A Watercolor Painting Tutorial

A Watercolor Painting Tutorial

Painting Penguins

From time to time, people ask if I can do a tutorial on my watercolor painting process.  Though I am not brave enough to do a video yet, nor do I feel “expert” enough to teach, I thought I would share a little step-by-step process of some of the ways I go about doing a painting and some of the tools I use.

I am a completely self-taught artist.  Everything I learned over the past almost five years in my adventure in discovering watercolor painting I learned by watching YouTube videos, reading blogs and books, and experimenting.  (You can see and read about my very first watercolor painting here.)

This past Sunday morning, I woke up early with a burning desire to paint.   I had to get up and go to my art room and paint.  Early morning hours on the weekend are my most creative time.  I think I might dream about ideas, because I wake up thinking about something I want to paint and how I want to do it.

The muse woke me at about 3:30 am.  I tossed and turned until finally getting out of bed at 5:00 am to just do it.

A friend had mentioned penguins the day before.  So a penguin painting it was.

I started by searching for some photos on the internet, and I saw a cute Christmas tree ornament of a penguin daddy and baby.  It was my inspiration.  I drew a rough pencil sketch on plain copy paper where I also created the shading for my lights and darks and medium values.

I wanted to create a colorful cool-feeling background.  Creating granulating effects and blooms with watercolor pigment is one of the things that gives me the greatest joy in the watercolor painting process.  I chose a blue (Daniel Smith Mayan Blue Genuine) and purple (Daniel Smith Quinacridone Purple) to go with a little of the black (Daniel Smith Lunar Black) I knew would be the main color I used for the penguins and practiced with them on a scrap of watercolor paper to see how it would look.

Time to transfer all of these ideas to my painting.  I most often paint on an 11×14 inches piece of Arches 140 lb. Cold Press Watercolor paper.  I buy the paper in large 22×30 inch sheets and tear them into fourths to paint on.

Instead of re-drawing the penguins, I simply cut out the outline and lightly traced it onto the watercolor paper.  I then painted the shape in with masking fluid, so I could create the background effect first.

The masking fluid resists paint and water allowing you more freedom to splash and tilt your paper and assure you don’t get background paint into the place you want to paint the main object.  It only takes a few minutes to dry – about the time it takes to grab a fresh cup of coffee.

I then taped my paper to a board to prevent it from curling too much since I knew I was going to make it quite wet.  I spritzed it lightly with water and randomly dropped in my watercolor paint.  I spritzed it some more and tilted it back and forth and sprinkled a few grains of salt here and there.

Then the hard part…..  waiting for it to dry.

So off on a walk I went – with Charlie and a friend – in the crisp dawn of daylight.

After a walk and breakfast with hubby, I returned to my art room to a dried background.

I removed the masking fluid by gently lifting with an eraser, and began painting in the penguins.

There really wasn’t a lot of paint needed since penguins are basically black and white.

One of the most important and hardest things to learn in watercolor painting is to allow white, unpainted space.  It is the light, and it adds so much to the painting in the end result.  It cannot be added back in and takes restraint!

The only colors I used were the same Lunar Black as in the background and a tiny bit of Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold.  And isn’t it amazing how much you see that gold even though such a tiny amount was used?  The black and grey were done using the same color, but in varying ratios of water and paint.

One of the most fun parts of finishing a painting is peeling off the painter’s tape creating a crisp, clean line on the edge of your painting.

The last step is signing my name.

And here is the finished painting when fully dry.

I take high resolution photos of my paintings for prints and cards, which I sell on Etsy and in a local gift shop.

Matting and framing adds so much (though it is hard to photograph without a glare)!

An important thing I’ve learned about watercolor painting is the importance of using good quality paint and paper and brushes.  I love Arches watercolor paper and Daniel Smith watercolor paints.

The brushes I used for this painting are ones I use most often:  Princeton Neptune Quill #4 for the background wash,   Escoda Versatil #10  for the penguins, and a Creative Mark Mimik #3 Rigger for a few of the very thin fine lines.  With these three brushes, I can do most any painting.

I hope this was informative for those who have asked about my process.  I am still learning, and I continually try different methods and products.

I don’t always do the background first.  Sometimes I paint an object and then decide to paint a background around it.  Sometimes I don’t paint a background, but just an object.   Other times I paint complete abstracts.  I never try to do exact photographic duplicate type paintings.  I prefer painting looser and more impressionistic.

I’m not sure I’ve refined my style into any particular area yet.  I may never.  But the journey is filled with so much joy.

And that is what matters most… finding joy… at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Let Your Dreams Blossom

Pink Floral Heart Original Watercolor by Jodi McKinney 11×14

Let Your Dreams Blossom!

Sprinkling a little pink love after a weekend of splashing in the art room.
Just what this heart and soul needed for some January nesting time.

Embracing the muse.
Going with the vibe.

Happy Monday friends!  Let’s make some magic this week!  Let’s create some beauty!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Original watercolor, as well as prints in all sizes and cards, available at McKinneyX2Designs and Berry Vine Gifts.

The Sparkly Magic of the Season

Sparkly Trees in Pink and Blue Original Watercolor Jodi McKinney 11x14

Sparkly Trees in Pink and Blue – Original Watercolor Jodi McKinney 11×14

The Sparkly Magic of the Season.

Are you feeling it friends?
Are you feeling the sparkly magic of the season?
Christmas is only eight days away!
But the magic is here already.
Do you feel it too?

Don’t miss it.

Don’t get too caught up
in what you feel you “have” to do…
in what you “have” to buy…
in what you “have” to bake…
in what you “have” to accomplish.

Relish the magic
that is all around!

To me, the magic is now….
in these days that lead up to Christmas and New Year.
The excitement…
The anticipation!
Oh how I wish we could bottle it to sprinkle on everyone throughout the year!

I went to the post office this afternoon.
The line was longer than I have ever seen it –
and I go almost ever day.
But people were smiling and laughing and cheerful –
those that worked behind the counter –
and those I stood in line and chatted with.
Customers balanced stacks of packages in their arms.
Postal workers kindly explained options.
Friends and strangers chatted.

I visited my son and grandie girls for a brief time
on my way home from work
like I do most every Monday afternoon.
We danced and sang.
We snuggled and hugged.
They dug through my purse with expectant anticipation
of treats they knew they would find.
And then they decided – for the first time ever –
to send home a piece of one of their treats
to their Pap, who they love…
and who loves them back more dearly
than he could ever express,
but we all know.

I went to the grocery store after work.
Sam, a high school junior at a local private Christian school,
was my check-out attendant.
He asked me what special plans I had for the holiday,
and he shared his.
He told me he would be taking the test for his driver’s license
the day after Christmas,
so it was either going to be a Merry Christmas
or a disappointing one,
but he had been practicing his parallel parking with his Dad
and was feeling confident.
He was also studying for mid-terms
and telling me how much he enjoyed music and the arts.
And while we were talking,
a voice from behind –
cheerful and surprised –
told him she was glad to hear he was studying…
and didn’t know he worked here.
She was his high school music teacher.

When I arrived home,
the mail contained colorful envelopes
and tightly sealed packages…
cards and letters from friends and relatives
and a box filled with juicy grapefruits and crisp apples,
bright oranges and ripe pears…
All delivered from a mail carrier
who always takes the time to chat
and scratch Charlie’s ears…
even when his day is running hours later than usual.

This painting
is a product of a late night visit to my art room.
I was feeling the magic,
and I painted my feelings.
Do you feel it?
I sure hope so!

Feel the sparkly magic of the season!
It is as special as a pink or blue or turquoise tree
found in a magical forest…
or in an art room…
or on a piece of paper…
or in your heart.

Don’t miss it!

Cheers and Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Dreaming of a Pink Christmas Tree


Pink Watercolor Christmas Tree 11×14

Dreaming of a Pink Christmas Tree.

I woke up wide eyed early Saturday morning with a burning desire to paint a pink Christmas tree…

I had a busy day ahead.  I was assigned to work a few hours at Berry Vine Gifts (the local gift shop where my DIL and I have our McKinneyX2Designs shop) and plans to visit Santa with my grandie girls.  I wanted to get a nice walk in with Charlie too.

But first…. I had to paint.

I had to paint this pink Christmas tree.

I painted it with layers of three pink watercolors – Opera Pink, Rhodonite Genuine, and Permanent Rose.  I started with a little wet in wet after lightly spritzing the paper with water and spritzed a little more after adding the layers.

I then went for a walk.  Stepping away to let it dry and let the watercolor magic happen is sometimes the hardest part, but it is also often so rewarding!

The thing with watercolor painting (that is so different from acrylic or oils) is that what you first paint is not how it will look once dried.  It can be frustrating (for impatient peeps like me), but it is also the fun and fascinating part of the art.

Once the pink watercolor was dry, I splattered some Inka Gold “ornaments” and Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White “snow” on the tree.

I totally envisioned this painting framed in gold, so in between my time at Berry Vine and our visit with Santa, I cruised through Home Goods where I found some beautiful gold frames that I wanted to try with prints of this painting.

Then today, with a full festive heart, I processed some prints and created some greeting cards from my dream of a pink Christmas tree.

I absolutely adore it!

I imagine there will be some who don’t “feel it” or don’t like a pink Christmas tree, but that is the beauty of art.

As I mature in my art journey, I am really seeking to paint what I love and what I feel in my heart rather than painting for what (I think) others will like.  There will always be those that like and dislike…. love or hate….  but that is what makes art so wonderful.

I’ve added this piece – the original – as well as prints and cards – to our McKinneyX2 Etsy shop if you are interested.

May YOUR Christmas dreams come true….
kinda like my little dream of a pink Christmas tree.

Cheers & Hugs,
Josi

 

 

Nostalgic Santa

Vintage Santa Christmas Watercolor 11×14

Nostalgic Santa.

I am getting soooo in the Christmas spirit!

We have had snow and unseasonably cold temperatures lately; and I have to say, I have been loving it!

Ever since I painted my Vintage Santa Face watercolor,  I have been itching to do another vintage Santa painting.

So I did!  And here he is!

Ho Ho Ho!!

So much fun!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Ho Ho Hello!

Original Santa Watercolor Painting by Jodi McKinney 11×14

Ho Ho Hello!

Popping in with a Ho Ho Hello
and this plump and jolly ole’ elf
Santa watercolor painting.

Hope you all are doing well.

I’ve been busy at work
and busy having fun with my grandie girls and family.

I’ve also been splashing about a bit in my art room
and decided to paint this chubby guy for the holidays!

Because you know…..
Nobody likes a skinny Santa!”

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Cascade Green Pumpkin Watercolor

Cascade Green Pumpkin Original Watercolor by Jodi McKinney – 11×14

Cascade Green Pumpkin Watercolor.

Who said pumpkins have to always be orange???!!!

And…  What watercolor artist doesn’t adore playing with
Daniel Smith’s Cascade Green?!

Mix it up with a little Quinacridone Gold and a bit of Sepia for contrast and Voila!

I love all the shades of green and blue and yellow and brown and black created with the granulation of these pigments in this combination!

It was a fun pumpkin to create!

I’m excited to be one of the artists featured at one of our local town’s Sip and Stroll events this Thursday evening in Zelienople, PA.

I have the great honor of  being invited by my friends at Boutique 16063 – an amazing women’s boutique with the sweetest owner and team that making shopping there so much fun and make you feel like a million bucks when you walk out!

I’ll have some prints of this painting there and some cards (as well as a great selection of some of my other watercolor originals and framed prints as well as copies of the two children’s books I wrote and illustrated, Klaus the Mouse and Lucas the Lucky Lion).

The original of this painting is available through our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy Shop or at Berry Vine Gifts in Bradford Woods, PA.

If you are local, I hope you will sip and stroll by on Thursday, September 19th between 6-9pm!

There will be lots of great beers and wine to choose from, food to eat, artists to explore, and great shoppes open to browse and shop in.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Red Cardinal Watercolor

Red Cardinal Watercolor.

I was away this past week on a wonderful “GFC” (Girlfriend Camp) trip, followed by a couple days of grandie girls and family fun.

This past Sunday afternoon, after over a week away from any ARTing, I found a bit of time in my art studio to paint.

I always fear when I’m away from it for a while, I will “forget” how to do it.

I decided to do a bird, then chose a cardinal.  I had some Simon & Garfunkel playing.  I felt completely relaxed, and just painted.  No drawing.  No warm-up.  And I got lucky and loved the result.

Just in case it turned out, and because I’ve been asked about sharing my process and “teaching,” I took a few quick iPhone photos of the steps I took along the way to share with you.

I found a cardinal photo on my ipad and then started with the eye placed where I thought was about right on a 10×16 sheet of Arches Cold Press.  I used Daniel Smith Indigo and Quinacridone Gold, leaving some white for the highlights in the eye.

When painting loose, you need to have a focal point, and when a bird or animal, a good focal point is the eye and/or beak/nose.  So from the eye, I used a wet brush to outline the beak, then added some Daniel Smith permanent deep red and water to blend the colors.

I deepened some of the colors and added the crown shape of the cardinals head and the shape of its neck.  This is pretty much all the “detail” I wanted in this painting.

From here, I added some more of the red and some cadmium yellow.

Then I just got super loose adding some violet and blue and green gold, lots of water for movement, and more indigo splashes.  I held the painting up vertically to let the drips run.

And this is what resulted.  I’m happy with how it turned out, and so glad to know I didn’t “forget” how to do it after being away for a while.

This painting – as an original, prints, and greeting cards – is available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy Shop and at Berry Vine Gifts in BradfordWoods, PA.

Have a wonderful day, and don’t be afraid to fearlessly and joyfully go for whatever it is you love to do!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Purple Parakeet in Watercolor

Purple Parakeet Original Watercolor by Jodi McKinney 11×14

A Purple Parakeet in Watercolor.

On my purple kick this past weekend, I created a random splash of color and topped it with cling wrap to create an abstract design.

I often like to do this when I don’t have anything special in mind to paint, but just want to create!  Then I look at it – sometimes for days or longer – until I see something appear.

My oldest DIL and I were at a local event this past Saturday at Quality Gardens and Bloom Cafe in Valencia, PA with our McKinneyX2Designs art and signs, and a man asked me if I ever painted a parakeet.

I hadn’t ever thought to, but when I looked at my “blob” of paint the next day, a parakeet appeared!  Mind over matter??!!

So I painted this.  I don’t even know the man’s name (who sweetly purchased a copy each of Klaus the Mouse, and Lucas the Lucky Lion for his grown artist daughter), but this painting is lovingly dedicated to him wherever he is, in honor of the sweet parakeet he and his wife recently loved and lost.  May they somehow feel the love.  And if he ever sees this, I will surely gift him with a print!

Happy #WorldWatercolorMonth!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Original, prints, and cards available at McKinneyX2Designs and Berry Vine Gifts!

A Patch of Purple Delphiniums

A Patch of Purple Delphiniums Original Watercolor 11×14 by Jodi McKinney

A Patch of Purple Delphiniums.

Splashing some green and purple this past weekend –
very loosely for an initial wash,
then adding additional loose detail
to somewhat resemble a patch of purple delphiniums!

This watercolor was inspired by Mary at HeartandSoul974‘s flowery blog post last week.  We are not even sure if they are delphiniums in her photo, but that is what I am calling my watercolor, because….
well….
because I can!

Happy #WorldWatercolorMonth!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Original, prints, and cards available at McKinneyX2Designs and Berry Vine Gifts!