From My Sketchbook: Watercolor Project 5

Project 5 from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim is Snuggling Ducklings. This project is a lesson focusing on how to imitate the soft look of feathers and the texture of wood shavings. ‘Nuff said. On to the next project; and the REAL reason I was interested in this book. Come back next Thursday to take a peek.

Project 5: Snuggling Ducklings, Watercolor, © 2012 SuZan Alexander

From My Sketchbook: Watercolor Project 4

Project 4 from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim was all about reflections. I should have made this a little larger to be kinder to my eyes. I had to resort to very small brushes and I felt myself getting more and more tense. Consequently, that HAS to be the most uneven glass rim in history. Maybe I can claim to be channeling my inner Picasso/Braque and classify this is an homage to Cubism. 😉 Live and learn people. Live and learn.

Project 4: Wine Glass and Rose, Watercolor, ©2012 SuZan Alexander

From My Sketchbook: Watercolor Project 3

Project 3 from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim is “Cluster of Berries”. This lesson focuses on how to make the berries look ripe and three dimensional. I might re-visit this one later for more practice. I started adding my own take on the leaves and it just didn’t work as well. It was a great practice exercise for me to learn how to control the effect of softening the edges of the paint in such a small area too (the softening was done on each little berry segment). Maybe I should enlarge the drawing next time because I need to force myself to work larger, not smaller.

Project 3: Cluster of Berries, Watercolor, © 2012 SuZan Alexander

From My Sketchbook: Watercolor Project 2

I’m on Project 2 of the 10 projects in the Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim. The lesson is “Truffle and Notecard” and it’s all about creating illusions. I painted this fun little gem strictly from the directions and didn’t add any personal challenge for myself because, can I tell you, I seriously thought, there is NO way mine is going to look like this. Lesson learned: stop thinking of what I CAN’T do and jump in with both hands, both feet and a loaded paint brush. I love this book!

Project 2: Truffle and Notecard, Watercolor, © 2012 SuZan Alexander

From My Sketchbook: Watercolor Project 1

Lately, I’ve worked on a couple of watercolor paintings that didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. They were okay, but lacked that extra special something I had envisioned for them. One was a complete experiment outside my comfort zone, but still, I hoped. I decided that I might take some pressure off myself by revisiting a painting exercise book. I started going through the exercises a while back and abandoned it for reasons I can no longer remember. I want to complete these abandoned learning exercises (yes, plural because I have SEVERAL abandoned endeavors) and thought I might post them along the way as a way to help me be more accountable for completion this time around. I decided that while some of the exercises are challenging learning tools, I am adding my own additional challenges to push myself. So, having said that, I feel like I’ve fully disclosed that: (i) these are not my original drawings/paintings/ideas, and (ii) some of these may be “failures” to the eye, but leaning experiences for my progress.

The book I’m using for this round of exercises is Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim. It’s a great little book with 10 start-to-finish projects. The first project is a Stained Glass Iris that is perfect for beginning watercolor painters. However, I decided to add an additional challenge for myself. I have never used hot press watercolor paper and have a pretty good stash since I mistakenly bought some when I returned to painting after a 25+ year absence. I’ve read about how hot press paper shows brush stokes, etc. but I’m one of those who has to learn for herself – the hard way sometimes, but then I know because I’ve done it and seen it for myself. So here’s the first project, with my own little built-in challenge of 140# hot press watercolor paper; uneven washes, brush strokes and all:

Project 1: Stained Glass Iris, Watercolor, © 2012 SuZan Alexander