Archive for February 2014

Photoshop to the rescue!

I came across this early watercolor that I painted while In Ireland in a workshop. The photo has very poor resolution and the painting sold long ago, so I’m stuck with an image that won’t be good for prints, but could be used for greeting cards or at least a nice memory.

As I looked, I noticed a hair on the back of one of the sheep. It could have been a dirty lens when I took the photo, or it might have actually been on the painting. I’m hoping the former. I’d hate to think of the poor buyer having to look at that hair under the matted and framed painting.

The hairy sheep

In any case, I decided that I could at least improve the painting for my own future uses and dragged it into Photoshop to get rid of the hair and several other bits of dirt that could be seen.

For those of you who use Photoshop, just copy and open your image in PS, circle the bad area with the magic lasso, click on the eyedropper and then click the area next to the blemish to pick up the correct background color. You’ll see the color change in the top box at the bottom of your tools chart. Click on the paint bucket and then place the pouring paint image over the blemish and click again. You may have to click and move a bit within the circled area to get rid of tiny bits of the blemish. Click erase to get out of the function and go on.

Corrected image. Hair gone.

I always zoom in on an area before correcting it to make sure I’m changing only the damaged area. When you go back to normal size, your “doctoring” is less obvious.

Cameras are so much better now that I seldom have this type of problem, but often I can improve those early images and at very least have a more accurate record of work that has left the studio.

Watercolors will set you free!

Don’t be intimidated by watercolor painting. Yes, it’s more difficult in many ways because it’s not as forgiving as a medium that you can just paint over and cover, but a watercolor painting will do a lot of the work for you if you just take a deep breath and rejoice in the “happy mistakes”.

Do a light drawing where you need to, as I did of the cottage in this painting. I knew I wanted to save most of the whites of the paper here, so was careful not to use uncontrolled water in that area.

The rest, however, began with wet-into-wet washes of bright Florida colors which ran together to make interesting shapes and soft edges. After the first wash dried I had only to paint in some positive shapes of palms and foliage and some negative shapes around other areas to give an unexpected change between the positive and negative shapes. Positive painting is when you paint the actual object or shape. Negative painting is when you paint all around the object or shape you are highlighting to make it come out of the back ground.

Cottage at Egmont Key

You can see in “Cottage at Egmont Key” that the distant palms to the left are a pale blue that then becomes the negative color surrounding the lighter tree underneath. The rickety fence posts are indicated in the foreground in the same way.

And the small pink palm behind the cottage is probably the first thing that drew your eye. That’s why it’s pink…to surprise and direct you to the center of interest.

Have fun with watercolors. They’ll work with you if you give them some room to explore.