Workshop 1 – 2018


This topic contains 30 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  RiverSong 1 year, 6 months ago.

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    Hello and welcome to Week 2! Please ask me anything about the gumball painting on this thread.

    This one is a little more challenging than the tree (unless you love still life like I do), and you’ll learn how to use masking fluid to make objects look shiny and reflective. HAVE FUN!


    Lisa vB

    OK, I have 2 burning questions and I haven’t even started the assignment yet! :)

    1. Pencil lines. Of course, draw them lightly in the first place and with a hard (less smeary) pencil. But in the case of a light-colored subject like the white gumball, how to avoid pencil marks showing through in the end? Do you just erase over when everything is dry?

    2. Stretching. The tree assignment was on a card, so I didn’t think to ask, but this week is more on regular sort of paper. I notice you just tape and go, no wetting/drying of the paper first. Is this a preference, a strategy? Stretch vs. no stretch?





    One question about masking fluid: What is the longest I can leave masking fluid on the paper? For example is it Ok to leave it on overnight? If I leave it on longer, will it ruin the paper?


    You can leave it on overnight, no problem! It can become problematic if you leave it on for days/weeks etc, at least with the brand I use. One time I left some on a painting for weeks and when I removed it, the paper was a light yellow.


    Hi Lisa,

    I try to draw super lightly…for the workshop I drew dark enough for most pencil lines to show up on camera, but for my studio work I draw just dark enough so I can see it. Or I’ll erase too-dark lines before I paint. My watercolors make erasing after the fact difficult/impossible. However some artists don’t mind the pencil lines showing through the paint. It’s up to you.

    Not stretching is a preference. I’m not the kind of painter who uses a ton of water, and I find the tape works fine for me. I also like to work with paper that comes on a block, i.e. adhesive all the way around. Watercolor paper is coated with a sizing that helps an artist lift colors more easily, and sometimes a pre-soak will remove a portion of the sizing. When I’m using cheap or student grade paper, I’ll stretch it, though. Thinner paper tends to warp and fuzz more easily. Hope this helps!


    Lisa vB

    Not a question, just a comment. I’m partly through the assignment (the main color/shadow and removing the masking fluid–but before the yellow shadow, yellow b/g, etc), and I’m so excited how the white ball in particular is coming out! I watched the video, listened to your remark about “babysitting” it as it dries and working the paint. I did that, and now I know what you meant. Looking forward to the rest of the steps and seeing the final product.

    I also made sure to wet my “bad” brush before applying the masking fluid. I’d used a dry brush before. This also helped.

    I’m really enjoying the class and learning a lot by watching, then doing. Thank you, Kelly! So glad I signed up…



    Aww, thank you for saying that, Lisa! I wasn’t sure what kind of participants I’d have with this workshop, so I didn’t want to present projects that were too difficult. But at the same time, projects that are too easy are not really worth doing, either. And then with watercolor, it’s all pretty difficult anyway. Glad you are enjoying this one. I really tried to break it down into steps that were easy to follow. :)



    So I was wondering, is it always better to do the object first then the background or was that just the order you did it in. Would it be very different had the background been done first? I only have them drawn right now. I still have to fill in all the white on my tree which looks like it is one big white blob.


    It really depends on the picture, RiverSong. Usually I will work from background to foreground, but in this case I did the opposite. The gumballs get flooded with water and color, and if the yellow background was already in place, all that moisture might have activated its edges and caused it to flow into the red, white, and blue colors. I didn’t want you to have another thing to fight while doing the hard stuff. :)


    Lisa vB

    Hi Kelly,

    I have 3 new burning questions today…

    1. Starting and stopping. Your instructions said to complete the background in one sitting if possible, and I did. But with larger backgrounds/whatever, when you can’t do what should be a contiguous portion in one sitting, what is the best way to handle that so it looks like it was done in one?

    2. Pencil lines again…so I drew them lightly. But now that I laid in the yellow background, it’s difficult to impossible to see the lines for the shadows beneath the balls. This is a simple enough layout I can wing it, but with more complicated drawings, losing the pencil lines can be a disaster. What to do?

    3. Do you prefer cold press or hot press, and why? I’m doing this on cold press, but had been gravitating toward hot press for when I mix watercolor and colored pencil. Pencils go on smoother that way.




    Good questions!

    1. If the background is one flat color like the yellow one here, if I can’t do it in one sitting, I will wait until I have time. There’s always going to be that line where you left off and started again, and it’s pretty much impossible to get rid of it once it’s there. If the background has some definite stopping places, like maybe a tree divides a sky into two parts, you might be able to get away with doing one and finishing the other one later, but you’d have to be pretty good at matching paint colors. If the background is a really dark or saturated color that you’d have to create using several layers of paint, you could probably get away with painting the first layer partially and then finishing up later. But really, if you don’t have enough time to put in a simple background, you don’t have enough time to paint anyway.

    2. Losing pencil lines: as I draw my outlines, I try to think about what colors are going over them and what my subjects are. If I know the thing I’m drawing is in a dark area, I’ll press down harder. I’ll draw as lightly as I can on places that I know will be really pale. I think you also need to know how your paint behaves, and this can only come with lots of practice. The cadmium yellows I use are more opaque than my other colors and pencil lines can disappear beneath them, so I might draw a little darker to compensate. As I paint, I often find myself re-drawing things just to clarify things for myself. Sometimes I’m off on a drawing and it only becomes noticeable once I’m deep into a painting.

    3. I always use cold press, but that’s just the paper I learned how to paint with. Occasionally I’ll use a smoother surface if I’m going to draw with ink over the top later. If you like to use colored pencils with your watercolor, by all means go with a smoother surface. :)


    Loved the workshop and still life project. I am learning. One question I had was your instruction called out Cerulean Blue though your color looked more like Ultramarine. Is it possible that there are different Cerulean Blues across brands? Your color blue was so much more vibrant.
    Looking forward to faces!
    Thank-you Kelly!
    Lovely artwork exeryone!


    Lisa vB

    And here they are!

    Argh…the picture came out the proper orientation, but they turned 90 degrees when I posted.


    Could you maybe go back to the video and find the place where I called out cerulean? I made these back in January, so who can remember? Thanks. :)

    For what it’s worth, I do find that colors can vary from brand to brand.


    Great job! The thing I enjoyed the most about this project was the unusual yellow passages in the shadows. You’re used to making shadows look dark, but here they’re infused with color, and you’ve made that happen!

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