Project Nine from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim is Autumn Leaves. My plan was to get this one posted for Thanksgiving, but I kept thinking I could turn it around and the deadline came and went. I was completely deceived by this one. The first time I looked through the book I remember thinking it was strange that the easier one is left for the latter part. Boy, was I wrong. I didn't have all the recommended palette (and have a self imposed, I will NOT buy another tube of watercolor paint to satisfy another workshop/lesson; UNLESS, I feel it's absolutely necessary). I "substituted" early and often; and it showed from beginning 'til end. My exercise lacks the depth the example showed. I'm blaming it on the lacking palette. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. :-) Lesson learned. Just one more lesson in this book and then I'm off to tackle something else. I'm thinking ... a little oil painting practice so I'll be ready for those fields of bluebonnets in the spring.
Project 8 from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim is Strawberries and Lace. I know you should never say never, but I HOPE I never revisit this little exercise again. This exercise was all about the strong morning light, painting intricate reflective objects, and making the strawberries look like ripe, juicy strawberries. If I were grading, I'd give myself a very strong, solid D-. It looks very "amateurish" to me and couple that with the fact that I barely got this finished in time to post... I do, however, like the cast shadow from the basket. It is very unlike the example, but I think it's the only redeeming passage of this bad boy. I could go back and make some areas stronger, but this one isn't going anywhere, so, why prolong the frustration any further. I hope that feeling frustrated means you are growing and learning because this one held a few of those moments for me. I'm glad I committed to posting these lessons to hold myself accountable, because I'm pretty sure this is where I would have put the book back on the shelf if left to my own devises.
Lesson 7 from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim is Teacup with Golden Spoon. It is a lesson on reflective surfaces and how to create a mother-of-peal effect on the cup. I am still messing with that spoon to make it look more three dimensional. Oh well, time to move on to Lesson 8, so tune in next week. (My fingers are crossed for a finished Lesson by Thursday because I only have about one-forth painted so far.)
Project Six from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim is Vegetables on a Cutwork Cloth. I liked the looks of this project just looking through this book and couldn't wait to paint it. (In fact, I jumped ahead and did it out of order.) The focus of the lesson is to paint the different textured surfaces of the vegetables. I pushed my comfort zone by working really large. This is a full sheet of 300# watercolor paper. I've never used 300# paper and I don't generally use a full sheet. I learned that I don't really have the room to accommodate full sheet watercolor paper; well, I could if I took over another room in the house, but I'm less likely to do that on a regular basis. I also learned that I didn't have the experience of applying even washes in large areas since I usually work smaller. Again, I thought the turnip would be difficult, but I liked it from the first pigment. The other two companions that look "so easy" were deceiving and made me struggle, mainly due to such large wash areas. I might try this one again, only (wait for it) SMALLER. I'm beginning to sound like Goldilocks in Goldilocks and the Three Bears fame. My new mission is to find the right painting size. But until then, I may be cropping out just the turnip I'm so smitten with.
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 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 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.
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!