Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Thursday, July 2, 2015


In class I just taught a technique for "finding" your subject, using a photo of petunias.  The first few photos are of my demo.

We sprayed water on the paper.
Then, using the photo reference, paint was applied loosely in the general shape of the flowers.
The class chose to do blue petunias, so I applied various shades of blue,
some violets and pinks for the flower areas and greens, blues and yellow for the green around the flowers.

When the first layer of color was dry, I began "finding" petunias.
You have to use your imagination - and your photo is simply a beginning reference point.
At first you think you don't see any flowers, but all of a sudden they begin to appear!
Then I deepened the greenery around the flowers, and adding some areas of shadow within the flowers.
At this point, I only want to indicate the flowers through the use of negative painting.

Here is how the day ended - with the flowers indicated.  The background may or may not be complete. 
Now here are some of the students' work:
You can see how she has begun finding her flowers, and has even added some of the centers.

More petunias being found!

And more!


Sue Marrazzo said...

LOVE this!

Carol Blackburn said...


RH Carpenter said...

Beautiful work by you and your students, too! I'm not good at "finding" things in my paint-strewn paper. Funny, maybe as a kid I never spent time looking for things in clouds enough??

debwardart said...

Had to really use your imagination on this - hope to have another post with completed paintings soon.

Katherine Thomas said...

That's a really valuable lesson... and very insightful of you to know how important it would be for your students to know about this technique! I do the same thing when I'm drawing anything with texture, like my trees, etc. I let the pencils start to do their thing, and then I respond to the marks that I've put down, and let them shape what seems most natural. This is so beautiful, what you've done!

Debbie Nolan said...

Deb - this is a super demonstration. Love your negative lesson. Your work always inspires me. Speaking of inspiration your painting in the Artist Magazine is over the top. Just beautiful. Have a great week.