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LINDA'S TECHNIQUES White Oak Leaf Project Using a Divider

White Oak  I love working with fall leaves that have spent a few days between the pages! This post shows the steps that I took to create a pattern using a divider.  This is the perfect project for beginners.  If you do not have one, you may want to add it to your holiday wish list!   Feel free to copy and paste this image to get started.   Drawing Materials Tools:  M echanical pencil, divider, kneaded eraser, and a fine tip black marker. Paper:  One piece of tracing paper and one piece of watercolor paper. I always draw on tracing paper.  It is easy to erase and saves a step.  If I drew on sketch paper, I would need to draw it again on tracing paper to create my pattern. Even though the leaf is pressed, I found that it was raised up a bit.  So I took a piece of cardboard and placed the edge on the mid-vein and traced the outline with my mechanical pencil.  Note that I made small marks where the veins ended, as you will see in the next photo.  T

LINDA'S TECHNIQUES When is it done?

Laurel Oak   20 x 28 inches Copyright Linda C. Miller 2020 I thought that I would share this technique today as I am almost finished with this large painting of the Laurel Oak.  It has been in and out of the studio over the last two years and I decided to add a few more leaves on the horizontal stem and add more shading to the leaves and acorns.  Let me first start by saying - I did not see at this level when I began painting.  I am now at this point after eight years of painting in watercolor. I am a big believer in having a "friend" near by to guide you, especially when finishing your work.  As you can see here, I have a page opened from my "Rory McEwen The Colours of Reality" book.  To begin my critique,  I set a mat down on my work to crop the areas.  I then allow my eye to move from the painting to the book, using the right side of my brain. Allow your eyes to do the work.  If you still hear your internal critic, turn the work upside down. 


I can remember the first time I mixed a true black - I was just thrilled.  I used Cobalt Blue, Permanent Rose and Lemon Yellow.   Since then I found two new mixtures that get to black much more quickly.   Here are my recipes! Happy Painting, Linda Linda C. Miller Artist Naturalist Instructor To receive my new posts - please SCROLL UP to the too and SIGN UP!  Thank you for visiting today,  Linda  

LINDA'S TECHNIQUES: 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. Happy Painting, Linda Linda C. Miller Artist Naturalist Instructor http://thebotancialblogger.blogspot.c

LINDA'S FAVORITE TOOLS 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 purchas


This book had been in my library for the last eight years and it is one of my favorites to study from.  For years it was on my lap while I watched TV in the evening hours.  The range of specimens and artists is one of the best on the market.  I own the paperback version. This second book is one of the best books to learn about color mixing and how a painting progresses by adding washes and adding details.  The book chapters are divided by color and almost each chapter has a step by step project for you to learn by.  My only caveat is to be mindful that each artist has a "favorite" palette and you could end up buying more than you need, if you follow their recipes.    This last book is one of the best books to learn how to paint botanical portraits using primary, secondary and tertiary colors.  This book will change how you see and paint any subject!    Linda C. Miller Artist Naturalist Instructor   htt

LINDA'S TECHNIQUES Working with Live Specimens

Here is another way of working with live specimens!  For years, I would place my cutting in a vase, lay it down on my drafting board, or even take a photo.  Three years ago Carol and Margaret gave me a wonderful gift that they use when painting still life paintings.  It is made of plywood, with a base and two sides.  It allows you to photograph your subject and control the lighting.  That evening, I brought it up to the studio.  I looked around the room and thought, “Lets take my foam core boards and place them into the box.”   Eureka!    Next, I began to go around the studio photographing my dried specimens and then the persimmon fruit branches that I collected that day, laying them on the base or taping them to the board.       I found that the lines for drawing and the colors for painting were so much easier to see with this whiter than white background.    Linda C. Miller Artist Naturalist Instructor