Light & Shadow


The Magic of Watercolor


Lesson Info

Light & Shadow

so we're going to do light and shadows notice the shadow colors on the adjacent paris if you take a look cast shadows almost always have the color of the object that's casting the shadow in it even when it's being reflected on another object so one of the one and sarah made a comment about but the painting I did of this photograph and how the shadows were just you know they had so much color in them they do and if you take a look at the shadow on this teapot I mean look how much fun that would be to paint that is not a gray shadow so pay attention to your shadows they almost always have a lot of color in them and yeah just pay attention to your shadows put objects colors in cash shadows which is what I just said and you're always don't forget your always painting the effects of light because all any of this is is really just light so in the morning he'll have ah cool light in the afternoon you'll have a warm light for the most most part and your shadows usually your cast shadows like t...

he's here outside these plums there usually opposite in tone in temperature than the light that cast them so this was a cool shadow and I I mean a cool light and so I made the warm shadows and vice versa if it's a warm light your shadow is usually cooler now if you see the shadow on the left it's look it's just sitting there that that pair looks like its floating somehow because it's not connected to the shadow the shadow on the right has colors of the pair in it and it connects the two of them together so that they look like they belong together okay so we're going to go into layering and blazing okay transparency allows depth the color I explained that at the beginning of the class about how the different layers you can see them lay down your lightest colors first it's once you put a dark color down unless you want to go back and start lifting it out you can't put a lighter color on top of it because the lighter color won't show tom hoffman a local seattle artist says thinking layers and so do I you have to strategize and think about your painting and figure out okay I'm going to put this light layer here and then I'm going put this on top of it and then I'm going to put this over here thinking layers you don't want to put in more than three or four layers though as soon as you start doing that you start getting an overworked painting in one that has a good chance of doing mud do your value studies or some sort of equivalent method a lot of people do little sketches using black magic markers and they do there value studies that way I actually take photographs and bring them into photo shop and turn them into grey scales and you know sometimes I used the what is it posterized and you know see if I can see where the values are and stuff like that whatever method works for you try to figure out where your lights and darks are before you start painting and glaze to change your hugh your value and intensity and your temperature okay so this is a really ugly painting idea that I wanted to show the effects of glazing the left side that could be in england the right side that could be in italy so I was going to do a glazing demo here and I think I will because I have a painting again not very attractive painting I don't want to use a good one for this and I'll mix makes a cool blue this is very light you don't use a dark color and you just put doesn't do very much but if you see how it tones down can you even see that on camera do I need to make paint darker maybe I should make it just a little bit darker hesitate to paint over it again but use a very very light touch and you see how it tones down so and any time you have an area of the painting that sort of garish looking you tone it down with its compliment in a glaze and it'll just bring it right back it'll just keep it from bouncing into your face and tone it back into the background now if I do a warm glaze a favorite color for glazing is something called kanak would own gold quinn gold it's a uh very transparent color and you can see what that does to the tone on that side of the painting took those blues and greens him up brought this color out in in this guy made a really warm area in the sky so that's glazing very thin washes now if you wanted it to be darker say you didn't get it right the first time you don't like I would never go over this again now because the paint is wet if I go over this now why don't I go over this now and show you really don't like that anyone know it will start to move the paint underneath well it's not doing it very well but you have to be very very careful because it'll loosen up paint underneath and and it'll change the painting so if you put down a glaze and it doesn't work it's too light let it get completely dry before you do it again do you say you like to stick normally with cool it isn't necessarily the cooler warm it's the transparency what's important in blazing is to use a transparent paint now you can glaze with semi transparent but you don't want to make him very dark because it'll change the complete anything that's glowing underneath will not be glowing anymore so it's really all about transparency that's what it's you know geared towards and you wait until your painting is completely dry to do that yet completely dry because if you pay it like if I had just put that paint down and then I wanted to glaze it everything that I had just painted which has come right up because it would still be wet so you're painting has to be really dry I'm making a mess here okay so in closing okay at various times your paintings they're going to look pretty strange this is a first stage of a painting I did of a field and it looks really strange I put salt on there I dropped an opaque colors I put the yellow on afterwards and it pushed other colors out of the way but if you start to build your layers and add colors in stages and you do your glazing magic begins to happen and this started to take on some depth and dimension and feeling to me and then if you get good color you put in some good values you put a few choice strokes in the right places it really makes all the difference and this ended up being there let me explain this whole area here was supposed to be mountains but and I asked actually put tape along the top two cut like a stencil and I didn't press the tape down enough for I used tape that didn't have enough tact to it and when it so when I put in the mountain color underneath it all bled up feathered out and then I looked at it and I went oh that looks okay looks like trees so they're not mountains anymore they're trees and then I went in and I added some of it some water in here to lighten it up and I put some strokes in there and I ended up with a field of freeze in the background so I didn't give up and that's what this is all about have faith and don't give up just don't give up okay so this suggested exercises are use your scrubber bush now do you remember the transparency tests that we did in the very beginning get that out this's the transparency test use your scrubber brush and scrape through these colors and I'll show you real quick how to do that you'll need a some sort of paper towel or kleenex or something like that you put water on your brush and you just scrape through and then you blocked and you'll be able to to see how far back to white you'll be able to get now this is our stainer color here this is our halo blue that's the one that will still leave a tent on the paper and I'm scrubbing pretty hard here I'm scrubbing hard enough to actually pick up a little globs of the paper but you cannot get back you can't get nearly is clean backto white with the halo and and if you can see around the edge here it even stained the paper when I was trying to wash it out let's do one more let's do the pira large that has a bit of a staining quality too but you can get some very interesting effects in your paintings if you cut some sharp stencils and things like that say I forgot say I forgot to leave this area white here and I wanted to go backto white I would cut a stencil in the shape of the area that I wanted to go backto white and I would use a toothbrush or the scrubber brush or a sponge and I would be able to lift that color out so being able to lift is a very important thing to do in watercolors so that's one of the exercises that I think everybody should try so you can see what happens to your paint do attend value scale if you have the time fill in the blank colors on your warm color wheel I showed you what that looked like with the entire color wheel field in fill in the blank colors on your wheel finish your mouse ears exercise way were just doing that one and then a more difficult exercise these air two apples that I painted and I painted them in two different ways the one on the left was painted with a yellow under painting and the one on the right I started with the red and then built the other colors up on top of it so you might want to try that you might want to start with a yellow apple and then add your reds and at your other colors later and I even brought the yellow down into the shadow which I think makes the shadow of the one on the left ever so much more interesting than the one on the right and then these are the two color mixing books that I told you about they're great books they just have swatch and swatch and swatch and they give all different paints and they mix them together and they tell you what the mixture is so if you go I want this color and you find it in the book it will tell you how you can get it and then these are the websites of the other artists that have showed in this presentation and daniel smith website on my website and e mail so that's it everybody I did find this one quote and this is one of going to be reiterating over and over we don't recognize talent until after the fact at which time it is indistinguishable from the results of persistence and hard work so don't start out saying I have no talent because I'm telling you with some persistence and hard work you will you will and it's worth it

Class Description

Join Molly Murrah for a fun, 5-week watercolor class for beginners. Learn about color, papers, brushes, drawing and composition, as well as many great painting techniques that will get you working and playing with watercolors!


Susan Mueller

Absolutely loved this class! I've been fiddling with watercolor for the last year, but have never really taken any art classes. This was the perfect intro level class in so many ways, covering basic principles of color, composition, etc. - and always in a warm, encouraging atmosphere. I learned so much about watercolor as a medium, and I would recommend this to anyone interested in getting involved with it. Would love to take a class with Molly again!

Linda Berg

Molly is captivating! Her soothing voice exudes her love of watercolour painting! She is very organized and knows how to paint with watercolours and how to teach it as well. Not all painters can teach... I was drawn into her 'teachings', loved listening to her wealth of knowledge, and signed up for her course. Oh, I recommend it totally!