Abstract Watercolors - create a series for a gallery wall | Kelly Witmer | Skillshare

Abstract Watercolors - create a series for a gallery wall

Kelly Witmer, painter, ceramicist, writer, etc

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8 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Introduction to abstract watercolor

    • 2. paper

    • 3. brushes and paint

    • 4. Watercolor Warm Ups

    • 5. painting demos

    • 6. class critique

    • 7. adding colored pencils

    • 8. BYE!


About This Class

In this class I'll take you through my process of making abstract watercolors. First I talk about the different materials I use, and what I suggest for a beginner to get started. I also go through my editing process, and how I add to pieces I'm not happy with.

Join me on Instagram to see what I'm working on now!

Feel free to post any questions here in the community section - I'm happy to help in any way I can! I've made another class going over various ways to sell your work online, explaining what has worked for me and what hasn't: https://www.skillshare.com/classes/Earn-Money-from-your-Art-while-You-Sleep/1668682790


1. Introduction to abstract watercolor: and you probably totally can. Abstract artists. Easy. Um, I think, uh, but it's easy when it works. That's the secret. You have to do it over and over again to get that one time that it clicks. My name is Kelly, and I'm an artist. I work in various mediums, from paint to ceramics. I used to do figurative aiming on. I did abstract work really on the side for fun, um, sort of stress relief. But I realized over time that the abstracts were more popular than the figurative paintings . So now I make my living selling my abstract watercolors online from various print companies . Also, they've been in the Anthropologie catalog several times. I different companies seldom hotels, so they're reproduced in hotel rooms. And the great thing about water colors is when you get a high resolution scan and do a print on good paper, it looks just like the original, so I can scan them and upload them and be anywhere in the world. Right now, I'm in Mexico, which is why I have a big mural behind me. And I mentioned that because you may notice some background noise. Not a lot. I could do about it. There's nothing I could do about it. So I'm trying to embrace it and consider it a little psych class in the sounds of Mexico. But the point of class will be Teoh take you through my process and show you my materials and techniques. And for a class project, we're going to make a series of abstract watercolors that work together so you can easily put them in frames and make a gallery wall in your home and slap it on Instagram and everybody's gonna be so jealous, so lost ground. I think it's gonna be really fun on, uh, hope to see you in the next section use. 2. paper: Hey, welcome back. So for a project, try to do six pieces that work together. You could do for three Whatever works for you or whatever you end up with. I'm not. I'm gonna get six. I'll have to do 10 20 or 50. Who knows? Because there's gonna be screwups and or just pieces that, like, you know, they just don't really work. So, uh, leave some room for that. And the paper that I recommend is this draft more ready? Cut? It's called Ready Cut because most watercolor comes in these giant sheets that you need to cut down. And it's a real pain in the ass and you risk damaging the paper getting dirty. So that's why I started just buying these, because they're already I used. This is five by seven, which is what I use a lot delayed because it's cheap. Uh, you could get this in eight by 10 or 11 by 14. The problem is, is that you know, the bigger you get, it cost more, so each screw up. It's like it's just more anxiety. Eso You know you may not Maybe your genius and you won't screw up, but But I do. So this is 25 sheets for $7 change. I used to get it at Dick Blick, which is a good place for aren't supplies that you can order in. The shipping is free. Now, I've been getting it on Amazon for actually a little bit less and get it the next day for free. So who doesn't love that? Oh, so, yeah, that's paper on. So next we're gonna talk about paint. 3. brushes and paint: Okay, Now we're gonna talk about materials. Um, let's start with brushes. They're a necessary evil. I see that cause they're expensive, and they're easy to destroy, So don't leave them in water. Always clean them. Um, let's see these. I'm embarrassed to admit, but I got from WalMart. It was a package of, like, 10 of them. Front or I don't know, it was cheap. Um, and they're pretty good. Natural bristles. I used them a lot. So you never know. I have to be on the lookout. I get He's got this one from Dick Blick. And I seem to recall is expensive, but it's one of my favorite. So I wasn't that bad. It's stable. Quarter inch, oval wash. I use it a lot, but, um, sort of a medium round is if you're gonna buy one brush, that would be the one to get with sort of Ah, a point. But like, you know, not too small. Um, that'll get you where you want to go. Um, if if you're buying one, I prefer to use to paints. Um, it has kind of the richest colors with lots of pigment. Um, Cotman is one that I use a lot again because it's cheap. I know it's a recurring theme, but I'm trying. Teoh show you the things that I think you can save money on so that cause there's nothing worse than investing a lot of money in a new project or hobby and then realize that it's not for you. So, um, the's air, like I said, good for the good quality for the money. Um Indigo Payne's gray, these air some my favorite colors from this brown um, and here's Daniel Smith. These air a lot more expensive, and I don't really see the difference. So sorry, Daniel Smith. Um, van Gogh was another good one. I got this in Mexico. 52 pesos. That's under $3. Not too bad, but it does add up if you're trying to get a lot of colors. Um, theoretically, you could get a good yellow, blue and red and mix all the colors you need, But I frankly find that two people I mean, it's fail. You're just gonna get crappy colors. So if that's what you want, this is one of my favorite ones. I don't know whether it's because of the brand or the particular shade, but I use it a lot. Thing is, I've never run out of a tube of paint. It usually dries up and becomes useless before I use all of it. They last a long time. So that's another reason not to spend a lot of money on the, um, I also use thes liquid watercolors from Dr Martens, no relation to Thea shoes. But these air actually made from dies rather than natural pigments, so they're not as light fast. You don't want to leave any artwork sitting in the sun for a long time, but they become a fugitive if you, uh, do it with these, which means they disappear. Um uh, What I do is I mix it with the two colors so I might use one of these Tahiti read or something or or Iris to brighten a color or c p a Teoh to bring it down if it's too bright . And I find that when I mixed them, it gives it sort of this extra dimension. Sometimes they'll even separate and do some interesting things. So I I love to experiment. Um, that's part of the fun for watercolors for me. So that's why I like to mix small up thistles. Another liquid watercolor. That's that's good. Um oh, yeah, this another good, cheap one. Um, a lot of people use pans. Um, I never saw the attraction that you're some that I just started making them. So kind of that sort of changing my opinion because, uh, see how I could just make them with, like, a lot of pigment. And so these air really rich colors that I was able to mix myself. That's a whole other class. And I'm going to do that another time. So but 00 experiment with these little bit. If you have a pan set, go ahead and use it. I mean, a lot of people love him. I just They get all mixed up, the yellows always get icky. So, um, I just Yeah, I get I get, uh, you can get cheap little palettes like this. Um, they end up looking like this after Not very long. Um, I've also used egg cartons would, uh whatever you whatever you find. Okay. So next we're gonna get started painting 4. Watercolor Warm Ups: Okay, so let's get started here. Uh, like I said, this is one of my favorite colors. Lately, somebody used that. I keep going back to the same colors, which is bad. I shouldn't do it. But what are you gonna dio? Let's go for a little So that the name of that one is lavender permanent. Actually, I cheated. It's and looked. Well, it's not cheating, but they actually will show you on here. What? Somewhere where the what? The pigment is its ultra marine, violent and titanium. So I made something similar, um, myself. But I didn't have that. I didn't have any way. Uh, excuse me. I'm just gonna babble a little bit. I can't help it. I'm gonna do This is sort of a warm up thing. I do. First, I went with the paper down and I'm using even J per paper because, uh um, so I use usually have two things of water going because one's gonna get really dirty fast. And then it's good to have one that's clean. And for I use an eyedropper Teoh at some water on these. No, I want to use this one too. I love this one. some yellow deep. It's very sunny. Um, okay, so something I tend to do is just toe get warmed up. Oh, just and make a grid. It's the simplest thing. This is that into go and sometimes it ends up being a finished piece. Most time it doesn't, but I don't know what else to Dio. It's just kind of it's meditative, and it's also a good way. Teoh Experiment with colors and see how they're gonna mix together. I said, I like toe wet it which and it drives. They tried pretty. The paper drives pretty fast. Any more colors to Okay, maybe for this Gonna use more these my pan ones. Try not to think about it too much, although it looks like I'm thinking about it too little here. It's hard to talk and between at the same time. Let's use this one kind of like how that's working. Um, like that came out. You can hear That's the gas, man. It's a truck that goes around selling gas and it repeats the same recording over and over again. It drives me insane. Okay, so there you got your grip around with colors. This one, Issa Naples yellow red. I don't know if you want to know this stuff on, just que should you. So like I said sometimes a little mix a little bit. And what did you do to try that? See how bright this is? I mean, it's it's used in cartooning and stuff. I think a lot now. Another thing that I'll do sometimes just to kind of play around. IHS, this makes sort of, ah, stack of different colors I see use and getting a bunch of the the two pigment on here. And it's interesting how pain will work. Sometimes it works with and against other colors and so kind of pushing polls. So So you see, the pink is bleeding into their, but in the blue is going the other way. See, I like how these kind of create other little worlds from Okay, where's my napkin? I forgot. Okay. You should always have a napkin, our paper towel around or like I just squeeze the pain out of here. You could kind of use your brush to soak up some extra water. It's going to crazy. There. You look at this. I love how that's working, but sometimes it'll look really cool when it's wet and then it dries on. It's totally different. Got small brush hairs. I use a dry brush when I get these little hairs, which happens when you use these cheap WalMart brushes, um, to pick the hairs up. 5. painting demos: Okay, well, let's go with that. All right? I'm gonna keep going. The beauty of uploading these for digital prince pronounce is that you can take that kind of stuff out in photo shop. I mean, I don't do a lot of cheating. And Photoshopped, it's not she I don't know. Just shut up, boy. It's really hard to paint when you're being filmed. I got to say, because as you can see here, I don't I don't really come at it with a plan. I just, you know, make it up as I go along. Sometimes it works. A lot of times it doesn't. Okay, Cool. Something I love when I use these. Uh, he's been a liquid watercolor, especially the gray on this paper. It's time to get sees Little white specks on it. It just it. It looks like an old lithograph, and I just love that effect. Okay, But this dry, it's who that is really red. This is These are one of my pans that I made. And it's a lot of cadmium red cadmium, zehr expensive. I think they might even cause cancer. Oh, - you know, I think I'm not the only one to say this, but a big part of abstract art is knowing when to stop. And I don't know when to stop. I never know when to stop. Okay, so I better stop. - Wow , That looks like a perfect circle. Now I'm gonna screw it up. Show I screwed up. 6. class critique: Okay, so now it's class critique time. I'm gonna critique myself if you haven't had the pleasure of wasting money on art school. Um, one of the best and worst things is the class for T's. Those people hate them, but I kind of like, but anyway, uh Okay. So, um, like I said, my goal was to do six or toe have six at the end of time. And and so I did 12. Um, I don't like this one, and it is the one that I spilled paying on, but still, I don't know this. I kind of like some things about it, but I don't know, uh, it just doesn't do it for me. I don't know about this one either. And these two Let me see. I'm so indecisive. This has some things that bothers me. So does this. But actually, I'm gonna show you some things I do with ones that I'm not very happy with. So let's save those, Like have this. This one? This one? This one? No, It looks kind of like a lady. I like this one too. On this one. I like some parts of it, but I just got a little too crazy. It's not really? I don't know. So, you know you are going to Well, this is kind of boring. These two got a tie. Well, I'm gonna I think I'm gonna go with these. I don't know if you disagree, please let me know in the comments. I'd love to hear it, You know. So again, I think these all work together. I Bruno, you got a little little visitor here? No. Okay, so I think these all worked work well, because mainly well, there's something There's some shape repetition. Great dog here. And then also it's just the colors. I mean, really, I don't know if you do some similar shapes, um, similar colors, then they all kind of work together, and, you know, like a lot of these aren't They aren't all that interesting on their own. I mean, maybe that they're not interesting altogether to a lot of people, but I think that that they just work better together as a group. Um, it just becomes more interesting. So 7. adding colored pencils: Hi again. Are you sick of me yet? Um, I'm gonna go over some ideas for what to do with pieces that you're not too happy with. So this is my pile of, uh, duds or not so good things. Um, yeah, this was, you know, these were kind of warm ups and noticed I used even cheaper paper than the cheap paper I recommended, because I just don't even trust myself. So what I do a lot of times when all practice with the sky first when I'm not happy with them before I give up And, well, you know, I don't throw them out. I don't throw anything out. Um, they just end up in stacks, so I'll just kind of draw on it. That's not gonna work. I use colored pencils and do these little lines that I repeat everywhere. For some reason, I don't know why. I don't know why I do circle so much either Circle of life, the world, I don't know. Oops. Try not to draw on an unlevel would table, so yeah, I don't know. Maybe it's still sucks, but it had some interest to it. Also, get some of these or just, you know, they're just simple to get started, which is sometimes half the battle. Yeah, I kind of like that. So, um, while I'm at it, I'll just talk about the colored pencils a little bit. Thes air, Prisma colors, thes air. Really good. Um, and I don't think progressive one. Caesar, these are pretty good. I'm these other ones. I got these on amazon. It was 48. I don't It was so cheap. It seems like it was, like, $7 or something. Um, but so you figure you can't go wrong, Uh, unless you want crappy colored pencils. There also is supposed to be water soluble, um, which you think would come in handy for me. But I just don't really doesn't really work for me, But they're okay. You know what? For the price. Like you've got 48 colors at your fingertips, and that's great. That's pretty close. I'm just gonna do the circle thing here. Uh, I hate it when that happens. Should I stop there? I think I'm going to. It looks a little weird. Enough balance, but I like that 8. BYE!: so thanks so much for taking my class. I hope you got something out of it. I really had a good time making it. It was fun. And so it was fun to watch. Have a dining cat here. The apartments. Mexico. Come with a cat. This one did. So here's a finished piece in a frame. Just a cheap one that I got for a couple of books here. And like I said, it's easy. Pop it in. I was gonna do a section on framing, but I thought you could figure it out. So yeah, Smart. So again, I really hope you do the project and publish it in the project section. I know every skill share teacher says I can't wait to see what you come up with was like, Yeah, right. But But I Seriously, I'm really excited to see what what people dio on, You know, if you if you're drawn a blank, copy what I did. You know, sometimes it's not a crime. You know, you just you copy stuff to get going on, and then eventually, over time, you develop your own style and techniques. Um, it's just like doing it is the first step. So, uh, well, again, uh, it's been riel, and I have to see you yet. Juryo