Saturday, September 18, 2010


Before going on the extended vacation, I had received some new toys in the mail.  I tried out the Neocolor II watercolor crayons and made a test sheet (on yupo so the color is pretty bright and clear) of each color.  Thought you might like to see what comes in the box of 30.

If you buy these, make sure you get the watersoluble ones - they call them wax crayons but the Neocolor I series is actually wax and can't be thinned or worked with water - only turps.

I'm happy with the variety of colors in the box and think 30 of these will do the trick.  They do have them in boxes of 50, I think.

While Jerry had his photo group over for their monthly meeting, I watched one of my new DVDS:  Joseph Zbukvic's "Watercolor Impressions" from The Artist's Place (

In the DVD, Joseph paints 3 paintings and one small watercolor sketch - all on site.  We get a painting from a Melbourne harbor, a busy Melbourne street scene, and then he travels to Venice to show us a sketch of a fish market and a painting along the canal. 

As he paints, he talks about his work and his process, and you get to see how he works his paper, paint and brush, with lots of calligraphic lines and squiggles (that he calls the jewelry of the painting).

Joseph lays out his palette, not really concerning himself with specific colors, but knowing that his cool colors are on one side and his warm colors on the opposite side.  He paints according to these questions he asks himself:

1.  Is it dark?  Is it light?
2.  Is it cool?  Is it warm?

He limits his color use and often only uses 3-5 colors in his palette.

The scene shows the harbor where he sat and sketched and then painted.  Not much sunshine there, but he often paints grey scenes that have little bits of color here and there.
He always looks at things he's painting as shapes and he looks at the shapes in terms of tone (what I call value).  He uses Saunders rough 300# watercolor paper, getting some "staccatto" steps in his painting due to the rough texture of the paper.

He almost always adds people in his paintings, moving them where they look the best in the finished painting, not necessarily sticking to what he sees in front of him as he paints.  He prewets some areas and paints some areas wet on dry, using round brushes.  He often tells his students, "Never state.  Always indicate."  Meaning, don't get too caught up in the details - hint at things in the background and use the calligraphic marks that makes your work uniquely your own.  Always keep an eye on the whole painting while working.

Joseph says tone (value) is your number 1 weapon in creating the illusion of depth.

Connect your shapes!  Don't have separate shapes all over the painting and don't fill in every shape completely but leave some whites by using a staccato touch with your brush, dancing over the paper.  Filling everything in is boring.  Using round brushes that are not soft but springy, allows you to "draw" with the brush when it comes down to putting in the "jewelry" of the painting.

Joseph says you should always try to convey the message of the scene.  It doesn't have to be completely accurate so think as you're painting - will that look better if I moved it over there, or put a person here...

He does use white gouache sparingly to bring back whites he's lose.  He's very careful to use it in small areas.

1.  The Melbourne scene as Joseph sketched and painted it.
2.  The closeup showing how he adds people to the scene.
3.  And the final painting. 

This should whet your appetite for more.  The DVD is definitely worth the price and it was delivered very quickly after ordering. 

Joseph offers workshops all over the world - but his workshops sell out quickly!  So check out his website and see if he'll be in your area next year.  I think he'd be amazing as a teacher and wish he lived closer than Melbourne!

(The DVD has a scene in Venice along the canal.  Joseph sets up and then deals with a huge amount of problems - a garbage boat parks in front of his boat he was going to paint, the water is rising and starting to flood the walk where he's set up, the noise of the garbage boat as it continues to stay and load garbage all through the scene - and yet he handles it with great grace and just keeps working, using his experience to be able to make a beautiful painting out of what would have given most of us a case of the weepies where we'd have packed up our things and gone home.)

And maybe this weekend, I'll get to do some painting of my own!


Christiane Kingsley said...

Thank you, Rhonda, for this most informative post!

Irina said...

Thank you for detailed description. As for the problems on site, here is a good read about the topic.

Anonymous said...


The other thing I think that is neat about that DVD is when they show the street scene there is a huge modern billboard that he edits out of the painting goes to show paint what you like in the scene and just fine to leave stuff out! I like the finished painting much more then the scene that is really there.

Hope you get to paint:0)

RHCarpenter said...

You're welcome, Christiane :) The DVD is a good one and I'll watch it again.

You're welcome, Irina. I didn't know there was a problem with the site - you mean The Artist's Place site? I'll have to check out the link and see what he says.

Paul, yes, he edits a lot - leaving things out, moving things around, putting things in - like lightposts that weren't there :) That's what so great about a painting compared to a photo - you can leave out what doesn't work and put in what does.

debwardart said...

Thanks for the video review - it's always good to get someone's opinion about a video before you purchase. (Now quit watching and GO PAINT!!!)

Nancy Standlee said...

Great review of the dvd..

RHCarpenter said...

Deb, but it's so much fun - and love his accent! ha ha

Thanks, Nancy. It's definitely a keeper :)

Prabha N. said...

Thanks Rhonda! This post reaffirms lots of points which i shouldnt forget when i start painting. Great read.

RHCarpenter said...

Prabha, I still am trying to keep these ideas close so I pull them out when doing my own paintings - I think it just takes time, like everything else!

Walter L. Mosley said...

Thanks for sharing this.

RH Carpenter said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Walter. As an artist who does street and city scenes, you will like Joseph's watercolors - he's really a master at what he does.