LINDA'S TECHNIQUES




BRUSHES
Here is my brush holder!  It belonged to my husband's grandmother, a small silver vase by Tiffany.  I just love this piece with its delicate and stylized leaves and flowers - perfect for a botanical artist.

When I first started painting, I used a round synthetic No.2 brush by Dick Blick and then I changed to a sable brush.  I find that the sable brushes hold the proper amount of paint and no matter what the size (#four and smaller) can achieve a very fine,fine line.  

If just starting out, you only need to purchase one brush, a Round No. 3 Series 7 by Winsor Newton. I would also recommend the Round No. 1.

Here are the brushes in my holder:  Sable Series 7 No. 8, 4, 3, 2,1 and 0.  It also has two thick synthetic brushes that I use for mixing my colors as well as lifting large areas.


Over the last two months, I added two synthetics that I had on hand - a 10/0 by Loew and a round No. 00 Winsor Newton III.  I really like the two for are great for lifting and moving paint in smaller areas.

Brushes are personal and you will become accustomed to them - so if you make a change just remember to give them a chance.

 

GRAPHITE TRANSFER

When I begin a project, I almost always create my drawing on tracing paper and any brand will do.  The benefits are several; 1) you will not damage your watercolor paper from erasing, 2) you are able to see the positive and negative shapes more easily to critique your drawing before you start painting, 3) you can draw an element, a flower for example, multiple times and place them on your drawing to see which angle works best and 4) you are able to use your pattern again!

Once you are happy with your composition and you have redrawn your drawing using a black fine tip marker (if you do not do this you will not be able to see the drawing), you have two options.  The first option is to turn over your drawing and "line in" your drawing on the wrong side of the tracing paper with a 2B or H pencil (see video) 



OR you may take a pencil and cover a small sheet of tracing paper, all over,and place this under your drawing when transferring to your watercolor paper.







Once you have made your "Graphite Pattern,"  you will now transfer your drawing to your watercolor paper.  

Place your tracing paper onto your watercolor paper, right side up.  Remember to leave at least 1/2 inch around your drawing for framing and even more if you would like to off center your painting for a contemporary presentation.

In this video, I am using an mechanical pencil with a HB Size .03 lead.  You may also use a mechanical pencil with a .05 lead but I would use any larger pencil lead for a botanical portrait.  The idea is to have as thin as line as possible.



Once you have made your "Graphite Pattern,"  you will now transfer your drawing to your watercolor paper.  

Place your tracing paper onto your watercolor paper, right side up.  Remember to leave at least 1/2 inch around your drawing for framing and even more if you would like to off center your painting for a contemporary presentation.

In this video, I am using an mechanical pencil with a HB Size .03 lead.  You may also use a mechanical pencil with a .05 lead but I would use any larger pencil lead for a botanical portrait.  The idea is to have as thin as line as possible.



LAYING DOWN A TEA WASH




A tea wash is a very light layer of paint.   When using the tea wash to establish your highlights or a halo, the mixture is 80-90 percent water to pigment.  It also is made with transparent, staining pigments.  The leaves in this example were painted with Prussian Blue. 

The first step is to prime your element first by applying one coat of clear water for 140 weight papers and two coats of clear water for 300 lb paper. Priming ensures that your wash will have an even, smooth appearance and it allows you to create a gradation from top to bottom.  

Yet what is most important is that you allow the "sheen" on the paper to disappear before you lay on your tea wash or for that matter any layer of color.  If not, you will be working wet in wet and you may not be able to control the way the pigment rests/dries on the paper.



Use a STYLUS to Transfer your Drawing

Over the last seven years I have used a mechanical pencil to "trace" my drawing onto my watercolor paper.  I own two mechanical pencils, a .5 and .3, and have been using the .3 because it produces a finer line. BUT it also breaks quite easily.  I was transferring my pineapple drawing and became frustrated, very frustrated.......note, artist problem solving opportunity!

In the 90's I took tole painting classes. It was popular back then, much like the painting parties are today.  To transfer the pattern to your project, one would use a waxy graphite paper and a stylus.  I still have that very stylus.

So I took it out and began to trace over my pineapple drawing and it works! Oh my and it works!  Why?  At the end of the stylus is a round ball.  It is smooth and will create a smooth line on your paper and it DOES NOT break!

Here is what the tool looks like.  I recently purchased this stylus from the Holcraft Company for my upcoming art demonstration. I purchased the small stylus which has a very small pin head, but you may also order the medium size for this purpose.
































Happy Painting, Linda
Linda C. Miller Artist Naturalist Instructor
http://www.lindamillerbotanicalart.com

Copyright Linda C. Miller 2008-2017