Halloween has always been a very special holiday for my daughter, Becky. She’s decorated , thrown parties, dressed up, and made sure loved ones took care of important Halloween business. She even dressed as a pumpkin and took her eldest son trick-or-treating two days before her youngest was born.
Oh wait… she didn’t dress as a pumpkin that night; it was her pregnant stomach that made me think pumpkin. I digress. Sadly Becky’s parents and older brother were less invested in Halloween. We all just hid in our rooms while she threw elaborate parties during her teen years. We’d sneak out occasionally to check on “things” that sometimes happen at teenage parties!
I believe I contributed to Becky’s interest in Halloween. The following story will demonstrate my helping nature:
When Becky was 4, I had her pose in a witch costume, holding tightly to a pumpkin in her lap. I was amazed at what a perfect, witchy expression she had on her frace. Fine acting I thought!
As it turns out the pumpkin was moldy and stunk to high heaven. Still, Becky sat there for her mommy to get the perfect reference photos for a pencil drawing which became a Halloween card!
This “mini-lesson” shows step-by-step how I painted a pansy in watercolor.
I begin by sketching the pansy with an HB pencil. Make sure your drawing is accurate. Lighten the pencil lines by dabbing at them with a kneaded eraser. Contrary to what most books say, once wet these lines can’t be erased completely.
Using liquid frisket and a cheap brush coated with standard bar soap, mask out small detail areas which you wish to remain white. When the frisket is dry it will look and feel a bit like dried rubber cement.
Mix the following puddles (a puddle is paint mixed with enough water to dilute it to the desired value):
Cobalt blue + alizarin crimson (warm & cool mixtures)
Alizarin crimson + new gamboge
French ultramarine + alizarin crimson (warm and cool mixtures)
Winsor green + Hooker’s green + new gamboge
Hooker’s green + cobalt blue
Next paint the base washes of the flower petals.
Glaze water over a petal until it glistens evenly; drop in the following colors and combinations based on where they can be seen in the petal): cobalt blue+alizarin; permanent rose, alizarin + new gamboge, and aurelion.
While the first petal is drying, follow the same process on a petal which does not touch it (remember we don’t want wet paint to touch an area that is drying).
After the base washes are completed on all 4 petals paint the dark purple sections following these steps:
Using a fully loaded brush paint the dark area
Then pull color out from the center of the dark area using a rigger brush to create the veins.
* Use thicker puddles of both cool and warm mixes of French ultramarine + alizarin crimson for this area.
Add highlights to the edges of the petals by glazing over the base washes with the same mixtures.
Rub off the frisket and add a light tint of yellow below the center part of the flowers. Leave the two white areas on the center of the right and left petals.
Paint the base washes of the stem and leaves.
Glaze water over the leaves and stem until they glisten evenly; drop in the following colors: Sap green, hookers green _ cobalt blue, and Winsor green + Hooker’s + new gamboge
Add highlights by rewetting each darker area and painting a second glaze over it using the same mixes as were used in the base.
If you have any questions, please add a comment below or grab me via the contact form.
When my son Nick was young we lived in Austin TX, often visiting family in Michigan for the summer. Our first trip was a very long car ride, and Grandma Russell had been impatiently awaiting our arrival. She was so excited to see Nick that she planted a big, very visible lipstick kiss on his cheek! It touched my heart so, I knew this was something I had to draw. I wanted to make it special so I drew a heart of flowers around the portrait. Prior to that time I had not been an avid flower painter but this event got me started down a new path. I hope you enjoy the drawing – to me it’s a golden oldy, loaded with sentiment!
This “mini-lesson” shows step-by-step how I painted a hummingbird from one of my photos.
I begin by sketching the hummingbird with an HB pencil. Make sure your drawing is accurate! Lighten the pencil lines by dabbing at them with a kneaded eraser. (Contrary to what most books say, once wet, these lines can’t be erased completely)
I then mix the following puddles (a puddle is paint mixed with enough water to dilute it to the desired value):
Cobalt blue + Brown Madder (warm & cool mixtures)
Winsor Blue + Viridian Green
Alizarin Crimson + New Gamboge
French Ultramarine + Payne’s Gray + a bit of Alizarin
Sepia + French Ultramarine
Next I paint the base washes of the bird.
For the eyes, feet, and beak use the Ultramarine/Payne’s Gray / Alizarin mixture. Leave the white highlights untouched.
For the back of the bird paint the Winsor Blue/Viridian mixture. While it’s still wet add Sap Green next to it, letting the colors bump each other.
For the belly, let Sap Green bump into the Cobalt Blue/Brown Madder (warm) puddles, letting the colors blend alongside each other.
For the wing and head, use both the warm and cool Cobalt/Brown Madder mixtures; then drop a little Sap Green into them while still wet.
The rosy area under the belly is painted with Alizarin/New Gamboge.
Allow all initial washes to dry! Never paint into an area that has started to dry.
Add the final details
Use the Sepia/Ultramarine mixture for dark highlights on the beak and feet as well as in the eye.
For wing highlights use the cool Brown Madder/Cobalt mixture.
If you have any questions, please add a comment below!