Dante’s Inferno Canto IV (103-106) Limbo

canto-iv-103-106-the-castle-2016

The Divine Comedy Canto IV (103-106) The Castle in Limbo 2016

As Dante and Virgil are walking through the woods in the First Circle, they come upon a luminous castle emanating a hemisphere of light against the dark sky.

Pink Blossoms in Talavera Vase March

In March the Cherry Plum and Almond trees are full of Pink and White Blossoms.  I like to paint them because they  brighten up the room and do the same in a watercolor.

Starting out with a light drawing

Starting out with a light grid and drawing.

I’m starting out with a grid here to keep my parallel lines even with the picture plane.  The grid helps me fit whatever I want wherever I want on the paper.

Marking Angles as I Paint

Marking angles as I paint

The grid controls the Talvera vase so it is not lopsided.  There are a lot of branches and blossoms to paint, so I don’t draw them one by one, I cast lines in the direction of the branches and mark some of the pink flowers that stand out the most.

Treatment

Working around the picture plane

I’m working around the picture plane trying to treat everything with the same importance, background and foreground.

Paint around the white blossoms without penciling them in for looseness

The white blossoms

When painting the white blossoms, I  leave the white of the paper.  What I do is paint around them leaving a blank silhouette.  This is called respecting the white of the paper.

Building up and Looking for Detail

Building up and Looking for Detail

I work around the paper emphasising some details.  I try to be careful not to make any area heavier than other areas.

Looking for Contrast

Looking for Contrast

When I’m pretty sure everything is where it belongs, I start in with a la prima, putting in the dark contrasting color in one shot in order to bring out the light.

This is the point where it can gain or lose

Finishing up

I’m finishing up here.  This is the moment when it can gain or lose.  It’s the point of no return.  I try not to get to that point, but it really is hard to decide when to stop.

Pink Blossoms in Talavera Vase March 2015

Pink Blossoms in Talavera Vase March 2015

I painted just a little bit more and stopped.  I don’t have this watercolor anymore.  Next year I hope to make another one in the spring.

 

How to Mat a Watercolor

What do you do when you finish a watercolor?
I’ve painted lots of watercolors and only matted a few even though I learned how to mat a long time ago. I prefer painting, not cutting out windows in matting board.  Recently I’ve started to mat some of them because I was thinking about framing a body of watercolors and showing them at one point or another.   I went out and got the tools and decided to post a ‘do it yourself’. 
 
Fiished Watercolor

Finished Watercolor

Slip proof ruler for cutting

Slip proof ruler for cutting

Safety First:  Use the right tools.  The blade on the cutter is extreemely sharp, so you must use a slip proof ruler with a cutting edge.  It’s better to cut through little by little with more passes than to cut deeply all at once.
 

Matting Board Cut to Size

Matting Board Cut to Size

Start by putting the mat board face down.  I’m going to mat a watercolor for a standard frame.  This is for a 16 in x 20 in frame. I want the window to be smaller than the paper so the board holds it down.  Always double check the measurements before cutting.  After I draw the cutting line, I put the watercolor on top to make sure the measurements are correct.

Make sure the measurement is correct

Make sure the measurement is correct

Looking at the corner, assures me that the window is the right size.

Slip Proof Ruler and Bevel Cutter

Slip Proof Ruler and Bevel Mat Board Cutter

When using the bevel 45º mat board cutter, place the cutter as in the picture above or the bevel will be the opposite of the desired result.  The blade has to be changed often or it will become difficult to cut and start ripping the board.  When cutting the corner, cut a little bit past the corner so the corner has a clean cut.

Matted Watercolor

Matted Watercolor

This watercolor has been matted for a 16 in x 20 in standard frame.

 

Here is a video of some of the small watercolors that I matted first.  If you are out of practice like me or doing this for the first time, it’s a good idea to start matting small watercolors until you get the hang of it.

Colorful Flowers in Crystal Vase 2015

My Watercolor Process

Colorful Flowers in Crystal Vase 2015 Watercolor on Arches 640 GSM - 15 in x 11 in - 38 cm x 28 cm

Colorful Flowers in Crystal Vase 2015
Watercolor on Arches 640 GSM – 15 in x 11 in – 38 cm x 28 cm

Starting off lightly, putting the shapes and colors of the flowers where I want to put them in the picture plane.

Starting off lightly, putting the shapes and colors of the flowers where I want to put them in the picture plane.

Starting with the vase, trying to work on the whole picture plane and not focus too much in any area.

Starting with the vase, trying to work on the whole picture plane and not focus too much in any area.

When all the areas are covered on the paper.  I go back in and add more detail, but not too much to keep it loose.

When all the areas are covered on the paper. I go back in and add more detail, but not too much to keep it loose.  All the whites have been respected.

Resin-oil

The Art Making Process of Resin-Oil Painting

The Art Making Process of a Resin-oil Painting; a Spin-off from a Watercolor.

Most painters work in more than one medium because variety offers many possibilities of expression.  I made a spin-off of the watercolor ‘Glass Bottles on top of Antique Closet’ in resin-oil.  Resin-oil is a medium in which you mix oil with with thickened linseed oil and Venetian turpentine.  This medium gives a candied effect with vivid colors.  I use resin-oil in a more expressionistic manner than my watercolor and tempera paintings.  I like the  happy accidents and drips that show up on the canvas.  There is one drawback regarding resin-oil;  the room where you paint needs to have plenty of ventilation because the vapors are very strong.

Glass Bottles on top of Antique Closet 2015 Watercolor on Arches 640 GSM - 15 in x 22 in - 38 cm x 56 cm - unframed - $200.00 USD -  Contact: victoriaangelesolson@hotmail.com

This is the watercolor ‘Glass Bottles on top of Antique Closet’.  I chose this to make the resin-oil. 

Resin-oil

I use linseed oil, thickened linseed oil, Venetian turpentine, dry pigments and odorless petroleum spirits as part of my equipment.

I use dry pigment and mix it with linseed oil.

I mix dry pigment with linseed oil.

When you mix the dry pigment with linseed oil with a spatula, the paint has to stand up like butter, not run down to meet the surface of the mixing pallet.

When you mix the dry pigment with linseed oil with a spatula, the paint has to stand up like butter, not run down to meet the surface.

I use different kinds of paint brushes.  It depends on what I need.  The most important thing is to clean them with petroleum spirits  and wash them carefully with warm water and soap.  I like dish washing soap.  Then hang them upside down to dry.

When you finish your painting session, clean your brushes with petroleum spirit, wash them carefully with warm water and soap and hang them upside down to dry.

I don't always begin with a drawing, but since I'm making a copy of my watercolor in a different meduim, I want to control the out come.

I don’t always begin with a drawing, but since I’m making a copy of my watercolor in a different meduim, I want to control the out come.

I always try to work all around the picture plane, developing everything at the same time in order to find harmony.

I always try to work all around the picture plane, developing everything at the same time in order to find harmony.

I'm still working all around the picture plane, trying to put down the exact color I see in an area and leave it there.  The dry pigments are on the easel in little plastic containers.

I’m still working all around the picture plane, putting down the exact color I see in an area and leaving it there without smudging it around the canvas.  The dry pigments are on the easel in little plastic containers.

Resin-oil

My Favorite Bottles 2015
This is the final result of the resin-oil on canvas.

Glass Bottles on top of Antique Closet 2015

Bottles on top of the Closet

My favorite Bottles

This is part of a series of twelve watercolors that I’m making in different parts of the house.  Today they are on top of the closet.  In the winter, the light changes quickly, so it took three days to finish it.

A level

When I have the board on the easel, I check to make sure it’s level, I don’t want the vertical lines to slant.

Today, I made a light drawing of the bottles.  First I estimated where the tops of the bottles go to make sure they all fit.  Then I developed one of the bottles more than the rest to use it as a measure.

Today, I made a light drawing of the bottles. First I estimated where the tops of the bottles go to make sure they all fit. Then I developed one of the bottles more than the rest to use it as a measure; I used the bottle on the corner and built around that.

I followed the drawing with a watercolor outline, but only where I saw dark values.

I followed the drawing with a watercolor outline, but only where I saw dark values.

I started with the red bottle in the middle because I'm using this as a measure for the other values and colors.  I start to build around this bottle.

I started with the red bottle in the middle because I’m using this as a measure for the other values and colors. I start to build around this bottle.

Working all around the bottles as well as the foreground.  At the moment.  I don't need to work on the background because it's almost white.

Working all around the bottles as well as the foreground. At the moment. I don’t need to work on the background because it’s almost white. I’m not finished yet. The light changed, so I had to stop.

Paint brush

To make a fine line, this long hair brush is perfect. It’s for letter making.

Here I'm looking at the colors and shapes.  Trying to catch the reflections before the light changes.

Here I’m looking at the colors and shapes. Trying to catch the reflections before the light changes.

The light changed, so I have to stop til tomorrow.

The light changed, so I have to stop til tomorrow.

A correction

Last night,I noticed that one of the red bottle was not wide enough on the left side, so I made a correction.

A detail

I started painting from the corner outwards to the edge of the paper.

I continued to paint outwardly from the corner on both sides.

I continued to paint outwardly from the corner on both sides.

Glass Bottles on top of Antique Closet 2015 Watercolor on Arches 640 GSM - 15 in x 22 in - 38 cm x 56 cm

Glass Bottles on top of Antique Closet 2015
Watercolor on Arches 640 GSM – 15 in x 22 in – 38 cm x 56 cm

 

 

 

Bottles in the Rain

Bottles in the Rain

Bottles in the Rain

I am working on a series called ‘My Favorite Bottles’.  Every time I paint them, I put them in a different place in the house so I can study the light, colors and reflections.  It was raining and I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to paint reflections of the bottles on a wet floor.

Bottles in the Rain

Bottles in the Rain

Bottles in the Rain

This is my set up.

051

Here is a full sheet of Arches 300 GSM rough grain.  22 in x 30 in. I only want a half sheet, so I tear it in half. To do this, you fold it over and over again until it is easy to rip. Put it on the table and start at the corner by putting your thumb on the corner. It should start ripping without difficulty.  If not, you need to start the folding again.

A full sheet torn in two.

Now I have two half sheets of 11 in x 15 in.

Tape the paper down

Tape the paper down to a board.   Make sure the edges of the paper is parallel to the board.

Light Wash

I didn’t start with a drawing because I wet the whole paper first by brushing on water. Then I put in the forms with the colors, but lightly in case I need to move something.

Working around the paper

Start building up the color and shaping always trying to get the exact color and form. When you put down the color and shape, leave it there and go to another area of the paper so you don’t build any one object too much.

Continue working around the paper

Respect the light areas in the objects and the background and always work around the paper for harmony.  You can darken some areas when you are sure that that’s where they belong on the picture plane.