Last Beginning Watercolor Session – Sunflowers

Progression Photos of a Sunflower Painting Class

Here are few progression shots of today’s class painting. As you can see things always look flat and almost cartoonish until quite a way through the painting. Then the darks go in and everything comes together. It’s one of the most difficult things to do in watercolor – holding back with the detail and getting the basic shapes and values right. It takes faith and a bit of experience but always reaps rewards.

Today was the last zoom class in my Beginning Watercolor Workshop for the Newton NewArts center. It’s been a fun 6 weeks and I always enjoy these classes. It’s good to get back to basics and go slowly through mixing colors, values, washes, and putting them all to use in paintings. However, I’ve decided to rethink this set of lessons. There’s a lot to get through in 6 weeks and I’m going to break it down into shorter 1 or two hour sessions based around techniques. These are going to be available in the next few weeks via YouTube and facebook livestreams. People will be able to buy them one by one depending on what they’re interested in.

I still love doing the whole painting demos and I will be offering these in parallel. This way you can take a technique class or two followed by a painting class or vice versa. I’m hoping this will work well and we had a great discussion in class today about what works when you’re starting out with watercolor that reflects these decisions.

Kathy Speranza Roses – Online Course Pass 2

Kathy Speranza Rose Workshop – Second Pass

Pass 2 on the Kathy Speranza rose workshop. This is lesson 6 and the second pass putting on color. I’m finding this tricky but slowly getting into the slow pace of things. Usually I would be finishing up by now but I think there are a few more steps to go. Each with a week’s drying in between so we’re in for the long haul. This one was refining the background, values and edges. I also introduced some more chroma into the centers. A very little paint goes a long way with this method and I’m starting to enjoy it very much.

Here is the first pass

Kathy Speranza Rose Workshop – First Pass

Kathy Speranza Roses Online Course – Pass 1

I was watching Kathy Speranza’s online rose course yesterday and thought I’d have a go. She makes it look so easy! And boy can she paint.

I’m not doing her exact method. She does an underpainting first and a number of preliminary drawings but I thought I’d have a go at the block in to see what happened. Pretty happy so far.

Summer Roses – Final Session

Summer Roses Final Session. Michele Clamp. Oil on Panel. 16″x20″

The final (ish) session on the summer roses with Paul Foxton. Hard to say how I feel about this right now. There are a few things I’d like to work on still but it’s very close to being done. Highly recommend Paul’s workshops. I learn a lot, the people are great and it’s enormous fun.

Summer Roses – Working up the Color Study

Color study take 2. Michele Clamp. Oil on paper. 8″x10″

Inspired by Marilyn on the Summer Roses group I decided to work up the color study a little. This gives me a little practice in readiness for the bigger version on Monday. Although softening the edges was tricky I think I’m fully prepared to dive into the real thing.

Here it is before I worked on it

Color study for Summer Roses first pass.

Summer Roses Paul Foxton Workshop – Session 5

Summer Roses Workshop with Paul Foxton. After session 5. Michele Clamp. Oil on panel. 16″x20″

It’s session 5 already! And we’re now onto putting some detail into the roses. We worked on the two main roses and it is extremely tricky. I think I’m happy right now but I’ll take another look tomorrow. I just about kept the form without losing value in the shadows or gaining it in the lights. And the inside curled petals just about came together.

Here’s where I started – all smooshed edges

The starting point

We first worked on the big left hand rose. Sharpening up some edges and leaving others loosely defined

Left hand rose with some definition

Then the right hand rose which was trickier but just about kept together.

Roses after session 5

And a detail of the two almost finished roses

Summer Roses Paul Foxton Workshop – In Progress. Michele Clamp. Oil on panel. 16″x20″. Detail.

David Austin Roses

David Austin Roses. Michele Clamp. Oil on panel. 10″x8″

We planted three David Austin rose bushes this year. Our track record with plants is hit or miss to put it generously so I was pretty pleased that they all flowered albeit sparsely and with tiny blooms. However – these are our own roses grown by our own fair hands. I don’t think this is quite finished yet. I need to leave it on the easel and see what it needs in the next couple of days. I’m pretty happy at the moment though. The values are good, the edges have a nice variety to them and they have some life.

Here are some intermediates:

This is the block in stage with the major values. Pretty much 2 or 3 for each flower, 2 for the leaves and 2 for the background. All hard edges right now and it looks pretty nasty.

All the edges are now softened with a combination of a comber brush and a soft sable. At this point I can start to see which areas will be left soft and which will be sharpened up.

Start of the sharpening stage.

This is right at the start of the process of refining and sharpening up the edges. Only a few edges have gone in but you can see it start to come to life. This is the magic bit!

Current state after refining edges

This is the current state. The edges have been redefined, some petal detail has gone in and some extra values. A good day’s work I think.