Watercolor demonstration- Big Ben painted on YUPO synthetic paper

Months ago I began a series of watercolor paintings on YUPO synthetic paper.  “Synthetic” meaning plastic.

Painting on a plastic surface with watercolor is tough.  The surface takes a long time to dry.  You can layer but with difficulty.  Oil from finger prints creates a resist for paint (run a cloth with a light application of rubbing alcohol over the surface to remove the oil).  However, you can remove the surface paint at any time and get back to the original white of the “paper”.

I began the watercolor painting of Big Ben (Clock Tower) on a “rainbow” surface I prepared months ago.

When I create my YUPO abstract surfaces, I put 3-5 pieces on my kitchen floor, wet the tops of the suface, and proceed to walk around the kitchen throwing paint onto the paper randomly.  Spattering colors into the puddles encourages color mixing.

I mop up puddles that collect too much water with a squirrel mop watercolor brush.  Additionally, I throw salt onto the surface when it has partially dried to develop texture, as well as rubbing alcohol spritzed with a sprayer.  Rubbing alcohol repels the watercolor.

This was the abstract image I began with:

Watercolor painting of Big Ben (Clock Tower) on YUPO synthetic paper

My next step and the most difficult part of painting in this manner is finding the “right” image for the paper.  Once dried, I view the paper from different angles until something comes to mind.

In this case- after many months, I saw a silhouette of Big Ben in London.

I drew the image onto the paper and began painting.

The finished result:

Watercolor painting of Big Ben (Clock Tower) on YUPO synthetic paper

Layering YUPO is difficult because you cannot run your brush over a dried layer more than once.  If you do, you will watch the underlying layer lift off the surface and blend with the colors being painted.

I painted the silhouettes of the background buildings & bridge quickly- lots of water and dark colors.

Big Ben, however, I spent several hours painting.  I tried to introduce the colors of the sky into the iconic tower.

I need to re-photograph the image since all the darks reflect light.  I’ll post the final when I photograph it properly and remove the light reflections.

Happy holidays and email if you have any questions/comments/donations.

Sincerely,

Ryan Fox

ryan@rfoxphoto.com

R. Fox Photo/Arts

R. Fox Watercolors on etsy.com

Fine Art America– canvas, metallic, and fine art prints

World of Art Showcase (WOAS 2013)- Raleigh, NC

Next weekend the World of Art Showcase will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center.  The VIP premier opening is October 31st from 5-10pm and the show opens to public November 1-3rd.  Admission is $15 if purchased online or $30 at the door.

Watercolor painting of North Carolina lighthouse on YUPO synthetic paper.

Or if you attend on Raleigh First Friday, admission is free November 1st from 7-10pm.

With over 80 international artists, the show also features Raleigh artists such as Carol Joy ShannonSharon and Joseph DiGiulio, and others.

Luckily, I will be one of the OTHERS.  Visual Arts Exchange has several booths and is letting the four forum groups affiliated with VAE display work.  I have been the facilitator for the Traditional Painters’ Forum for almost two years, and am delighted that 6 members and I will be displaying our paintings and drawings.  Sonia Kane, Bibi Bowman, Julie Holmes, Vicki Rees, Alexandra Bloch, and Claudia Jackson will all have paintings and drawings for sale at the VAE booth.

Watercolor painting of Tower Bridge- London, England

It will be a great weekend.  Stop by the VAE booth and support some amazing local artists.

Sincerely,

Ryan Fox

R. Fox Photo/Arts

R. Fox Etsy- Giclee prints and originals

(919) 645-8345

ryan@rfoxphoto.com

 

Save

Save

Link reciprocity- Watercolor Society of North Carolina

In the latest issue of The Palette Dispatch I wrote a brief article concerning linking to the Watercolor Society of North Carolina website from your artist website.

Why would you want to do this?

Though the search engine algorithm’s are top secret, the consensus among SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts are several things will increase the relevance of your website thus leading to higher search engine rankings.

These include:

1. Links on your website & reciprocal links with similar content. You do not need to go overboard linking to everyone involved in watercolor.  This can hurt you if you have too many links to other sites with no reciprocal links.  Reciprocal links tell the search engines that your site is relevant. WSNC has many, many links to artists’ websites.  Linking your site to WSNC increases the importance of the WSNC site and yours too.

If you have not added your website to the WSNC site, please do. Let’s stay connected and help each other.

To add a link to WSNC- add this code to your site in the appropriate page and place:

<a href=”http://ncwatercolor.com”><strong>Watercolor Society of North Carolina</strong></a>

This is what will appear:

Watercolor Society of North Carolina

2. Site description. These include the title, keyword, and description tags.  Many, many sites I have seen from WSNC  members do not have this information.

What happens if you do not have TITLE, KEYWORD, or DESCRIPTION tags?

What the search engines will see is:

 

Nothing.

Not sure what you have on your website? Does all this sound like I am speaking Greek?

Let’s find out what is on your site.  Go to your webpage and right-click on the page. Select VIEW PAGE SOURCE and view the results in the new window. This is the code for your site. This is what the search engine sees.

If your code does not have enough text, let’s fix it.

At the top of the code view of your page, you should something that says TITLE. Usually it is below the HEAD tag.

COPY THIS:

<head>

<title>My watercolor painting page</title>

<meta name=”description” content=”Write a detailed description of your site and art.  Use specific phrases but avoid stuffing too many words into the sentences & avoid sounding like Elmer Fudd” />

<meta name=”keywords” content=”shorter phrases but be specific.  If you add WATERCOLOR as a stand alone word- remember watercolor has over 42 million results when searched on google” />

The code above is what you want to add to the top of the page.

Write a brief title- usually 50-60 letters.

I added my notes between the TITLE tags and “”s. Please change these. Or else someone is going to find your site when searching for Elmer Fudd. 🙂

More later

Ryan

www.rfoxphoto.com

www.etsy.com/shop/RFoxWatercolors

(919) 645-8345

Watercolor painting of Duomo- Florence, Italy

Watercolor painting of Duomo and architecture of Florence, Italy as viewed from Piazzale Michaelangelo

Save

Save

Watercolor demonstration- Raleigh, NC skyline

My latest step by step watercolor demonstration is a painting of the skyline of downtown Raleigh, NC.  I am trying to paint a few local scenes.

I have learned the hard way (more than several times) to paint the largest areas first.  This way if I screw it up, I can simply start again.

Step 1

For this watercolor I drew in the outline of the downtown skyscrapers.  The sky was painted first.  Loose, juicy washes were encouraged to blend.  Salt was added for effect.  Random pieces of white paper were left untouched (a technique employed skillfully and successfully by fellow watercolorist Dan Burt).

The sky was painted upside down with the colors flowing away from the buildings.

My reference photograph was shot on a clear day.  My painted sky is completely invented.  In my mind, I pictured an orange sky with complementary blue buildings in the foreground.  I added a touch of blue to several areas of the orange to reflect my color palette.

Step 2

Once the sky had dried, I turned the painting right-side up and evaluated.  I was happy with the sky.  My next step was to draw in the remainder of the buildings.  Mask-it fluid was used to preserve the whitest whites and windows of the skyscrapers (pictured below)

Step by step demonstration of watercolor painting of Raleigh, NC

Step by step demonstration of watercolor painting of Raleigh, NC

Step 3

With my whites protected I began painting the buildings.  Working right-side up, I started at the top of the skyscrapers with thick washes of paint and allowed it to flow to the bottom of the paper.  The blues were varied in intensity and color (ultramarine blue, cerulean, & cobalt) and red-oranges were introduced in the landscape to indicate the reflected colors of the sky.

Raleigh watercolorStep 4

The darkest darks were added to the treeline using a combination of ultramarine blue & burn sienna, winsor green and alizarin red.    The masking fluid was removed.

Raleigh watercolor

Step 5

The final caligraphy was added.  I tied colors of the sky and ground into the windows of the skyscrapers and added warm colors to the bridge and streets.  The skyscrapers were given definition with a few strokes but kept largely abstracted.  A few edges were softened.

Giclee prints of the Raleigh Skylin 22×30″ watercolor are available on my etsy and Fine Art America marketplaces.  The original is available too.

Sincerely,

Ryan Fox

R. Fox Photo/Arts

www.etsy.com

Fine Art America– canvas, metallic, and giclee prints

Aqueous 2013- Pittsburgh Watercolor Society

My modest goal for 2013 was to exceed the # of juried watercolor shows I was in last year.

2012 was the first year I entered watercolor exhibitions.  I was accepted in 3 competitions-  The Adirondack National Exhibition of American Watercolor, Pittsburgh Watercolor Society, and The Watercolor Society of North Carolina shows.

I accomplished my goal this year when my watercolor painting The Ballerina was accepted in this years Pittsburgh Watercolor Society Aqueous 2013, my 4th acceptance.  Juried by the amazing watercolor artist Frank Webb, I was humbled.

Watercolor painting of ballerina

The Ballerina, who coincidentally is my sister-in-law Annette Barcelona, was the first painting I have done in many ways- 1st portrait, and first completely free-hand painting on YUPO synthetic paper.

Synthetic paper?  That’s aka for plastic.

YUPO is a surface that watercolor artists have begun to utilize recently.  It is great because it exaggerates the fluid qualities of watercolor.   Nothing dries.  It does dry- but it takes hours (sometimes).  Best of all, if you don’t like something you can remove it (unlike watercolor paper).

Several notes about watercolor for anyone crazy enough to paint on plastic:

1.  Paper towels make great texture.  Let the watercolor dry, gently mist the area with a spray bottle, lay the paper towel down and let it absorb a little paint.  Do not be too heavy handed with this though as you could pull all the underlying layer off.

2.  Salt and rubbing alcohol give cool effects on YUPO, just as they do with watercolor paper.  The difference however, is when to apply it.   Rubbing alcohol works immediately.  Salt requires more patience and you need to time it when the paint is almost dry

3.  Sedimentary colors look super grainy on YUPO.  Throw the colors on when it is wet and watch the color grains of the color appear as they sink to the surface of the paper.

4.  It’s not an exact science, but you CAN layer on YUPO.   Remember, there is no sizing on the paper.  If you brush over the same area twice- don’t say I didn’t warn you.

My layering on YUPO formula:

Hard bristle brushes- forget about it.  They will automatically remove the surface layer.

Mop brushes-  lots of water and a little color.  Apply the color fast and don’t backtrack.  Leave the painting and go watch the entire series of LOST on netflix before returning: wondering why Hurley never lost any weight.

THE other brushes work great too.  I wish I could tell you what brush number, make and manufacturer these are, but I have used them enough that the paint has fallen off of the handles and all I am left with is exposed & rotting wood.  🙁

To make this story even better, I received the postcard for the show, and guess what painting is featured on the front?

Aqueous2013_postcard_small

The Ballerina will be displayed October 5-26th at the 3rd St. Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA.

Sincerely,

Ryan Fox

www.rfoxphoto.com

Etsy Shop

(919) 645-8345

ryan@rfoxphoto.com

 

Save

Save