Friday, May 17, 2013

My demo for CWA...

My demo painting -- next to last step

I had a great time as the guest artist for the California Watercolor Association at their May meeting on the evening of the 15th.  My husband drove over with me (their meeting spot is about 70 miles from my home), served as general roadie, and also took these pictures during the demo.  He managed to capture most of the steps along the way, although he was unable to get a picture of the last step I did during the demo.  But I'll be posting more photos after I finish the piece, so you'll be able to see all the steps after the last image posted here.

I originally had a different image drawn out (in five steps), but realized about a week before the demo that it was much too complex for a 90 minute demo.  At that point, it was scramble time so I decided to give my favorite vintage salt shaker another turn in the spotlight.  In addition to painting on this image, I talked about prepping my images, chosing background resources, and using masking fluid to save highlight areas and frisket film to protect the shaker when stamping or spattering the background.

Starting point

I had the body painted in before I arrived.  The main color is new gamboge, mixed with some Daniel Smith quinacridone deep gold and a little Winsor violet (dioxazine) for the shadowy areas on the base of the shaker.

Step one -- painting the head

I'm using French ultramarine blue for the main color on the head and mixing the blue with a bit of Daniel Smith's quinacridone sienna for a deeper tone to model the three-dimensional form.

Step two -- the wing is complete

Next, I painted in the wing, using cobalt green.  Because I wanted to show how the glaze on the wing bled into the body, I lightly painted a clear water wash on the yellow body so the green would drift into the yellow slightly.

Step three -- painting the bill

I'm using scarlet lake for the main color on the bill and a mix of scarlet lake and Payne's gray for the darker red that I pulled along the edge of the bill to give it form.  In this photo, I'm adding an orangy-red -- made by adding a bit of new gamboge to the scarlet lake -- to the center of the bill to give it a subtle highlight.

All the large color areas are complete

At this point, the main areas are colored in and it's time to add the black details.  I mixed up a nice deep black with French ultramarine blue and Daniel Smith quinacridone sienna and am starting to paint in details around the eye in the next photo.

Step four -- painting in the black details

Step five -- bringing the highlights to life

In the last step I have to show you, I have removed the masking fluid and am softening the edges of the highlights to make them look realistic.  This step also shows the preliminary background -- I painted a rosy purple across the background and then stamped it with masking fluid using a stamp I'd cut out of a compressed sponge.  I protected the painted shaker with frisket film (actually a transparent, low-tack contact paper that I bought at either a hardware store or drugstore).  

The last step of the demo was to pull a deeper purple wash across the background to make the stamped images pop.  Unfortunately, my husband didn't capture it with the camera.  When I finish this painting, I'll remove the masking fluid and very likely spatter some gouache on the background to soften the pattern and keep it in a supporting role to the main character.

Hope you enjoyed the demo.  Stay tuned for the final results.


  1. Hi Chris,
    I was at the demo and loved each and every step. It's so cool to meet you in person. You are a great teacher; and, you give a lot of helpful info during the class.
    Thanks a bunch!
    Irina Sztukowski

    1. Thanks, Irina -- I'm glad you enjoyed the demo. Very nice to meet you too!!

    2. This is fantastic! I'm glad they treated you like the Superstar you are Chris!

    3. Thanks, Sheila -- I'm blushing at your compliment!!

  2. I will definitely drop in to see how the duck comes out. Thank you, Chris, for posting this progression.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn -- I'll post some progression pix of the finishing steps when I can.


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