Tuesday, September 30, 2008

painting lesson... day 3

Step 1 Here is a
close up of the wall.
I used miskit on the
mirror. There is a
bit more work on
the windows.

Step 2 The Chair:
I am still using the
same colors, The 1st
wash was with yellow
ochre. Now I am
adding more color to
the chair by mixing
cad red with alizarin
crimson and a touch of
burnt sienna. This is worked into just the wood of the
chair. To work the webbing on the seat, I used the
same mixture as above but painted only the lines that
form the webbing. Remember to dry hard with each
addition of washes. Now use paynes grey to go in
the webbing to enhance the lines.
Here is a view of the whole
room since working on the

Step 3 The Floor:
Yesterday I added
a bit of miskit and the
early washes now it
is time to get in some
texture, to make it look
aged. Mix some burnt
umber and permanant
rose. (more umber than
rose) You can see where I added it - where it is looking
more reddish. In the back around the chair I washed
more times to make it darker and richer because it is
in shadow. I have less washes in the front where the
sun shines. I used a drybrush technique, which means
I blotted most of the water from my brush before adding
paint, this causes the brush to drag across the paper. (with
more water in your brush the paint glides across, or runs
if you have to much water!)
This technique allows me to add texture. Notice I still have
not added any plank lines, just my pencil lines to guide me.

Step 4
I keep building the floor
color, notice I am saving
the parts where the light
from the window shines.
This is also done on the
bench. Also notice I added
the lines for the shadow
on the wall behind the chair.

The process of layering
washes continues until
I think I have reached
the look I need. I am not adding more or different paint,
I am simply using the same paints as washes and drying
in between. I am building my color saturation. Remember
I am saving my lighter areas and painting around them.
Patience... this is realism in watercolor.

Monday, September 29, 2008

painting lesson... day 2

Back to my demonstration...
Now it is time to get some paint on this drawing.
I build my color using a series of washes. A wash
is when you have water on your brush and add a
little color. When applied it adds thin layers of color
which I dry with a hairdryer in between layers.
If you rush this step your painting turns muddy! So
the hairdryer allows me to dry it thoroughly, quickly
so I can keep adding washes. Look carefully at the photo.
You can click over the photos to enlarge.
Step 1 I started with the walls and celling, using
yellow ochre. Can you see the warm wash I used?
Next I went to the
moulding and floor.
This time I used yellow
ochre and burnt sienna.
I have good brush control
so I paint around things
like the pegs on the wall
moulding. I am using a
#6 round brush for all the

Step 2
The floor requires a special
touch. I added some guide
lines to show me where
the warmest area will be.
This is called negative space.
I will save it for later. I also
added a wash to the bench.
I used a bit of naples yellow
and cad. yellow - reddish hue.

Step 3 Can you see how
I am building my richness?
I am using the same set of
color washes over top, drying
between each layer. It gets
warmer as I go along. I
put a wash over the window
frame and the bench is
getting darker. But notice
how I am working around
the lighter spots where
the sun will shine. Be patient
when building color.

Here is a close up of
the floor. I added some
miskit here and to the
the bench seat. It helps
go a bit faster where
I have larger areas to
wash over. I mix a
soapy solution in my brush first to keep the miskit from
sticking. I applied it like opaque paint and let it dry.
That's it for tonight. This is hours of work and is simply
my process. Questions so far???

Sunday, September 28, 2008

painting lesson...

I am back! I needed some time off from the daily painting.
That is not to say I did not paint! In fact I painted all day
every day just not on the mini paintings. I have several
paintings to share, I am painting for my annual open house.
First, I finished the bottles that you saw on 8/19 and 9/2.
The size is 24X18"

I am very pleased with this painting. I love the the
way the cabinet looks and the glass jars turned out great.
Next, I finished another 24x18" painting I had started...
I was intrigued with the round structure and how it
affected the way I drew and painted the bricks and
the view of the window. Again, I am happy with the
I have had several requests to actually attempt to
give an on line demonstration. So that is what I am
going to do all this week instead of posting a daily
finished painting.

Step 1 For me is to study my subject. I mean really look
at it. I work from my own photos but it is the same if you
paint from life. Get a feeling of perspective, shapes and
color. Take it apart in your head... like a puzzle.

Step 2 I always do a study pencil sketch. I work out
all my problems in this drawing. The sketch is only 5X7"
I focused on the perspective.
I also studied where my
shadows will fall. I almost
always do a sketch when
working on a major painting.
I actually enjoy this part.
It sets the painting in my mind.

Step 3 Paper prep... I use Arches 300lb cold paper
which I measure to the size I want and add a 1" extra
border which I line out. Then I take a heavy piece of
cardboard or foamboard and I use masking tape to
tape down my watercolor paper. (no, I do not soak it)

Step 4 The drawing. Yes I still draw by hand. I
personally think it is what gives my paintings life. It
makes it not quite perfect. I do not see me ever tracing
or computer manipulating my work. I do not need to,
I have worked hard at the skill of drawing, it is part of
my art form.
It was important for me
to create a depth of space
in the room. Notice the line
I used to form the ceiling
and the floor. These lines
contain all the elements of
importance in this painting.
This painting needs a strong
perspective to make it work.

That is it for tonight. I think you can click over each
photo to enlarge it so you can study it. Feel free to
comment or email any questions so far. Tomorrow I
will move on to the beginning stages of under painting.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sky Reflections

5" x 5" original watercolor
contact: andy@andysmithartist.com
I borrowed this photo from a student during
class so I could use it as a demonstration.
I was attracted to the sky's reflection in the
water and the bit of sea foam rolling ashore.

With my new students I was trying to help them
learn to really look at their subject and have a
plan. When you paint realism with watercolor you
need to understand where you are putting the paint.
I strongly encourage a good sketch.

I had my favorite students in class today, this was my
advance class. They all come with a painting they are
working on and only need a bit of the masters guidance!
I enjoy how they all have completely different styles and
are working on who they each are as artists.

Linda was busy getting yard sale items together. At least
the weather should be nice. We just got word that Jason
is quitting Hershey as of Friday. Linda is so disappointed.
She worked so hard to get him accepted and we really feel
this is his best chance at a good education. To allow him to
quit because he is unhappy... what 13yr old can make wise
lifelong decisions. Linda is disappointed today but I think by
Friday she will probably be mad, and that is not pretty!

I am thinking he will be getting an earful and some unpleasant
new rules at the Smith house. I plan to just keep my nose
in my watercolors!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pastoral View #10

4" x 6" original watercolor
contact: andy@andysmithartist.com

I used this painting as my demonstration
piece in this mornings class. I wanted to
show how I paint a tree. It has nice depth.
An old gate opening out to the unknown.

My weekend was spent mostly driving. We left Friday
at 3pm to pick up Abbey and Ben in DC. Traffic was
unreal, it took 4 hours just to get there. We loaded the
car, got a cup of coffee and left right away. It was 10:30pm
till we got back home. Saturday I went to a show while
Abbey and Linda did wedding things. Then on Sunday
we took the kids back. We left at noon, made great time
going down but on the return trip there was an accident on
I95. We barely moved for an hour. It is only 2 1/2 hours
to DC from our house, that's a 5hr round trip not 6-7!
Monday I unloaded the van, put a bike together for a kid
who needed one, and did some framing and painting. Today
I rode my bike early, taught two classes, finished my blog
and worked on my commission. I hate to admit it but we
are both tired today! We, no that's not right... Linda has
a yard sale planned for Saturday, so she is getting stuff
together, my services will be called on soon!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Three Peppers

6" x 4" original watercolor

I wanted to paint these peppers again before
they shriveled and I needed to keep it simple
today so I could get done early. I went with
a simple still life.

I concentrated this morning and finished these
early. As soon as I am finished typing we are
on our way to DC to pick up Abbey and Ben for
a weekend home. Linda and Abbey are working
on wedding plans. I am headed to a show tomorrow
alone... I added this show late as a filler, not knowing
much about it except another artist I respect is doing
it so I gambled!

at Paxson Hill Farm3265 Comfort Rd, New Hope, PA
50 artists ~ not sure about the quality...
but I am there!! 10AM to 4:30PM FREE!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Tribute

5" x 5" original watercolor

I usually try to do a tribute to 9/11.
I will let my viewers find their own
private meaning in this tribute.

Linda had me running errands this morning.
This time of year gets busy with donations
to our local food bank and our volunteer job
is to pick up donations and keep the pantry
shelves stocked. So we picked up a load of food.
Went to the library, post office, bank and got groceries
for my mom. Just your general stuff.
Then I painted all the rest of the day. We took
a break at 6PM to work a bit in the yard, I mowed
while Linda was in the flower garden.
Our yard is open to the public for Porchwalk in
October so Linda gets a bit wired about how things look.
I am back in at my desk working on my commission.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pears in Sunlight

6" x 4" original watercolor
contact: andy@andysmithartist.com

You can tell we went to the market!
Yesterday was peppers today is pears.
Same bowl from a different view. I
love the blue against the green with a
bit of warm yellow.

This week is flying by. It is Wednesday already.
Linda had Meals on Wheels this morning while I
took Mom to the hairdresser. I dropped her off and
ran to the hospital to visit with Linda's brother who had
some surgery. Then back to pick up Mom. I was
home by noon and Linda was already back at her desk.
I needed to play handyman, there was a few household
chores I had to do. It was 2:00 till I started painting. The
pressure is on... I have 30 days till we go to the printer
for our annual prints, this means I need to paint like a
crazy artist so Linda can pick 2 great paintings for printing.
I still have 2 commissions to finish and a daily blog!
Actually, Linda is the one who feels stressed and worried
that it won't all get done, me...I paint well under pressure!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


5" x 5" original watercolor
contact: andy@andysmithartist.com

I went to our local market today and had
to have these peppers. The color was so
vibrant. I brought them home and put
them in my favorite blue bowl.

I started my classes today. The morning class
was to full so I am putting the advanced painters
in a Wednesday morning class. If anyone who has
already spent some time with watercolors wants

to join me there is room for three more students.
Everyone works on their own project, I am there
to solve problems.
Wednesdays from 9:30 to 11:30am, just send an email.
Otherwise my classes are full. I enjoy teaching and I
enjoy my students, they become good friends.
With teaching I now miss our yoga class. Linda and I
were going faithfully. She trotted off with out me tonight!
I finished the first of my commissions, the second one is
sketched and ready for paint. My client came to look
and decided to take choice #2 so I need to get moving
on that one.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Window Study #15

6" x 4" original watercolor

I simply can never get enough pleasure
from painting window scenes. It is like
two paintings in one. Inside you have a
still life, a planter on a windowsill. Strong
light coming in. Then outside the window
is a landscape.

The impending storm has messed with my weekend.
I was to set up tonight and at the last moment the
promoter cancelled Saturday. Looks like a wise
call, I really do not want to be sitting under a tent
trying to keep paintings dry while it blows and pours!

So I have a bonus day off. Actually it will be spent
working on my commissions. I have one almost finished.
Since they are gifts I cannot share them with you.
Hopefully many of you will join me on Sunday at...


Held in the meadow at the Historical Society's
Visitors Center on Creek Rd ~ 1/4 mile north
of Rt 1 in Chadds Ford, PA

Saturday has been cancelled.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pastoral View #9

6" x 4" original watercolor
contact: andy@andysmithartist.com

This large animal was headed out into the pasture
when I called he turned his head to look back.
I really do not think that little fence would keep him
in. The pasture was wonderfully lush and I loved the
way the blue sky looked against the green trees.

Linda and I were both up at 5am today. I went
to my men's prayer group and Linda went to her desk
to try to catch up. At 9 we quit work and took out
the tandem for a ride. I promised Linda breakfast
if she rode with me. We rode 11 miles. It was nice
to get out. Then it was back to work. I sketched one
of my commissions and it is ready for paint and I also
managed to get a blog done. At 6pm we met some friends
for dinner. It was a pretty good day. I am a bit
concerned with the weekend weather forecast, I have
Chadds Ford show which is one of my best. I am out
$500 for my space and they are calling for heavy rain.
I am really trying not to think about it until Friday.
That's not working real well, can't help but be a bit worried.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pastoral View #8

5" x 5" original watercolor
contact: andy@andysmithartist.com

It's all about the light... spend a little
time looking at this. The stone fence post
on the left is in the shadows from the tree.
The tree also provides dappled sun on the
grass. The background offers
the continuation of a fence.

I am also going to show you the progress I
made on my glass jar painting. If you go
back to 8/19 you can see my study and
the pencil drawing. You can see the progress.
This is several days of work.

I have two commissions to do next so I will not
have a lot of spare time. My watercolor classes
start next week. Mornings are full but there is
still space on Tuesday evenings.
Call to sign up!