Extreme Painting: Bringing Out Your Creativity | Ron Mulvey✏️ | Skillshare

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Extreme Painting: Bringing Out Your Creativity

teacher avatar Ron Mulvey✏️, Artist / Art Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Creativity Can Be Cool


    • 2.

      Drawing and Composing Quickly


    • 3.

      Painting Winter Mountain


    • 4.

      Secret of Studio Transformation


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About This Class

Follow Ron as he paints outdoors, at just above freezing (0 C, 32 F).

Problems happen as the paint freezes and then melts in the studio.

Find out how to handle what Mother Nature dishes out to the Extreme Artist.

This is a Watercolor Class that will teach you some 'Snow Tricks' with some great results. Open to all levels and very useful for desert dwellers who have never been in cold weather.

You may substitute the cold for hot or for challenging, like New York City or on top of Mount Vesuvius.

Be Brave outside then Go Home and finish up in the studio.

I have more Snow Tips filmed and was going to add them to the video section but decided to include them in the next Winter Offering after the Holidays. They show you how to make it snow, reflections in icy water and snow shadows. 

If this would interest you let me know and I will get it up for you.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ron Mulvey✏️

Artist / Art Teacher


I've been working as a full-time artist since 1980. I have had the pleasure of teaching art since 1983 and have taught thousands of classes on drawing and painting. I would consider it a privilege to assist you in achieving your artistic goals.

I have taught the basic and advanced mechanics and principles which give us the skill and confidence to express creatively, for the past 30 years. Sharing them is my passion! 

What Do I Like Teaching?

Watercolors and Acrylic are my specialty. I work with oils also but not as often as the water based mediums.

I love trees, mountains, rocks, water, flowers, and all that nature has to offer. Getting out into nature always gives me a creative boost. You get the real energy and feeling of space and belonging.See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Creativity Can Be Cool: We just finished up outside, maybe, I don't know, we are out here about 20 minutes. Got two little sketches and a water color. This is for everybody who's brave enough to get outside in the winter or out in the desert in the summer, find a shady spot, and paint the extreme weather. I like to seen if I can find something that's lit up, but the foreground is not. As I pan around here, you'll see that there's a river over here, and I will probably incorporate the light on that sighed of the mountain and the river with a view of what we call the dome. Okay, that's our star attraction. That's the Papa Bear. I'm going to leave some of the spruce tree in the foreground and that big fir, that's right in front of the mountain, it's a lot bigger than it looks, and we'll get painting right away. But we are outside and that's the important part. Getting ready in real-time here. Nothing. No tricks. Just real time. In the Canadian north in December. Okay, there we go. We're set up here with our pitcher. Welcome to painting outside. This is a special holiday painting of snow, how to use whites with watercolors and how to have a good time just above freezing. Let's see how the paints react to the weather here. I like that vertical look there. I might accent that right here with another vertical look, pretty close in the sky. Even if you don't see them, 1, 2, 3, will make your mountains look higher. 2. Drawing and Composing Quickly: There we go. Our setup here with our picture. Now I'm going to give it a quick draw. I am going to flip you over here so you can see the mountain. Here it is, with a few trees. We're going to keep it simple. Nothing is going to be complicated here because it's cold and it's wintertime. Here we go. I have my China marker here, used to mark China cups back in the day. It's a wax pencil, and I'm just going to first of all, put in the foreground a little chunky snow here. That's the edge, few things sticking up, couple of footprints, probably the deer. So now I have to make sure that I stay focused with the picture. I'm going to add a few verticals here for trees. I am going to do three, one, two, three, and now I'm going to draw in the mountain. Here comes the mountain, behind the trees a bit, comes in here, it's like a dome, and then straight down over here. Now, there's a few little curves on it, and now there's some trees coming down this way. I'm going to add the fir tree. I might just leave the fir tree out and just add a couple of wiggles here, and leave this one so that it's in the foreground. There are three trees, a ledge, and down here I'll put the other trees coming through here. These ones join up. You know what? I might just add a little bit of the river down here with a little line. There's my drawing. 3. Painting Winter Mountain: One of the things you'll notice is the mountain looks white. But really the mountain is not white. It has a yellow cast to it. What I'm going to do is I'm going to throw on some of azo yellow down at the bottom. I'm going to warm up the sky a little with an azo yellow, you can use a cadmium a little bit here. Whatever areas are going to be warm, I'm leaving the very bare white here though, that's important. Now I'm going to clean off my brush. I'm going to take some ultra marine. Now I'm going to establish a few cool spots, such as the snow here, but I'm going to do it quickly so that I leave a few white areas. See, leave a few white areas, just dripping it down very thin. Little bit behind here, because this will be in the shadow too. In the bottom here, a little bit of a shadow there. So paint start to freeze up. That's okay. There we go. That was a little bit of blue and a little bit of the azo. Now I'm going to clean my brush off and I have to get my alizarin in. My alizarin right there, drop a little bit in there. Happy accident right there. Come in here up the beside, gives me that warps on the mountains. The warps is very important. I'm going to give it a little shot of alizarin with a little cadmium yellow in the water here. Look how that paint is freezing. That's great. It's getting cold. I've got too much time. I'm laying in my mid- tones. Here comes the sky. Now, I noticed that I don't have any sailor blue, and that's okay. I can add a little wash of sailor blue in the house if I need to. But I'm going to see how this response, and I might want to control it a bit in the sky. See it's freezing right on there, which is great. The blue is freezing onto the paper, which will give me a great look when I get in. I'm basically doing like Leonardo da Vinci doing his wax painting. We're getting some freezing here. Notice the generous amounts of white that I have left, I'm going to switch brushes now, and I'm going to switch to my Asian brush. You could see it on the right-hand side of the mountain. Over here, it's darker. I'm going to take a little bit of these two colors. My fingers are starting to get numb, which means it's quite cold. Now, remember, when we get in the house, this paint is all going to melt together. So we don't know exactly what's going to happen, but I'm coming down here with a good stroke right up here. Notice how the paper should be dry. So I don't have to worry about it dripping all over the place. Now, we have a little bit of dark coming down in here, that sets off the warmth here. I'm going to bring that down, notice if I add water, I still can't move it around a bit. If you just add a little more of this coming in here. I'm staying away from green. I'm going to take this. When I start to get a dirty palette, I'll use the board, which is perfect. Now, what I need here is an orange, but not too orange and yet not too pure. I'm coming here with some drag strokes. This will make it or break it. Remember, I wet that. So I got a different result than I thought I would. But I'm getting warm. I'm getting a warm tone. I'm lifting this off now. There it is lifting off nicely. There we go. Coming in there nicely. I can see over here, I'm picking out colors now, I can see a little green coming in here at the bottom. I'm going to add a little bit of blue to that. It's a gray, green coming in here and there on the mountains. Now I'm going from my dark. The dark is going to be the trees. I can see a tamarack tree right beside me. There's the tamarack. So I'm going to add some fairly strong. Take a breath and relax. I'm putting this in the foreground. There we go. Spark texture on. Remember, we can tide this up in the studio. Getting cold. There we go, add some darks to it. There are no needles on the tamarack tree. In the winter, it loses all its needle. So I can play up a nice little orange color here. See that really brilliant orange. I can put a little bit in here. There we go. You've got to have some warm spots on your picture because it's winter. Now we're going to go for some needles. The needles I'm going to use a little ultramarine blue with the nickel azo. I'm just going to wiggle in some light tones first. I'm going to put in some light tones down here, and now I'm going to go for some darks using the ultramarine and the cadmium. It's a little pasty, but that's okay. See the darks come forward. In this case, there we go. These are the trees far away down near the bottom. There's a good one. Get it couple up, broken branches. Try not to get too many triangles. I'm going to come through here with that for a tree, round on the top. There we go. I'm using the dark now you can see with the end of the brush getting very cold out here, adding in some more little spots, coming right up to that tree to set it off. Across the river, I'm going to bang that off a bit, and get a shadow area in there, like that. Leaving a few white areas here and there, get something on an angle there. This one isn't quite making it. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to add right across here. Just going to add a little more foreground there, a little more distance. There we go. That puts that down there. Now the last thing is put those great swipes up in the mountain on shadow areas with a little bit of this violet. I'm going to be very careful here, but I'm also going to be just swiping it in. See those dark areas right in there. Got to be careful, don't want to get too carried away here. But I'm starting to like it, I'm thinking I need a little more purple, and another shot of blue up there. But I can do that in a studio. I could do it in studios so let me just add a little bit more of the purple hair, faraway hills. There we go. A couple little strokes up here. Let me get a bang on this brush, and just there we go. That's it. I can feel that. We don't need any more there. A couple of little darks very warm darks in the snow here. Just to set off the foreground. Done. I hope you enjoyed this class. I did. I'm going to bring these up to the studio. We want to do a little bit of work up there. But this is for everybody who's brave enough to get outside in the winter or out in the desert in the summer, find a shady spot, and paint the extreme weather. 4. Secret of Studio Transformation : The unexpected always makes you a better painter. Getting closer to focus time. I wanted to get the painting as it dripped and unfroze, but I guess my camera has to wait first. Dripping. I'm going to have to get in here and lift a bit as it's getting a little out of control. I'm lifting off carefully some of the paint. What I've been doing is as it's melting and the camera's coming back, I'm just taking a rag and my soft brush here. What I'm doing is lifting some of the paint off. Don't be afraid that the pitcher goes totally in a different direction. In this case, my winter pitcher went south and that's okay because the painting starts to talk to you in a way that it says, "Well, take this off, move this over." Remember, watercolors like to be lifted. I can use dark and light, dark and up here with fallo. Remember, I mentioned it. I do have some good whites left. I got some whites down here. That tree turned out beautiful. I can get this tree back. I can lift color off, darken it and it's going to turn out just fine. Let's let it re-dry now. It's not dripping all over the place. We'll see what we can do when it's totally dry. I'm going to wet my brush. This is the ultramarine wash and a few little white spots there I might leave. I have my paper tilted slightly. So I've wet my sky. What I'm going to do is put it in and let it drip right down by tilting the board. Too worried about it doing much because paint will follow, I'm going to leave that little white cloud there. The paint will follow the wetness of the paper. So now, I'm just tilting it. I want a varied color in the sky. I don't want it completely smooth. So I'm going to let it drip off here a bit. Now, I know the papers, except for that little white cloud, is saturated. Here, I'm going to show you a little trick is to put the darker paint in the bottom or on the bottom and then let it drip up. That'll bring that white cloud out. Get it all over on this side. I like that vertical look there. I might accent that right here with another vertical look. Verticals in the sky, even if you don't see them will make your mountains look higher. So now, I'm going to leave it on an angle here. I'll put something under it to keep it tilted up. Then I'll let that just sit for a little while. As that sitting, I'm going to take a little more of that. I like mixing on the board right beside my painting because I've always get a clean color even on the tape. Now, I'm going to go down to this section. I'm going to just come across with a little shadow area, soften the edge, just subtly putting in a little bit of darker blue into the shadow area here, goes to the sky or something. Adding that fallo blue into a few areas. Notice, I'm not touching any of the white. I don't want to touch the white because at this point, I can't get it back. I'll be adding some trees in here. Remember the fir tree. Just using the tip of the brush, adding a little bit of realism into it. I could even take a darker, little more fallo here and a little bit of the ultramarine. Staying away from mucky colors, keeping the colors clean is important. You just dropping a few blues into the shadow areas. I can add to that tree later. The board is tilted, just tapping in, I'm going to firm that now. See that little bit of fallo in there, just a little, gives me a nice little shadow area. Blue up here, shadow area. We put a shadow on there. Just playing around with my picture and letting it dry. There we go. I need a good dark right here, so I'm going to take some ultramarine. Just add a dark section there. I'm going to be mixing some darks to go in here. I'm going to wet my brush and I'm going to lift off. So that's the good thing about using good paper. This is French watercolor paper, Arches, is that you can lift it and it doesn't damage the paper. I'm making my fairly large brush here and I'm going to pop in an orange first. Just stay away from the edges and put in some orange right there. Not sure about the sky, it might be little wet there, so I'm going to leave that to the end. I'm going to actually add a little more in here just to echo it. Echoes are good in a picture. There's my orange. I'm going to add some ultramarine and a little more red to get a darker tone. Now, it was probably 10 in the morning, 11 so the right side is the side that is dark. I'm going to develop this tree later. So I'm just putting in some tool marks at that dark color. Lines coming out there especially in the foreground. There, it can even take a strong red. We do get a lot of reds in the winter here. Actually adding a strong vibrant red is good. Perfect. Always have some warm in your winter picture. I've added a few of these little lines like that, horizontal and verticals, couple little spots where I want to go over with green later. So these are my little dark areas. The paint is thicker but not so thick that it would be pasty when it's dry. We have ultramarine, the alizarin, and a small amount of cadmium yellow. This is where I would decide to go quite dark. Let me go quite dark there. A little more here. So be careful with your darks, but don't be afraid of them. What I'm going to do is going to work some in to some areas in here. Areas that I already see are yellow and where there's some light blue, I'll work it over. Its okay to put a few opaque sections into a watercolor. The reason being it stands out. Too much is not good. Adding a little green over the blue. There's always a few tricks. I've taped up here because I want to get a white line here. I have hogs hair bristle brush, and so I wet it and then dry it off. You can see it a little dark area here. I'm just lifting off a white line, and because this is the French watercolor paper, it works really well. That's just a little trick. Little dark spot there, and you could actually get pretty much down to the white of the paper. For a winter scene, if you didn't quite get all your whites you want to lift them off. Remember pull this way, not straight. When you're pulling it off, make sure you pull it down on an angle, and now you see I've made that nice little line right through there. Look around here, here's a little spot here. I'm not sure about that cloud. I'm going to leave that cloud, we left a little white spot there for now, but let's say I wanted to put up this birch here. Let's say I wanted to lighten that up. I get two more pieces of PE tape. Here we go, wet the brush, touch it to the rag, make sure the tapes on really well, and a little rubbing there. You don't want to rub it too long or the paper will start to fall oak. But you'll be quite surprised all the tapes got quite on there, you'd be quite surprised at what this looks like. These are not unorthodox techniques, but if you're painting pretty, you wouldn't be doing this because you'd be very careful not to ever have to do it. Now look at that, great white line. Let's look for another one. But if you're being artistic in the sense that you're not afraid to do a few bold things, this is probably for you. Let's get another one here. Get the tape, I can see one here would be very good. Put my tape on. I'm thinking as I do this, I'd like to connect the white of the snow here with the broken birch. Now we have a lot of birch here. I'm going to make this one a little thicker see, not too much, just a bit. Tape it up near the top. Vertical thrusts, that's the word I'm looking for. They create a very effective vertical thrust and because they're lighter, they're set off by the dark ever greens. Now I'm not damaging my paper here. This type of a brush has little flags on the end. They have little niches from the hogs hair bristle. Pull this way so they lift the paint really well. I could reuse those tapes, but I tend to do a fresh tape each time. There we go. One, two, there's little baby one down there, I think I'll get that in there. I think this one right here would look well. I might just take a little bit of this one. Great technique if you want to lift up for winter to get some white back. Now I wouldn't do too big an area because the paper does ball up if you do it too much like I said. There we are. There's another one, pull back and down. There we go. There's a little technique that you can use. I've decided to soften the cloud up here using the same technique. The first thing to do is just gently put a little water on it and around it. It's not going to change too much. Then let it sit for a minute, and then let's see what happens here. Gently I'm rubbing, not too hard. This paper is made very strong. But you can just rub in one direction as you keep rubbing a bit. If you feel the paper is getting a little bit worn, you can even use a little bit of sand paper. It's starting to move away now, see. It's starting to get rid of the hard edge. Hard edges on clouds don't really work, so we're softening it up. Now, let's say you do this and you get little paper beads like the paper seems to be falling apart, then you take a very fine sandpaper and go in one direction to soften it and that will take the little pieces of paper off. There we go. That will be a little dark here for a second because it's wet. There we go. You can see over here, right there. Another lightening I could just put a little bit of rubbing with this great brush, this hogs hair brush, bristle brush, or you can get them to synthetic too. There we go. Just lightening a few areas with the brush. It only works on good paper. Do not try this on poor paper. Take your big brush, clean it off. Make sure it's really clean. Take your picture and turn it, and just come beside it like this, wet it, just rub that down. Rub it off. It's lifted. When you lift, just be careful that you don't rub too hard in one place as it will look like you've been in there. There we go. Then just gently brought that down. It's actually gives it a fairly nice glow. I can see here, this will be great with a razor blade right here, just white mark, just go right over that. I know that paper is dry, so I'm just going to bring the foreground up a bit with a little razor blade. See all these little adjustments, it's your artistic nature coming out. There. Now I can probably get rid of that using my hogs hair brush and a smaller one maybe this time. Wet it. Put on the rag, turn your paper. Then little rub. Wipe it on the rag, put it in the water. Rub, rub, rub. This does not hurt the paper. That's a great way to clean it up. Now it looks like a rock. Picking up that nice red there too. Yes, let that dry.