Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Floral painting with Julie Snider

Julie Snider, a well-known watercolour painter now residing in St Catherines, Ontario, visited our August meeting to demonstrate various techniques in floral painting.

From Julie's website bio:
"In 1970 I enrolled in a fine arts program at Sheridan College, in Oakville, Ontario. In 1974 I graduated from the Graphic Design program, met my husband John, and began working as a graphic artist. We soon married and began a family. While at home raising my boys, Murray and Ben, I discovered my passion for watercolour and began to paint whenever I could find the time and energy.

"My first solo exhibit was in Perth, Australia, where John was doing in a year- long teaching exchange. Able to concentrate exclusively on painting while away with my family, I returned home to St. Catharines with a large portfolio of watercolour and have been painting at a steady pace ever since."
A house portrait
A finished botanical
Julie paints house portraits on commission, and teaches several days a week.

An initial drawing - note the paper is loose
Before starting her demo, Julie showed us her method of framing watercolours using a raised mat. This allows the edges of the paper to be visible and actually gives a floating effect.

She does not stretch her paper, which is usually Arches 140#. She works in a controlled wet-in-wet process, and does not tape her paper down. With botanicals, she invariably works from life and may keep flowers in her frig to keep them fresh. She draws from life, but often paints from memory,

She uses Winsor and Newton paints, always prepares 3 values and uses quite inexpensive brushes, generally rounds.
Starting the centre
For her demo of two sunflowers, she prepared 3 pigments for the petals, Quinacridone Gold, Cadmium Yellow Light and Quinacridone Red. She had prepared a drawing on a quarter sheet of paper, and had applied some dots of masking fluid in the centre of each blossom. As she paints, she moves around the paper and does not attempt to maintain consistency. She leaves white borders between the petals.
She moves around the page
As the time would not allow her to finish the flowers completely (there were lots of questions and answers), she moved to the flower centres, for which she prepared a dark brown mixture of Quin Red, Burnt Sienna and Payne's Gray. (Some painters reject Payne's Gray but Julie appreciates its qualities). As mentioned, she had applied some dots of masking fluid which would be removed at the conclusion. While the centres were wet (after waiting until the shine wore off), she added small amounts of kitchen salt. Adding salt will suck out the pigment giving the effect of light areas (see pic).

For the leaves, she used Sap Green, Quin Gold and Yellow. For the back sides of the leaves, when visible, she used cerulean blue.
A finished example
As a change of pace, Julie showed us a very loose method which involved completely wet paper, on which a base drawing had been applied ahead of time. Pigments were applied in a very loose fashion, allowing the colours to mingle. (pics)
The initial rough wash
Close up of dried wash