Georgia O’Keefe Watercolors

For this project we will be drawing inspiration from legendary artist Georgia O’Keefe.  Similarly to her zoomed-in paintings of flowers we start by drawing an object that is precious to us on a large scale.  Georgia O’Keefe was inspired by the landscape of New Mexico, her home, so try to think of something that is personal to you as well.  In order to make sure your object is large enough it will be required to at least touch three edges of the paper.  It may go off the edges of the paper if need be.

Here comes a little color theory.  Think about what sort of colors are in your object.  I chose my engagement ring which has an emerald instead of a diamond.  Now look at the color wheel:



Choose a color that is on the opposite side of the color wheel.  It doesn’t have to be directly across, but we do want there to be some contrast in order to set your object apart from the background.

I chose purple for my background color rather than red (the color directly across) in order to avoid a “christmas-y” vibe.

Once you have finished drawing your object use a large paintbrush to cover the background with water. Once your background is damp add your background color and allow the paint to blend and flow. This is called “wet on wet” technique. Your background color does not need to be completely flat however if you have used the wet on wet technique effectively there should be no hard edges in your background.

Once your background is dry it’s time to move onto your object! Here you will have more choices for techniques to use. Keep in mind that the object is our main focus so there should be more detail.

To add texture detail you might want to use a “drybrush” technique.

For flat areas of color you might want to use a “wash.”

For an hombre effect or a gradation you might want to use a “graded wash.”

Here is a video (coming soon!) that demonstrates all these techniques and many others. You do not have to use all these techniques however your object should use one technique other than “wet on wet.”

Keep in Mind:
– your background and object should have contrasting colors, use the color wheel!
– your object should have more details/be more “busy” than the background because it is the focus

– Your background should be wet on wet, no hard edges/busy brush strokes
– Your object should use at least one additional technique other than wet on wet
– Your object should touch/go off the edge of the paper on three sides


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