Sunday, May 31, 2009

Taking Flight

This painting grew from remembering a technique I had seen demonstrated in 1977 by Zoltan Szabo. I wanted a dark but interesting marsh background for the egret rising from the ground.

First I sketched the bird on Arches 300 lb coldpress watercolor paper and applied masking fluid to the the head, body, front wing and the center of the back wing which I wanted to try to depict in motion by lifting the feathers along the edge.

Next I wet the entire piece of paper and applied a couple of staining colors, sap green and winsor violet. I primarily use non-staining colors so that I can lift them, but in this case, I needed stains. I tried not to fill the area I planned to lift with these colors and I also dropped in a bit of non-staining cobalt blue for a hint of sky that might or might not be visible through the grasses. I let the painting dry completely.

Next I used various combinations of French Ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, ranging from brown to deep blue and stroked them vertically and at an angle across the entire masked underpainting. Only small areas of the violet and green remained and the stains gave many hues to the overpainted areas.

Next I lifted carefully marsh grasses from areas where the staining colors were strongest and scrubbed a bit harder on the feathers of the far wing of the egret. When this dried, I carefully removed the masking fluid with a rubber cement lifter, which has now become a tool for lifting masking fluid.

I wet the neck and head and added cobalt blue mixed with rose madder genuine for the shadow. Then used the same color to define the feathers on the front wing..dropped into wet paper..tricky but make the color a bit dryer than the wetness of the paper and it will work. Continued to lift more grass shapes from time to time.

Went to the lower left corner and lifted flat ovals to suggest water..then lifted drops which might have shaken off as the bird takes flight.

Painted the legs a black mixed from French Ultramarine blue and burnt sienna..this color will lift completely, so is great for very dark areas that might need lifting.

Painted the eye yellow and the bill a combination of indian yellow and cad orange with a highlight lifted on top and a shadow underneath with a bit of cobalt/rose madder mixed.

Looked very carefully at my photo with a magnifying glass and painted a dot in the eye and the med darks around it with a tiny brush and a mixture of cobalt blue and burnt sienna.

This is a scan of the finished painting. I have added a bit of yellow and burnt sienna to a few of the grasses and you can see the detailing of the feathers. I had made the farthest feathers fuzzy to suggest movement and lifted a highlight on the black legs. The colors are truer than in the photos preceding and the painting has turned out more striking that I had imagined it. In painting watercolor, there are always nice surprises and you must be ready to wait for them to happen and incorporate them into your original idea...with grace and ease.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The New Romantic Market

I have joined a new market on 1000Markets and we are planning a a grand celebration!

Gala Opening is Celebrated With Villeta Inspirations

The doors of The New Romantic Market are officially open for business. To celebrate our opening, we're creating works of art and artisanal items that are inspired by the photography portraiture of Adrian Villeta.

To add to our celebration, we've invited 1000 Markets CEO, Matt Trifiro to judge our Inspiration Artwork. He will select the piece of Villeta inspired art that best captures Adrian's elegant romantic style. The artist whose work is selected will receive a recognition gift, provided by 1000 Markets store, le enchantement.

You're invited to join The New Romantic Market artists

June 2nd at 7pm (cst) here:

for a live online opening party and announcement of the Villeta Inspirations winner.
Join our party, raise a glass of bubbly and help us cut the 'opening our doors for business' ribbon.

See the 'Villeta Inspirations' entries here:
Be sure to check back as the entries continue to come in and join us for the winner announcement on June 2nd.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Blog Feature

I am excited to be featured on Blue Canyon Arts' blog about the New Romantic Market's opening.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Blog on The Boardwalk

I was honored to be featured today on The Boardwalk Blog at 1000markets.

Meet The Boardwalk Artist Series ~ Featured Artist ~ Mary Ellen Golden... Watercolor with Grace and Ease

Watercolor is considered a difficult medium by many people. My goal is to create a space in which it happens with grace and ease. My very first art teacher was Margaret Cooper in Rose Hill, North Carolina. I studied oil painting with her from the age of 10 until I went off to college at 17. She gave me an absolute love for the process and an innate color knowledge that has made my path what it is today. I hope that I can pass that on to all my students.

I have been painting in watercolor for more than thirty years. The medium still holds the same fascination that it held for me the very first time I carefully wet the paper, applied a small amount of color, and instantly blotted it with the tissue clenched in my left hand. My students to this day say that when the left hand goes in my pocket, the painting is going well.

That first watercolor lesson was in 1975 in Charleston, SC. The teacher was Virginia Fouché and I am very fortunate to have known her. She had asked me to help her teach her high school art class macrame and when we finished said "how can I repay you?" I told her that I was having trouble with an acrylic painting I was working on and she invited me to her adult class that night..We gathered in an old building in the old village in Mt Pleasant and painted in oils and acrylic..She told me if I would come to class, she would have me painting all the time...and she did.

When she attended a master class in watercolor at Rangemark in Maine, she returned and taught us all watercolor! Hallelujah! That was my media..and the brushes haven't dried out since. She immediately brought Jeanne Dobie and Christopher Schink and Ralph Smith to Charleston and we received wonderful instruction very early in our watercolor journey. Many of those in that class are among Charleston's premier artists today and I love to go back and see what they are doing...

After 4 years in Charleston, my husband John transferred to Wilmington and I opened a tiny gallery in the Cotton Exchange in 1977. When my son John grew up, we added him to the lease and grew the gallery to include his photography. He became a graphic designer and animator and has become well known online as John W Golden, digital artist.. He has shown me the delights of online marketing where I met Beachy Rustica and have been guided by her to 1000 markets and The Boardwalk. She has been an amazing mentor for me and I would like to thank her for leading me here

Many thanks to Mary Ellen for such a great bio! Next week another Boardwalk artist will be featured - so don't forget to stop by!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

First Class of 2009

I started my first class of 2009 on a cold gray, rainy morning so I decided to paint a pair of cardinals on the bare redbud tree outside my kitchen window. I sketched them in last night and lo and behold they actually made a brief appearance in the trees and rain during class this morning!

After I sketched in pencil, I applied the Pebeo masking fluid with the brushes I save for using masking fluid. I soap the wet brush and remove any excess suds with my fingers and then dip it in a small amount of masking fluid in a separate container from the large bottle. this makes the larger bottle last longer and protects it from contamination.

Step 2 in my cardinals painting

When the masking fluid had dried on my sketch, I mixed up several fairly thick puddles of paint on my palette.1. was rose madder genuine and cerulean blue for the lavender hue of the pine trunks in the rain. 2. was cobalt blue and burnt sienna to darken the trunks. 3. was indian yellow and antwerp blue as a light spring green.

I carefully wet the entire painting with a big 2-inch brush and quickly brushed in two wide streaks of the lavender, darkened part of them with the #2 mixture. Then I splashed some of the bright spring green in the upper parts and some mostly burnt sienna in the lower parts..I left a few uncovered spots white and as the colors began to dry, took a small brush and flicked in some branches with a thick burnt sienna/cobalt blue mixture. By then they retained a thin branch shape but remained soft edged which will make them recede behind the masked branches which will have crisp edges.

Then I took a breath and watched the paint dry to make sure there were no too wet places to bloom. After the shine was completely gone from the paper I felt comfortable using the hair dryer to complete the drying so that I could remove the masking fluid. The 140 lb. cold press arches watercolor paper that I had just taped down with masking tape dried completely flat with the hair dryer.

Step 3

When the paper was thoroughly dry I removed the masking fluid with a rubber cement eraser recovering the whitesthat I had covered with masking fluid to protect them from the paint.

I used a stiff bristle brush and a little water to correct any edges that needed to be cleaned up as well as any breakthrough color in the whites.

By this time it was time for lunch so we adjourned and will finish the painting next week.

Thank you Nancy and Kathy for sharing your images with us.

Step 4 in Cardinals watercolor

I wet the body of the female cardinal and dropped in yellow ochre, cad orange and burnt sienna..then a few touches of cad scarlet. While the bird was still very damp, I mixed cobalt blue into the burnt sienna and sofly contoured the shadow on the lower part of the body. When dry I painted the black feathers around the beak and the black eye using a very dark mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. I left a little highlight in the eye and around..look very carefully at your reference photo and paint detail as you see it.

I painted the beak with cad orange, cad scarlet and a bit of winsor red for the shadows..the tiniest bit of the black on the tip of the beak.

I painted the male in a similar fashion beginning with water and dropping in cad scarlet and winsor red to contour the body. I used brown madder for the darkest shadows and under the tail. I painted the feet gripping the limb with a combination of brown madder and cobalt blue. This male had more black feathers around his beak, painted again with a mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

When both birds were painted, I began painting the limbs of the old redbud tree, using first a very wet pale gray mixed with cobalt blue and a touch of burnt sienna and then dropping in a stronger mixture with more burnt sienna along the shaded edge of the limbs. I continued painting these with varying mixtures to give interest and make the limbs twist and turn. The darker limbs usually appear to come toward you while the paler ones recede. I painted a couple of scraggly leaves yellow with edges dropped in with burnt sienna and cad scarlet.

Cardinals final

I finished the rest of the limbs and looked at them carefully for shadow and light which would weave them together and create a 3 dimensional effect. the lower limbs become a bit darker and rougher as they come toward you.