Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Boy Child Play in Park Painting - Finished!

© 2013 Barbara Rosenzweig, Watercolor Painting
11x14 matted to 16x20 $52
8x10 matted to 11x14 $37
sold matted for standard size frames
I just love painting children! After chasing this fast-moving tyke all over historic Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square Park, I finally stopped and found him on his tippy-toes trying to reach into the water fountain!

In my earlier posts, you saw the process and techniques of laying out all of the parts of the painting. This is the most challenging and time-consuming part -bringing the painting to life!

My first task was to add layer upon layer of greens and hematite black (a granulating watercolor paint that is perfect for stone) to all of the stone work. This creates depth and a sense of age.
Next, I had to create the copper trim around the water fountain with its lovely turquoise patina. I used some unlikely colors - maroon, purple, burnt sienna, blue, and yellow, until they gave me the result that I was looking for. I had to be careful to leave the white of the paper showing where the light hit the copper.
Then on to the little boy! Here, you can see that I lightened the crown of the head to bring out his white blond hair in the sun. Around the back of his uplifted head, I darkened the hair where it would be in shadow.
For the shirt, I added thin, short lines of purple into the stripes to give it more punch. Also, adding pale blue and purple in the shadows in the folds made the shirt look like it was twisted on his body.
For the jeans, I used a variety of blues, as well as purple, to build up the color, darkening in the folds and lifting the color where the light hit the tops of the folds. To "lift" color, I use a slightly moistened thin brush, gently stroking the area where I want the color removed. The I use a clean paper towel to blot the spot. I used this technique for the stitching around the pockets and the seams.
Next, I needed to correct the right foot. It looked like it was flat on the ground, but the heel should be lifting. I changed the angle of the heel, shortened the toe, and darkened the shadow below it closest to the heel. As you read this, you can see from the photo above if any of these changes improved the painting.
Now for a decision. When I saw the little boy at the fountain, he had a ball in his right hand. Although I did start to paint it, I felt that it didn't add anything to the painting. I decided instead to make his hand grasp onto the rim of the water fountain appearing as though he was really trying to pull himself up.
Now for the final step! Once the wall above the fountain was sufficiently mossy and "aged," I added the lettering that appeared there, "Drinking Fountain erected by Flower Market Association 1921."
I hope that you enjoyed and learned about the many decisions, techniques, and choices that I make throughout this process. Painting for me is both a challenge and a joy!

© 2013 Barbara Rosenzweig, Watercolor Painting
11x14 matted to 16x20 $52
8x10 matted to 11x14 $37
sold matted for standard size frames


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Watercolor Child Portrait Process in Progress

Oops! I got so absorbed in painting today, that I forgot to take a photo during much of the process!
To see the earliest stages of this painting
Today, I worked on layering more color on the stone to give it depth, darkened the inside of the fountain, and started the scrollwork under it. In creating the copper on the rim of the fountain, I started with a pale coppery color and will build it up later.
When I paint, I try not to go into an area that is still wet, since it can make what's called "blossoms." Sometimes you want this type of unpredictable pattern, but for most of my painting here, I want to control the flow of the paint. So while the paint is drying in one area, I'll work on another.
Now for the hair. The initial yellow was just to give me a sense of where the hair was and approximate color. What I did now was to lighten the yellow by using a moistened brush and lifting and blotting the color until it was a very pale yellow. Next, I mixed light shades of brown to start giving some texture to the hair. It is not done yet, but I will leave it for now.
Next, the arms. Using rose, yellow and a bit of blue, I laid in the colors at the sides of the arms to start giving a roundness to them. Not done yet.
Looking at the tiles, I saw that they still needed toning down so that they will not be the focal point of the painting and pull the eye away from the boy. I used a combination of colors to create a black wash that I put over the tiles, as well as darken the metal grate under the boy's feet.
 To create the folds on the boy's jeans, I focused on created the shapes of dark and light colors. That's enough for one day!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Child Portrait Watercolor Painting Process and Techniques - Continued

Now we're well into the UGLY stage!
I keep my reference photo handy to check to see if the shapes and placements are accurate.

I started to put the scrollwork under the fountain and tone down the bright tiles with a wash of gray.

Continuing more of the stonework, I shape up the bowl of the fountain, put the right step in, and add more greens to the stone. For this, I use the technique called "scumbling." After I fill my brush with paint, I wick off excess water on a paper towel, and then hold the brush on its side as I drag it across the paper. I let the 300 lb. thick rag Arches watercolor paper do the rest. You can see the results on the stone steps.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Child Watercolor Painting Process "Boy Reaching" - Continued

You are about to see a painting in its adolescent stage! Beware! You will be seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly! View at your own risk! Hope that you enjoy seeing this daunting process.

Once I decided on the portion of the photo that would be most effective for this painting, I lightly sketched in the important details. Now I take the plunge and put paintbrush to paper.
I started by lightly painting in the background and the boy to get a sense of the colors I would be using. Next, I started on the tile floor. Here, I used richer colors that will eventually be toned down.
Still in the preliminary process, I start to refine the hair, shirt, pants, and sneakers, as well as lay in some turquoise for the beginning of the copper patina on the drinking fountain.

Here's where it starts getting UGLY! I'm laying in colors for the stone wall with its green algae.

As you might have guessed by now, I am very slow and deliberate in my painting process. It takes me a long time to complete a watercolor to my satisfaction. At this point, I am nowhere near being done. Once all of the colors are "in," the refining begins. There must be "dark darks" and very "light lights" to make the painting have depth. Once these "values" are established, I can attend to the most difficult and time-consuming part, adding all of the minute details.
Can't wait to hear from you!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Adventure Watercolor Painting Process "Boy Reaching"

Thanks so much for sending in photos! I can still accept a few more for this New Adventure Series.
As promised, I am using photos that were sent in to create a series of special childhood memories. The photo should show your child or grandchild looking away from the camera and into the new place they've found to play in and explore.
My end of the bargain is to share the entire process with you! There is absolutely NO obligation to buy.
Here is the first of the photos. As you can see, the little boy is absolutely adorable! Even though he is too short to take a drink from the fountain, he has fun reaching up into it!
Once I saw the potential for a painting in this series, I cropped the photo to make it a more interesting composition and focus on the child.

The next step is to start a drawing that includes all of the essential details. As you can see, the lines are very light, so that they don't show through the transparent watercolors too much.
I look forward to sharing the next stages in this process with you! If you have any questions at all about this process, I'd love to answer them.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Child Boy Girl Portrait Painting - New Adventure Watercolor Series

  "Boy into the Surf"       
                                             "Girl into the Surf"                                                          


I invite you to send in photos of your child starting out on a Great Adventure! I will create 10 original 8x10 watercolor paintings of the first 10 "favorite photos" I receive with this theme. You will get to follow the progress of the paintings on this blog. My commission rate for that size is usually $225, but for my Blog Buddies, it will be $190 + shipping. No one is obligated to purchase. If you’d like to send in pictures,, post a Comment, so that I can let you know where to send the snapshots. These photos should show your child looking away from the camera and into the new place they’ve found to play in and explore. Above and below are the first New Adventure paintings in my series.

I look forward to seeing all of your imaginative photos!




Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bicycle Racer Bike Rider Painting

"Bicycle Racer"
© 2013 Barbara Rosenzweig, Watercolor Painting
11x14 matted to 16x20 $52
8x10 matted to 11x14 $37
sold matted for standard size frames
I love to change it up and challenge myself. For this new painting in my Sports Series, I chose a bike rider. I knew that it would be difficult figuring out how to arrange the legs, with the arms overlapping, as well as getting the color combinations right. This first attempt (below) was a disaster! I didn't like how the colors were mingling and the perspective was wrong. After working on it for a couple of days, I decided that it would be better to start over.
Starting over was really helpful. With watercolors, unlike oils, it is difficult to rework and dramatically change the colors. Oils are opaque and you can cover dark with light colors easily. Here, the color can stain the paper and once the light colors are covered with darker ones, it is really hard to go back to light. Here, I've corrected the perspective by widening the wheels. I then mingled different color combinations. To do this, I used one color, quickly cleaned my brush, and then touched a new color to the edge of the first watching them do their magic! I continued this throughout the painting. Below, I found that the legs looked confusing and I didn't like the red under the green arm.
Finally, I made a lot of progress. Because the shadow under the front wheel was too light, I added a touch of red under it and blended it into the rest of the shadow. This made the wheel appear to rest on the ground a bit more. Next, I worked on the legs, correcting the colors. In order to remove the red, I carefully lifted it with a slightly wet brush, stroking and removing as much as possible. Next came the handlebars and gears, trying to stay with the plan of mingling the colors, but allowing for the necessity to show which body part was behind and in front of the bike parts. This process took a long time, but I wanted to give you some highlights into my challenges and thought processes as I created this painting. I'd love to hear any of your comments or suggestions!
© 2013 Barbara Rosenzweig, Watercolor Painting
11x14 matted to 16x20 $52
8x10 matted to 11x14 $37
sold matted for standard size frames 

Linked to Watercolors by Barbara Etsy Shop, Watercolors By Barbara Website, Fine Art America, Alphabe-Thursday, Fall into Fall, and Pink Saturday, Five Days Five Ways, Friday Flair Linky Party, Friday Favs, Fancy These Friday’s, Friday Link Party, Saturday Show & Tell