolve/finish a painting can be elusive.  When that happens, I’ve found the best strategy is to stop painting and simply think about different approaches.  Returning from the sketching trip to Texas reignited my creative flow.  I played up the negative grass shapes, adding some counterchange and juxtaposing negative grasses from the pour with positive grasses, painted with the brush.  I added atmosphere in the background with wet-into-wet painting, and finished with textural splatters.  To review the painting process for this painting, visit Demo part 1 and Demo part 2.

First Pal
“First Pal,” watercolor, 15″ X 11″  $350; copyright Cheri Isgreen, 2016