How to Get Confidence Mixing Greens for Landscape
FEBRUARY 13 AND 27, 2021
THIS IS A PAID EVENT: The Watercolor Society of Indiana asked me to conduct a virtual workshop for their organization. Due to COVID, this organization has turned its focus on meeting with its members on Zoom. The next adventure will be offering workshops. I’m honored to have been asked to kick this off for them. Here’s a link to the paid event. Need more info read below. Private message me with questions. Hope to see you there.
THE DEMO - DAY 1, Feb 13
THE REFERENCE PACKET
You will receive a reference packet for our Zoom workshop. This packet includes one of my photos from my personal collection. In addition, I will supply you a pencil sketch on watercolor paper you will recreate on your own paper.
Finally, page 3 includes:
I will talk about how to build a painting. The main emphasis will be on gaining confidence and demystify mixing and using greens. Secondly, is the process. I will explain the block in the method of painting. Working from large to small areas, painting from background to foreground, developing your values from light to dark, and finally working your colors more intensely at the beginning to grind down to a slow process as you work through the painting.
There are several things that I will continue to remind you during the demonstration. A few of these are keeping your edges as soft as you can for as long as you can. Understanding various uses of the brush including applications of the toothbrush in applying and removing color.
Marilee, my wife, and I suffer from wanderlust! With empty memory cards, a thermos of steaming hot coffee, and a full tank of gas we headed out to discover new sceneries. In northern Wisconsin during the spring, there are numerous intense colors of green in the forest – yellow-greens to blue-greens where the sparkling sun meets the fog rises from the early morning forest floor.
This special swampy area opened into a meadow in the distance. It was a bit mystical to me. There was an ancient fire road directly across the way that led to hiking trails curving through the marshland. As we explored we passed small stagnant ponds and disfigured trees that almost seemed to wave at us as we passed by. This was a perfect spot calling to be painted.
This demonstration will be recorded so you can recreate what I painted. You will receive an email approximately three to four days after the demo with a video link. This video is yours along as YouTube is around. In addition, you will receive a Start-to-Finish packet that includes photos of each step along the painting process. If you have any questions before the critique please send me an email and I will answer them.
THE CRITIQUE – DAY 2-Feb 27
Once you have completed your painting email it to me by Noon Friday, February 26, 2021.
Here's What to Expect:
My 3-full day workshop at MainStreet Art Center, Lake Zurich, IL, Abstract Paintings of Nature in Watercolor was finally a go! I had a wonderful time getting back in the teaching "saddle". Because of COVID19, this workshop had been rescheduled several times. But Frankie Johnson, owner of MainStreet and I were bound and determined to have it happen. As you can figure all of my events had been canceled. Marilee and I were incredibly organized this year with scheduling teaching, workshops, shows, and demos This was the weirdest thing to see it vaporize before our very eyes.
Besides demonstrating the beauty of watercolor I shared my thoughts about materials and the importance of buying the best products you can afford. One of my students was using a mix of Winsor and Newton Cotman and Grumbacher watercolor paints. Needless to say, she was struggling so I let her try my QoR watercolors and she said "WOW! What a huge difference." I can't stress enough the importance of using professional-grade watercolors. In addition, the same goes for watercolor paper. Only buy 100% cotton. You are asking for trouble if you buy a cheaper grade that contains wood fibers. The paper will pill when you scrub it. My third must-have is real hair brushes If you can afford them. Otherwise a blend of synthetic/real hair. If you take care of them you will keep them for a long time. My series The real hair loads a lot of paint and doesn't wear out like synthetic. My 1" 202 Morrilla is over 40 years old. Unfortunately, it's not made anymore but you may find a used one on eBay. If you would like to see my supply recommendations and list CLICK HERE.
Masks on, socially distanced in place, sleeves pushed up to work, learn, and have fun!
DAY 1: The morning painting was a snow scene of the beginning of the Wisconsin River (Land O' Lakes, WI) which has been one of my favorite sites to paint, whether it's spring, summer, fall, or winter. The levels of water change as does the foliage, colors, textures, and the influence of light. I call this river home. In this exercise, I wanted to teach how to handle snow and paint anything white. evaluate temperature and not copy the photo.
My afternoon demo was a fall scene full of autumnal colors where my students learned the spontaneity of no drawing and following the light and dark patterns. Two paintings completed and so proud of everyone’s first day of work.
DAY TWO: The learning and fun continue! Two more were paintings completed.
The morning demo was T.C .Steele's house in southern Indiana. During this demo, I wanted to share the ease of drawing a structure and how to incorporate it into a landscape in a simple way. I also shared how to make a very dark subject interesting.
The afternoon demo was another scene from the Great Northwoods of Wisconsin. The tranquil water scene was a perfect example to show how to achieve an atmospheric perspective. Pushing the background back and look believable. I also get quite a few requests for the secrets of painting water. I shared my approach to water with just a few brushstrokes. So proud of everyone’s second day of work.
DAY THREE: the last day of my 3-full day watercolor workshop. In the morning study, I wanted everyone to learn how to work with high-contrast and minimal drawing. I also wanted to share my techniques of dry-brushing in watercolor.
The afternoon was the student's choice. I shared two different subjects and the vivid green forest won. Once again this demo was without a pencil sketch on their watercolor paper, freehanding light and dark patterns. Working with a close color palette of greens and blue-greens and how to use one complementary color to gray down your shadows. And finally, be fearless about pushing the darks especially at the beginning.
I want to thank everyone for signing up and attending including the owner, Frankie Johnson, and Kathy Clouse who is MainStreet's Girl Friday and more. The three days went by too fast. I was so impressed with everyone and I’ll let you in on a little secret — half the students never painted in watercolor before which made it that much more thrilling for me because my goal is to help people truly see. Also thank you Frankie and Jay for your hospitality.
Watercolor Escape Saturdays #2
Well, I had my second Watercolor Escape Saturday last weekend on March 28th. If you are new to this my wife, Marilee and I are committed to broadcasting a Facebook Live every Saturday at noon EST till our lives kinda get back to some type of normal. We want to offer an escape even for an hour or two.
In this week's blog post I have included the video now on YouTube (edited as a paint-along) and my demo notes. Here's what you will find:
Gallery of Work
Highlighted in Video
Below are several demos I did playing with composition and value studies before the final painting titled Walking in My Father's Footsteps. I also share additional paintings in the video. Click on the painting to see a larger version.
Every year I paint a special birthday card for Marilee. I remember once a long time ago we went to the Terra Museum to John Singer Sargent watercolor show. Sargent would paint special gifts for his sister with tender words and well wishes. They were touching and moved both of us.
This painting is of one of our favorite walks in spring up not far from our cabin. The silver light and tender greens you only see during this time of year.
This study was painted on handmade paper containing seeds, leaves, and stems. The paper had very little sizing so planning my brushstrokes were essential. Could not rework once the paint was laid down.
Final studio painting
I promised myself I would experiment with new color combinations during this down time. Here is an example a new color combination palette. And don't think you can't find painting reference material. This was taken by Marilee while we were driving north through Wisconsin to our cabin. The sun was setting, the sky was on fire and the earth was rich with color. Here's my 6-color full palette:
I have enjoyed Winslow Homer watercolors long before I ever picked up a paint brush. My father admired his work and would share his paintings with me. He would break composition rules and make them work.
I suggested a Homer book that looks like it's out of print but you may find on Ebay. There are other Homer books at Amazon (CLICK HERE) like this one. If you rather go to your library and check-out a book. Also here's a website to view. CLICK HERE.
Incase you didn't here we got a new puppy this year. Her name is Miss Poppy, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and she is such a joy. It's a blessing to have her and an additional heartbeat in our house.
Well that's it for now. I hope we will see you next Saturday at noon EST on my Facebook page for another Watercolor Escape Saturdays.
Remember Leave a comment below, tell me what you think and what you would like to see in the future.
Wash your hands and your brushes,
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Well, as you have probably figured I'm just like you with this CORID-19. Back in the good old days, two and a half weeks ago I was teaching my weekly classes, planning open house demos, group gallery shows, art league meetings, getting ready for 2020 workshops and framing work for a one-man show. In a week or so I say my well, planned year vaporizes at least for the next month or so.
From there Marilee said let's go sightseeing. We headed over to Strack & VanTil, a large local grocer in Northwest Indiana to see if they were wiped out too. The parking lot was full more than any Thanksgiving I can remember, the cart corrals were empty, all the registers were open and the lines extended to the back of the store! The managers looked as surprised as us. They worked swiftly and with a pleasant smile. Produce was well stocked, along with most everything else. The shoppers' carts were heaped full of paper products, pizzas, and white bread. The Hispanic food aisle was empty but the baby diapers were hardly touched. It took both of us two hours to process what we experienced.
The next day we rehashed how the world was changing because of the virus and what could we do locked-up in our house. My wife, Marilee calls this the newest episode of The Twilight Zone. I know these are challenging times but we are creative folk who often are self-distancing ourselves in our studios anyway. Frankly, we can handle this better than most.
We talked about going to the Northwoods but sadly we got a notice for snowbirds and second homeowners to stay away from Vilas County.
Well, I figured I am in my studio trying some new reference materials and color palettes with this new free time. We then thought with the beauty of social media we could help folks by sharing my watercolor wisdom. I opened my studio door this past Saturday, March 21, 2020, at high noon est time on my Facebook live business page - Observer Artist Watercolorist Dale L Popovich IWS. I will do this till we are over this crisis.
MARCH 21, 2020 DEMONSTRATION NOTES
Robert J Krajecki IWS, TWSA must-have books three books I highly recommend. Click on the titles to read more.
THREE WATERCOLOR COLOR STUDIES
I highly recommend doing color studies of your painting. As I explained in the demo experiment with color combinations, value patterns, and composition. Each of these took 15-20 minutes. Be loose and free– no details.
-300 lb Indigo paper
- Watercolor Paints: 3-color limited palette, see each sketch for colors.
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In May I was invited to hold a full-day workshop for the Lakeland Art League in Minocqua, Wisconsin. Spring had come late this year up north just like in the Chicagoland area. Normally the lilacs are just starting to come into bloom and the trees are budding out in the most beautiful tender green. This year the lilacs were a week behind and the hardwoods on our property at our log cabin were still bare. I could tell the members were excited to get out, shake off their cabin fever, and learn something new.
My thoughts while preparing for this workshop was to have the students get right into the painting. That meant not drawing on the watercolor paper, but instead, do the drawing with the paint brush. I also was introduced to QoR Watercolors earlier this year at the Watercolor Society of Indiana. I wanted to share with my student this beautiful, full pigment paint which is a relatively new brand. I didn't have QoR included on my supply list when I was booked for this workshop but I do know. I have a full review in an earlier blog post. CLICK HERE TO READ.
I first spent a little time lecturing on patterns of values and colors – looking for the abstract shapes first before picking up the brush. From there I asked them to gather around while I started a step-by-step painting demonstration in values and colors. Step #1 began with large bold washes working wet-into-wet allowing the watercolor simply to flow across the paper. This is the unique beauty of watercolor letting the colors mix on the paper. This is something that cannot be achieved in oils or pastels. I then let my students go back to there easels and recreate what I had first done.
Step #2 I approached the painting by cutting out shapes of the foliage and smaller areas so that it would start defining the subject matter.
Step #3, the final phase, I put in the tree trunks where they actually belonged according to the patterns that were previously painted. The students follow along really quite well. I thought they adapted to this process nicely.
The afternoon demonstration was of Pioneer Creek. This lovely little piece of Heaven is nearby our log cabin. It's one of my favorite places to just study the colors and textures – enjoy the beauty of the Great Northwoods. For this painting, I had them do a drawing as a guide. Usually, the painting can be broken down in three steps, but for this demonstration, I broke it down into five steps because it’s easier for the students to follow along.
What never ceases to amaze me is how each student working with the same photo reference ends up with a little different painting. I always judge their painting in its own frame of reference never by the reference alone.
Everyone had a good time learned a lot and came out with two paintings. I raffled off one of the demos and the other was donated to Lakeland Art League for a charitable cause.
Thank you LAL. hopefully, I will see you this fall.
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In conjunction with our Faculty Show, several Palette & Chisel instructors will conduct demonstrations. I am honored to participate for the third year in a row. I will be broadcasting on Facebook Live. Here's the line-up.
Saturday, February 16 schedule will feature:
• Audry Cramblit 9:30 am - 12 pm, Sculpture
• Helen Oh (10:00 am - 12 pm, Palette Knife Still Life
• Dale Popovich 10:30 am - 12 pm, Watercolor
• Larry Paulsen (1 - 4 pm, Portrait Drawing
Saturday, February 23 schedule will feature:
• Lenin Delsol 9 - 11:30 am, Oil Painting Portrait
• Stuart Fullerton, 12 - 1 pm, Palette & Chisel History Lecture
• Steve Puttrich 1 - 3:30 pm, Watercolor
• Michael Van Zeyl :30 - 4 pm, Still Life Oil Painting
Please RSVP to email@example.com or call 312-642-4400.
Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts
1012 N Dearborn St, Chicago, Illinois 60610 MAP
Fax: 312 642 4317
Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:30am - 6:30pm
I want to thank the Lakeland Art League in Minocqua, WI for the fantastic opportunity this past Wednesday, January 2. This is a large group of passionate artists in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
The watercolor workshop went very well, and the students were great! I was impressed with the enthusiasm and the final paintings. Oh, and the heartiness of these artists fighting the frigid temps and snow.
This eager group of artists wanted to focus on snow and pines. I demonstrated a snow scene in the morning working through the three phases of a transparent watercolor painting. Working light to dark, background to foreground and warm to cool.
After we broke for lunch, we started the second painting – a paint-along. I feel this is a great way to have the students learn watercolor in small doses. In my experience, the student retains the information they have learned.
We talked colors and which brushes to start with. This is a block-in stage, so a big brush is a key to your success. I painted the first phase, and then the students went back to their easels and recreate the first phase. I always walk around and give personal direction with every student.
I took the students through phase-two which takes twice as long as the first. I walked then through the difference of winter verses a spring or summer. The sky is different, bark on the trees and overall light.
Phase three you really slow down, and now they can go in and use smaller brushes. This is the final stage where you focus on the details. I always feel an accomplishment when I take the tape of the painting. This clean edge gives you a sneak peek of what a mat will look like on your painting
I raffled off my demonstrations at the end of the day. Here are the two winners.
I would like very much to be included in your schedule this spring/summer. Thank you.
How to Block-In and Cover the Whole Sheet in the First Wash
This was a watercolor demonstration I did for my Mainstreet Art Center Wednesday morning watercolor class a few weeks ago. I have a great group of students, a mix of beginners and intermediates who truly love the process of learning and creating watercolor paintings.
From start to finish I took approximately 1-1/5 hours of painting/lecture time. The point I wanted to drive home to my class was to be fearless and lay color down, blocking the entire sheet in the first wash. I have my students work with one-quarter of a sheet of watercolor paper till they build up the confidence and experience for a larger painting. This particular painting I used Kilimanjaro 300 lb. cold-pressed off-white natural paper. This is an excellent paper to work with.
I have had a lot of success instructing my students with a paint-along demos. This way they watch what I do in step 1: the block-in and they then can recreate it while I am with them answering questions. I remember there was nothing more frustrating to watch my instructor create a painting from start to finish and then turning us loose, try to recreate the same painting or subject matter later that day and forget how he handed the block-in, establishing secondary masses and the final details.
The photo I used for this watercolor painting was taken during a ten-day trip with my brother, Lee, his wife, Margo, and Marilee. We flew to Alaska around the end of August 2006. We decided to drive through the interior of Alaska instead of a cruise. This way we could experience all the sights, textures, and get an intimate view of the local color. We landed in Anchorage and traveled south to Seward enjoying this coastal town and spending the night in a quaint log cabin. The next day we took a daylong cruise and was totally in awe of the fjords and icebergs. From there we headed back north to Anchorage for the State Fair, Farmer’s Market, and the Anchorage Museum to see the works by Sydney Laurence, American Landscape painter. Then north to Wasilla and Fishhook. This was a portion of our trip. Denali and our plane trip around Mt Mckinley is for another time.
This image was taken up by Hatcher Pass in early September which was during the peak of their autumn at an abandoned gold mine.. We took a beautiful drive along Willow Fishhook Road and then Hatcher Pass Road to get there. In fact this was one of the last pictures I took with my trusty Minolta film camera. Shot 20 rolls of film. Marilee shot over 2000 with her new Nikon D200 DSLR.
Hatcher Pass is a mountain pass through the southwest part of the Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska. It is named after Robert Hatcher, a prospector and miner. To learn more about Hatcher Pass CLICK HERE.
Step #1: The Block-In
I started with a pencil drawing lightly, sketched onto the watercolor paper. I recommend a 2B pencil. Don’t go crazy drawing every detail, just lay down the basic shapes making sure your perspective is spot-on. Get it right in the pencil drawing because it will be very difficult if near impossible to correct later.
I shared with the students how to block in this particular subject matter with the background coming to the middle ground and then the foreground. I painted around the buildings at first. Then went into the buildings to cover the painting completely. The colors used were:
STEP # 2: Establishing Secondary Masses
The second pass at the painting I went back to the mountains in the background starting to form the secondary shapes and areas coming towards the foreground and the ledge behind the buildings. I then went into the foreground trying to keep the background cooler and grayer and the foreground warmer and more intense. Altering the temperature in your painting helps you with aerial perspective.
STEP # 3: Slowing the Process Way Down – The Final Details
The third phase of the painting I started to develop the background to show more changes in value and modeled the slopes softening the middle area of the mountains. Then I came down to the ledge directly behind the buildings and began modeling the darker darks within that ledge to separate it from the background. I start to develop highly textured areas in the foreground. Working into the building, establishing value changes from the light side of building to the dark side, the cast shadow created by the building, and a small path for interest. I continued adding some of the detail in the building with windows, smoke coming out of the chimney, and a little bit more detail on the building off to the left.
Finally, I went back to the mountains, adjusting values to create some sort of interest in the dark areas off to the upper right. Again revisited the slopes off to the left, modeling a bit more, recreating the carved out earth during the gold rush times. I then began pushing a little more intense color and darker values alongside the ledge in the background to push the building forward. I lighted in the roof of the building through lifting to push it forward from the background. From there I began to model the front deck of the building, the side protrusion from the building and darkening the windows were needed. Adding small accents of darks to the path, out in front on and around the building itself. This completed the demonstration.
Earlier this year I participated in the Palette & Chisel's yearly Demo Days in February. This is a great event where most all of the instructors demonstrate their talents in a two-weekend event and it's all for free. During this time the Faculty Show is hanging in the Main Gallery.
Demo Day's give you a first hand opportunity to see the instructors teaching and painting styles. You can ask questions and really understand each artist's philosophies. You can find the my demo on my Facebook page, Observer Artist Watercolorist Dale L Popovich IWS. We broadcasted a Facebook live.
Voyage Chicago saw my demo and included my painting in an article about Chicago Artists. Well, recently they approached me about doing an in depth interview for their artist & creative focused series calledThe Thought Provokers. Here's a link to the interview Voyage Chicago.
LACARE ART LEAGUE meeting was held at the Gloria Dei (Glory to God) Church, 3711 Ridge Road, Highland, IN, 46322 where "visitors are always welcome." This was my third invitation to the Art League. In case you missed my Facebook Live post of the demo it is now on YouTube. First aired on my Facebook page Observer Artist Watercolorist Dale L Popovich IWS on March 26, 2018. I demonstrated a full palette transparent watercolor of an outbuilding on a Wisconsin farmstead not far from my log cabin.
I took the art league through my classical approach of watercolor painting to a full house of members and guests. I started with photo reference on my iPad and a pencil sketch on 300 lb. Arches watercolor paper. I took my one-inch brush and immediately laid down bold color washes. Then I explained every stroke along the way adding my usual stories and humor throughout the demo. Over the course of an hour I turned a white sheet of paper into a snow covered rural Midwest farm scene adding a little gouache for the snowflakes.. After several minutes of question and answers The demo was raffled.
Dale L Popovich IWS
Dale is an award-winning watercolorist and teacher passionate about capturing the raw beauty of the American landscape with the fluid stroke of a brush. As you will see, the works selected in his portfolio represent the breadth of his holistic approach to painting. You can also learn with this talented and experienced teacher through his workshops, Palette & Chisel, and Popovich Studio classes.